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Carbohydrate Diet and Your Health

Dear Dr. Dave & Dr. Dee,

I would like to receive a copy of the Carbohydrate Diet. Could you please send me a copy of this or tell me how to access a copy? What are carbohydrates anyway?



Dear Wondering,

There are several types of carbohydrate diets. The Atkins and South Beach diets restrict the type and/or number of grams of carbohydrates consumed in the various phases or weeks of the diet in order to lose weight.

On the Atkins diet, only 20 grams of healthy carbohydrates are consumed in the first phase, gradually increasing the grams as weight is stabilized (Atkins, 2009).

The South Beach diet restricts the type of carbohydrates consumed but not the amount (South Beach Diet, 2009).

At the other extreme is a short-term carbohydrate-loading diet to increase an athlete�s performance endurance (PCC Market, 2008).


Carbohydrates can be found in thousands of foods. Two main types of carbohydrates are sugars (simple) and starches (complex). The simple carbohydrates tend to be digested by the body quickly, whereas the complex carbohydrates take longer. Simple carbohydrates are the sugary items like cookies, candy, and soft drinks, as well as fruits. Complex carbohydrates are foods such breads, rice, pasta, and vegetables.

However, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, the best way to categorize carbohydrates is by its Glycemic Index (GI) where carbohydrates are classified according to how quickly and high a food boosts blood sugar. For example, a food that causes a rapid spike in blood sugar would have a high GI score of 70+, whereas a food that causes a slow change in blood sugar would have a low GI score of 55 and below.

Examples of foods with high GI are doughnuts, potatoes, bananas and rice; foods with low GI are whole grains, milk, yogurt, beans, pasta, and many fruits. There are increased health risks associated with a diet composed of foods with high GI such as diabetes, heart disease, overweight, and colorectal cancer. On the other hand, a diet composed of foods with low GI can help weight loss, reduce cholesterol, reduce heart disease, and control diabetes (Harvard School of Public Health, 2009;, 2009).

The University of Sydney maintains an online GI database where the GI score for thousands of foods can be found ( recommends simply swapping high GI foods for low GI ones by doing the following:


1. Use breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran

2. Use breads with whole grains, stone-ground flour, sour dough

3. Reduce the amount of potatoes you eat

4. Enjoy all other types of fruit and vegetables

5. Use Basmati or Doongara rice

6. Enjoy pasta, noodles, quinoa

7. Eat plenty of salad vegetables with vinaigrette dressing

To search for the GI for a food or food group, go to

The best way to lose weight is a healthy lifestyle, exercise, low fat foods, watch calorie intake, and drink plenty of water. Always see a physician before starting any diet.

For more information about carbohydrate diets go to:

Atkins Low Carbohydrate Diet at

South Beach Diet at

Carbohydrate Loading Diet at