There are many forms of low carb diet but probably the most famous of all is the Atkins diet, created by Dr. Robert Atkins and popularized in the last quarter of the 20th century. Fad diets come and go, but the Atkins gained enough celebrity and medical support that it developed its own momentum, and took off in a big way.
Low carb diets vary in what they suggest that you eat. The strictest form, such as the induction phase of the Atkins diet, can suggest that you cut out almost all carbohydrate foods. This includes potatoes, rice and other grains, bread, sugar and anything containing it, and many fruits. Even carrots may be considered a medium carb food and eliminated for this phase, although green vegetables are fine and should be eaten in large quantities.
The result of following this type of diet is that people will often eat a lot of meat, cheese and other high cholesterol foods and get their calories from fat rather than protein. The theory of the diet is that in the absence of carbohydrates, the body will handle fat much better and even convert stored fat to be used for energy instead of glucose. This process is called ketosis.
This type of diet came under criticism from doctors and followers alike as the years wore on. After Dr. Atkins died in 2003, apparently with some type of heart problems, the popularity of the low carb diet plummeted to such a point that the company that Dr. Atkins had founded filed for bankruptcy in 2005. In fact some sources said that the low carb diet had died with Dr. Atkins.
However, what many people forget is that this phase of almost eliminating carbs is only supposed to last for 2 weeks. After that, many carbohydrate containing foods are brought back into the eating plan, including fruit.
Dr. Atkins himself believed that the main cause of obesity is due to the high amount of sugar and other refined carbohydrates in our diet. That is, white rice and other refined grains, peeled potatoes, white flour and foods containing it such as most pasta and bread, fruit juices, and refined and added sugars in all their forms including high fructose corn syrup.
These days, many variations of the low carb diet concentrate on eliminating these ‘white foods’ while allowing ‘brown foods’ such as brown rice, wholegrain bread and pasta, unpeeled potatoes, whole fresh fruit etc. These foods combine carbohydrates in their naturally occurring form along with fiber which slows down the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream and so reduces the glycemic index of these foods.
So if you plan to follow this type of diet yourself, be sure to research it thoroughly and do not assume you should just eat plates full of meat and cheese. This could be very bad for your health. Instead, consider switching from white foods to the fiber containing versions of these foods and cutting out everything containing added sugars. This type of low carb diet is sustainable for long term loss and does not require you to eat a lot of fat.