A Low Carb Diet is a Terrible Way to Lose Weight

If calorie counting is the best way to lose weight, a low-carb diet is by far the worst.

In making that determination, I didn’t include the fringe and obscure gimmicks and fad diets, only the mainstream big boys.  I also didn’t include any diets that are good for other general health reasons, like low cholesterol diets. The low carb diet and its many successful commercial programs are just designed to sell a few products.  Sure, you can lose weight by counting carbs, but unless you plan on never eating a bowl of pasta again and think you can live on the diet “forever,” then I’d consider trying something else.

Something else like eating less and moving around, known as counting calories.

The reason people can, have, and will lose weight by counting carbs and following low-carb diets is that it’s just essentially counting calories, without actually calling it that.  Your typical foods that are high in carbs (pasta, pizza, french bread, etc) are also high in calories.  So, when someone eliminates those foods from their meals, they’re also subsequently decreasing their calories.  When someone does lose weight following a low-carb diet, carbs are hailed the key to success and not calories.

I’m sure if they ate 4,000 calories a day and no carbs they’d lose weight, too — right?

I will concede that limiting your carb intake (but not to the level of a low-carb diet) is a good idea if you have 5 pounds, 10 pounds, or maybe even 15 pounds left to lose, but anything greater than that and you just need to count calories.

And actually, I lied.  Low-carb diets aren’t the worst way to lose weight (by themselves).  Low-carb is tied with The Raw Food Diet as the worst way to lose weight.  I just thought it was obvious The Raw Food Diet was a terrible idea.

Posted by Shawn Tyler Weeks on January 30th, 2011