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5:2 Diet 'Rules' & Variations

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Lower carb confusion
30 Jun 2014, 22:29
I am struggling with the idea of low carbs put to me by @sue.q
I have been overloading on carbs on non fast days and have decided to cut carbs a bit right across my diet.
Today was a fast day and MFP show 66% protein 33% fat and 1% carb? OH thinks this is now too low.
Today was an accident as I forgot to buy swede and put too many cals into tasty part of dinner (chicken breast stuffed with Cornish Brie, mushrooms, olives and garlic, topped off with extremely lean bacon, accompanied by mushrooms fried (spray oil) with garlic.
Which carbs are healthy carbs and how many should I be eating? :?:
Re: Lower carb confusion
30 Jun 2014, 22:39
@Karenm Our body doesn't actually need carbs at all so a very low day is 20ish with most experts on this forum coming in on a feed day about 75-150 depending on the member, maybe @PennyForthem & @Minumonline Will pop in tomorrow with there advice, but I'd say a very good day and healthy carbs to me are the veggie ones the bad carbs being
with chocolate in moderation on a non fastday :lol: :
Re: Lower carb confusion
30 Jun 2014, 22:46
My carbs today were 13% and that was just from asparagus, cauliflower and baby corn to go with prawns for my fast day. It probably doesn't matter how low your carbs are on the fast days as they will balance out with your feeds.
I have been fairly low carb for many years trying to keep my weight down and am now very happy to let a few more in with the 5:2, however I am still mindful of them having brainwashed myself with the Dukan and Harcombe for too long so I do get very guilty if I have a baguette!!
Re: Lower carb confusion
30 Jun 2014, 22:49
Hi Karen,
I would say for me healthy carbs are vegetables , especially the ones that grow above the ground. Go for it and have as much as you like with each meal as they don't add up to much in carb numbers and are good for your health. Veges that grow below the ground are great too but eat a bit less . the best fruit choices are berries as they have less sugar. I rarely eat bread pasta as it makes me feel tired. I eat rice probably twice a week but half cup portion instead of 1 cup like I used to but I increase the veg so my plate is still full. This is what I do but everyone is different and you will find what suits you. A general rule from 'Mark's daily apple' is to stay below 150 grams of carbs but I think he says the sweet spot for weight loss is 50 grams to 100 grams. Google 'Marks daily apple' then ' carbohydrate curve' and 'the definitive guide to carbohydrates', its really informative. Best wishes. I feel great eating this way. When I started I counted carbs on My fitness pal just to get an idea. Now I don't bother.its just the way I eat now. I hope this means that I am a fat burner, not a sugar burner.
Re: Lower carb confusion
30 Jun 2014, 23:24
I am also trying to cut back on carbs a bit in general, but even before I decided that, my fast days have just been really low carb and high protein, so to make it through the day. Today was a fast day and I had about 20g of carbs.

I have a friend who only eats vegetables for carbs. He's lost like 40 pounds in just a few months and has more energy than ever. Like someone said you don't HAVE to have carbs!

Good luck with it!
Re: Lower carb confusion
01 Jul 2014, 01:57
If you are interested in low carb dieting, do yourself a favor and read some books about how to do it, so you don't make the common, unhealthy mistakes. An Amazon search will turn up lots of choices!
Re: Lower carb confusion
01 Jul 2014, 06:21
You don't need carbs which are manufactured. As I have gathered information during the past year, one thing has stayed with me I seem to remember someone saying that if you can grow it or kill it you can eat it. Things which are grown in the ground are usually healthy, protein from fish, meat (yes even red meat) eggs, nuts are all ok.
If you use my fitness pal, then the carbs will be there for you to count and log.
I will have a carb treat at the weekend along with some wine and maybe even a take away.
It takes me several days for my body to switch to fat burning, but when it arrives I like to keep it there,
Re: Lower carb confusion
01 Jul 2014, 07:39
Hi everyone, thankyou for all the information and advice. I'll get on and do some research once I finish work thus morning (yes, that's clients on 2 days in a row :shock: )
Non fast day today, so will be checking out low carb alternatives for camping food :smile:
xxx :heart: xxx
Re: Lower carb confusion
01 Jul 2014, 07:50
Hi, if you ever look at the book sections in charity shops you may come across cheap copies of the New Atkins Diet (2002) which are worth a read. There is also a website which lists the foods that are included at each 'level' of the diet. It's useful to have a rough idea of the range of carbs to be found in types of food, regardless of whether you are "doing Atkins".

Otherwise a good rule of thumb is eat veggies, mainly green, stick to berries for fruit, cut back drastically on starchy foods of all kinds, added sugars, no fruit juice.
Re: Lower carb confusion
01 Jul 2014, 09:06
I thought Atkins had proved itself to be unhealthy in the long run?
I am struggling to get my head around everything :?:
Everywhere I look someone is telling us to eat / don't eat something different.
I think I might just start out by avoiding processed stuff (hidden sugars) where possible and cut out white bread.
I could do with some advice as to whether there's a good low carb bread, even if I have to make it (in bread maker)
Re: Lower carb confusion
01 Jul 2014, 09:54
There was a poster on this forum called @fatdog and she posed a lot of low carb things on the thread 'The low carb vegetarian'.
Many of us also recommend 'The Low-Carb & Gluten free Vegetarian', by Celia Brooks (available on Kindle too) Many of the dishes can be paired up with chicken/fish etc if you're not vegetarian.
Re: Lower carb confusion
01 Jul 2014, 10:14
@Karenm, I'm not an expert on low carb but I just wanted to say that you should do what suits you and what works for you! One thing I do know about carbs is that everyone has different tolerence levels, so what is too much for one person might be fine for another - make the changes you feel are sustainable for you and see if you are losing weight if that's your goal, and then make any adjustments. Also, like a lot of people on here, I have made gradual changes over the year I have been fasting, I think it sort of happens naturally, initially my diet wasn't the best on non-fast days but I've gradually changed that, don't try and do everything at once!

I think avoiding processed foods sounds like a good first step and might actually be all you need to do! Personally I try to avoid refined carbs and get most of my carbs from vegetables, and that works fine for me without having to worry about the amount of carbs I'm eating per day, and it means that I can and do eat whole wheat carbs and potatoes each week and the odd baguette/pasta if I'm out and I want it - I'm lucky as this works for me and feels sustainable.
Re: Lower carb confusion
01 Jul 2014, 10:21
When you find the time I suggest you have a look at FatDog's thread as she has contributed such a lot to low carb vegitarian. But there are heaps of other low carb info about. A simple rule of thumb is just turn the refined usually white carbs such as flour, wheat, sugar, potatoes and rice into treats only.

I have yet to do all the measuring but find if you just cut back and get over the fatigue you will find your energy returns and you become a fat burner. You can get in enough carbs via your veggies. Another rule I find is if you make from scratch you really do know what you are eating. Nicky is right it comes to you over time

Mostly enjoy the journey there is no hurry, as Peebles says there is lots of info out there as well as on the forum and you learn too as time goes along on the IF journey. All the best
Re: Lower carb confusion
01 Jul 2014, 10:48
Karenm wrote: I thought Atkins had proved itself to be unhealthy in the long run?
I am struggling to get my head around everything :?:
Everywhere I look someone is telling us to eat / don't eat something different.
I think I might just start out by avoiding processed stuff (hidden sugars) where possible and cut out white bread.
I could do with some advice as to whether there's a good low carb bread, even if I have to make it (in bread maker)


Have you had a chance to look at the fasting pages on the main site? There is an article on nutrition that may help clarify things: ... hy-eating/ it includes tables of carb content of foods to help with wise choices.

If you aim for around 100g of carbs on a non-fast day you don't have to give up bread and treats completely, just reduce a bit. For example, if you have an open sandwich rather than two slices of bread for your lunchtime sandwiches you will have halved your bread intake! Have two potatoes not four with your dinner (or none) and increase the veg content of your meals. Have cake with coffee or dessert after dinner but not both. These kinds of small changes can be enough to lower your carb intake significantly.

You might also like to read this about low carb and cholesterol: ... -examined/

good luck!
Re: Lower carb confusion
01 Jul 2014, 19:28
Atkins turns out to be perfectly healthy, based on huge long-term comparative studies matching it to other diets like Zone and Ornish (low fat), with the caveat that it is only healthy if you confine your eating of a high fat diet to times when you are keeping your carbs below about 100 g a day.

Where people get into trouble, long-term, is that they learn to eat a high fat/high protein diet but then they let their carb intake climb until they are eating 150 g a day of carbs, but they keep eating that extra load of fat. Fat and carbs are a toxic combo.

So just think of there being a slider between carbs and fat. The more carbs you eat, the less fat you should eat, the less carbs, the more fats are fine. To be really healthy, avoid all trans fats and the vegetable oil fats. Butter is actually a lot healthier than most vegetable oils, though this is not what the public has been taught.

Personally, after many years of watching people attempt to sustain very long term low carb diets at levels low enough to control diabetic blood sugars, I would say that trying to do a vegetarian low carb diet is setting yourself a near impossible task. The people who I've known who succeed at low carb living eat a lot of cheese, meat, fish, and fresh low carb vegetables, with a small amount of berries for fruit.

I would also caution you to be very careful to avoid getting the protein you need from processed soy products, as there is quite a bit of evidence they can both damage your digestive tract causing autoimmune problems and slow the thyroid. Soy can also cause hormonal and mood imbalances. I have experienced that myself and have talked to other people online who had the same problem when they were eating too much soy cereal and soy protein powder.

But as I say, cutting carbs safely and in a way that leads to long term health is a complex topic and one you really need to read up about. There is quite a bit you need to understand to do it properly. I ate a very low carb diet for more than 7 years to control my blood sugar and experienced nothing but positive health outcomes, but I did burn out on the foods that I was limited to eating. Eventually I raised my carb intake a bit to about 120 g a day and cut back on the cheese and fatty meats. That gives me a much wider selection of foods to choose from. But I still eat only what I can eat while keeping my blood sugars in a healthy range.

I don't eat any prepared, processed boxed, canned or frozen foods and I stopped eating trans fat and high fructose corn syrup back in the 1990s when the online diet community first became aware of how dangerous they were.

But I have seen an awful lot of people try to invent their own low carb diets without reading up on the principles of how the diet works, and they often end up going astray. So do read up. The Atkins books are a good starting place, if you can ignore the circus barker tone and the iffy research he cites. You won't go wrong eating the way he describes and there is much better research available now, a decade later which lays out more of the realities of the diet and how well it works.

Personally, I believe its greatest benefit is in how it controls hunger due to fluctuating blood sugars. Many people have abnormally high blood sugars too low to register on doctors' screening tests but high enough to damage their cardiovascular system over time and to make them feel hungry too often.
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