Slow Carb Diet

The Slow Carb Diet (SCD) is probably my favorite diet form to lose fat. While it is somewhat similar to the Ketogenic Diet, it doesn't require the extreme low carb and will not necessarily keep your body in Ketosis.
The SCD makes use of an understanding of biochemical pathways with the goals to:
1. lose fat
2. control the appetite

--> it is further a very sustainable diet form, which also nourishes our microbes!

Four rules of the SCD

1. Avoid processed carbohydrates

Everything that speaks your insulin and glucose levels will induce fat retention. Ideally, all foods that are extremely dense in carbs should be avoided.

2. Don't drink calories

Rule #2 is to some extent included in #1. Don't drink sodas, fruit juices or milk! They will provide easily an excess of calories you will not even notice as you drank it down. If you can, you should also avoid diet soft drinks, as they are harmful to the health of your microbiome and in turn lead to glucose intolerance.

3. Take a day off per week

This rule is as much a mental one as a physiological one. Rewarding is important! And as we all like to go out or cook with friends it is the perfect timing to indulge yourself.
It also has benefits with regards to our diet as occasional calorie excess can improve our fat loss. There are also tools for damage control!

4. Reduce eating fruits

This might sound odd, as fruits provide vitamins and are generally not bad for us. However, I'll show you the biochemistry behind fructose, which will make you understand why you should keep it low when you want to lose fat. Besides, our ancestors didn't have fruit throughout the whole year but only during late summer when they were building up fat reservoirs to survive the winter.

 

Rule #1, Avoiding processed Carbohydrates

Our body can live quite well without eating carbs, unlike fats or proteins. But that is not entirely the point here. Unlike the Ketogenic Diet, the SCD allows carbs. But just nothing that spikes our insulin or leads to direct fat storage (like fructose but we will discuss it in a moment).

What is Insulin actually doing?

What is insulin actually doing?
Insulin is secreted by our pancreas after we ate glucose-containing meals. It is the main anabolic hormone of the body (one reason why bodybuilder injects it) and promotes the absorption of glucose from the blood into liver, fat or muscle cells, where it is either converted into glycogen or fat or immediately used up.
Effects of insulin effects in brief [1]:

  • stimulates glycogen synthesis
  • decreased lipolysis (breakdown of fats)
  • stimulate fatty acid and triacylglycerol synthesis
  • increases protein synthesis

So, insulin is anabolic in any direction, while low insulin levels have the opposite effect as this promotes catabolism, especially of body fat.

 
Insulin.png
 

For many years, I was reluctant to go on a low-carb diet because of two reasons: (a) I thought ingested fat gets immediately stored as fat (false) and (b) I was worried about my cholesterol levels (despite I had never raised levels).
However, a randomized study from 2014 points out nicely the difference between a low-carb and a low-fat diet [2]. While the low-carb group lost already almost 6 kg in 3 months and reduced their body fat by more than 1%, the low-fat group lost only 2kg body weight and barely 0.3% body fat. And all this while the lean mass increased in the low-carb group, meaning they lost fat and build muscles!

 
                                                                            Modified after [2]

                                                                            Modified after [2]

 

If I would have looked at scientific studies back then, I could also have discarded my fear of increased blood lipid levels on a high-fat diet. The study also shows that the blood triglyceride levels were reduced on a high-fat diet!

 

 

... Insulin and grehlin

...Fiber

... high carb disruptes our microbiome

 

List of Allowed foods:

 

Example Meals

 

References

  1. Dimitriadis et al., Insulin effects in muscle and adipose tissue, Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 2011
  2. Bazzano et al., Effects of Low-Carbohydrates and Low-Fat Diets: A randomized trial, Ann Intern Med, 2014