Low Carb Summary

You have read about low fat diets vs low carb diets, and you’ve probably read a bit about the metabolic diets. If you’ve come to this page, you’ve most likely decided that low carb sounds more like you. You’re probably someone down the Hunter-Gatherer end of the scale. But you could be someone with a more Agriculturist metabolism, whose system has got out of whack due to eating to many of the WRONG kind of carbs, and you need to get back into balance a bit.

But how do you choose? Just to make it a little easier, the first table below broadly compares the carb levels, and restricted foods of each plan. The second table gives some ideas on which plans are most suitable for different situations. These are just a guide. As always, you are the only person who can tell what’s right for you – but you have to start by trying one.


Effective or Digestible Carb* levels Restricted foods
* Note that in most cases, the carb amount excludes fibre and sugar alcohols ie. it is the effective carb

The Protein Power Lifeplan

Intervention – 7-10 g per meal & optional snack = < 40g per day
Transition – 15g per meal & optional snack = < 60g per day
Maintenance – each week, increase by 5g per meal (20g per day) till reach equilibrium. This MAY be approx equal to your mimimum protein requirement (but not your total protein intake, if that is higher)
Hedonist – no trans fats, potentially rancid fats, soft drinks, diet soft drinks or aspartame.
Dilettante – as above, plus no wheat, corn, millet, rye, soy oil, fructose, corn syrup, nitrites or MSG .Try to buy organic & free range as much as possible.
Purist – as above, plus no grains or cereals, legumes, dairy, sugars & sweeteners apart from honey & stevia, processed foods, caffeine, alcohol. Only organic & free range food.

Leslie Kentons  X-Factor diet

Ketogenics – 20g per day
Insulin Balance – 35% of calories (35% protein, 30% fat)
Not recommended – fatty cuts of meat, chicken livers, processed meats, most grains & cereals, most sugars & sweeteners, alcohol, starchy vegetables, high sugar fruits, margarines, trans fats & most vegetable oils.

Sandra Cabots Syndrome X diet

Stage 1 – Not specified, but 20-40g for more rapid weight loss
Stage 2 – Not specified
Maintenance – 40-45% calories
Stage 1 – No grains & cereals, sweets or desserts, small amounts only legumes, stick to low carb veges, and no more than 2 serves of low sugar fruits
Stage 2 – Add 1 serving of a grain food, and 1 serving of a strachy vege per day, plus 1 serving low sugar fruit
Maintenance – Add 1 more serving grain food or starchy vegetable, no restriction on type of fruit

Dr Atkins Diet Revolution

Induction – 20g carb
Ongoing Weight Loss – each week, increase by 5g per day till stop losing weight, then decrease by 5g. Could be anything from 25-90g depending on level of metabolic resistance & amount of exercise
Pre-maintenance – Increase by 10g a week. This is about learning how to maintain new weight.
Maintenance – Whatever it needs to be to maintain weight long term.
Induction – no fruit, grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, nuts or seeds, margarine, caffeine, sugars, most sweeteners and most dairy products (except butter, cream and low fat cheese).
Other stages – as carb restrictions are eased, some of the above foods can be reintroduced gradually.

The Hunter Gatherer metabolic diet

No specific limit, can vary cyclically for women, the meat is the focus of the meal Recommended core (& supplemental) foods :
Protein – heavy meats & fish high in purines, offal, eggs (lighter meats, poultry, white fish)
Fats – Walnut, hazelnut, chestnut, almond & pumpkin seeds, olive oil, flax oil
Carbs – Root vegetables, sea vegetables & wild green leafy vegetables, vegetables high in purines, apples, pears,  (legumes, currants, cranberry, avocado & olive.)

The Blood Type diets

The early Type O, and to a lesser extent Type B,  would have had a diet high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrate. There is, however, no specific carb guideline in the modern diet.  Restricted foods are those with incompatible lectins, or foods that can aggravate conditions which each type is prone to
eg. O’s – no wheat

The Zone

Protein level is precisely calculated. This makes up 30% of calories, fat is 30%, carbs are 40%. If need extra calories to maintain weight, add extra fat. No specific food restrictions. Lower glycemic index carbs recommended, higher ones, reduce quantity. Recommended fats are monounsaturates and supplementary omega 3 oils.

Dr Mercola’s eating plan (not yet reviewed)

Not specifically a low carb eating plan – so carb level not restricted This is a whole food plan which has been included here as it excludes grains. It also excludes dairy, and focuses on raw foods and juices.



Suggestions on which diets you might find best 

If you think you are an Agriculturist and want to get back into balance:

  • Start with Sandra Cabot’s Syndrome X diet
  • If you need to restrict carbs a bit more, Leslie Kenton X Factor – Insulin Balance

If you’re just starting out making dietary changes, are catering for a family, or are not ready to commit to more than 80% effort:

  • Sandra Cabot’s Syndrome X diet
  • Protein Power Hedonist
  • O or B blood type diet
  • The Zone

If you’ve already made some dietary changes and are ready to crank it up a notch, or feel that your health/weight problems warrant more effort :

  • Protein Power Dilettante
  • Leslie Kenton X Factor – Insulin Balance

If you have chronic health problems, or just want the best health you can have, and feel you’re ready to try an advanced diet :

  • Protein Power Purist
  • Hunter Gatherer
  • Dr Mercola’s Eating Plan

If you feel you have an extreme Hunter-Gatherer metabolism, or need to lose a lot of weight, these diets restrict carbs to 20g per day :

  • Leslie Kenton X Factor – Ketogenics
  • Dr Atkins