Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jan 16, 2014 07:27 PM

Carb-free, anyone?

Cant believe the sheer satisfaction after a rich meal of excellent, full-fat meat, buttered vegetables, roquefort cheese, lovely cream sauces...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: sal_acid

      Yes. Have added potatoes back in, since the holidays. No bad effects.

      1. re: poser

        Been carb free almost 11 months. Drool over thoughts of good meat, fish.... Do NOT miss sweets, bread, pasta. But do miss potatoes so Ive added them back. With butter:-) Was 180, now 142.

        1. re: tractionpads

          Well, that deserves a hearty congratulations. Losing the weight is a lot easier than keeping it off. Keep it up! or, I should say, keep it off!!

      2. I guess your rich meal sounds great ... sometimes, but not as a way of life.

        But give me balance ... when I'm tracking calories I aim for 50% from carbs, 30% from lean protein and 20% from fat.

        Works for me.

        7 Replies
        1. re: willyum

          That wouldve sounded balanced to me a year ago, too. But read "Why we get fat" by G. Taubes. Fat-free is dangerous. Calories dont make us fat. Insulin makes us fat. Insulin is triggered only by carbs. Theres MUCH to learn and unlearn. Thank you so much for replying!

          1. re: tractionpads

            Well, I lost 50lbs (and have kept about 45 of of it off for over a year now) while still eating carbs... so yeah.

            1. re: juliejulez

              i'm with juliejulez: i lost 35 lb about 10 years ago and have kept it off while still eating carbs.
              meanwhile, my next door neighbor went to the no-carb routine, lost a lot of weight, and then couldn't stick with it.
              now she has both cravings for carbs and cravings for butter/fat. she's added an ADDITIONAL craving (fat/butter) and has gained back more than she lost originally.

              1. re: westsidegal

                Nobody eats no carbs, not even on the JHU epilepsy ketogenic diet. If she did, she effed up. I'll point out the obvious; all diet plans have high failure rates. Especially when people think they're "on a diet."

                I eat boatloads of carbs by volume on an extremely low carb diet; they're just nutrient dense instead of calorie dense.

                Low carb for 15 years of good eating.

          2. re: willyum

            How is that balanced? It's half one thing out of three?

            I'm not balanced, either.

            I eat 50% of calories from fats, 35% from protein, and 15% non starchy carbs/veggies.

            Lipids researchers say there would be great difficulty maintaining health on a 30% fat diet. But your body, your science experiment.

            1. re: mcf

              >> "How is that balanced? It's half one thing out of three?"

              In the context of diets 'balanced' is descriptive, not mathematically precise. Here are the three main classes, as I understand it:

              "High carbohydrate, very low fat" ... typical ratio might be 70/20/10 carbs-protein-fat is Pritikin's ratio .. Ornish and Haas and many forms of vegetarianism are similar and all seem to work well if done correctly.

              "Very low carbohydrate, high fat, high protein" ... Atkins is the main proponent and this seems to be what tractionpads and you are following. Typical ratio might be 10/45/45 carbs-protein-fat or similar.

              "Balanced" in this context simply means something between these extremes, say 40-50% carbs, 20-30% protein, 20-30% fat.

              You can find "studies" that prove almost anything, but a large scale government study of basic diets indicated that all three of these can lead to weight loss but that the low carbs diet was the hardest for people to stay with for long periods of time.

              As for me, after retirement and knee surgery I became less active and eventually got to 215 lbs (BMI 27.6) with 28% body fat before deciding to diet.

              My 'guy' (free library book) says it takes an excess 3,500 calories to gain a pound of fat, so by figuring out your calorie needs and then cutting this by 500 calories per day, plus increasing your activity by 500 calories per day you could in theory burn two pounds of fat each week.

              No special diets, just smaller portions and 'clean' foods (cut back sugar, processed wheat and cut out most liquid calories). My basic meal has a lean protein, a complex carb, simple carbs (yesterday salmon, quinoa with peppers and olive oil, salad, butternut squash soup, skim milk for example).

              I couldn't quite do 2 lbs/week but I did manage to average 1.3 lbs/week weight loss for several months until I got down to 160 lbs, 13% body fat. My BMI dropped to 20.5 which was approaching the 'too low' end, so I just ate more to stabliize my weight at 170, where I've been for 4 years.

              Moderation works for me. No gimmicks, no 'special foods'. When I eat a lot (recent trip to Spain with five gourmet meals in Michelin restaurants) I just go back to the drill for two weeks to get the weight back in line.

              I can post before/after pics I took for The National Weight Control Registry if you wanna see the results. The NWCR is tracking 10,000 people who have lost at least 30 lbs and kept it off long-term and there's a lot of good info on the site.

              Not trying to pick a fight with the zero carbs guys (except I'm a believer in 'calories count'), those diets also work. But most people who try them have problems sticking to it. See the cravings for a potato in the original post.

              A bit more about the NWCR results: ... in particular the section "Weight Loss Study Results".

              1. re: willyum

                First of all, no, I don't follow any popular diet plan, I have just read a lot of metabolic science and some of the books so I know what the plans are.

                Second, Atkins is not necessarily very high fat, extreme low carb and 40% calories from anything is not "balanced" which is just a meaningless phrase people use when the want to suggest their diet is the sane one, it's high carb.

                The weight control registry had no category for low carbers when folks tried to sign up. And while you can find study authors who will *claim* anything, NO, you cannot find studies that prove just about everything.

                There's a lot of crap out there passing peer review, even phony papers submitted to prove it.

          3. Don't all vegetables have some carbs? I've always thought that a no carb diet would have to be basically meat, eggs, fish, cheese.

            21 Replies
            1. re: cookie monster

              Yes, no-carb is just meat and fat (eggs and cheese actually have a bit of carb in them, as do some shellfish). There are people who do it, but I can't imagine living that way.

              I've been low-carb for almost 15 years now - I definitely have my moments of carbohydrate indulgence, but my day in, day out meals are made up of eggs, meat, cheese, nuts and non-starchy vegetables. I would say I probably eat less than 50g of carbohydrates daily, almost all of it in the form of nuts and vegetables.

              1. re: biondanonima

                Hi! Carb free is not a defined diet. People are trying all sorts of patterns. Every food (except pure oils, fats) has all 3 ...protein, fat and carbs. But for me, a very small bit of carbs a day, about 50 or less. Vegetables, except starchy and sweet ones (potatoes, carrots, beets) have very few carbs, so can be eaten in volumes as you like. Lately I take a smll container of salad dressing and raw bell pepper wedges with me and dip the pepper into the dressing for a snack on the road. Meat with full fat, cheeses, cream cheese, eggs, heavy cream, lunch meats, hot dogs, canned meats, salami, pepperoni, nut butters, butter, tofu, all can be eaten as much as one wants, along with any carb free soups, veggies galore, cottage cheese, quiches sans crust, even high density chocolate ala Trader Joes 73% with almonds. And peanuts are very low, but macadamia nuts are even lower! Theyre my best friend, well worth the price because theyre light so you get a LOT for your money. Costco and Winco have them at 12 dollars a pound, nut Wincos are superior, and are sold in bulk, while at costco you buy an 18 dollar bag (or dont).

                1. re: tractionpads

                  This is far from carb free. It's low or moderate carb.

                  And no, you cannot eat all you want of those things, unless you want very little. Well, maybe *you* can, but not every low carber can.

                  1. re: mcf

                    The thing about not eating many carbs is that you get that full feeling faster and don't get those hunger pangs. So more than likely one eats less over all when eliminating carbs.

                    1. re: poser

                      I never eat til I feel full on low carb, can't recall the last time I felt full. I eat til I'm satiated, or no longer hungry, and I stay that way hours longer, sometimes forgetting to eat later on low carb.

                      But you still eat more calories or equal calories on low carb. The difference is that low carbers lose more weight on higher calories and more of it is lost as fat, with more lean muscle preserved or added.

                      1. re: mcf

                        I agree about the "full" feeling being replaced by a (wonderfully) satisfied feeling. If I eat carby things now, I feel stuffed but still unsatisfied.

                2. re: biondanonima

                  Same here. For over 15 years; reversed diabetic nerve and kidney damage this way, and maintain low normal glucose with no meds all this time, too.

                  1. re: mcf

                    Fantastic! What info is there on the epilepsy issue? Anyone have direct experience with carb restriction and cure or amelioration of epilepsy?

                    1. re: tractionpads

                      It's the only treatment for some people with severe epilepsy. It's a very restrictive ketogenic high fat diet. No direct experience but I'm a physician and have rotated in the epilepsy clinic.

                      1. re: tractionpads

                        Yes, Johns Hopkins originated it, I believe, and it's been in use for decades. But the diet they use is not suitable for folks who don't suffer uncontrolled epilepsy and it's disgusting. It'a almost entirely fat, they also restrict protein because 58% of it converts to glucose, which is what causes the damage.

                        Lots of research suggests ketogenic diet for cancer therapy and prevention as well as for other conditions, but the brain health/healing use is the most documented health application. You can find plenty on google and PubMed about this, I'm sure.

                        1. re: mcf

                          Yes indeed it's a pure butter diet! And my experience was at the Hopkins clinic so I was able to meet a lot of patients.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            And mayo, if I recall? Just gross, and leads to an elevated risk of kidney stones, too.

                              1. re: walker

                                Not much else. Some protein, but not much.


                                It's a very extreme measure for an otherwise intractable problem. Surprisingly free of ill effects, other than the elevated risk of kidney stones which I think is the most frequent.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  I went to that link but could not find what they rec. on the 2 different diets .. one is a modified Atkins. I'm just curious about this, I don't have any medical problems.

                                  1. re: walker

                                    I think the diet composition may be in a Wiki citation link, but our poster who worked at JHU described it as basically all butter.

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    Wow, tuna salad made with more mayo than fish. Makes me queasy reading it.

                      2. re: cookie monster

                        Yes, you're right. Even a cup of coffee has a couple. Milk does. Cheeses, too.

                      3. Nope.
                        I'm pro complex carbs. I am also confidant that my kidneys are not over stressed and my cholesterol is negligible- and will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                          Negligible cholesterol is a serious risk for premature death, I'd get that looked into!

                          Fortunately, low carb protects kidneys; it's glucose that harms them in the first place, diet wise. I reversed my carby diet induced kidney damage with low carb and high protein.

                          Fifteen years now with above average kidney function.

                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                            Complex carbs are great. My dad took all 4 silver medals at the US Senior Olympics at age 75 staying on the Pritikin diet.

                            For me, Im eating whole, living grains and find they dont put on ANY weight. As soon as theyre milled, they put weight on me. Theres a little-known type of rice called "sweet brown rice." Exactly that name. Whole, living rice, cooks up glutinous and succulent. Its not sweet, thats just the name. Potatoes dont seem to put weight on me, either. I dont eat large portions, tho. On low carb diets, one eats less quantity and gets more satisfaction. Carbs should be called "cravohydrates" as they make one crave things, carbs as well as other unsatisfying things. imho

                            1. re: tractionpads

                              Wonder Bread and French fries are complex carbs. So are Fruit Loops and Captain Crunch.

                              Complexity of carbs has absolutely nothing to do with their nutrition or health qualities, it's moot in dietary terms.

                              1. re: mcf

                                Thank you for making that clarification! "Complex carbs" is often what I think people equate to "high fiber" or "nutrient dense" carbs.

                                The "complexity" has to do with molecular structure, not processing and metabolism in the body. Simple explanation of how this misconception started (read under "Classification" section):