If you're tired of high protein diets and cutting out the foods you enjoy, there's a new diet plan, that won't make you feel deprived and has a secret ingredient that will help you burn more calories.
A health editor and a registered dietitian say they have finally found a diet plan you can live with. One, they say, they takes off pounds without making you hungry and without depriving you of foods you love.
"We've done a number of test groups on the diet. We find people are able to lose about 6 pounds in the first seven days on this diet and they are able to lose 12 pounds in the first month — and they're able to keep it off," says Ellen Kunes, editor in chief of Health magazine.
They call it The CarbLovers Diet and say their recipes and food choices will keep you in a good mood.
"Carbs are the No. 1 fuel for your brain, and they also boost serotonin levels, which is the feel-good neurotransmitter in your brain. So ... if you cut them out of your diet, you're going to feel cranky. You're going to feel a little fuzzy in the head and you're going to feel deprived. And what happens with people who follow a very low-carb diet is they can do it for a while but then eventually they break down and they binge," says registered dietitian Frances Largeman-Roth, who is the senior food and nutrition editor of Health magazine.
But they say the real secret to this new diet is something hidden in certain foods you love — something you may not know exists. It's called "resistant starch."
"The CarbLovers Diet is based on resistant starch, which is a type of carbohydrate, which kicks up fat burning by 25 percent by turning on fat-burning enzymes. And it also increases satiety, so you feel really full," Largeman-Roth explains. "Resistant starch acts more like a fiber in the body. It's not broken down and absorbed in the small intestines, so you really end up being able to eat a lot more food with fewer calories."
Foods high in resistant starches include whole grain pastas, whole oats, dark breads, such as pumpernickel and rye, cold potatoes, potato chips, barley, beans, peas and legumes, popcorn, pitas, brown rice, corn flakes and the No. 1 resistant starch, a slightly green banana. Largeman-Roth and Kunes call these foods CarbStars and say you should have one at every meal.
"On CarbLovers you can eat these delicious foods, but, hey, they're also super healthy for you at the same time," Largeman-Roth says. "They are whole grains. They are really high in fiber. They're full of minerals and vitamins and they also don't cost a ton of money."
"When it comes to feeling satisfied, having these resistant starch carbs in your diet is absolutely key," Kunes says. "So what we find is that if people eat in our kick-start diet, which has 1,200 calories, if they follow this diet, even though it is only 1,200 calories which is not a lot, they are the most filling calories you're ever going to have."
The plan and recipes are all in a book, The Carb Lovers Diet, which features colorful pictures showing portion size and personal before and after success stories. The writers claim the diet especially burns the more dangerous belly fat.
"There are a lot of studies on [resistant starch] that are very good studies, I pulled up at least a dozen and I read them, and there's human studies and animal studies to show that certain foods, under certain conditions, will either be processed in the small or the large intestine and there are studies to show that it results in weight loss," says Dr. Melinda Sothern, a clinical exercise physiologist and professor in the School of Public Health at LSU Health Sciences Center.
Doctors like that the diet takes you away from the empty junk carbs to nutritious, quality ones.
"Two cups of cooked oatmeal versus that soda, it's going to fill you up. It's going to be satisfying. It's going to take you a while to eat it. It's going to stay with you longer. It's got fiber. It's got a lot better quality nutrients. So yes, there is a definite difference between those two types of carbohydrates," says Dr. Timothy Harlan, a clinical general internist at Tulane and former chef who runs www.drgourmet.com.
High-fiber carbs make you feel fuller longer because they digest more slowly, and that has other proven health benefits.
"Remember that fiber also prevents heart disease and improves metabolism. It improves insulin response. High fiber diets prevent diabetes," Sothern says.
"It reminds me a little bit of Dr. Dean Ornish's plan that has proved very, very successful from the standpoint of vascular disease and cardiovascular disease," says Mackie Shilstone, executive director of the Fitness Principle at East Jefferson General Hospital.
Doctors remind people not to forget how important protein is.
"What I liked about the diet was if you follow it, it's healthy and it's going to lean you toward the healthy proteins. So it suggests that you get most of your protein from healthy oil fish sources and beans, which are both high in fiber and have resistant starch," Sothern says.
But remember, science has shown Americans drink too many of their calories, so cutting sugary soft drinks and alcohol alone will help get you to your weight loss goal.
The creators of The CarbLovers Diet say once you meet your goal and get on the 1,600 calorie immersion plan, dieters actually feel like they are getting too much food and can't finish it all.
Look for Meg Farris' Medical Watch reports, including "Weight Loss Wednesday" and "Wrinkle Free Friday" stories, weeknights on WWL-TV Channel 4 and anytime on wwltv.com.