The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet: Gimmick, Fad, or Metabolic Adjuster?
How the Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet was discovered, formed, refined, studied, and demonstrated to work with those who are Insulin Resistant
Many of us are overweight and are looking for ways to improve our health and lose weight. We have dieted in the past, only to find it a struggle the entire time: hungry, cranky, elated with the weight loss but eventually giving up only to gain all the weight back and usually even more than when we started. For some of us it has been a life long cycle of exactly this. Diet, become miserable, give up, end up worse off then having not even dieted at all.
It was due to their own similar weight loss struggles that eventually led Dr. Rachael Heller and Dr. Richard Heller to further their research. They wanted to find out how the weight Rachael lost that she accidentally stumbled upon worked. They later went on to study and refine that way of eating for consistent results with others who have similar metabolisms.
Dr. Rachael Heller had been overweight her entire life. She discovered one day when she had to fast for an X-ray that she lost 2 pounds, even though she ended up eating a rather large dinner that night. She was surprised by that and decided to continue eating the same way for the next week to see what happened. She basically fasted all day, then ate what she wanted during dinner. She realized she felt fine all day with limited hunger, good energy levels, and could still eat the foods she really liked for dinner and not suffer for it like she had following traditional low fat and low calorie diets. She continued this way of eating and ultimately lost 150 pounds!
Her husband had also struggled with his weight over the years and started keeping track of foods that seemed to satisfy him and others that seemed to trigger hunger. When they finally met later in life they decided to research their combined experiences to see how and why they had finally been able to find a way of eating that did everything we all dream about when dieting: satisfies hunger, gives you energy, allows you to still eat and lose weight, allows you to eat everyday regular comfort foods and still lose weight, is simple (no weighing, no counting calories, etc).
They went on to study why eating, and especially eating certain foods seemed to trigger more hunger and weight gain in certain people. The main culprit is how the body reacts to the hormone insulin. They found that with people who were Insulin Resistant (IR), they seemed to be hungry all the time, and all had especially strong reactions to carb rich foods. Hence dubbing this way of eating The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet. They studied certain common symptoms found in people with insulin resistance and came up with a test that reader’s of their books can take to see if they have it without having to take blood tests with their doctor.
They used already known research and knowledge about insulin resistance and metabolic factors and studied how eating certain ways seemed to limit the release of insulin and this is the key to their diet. It was found that it is not necessary to fast all day like Rachael had done. You also do not have to cut out carbohydrates altogether either. You could eat foods that did not stimulate large amounts of insulin release and still lose weight. Not having large amounts of insulin floating around the blood stream has other added benefits besides weight loss: less hunger, less cravings, less drowsiness.
These are the keys to the success of this diet. You feel good. You have energy. You are not mindlessly hungry and craving certain foods and constantly wanting to eat. You can still eat wholesome foods, and once a day you can have an actual real meal for dinner (or your favorite time of day to consume carbohydrate rich foods) complete with any of your favorite foods and still lose weight. You don’t have to count calories, count fat grams, weigh things, buy special diet food or products, etc. It is an actual way of eating that is simple, easy to follow, healthy, nutritious, satisfying, and most of all actually works for up to 80% of people who have Carbohydrate Addiction. It is an actual way of life.
80% success you ask? Yes. They studied 1000 people and followed them for 2 years and found they had an 80% success rate. They fine tuned the diet and continued to study it more over the years and have found over time things that seemed to contribute to failure in certain people and have gone on to publish more books and diets specific to this. Some people eat too much during their Reward Meal time- hence the CALP book’s recommendations of an actual spelled out balanced meal: Start with a 2 Cup salad, look at your dinner plate and divide it into thirds: 1/3 protein, 1/3 more of vegetables, and 1/3 of a carb of your choice. They also found in certain people MSG, sugar free products, and caffeine can be triggers to release insulin. Watch for these symptoms of cravings, increased hunger, weight gain or stalled loss to be your guide that something you ingested during the low carb meals or snack is the culprit. Some people snack throughout the day, others do not mind to the one hour limit when eating. These are things that contribute to additional insulin in the blood stream. More insulin equals more hunger and weight gain.
A similar diet was set up and studied in Israel and was found to have similar results to the Heller’s Carbohydrate Addict’s diet. You can read more details about that study here:
Saving Carbs for Dinnertime Might Help Control Weight
Saving Carbs for Dinnertime Might Help Control Weight - healthfinder.gov
The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet (CAD), and the Carbohydrate Addict’s Life Span Program (CALP) work differently than other low carb diets. You only have to follow a few simple guidelines. You do not have to keep track of carbohydrate intake for the most part. There is no induction phase, nor do you go into ketosis. On those types of diets you are given a daily allotment of carbs you can ingest. You get to choose when you want to eat them. You can eat all sorts of low carb products, and you can graze and eat all day as long as you stay within your carb allotments.
The CAD/CALP diets differ in that the food you eat, how frequently you eat, and the length of time you eat has everything to do with the Insulin Resistant metabolism. The more carbohydrate rich the foods, as well as the frequency in which one eats causes more release of insulin. In those with IR, you want to use your metabolism to your benefit. You want to manipulate it to suit you. Hence, you eat as low carb as possible, and no more than 2-3 times a day for these low carb meals. You can still eat plenty of vegetables during the low carb meals for the added nutrients of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It has been found that you can still eat carb-rich foods in a balanced amount with the rest of a meal one time a day and still lose weight. However, you need to eat within an hour.
There are several reasons, the main being how your body releases insulin. Any time you eat, your body releases insulin in different phases. At the start of eating your body will begin to release insulin based of off previous meal intake. If previous meals were low carb, then it will release less insulin since it was primed to do so. The next phase is off of currently ingested food. If you are eating longer than an hour your body will continue to release more insulin into the blood stream. Limiting your carb-rich meal to one hour will not only cut back on the amount of food you might eat, but also uses these insulin mechanisms to your benefit.
With other low carb diets, you may be consuming less carbs in total over the day, but still having insulin in the blood stream far more regularly than if you limited meals to a total of 3-4 times a day and ideally spaced 3-6 hours apart. Not to mention with other low carb diets you can actually eat quite a lot of carbs at meals and still be considered “low carb.” Think of the CAD/CALP way of eating as “extreme low-carb” all day and then “regular carb” at your carb rich meal.
This may be why depending on a particular person’s metabolism one way of eating may work and another may not. One should find a way of eating that can be a lifestyle and not a short term solution. If you find that your particular way of eating is not satisfying, that you are always hungry, and that you think you have avoid certain foods or food groups in order to lose weight and that is not something you can conceive of doing the rest of your life, then you may want to consider trying CAD/CALP yourself to see if it works for your particular metabolism.
The diet in a nutshell with meal planning examples:
A low carb breakfast such as eggs and bacon, an omelet with spinach and cheese, cream cheese and lunch meat lettuce wraps.
For lunch, a large salad with your favorite salad dressing (should be 2gm of carbs per serving or less), and your choice of diced chicken, a hamburger pattie, deli meats, etc.
For an optional snack if needed: pepperoni and cheese sticks, a cabbage roll, a boiled egg, etc.
For dinner: Start with a large salad. Divide your plate into thirds and have 1/3 protein of your choice, 1/3 of another vegetable of your choice, and 1/3 of a carb of your choice (alcoholic beverage, fruit, rice, beans, ice cream, cake, bread, etc). You do not have to weigh or count calories. Just eyeball it and keep to the thirds balance. If you want seconds go back for a second serving of each in the same 1/3 portions and not for just more carbs to keep it all balanced. Consume it all within an hour. The original CAD diet was more vague about keeping the meal balanced and a lot of people interpreted that diet as a one hour carb binge. However some people can still eat a lot more carbs during this meal and lose weight. If you are not losing weight you may want to follow the balanced plan as outlined in the CALP book for better results.
You may also drink water and unsweetened coffee or tea as often as you wish. If you want cream in your coffee, you can do so once a day and should drink it within 15 minutes. Do not drink sugar free sodas or diet drinks outside of your carb meal. Even sugar free sweeteners have been found to cause the body to release insulin.
Read the books for the exact details of their diet plans and for more information on the list of acceptable foods such as proteins, vegetables, and condiments that have been studied and considered acceptable during the low carb meals for the best success.
Make It Work