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Friday, June 23, 2006

Low Carb Diet Plan - History and Background

I'll bet you didn't know that the low carb diet has actually
been around for over 100 years!

Read below to find out how low carb diets really got started
and see just how effective they can be.

Low Carb Diet Plan - History and Background

The terminology "low-carb" wasn’t really coined until
around 1992 when the USDA announced America’s
model food pyramid included six to eleven servings daily
of grains and starches. However, low-carb dieting dates
back more than 100 years before the trendy Atkins diet
to 1864 with a pamphlet titled Letter on Corpulence
written by William Banting, as close to the first commercial
low-carb diet as you could get.

Banting had suffered a series of debilitating health
problems due mainly to being overweight or “corpulent”.
He searched in vain for cures to his weight problem,
which many doctors at that time believed to be a
necessary side effect of old age. He also tried eating less
but he continued to gain weight and have various health
problems. He could not understand how the small
amounts of food he was eating led to his weight problem:

"Few men have led a more active life - bodily or mentally -
from a constitutional anxiety for regularity, precision, and
order, during fifty years' business career, from which I
had retired, so that my corpulence and subsequent
obesity were not through neglect of necessary bodily
activity, nor from excessive eating, drinking, or self
indulgence of any kind, except that I partook of the
simple aliments of bread, milk, butter, beer, sugar,
and potatoes more freely than my age required…"

Many contemporary Americans on the go may recognize
Banting’s previous unhealthy daily diet:

"My former dietary table was bread and milk for breakfast,
or a pint of tea with plenty of milk, sugar, and buttered
toast; meat, beer, much bread (of which I was always very
fond) and pastry for dinner, the meal of tea similar to that
of breakfast, and generally a fruit tart or bread and milk
for supper. I had little comfort and far less sound sleep."

Just substitute a Pop tart, doughnut or muffin with coffee
and plenty of cream and sugar for breakfast, a fast food
burger and fries with a supersized soft drink for lunch
and a frozen pot pie or pizza for dinner followed by dessert
and you can see how Banting’s diet was so much like the
typical fast-paced modern day Americans.

When his physician placed these items on a
"forbidden foods list," Banting lost 50 pounds and
13 inches in one year! He kept it off, living a long and
much healthier life.

His new diet plan consisted of a number of meat dishes
and he listed it as follows:

"For breakfast, at 9.00 A.M., I take five to six ounces of
either beef mutton, kidneys, broiled fish, bacon, or cold
meat of any kind except pork or veal; a large cup of tea
or coffee (without milk or sugar), a little biscuit, or one
ounce of dry toast; making together six ounces solid,
nine liquid.

For dinner, at 2.00 P.M., Five or six ounces of any fish
except salmon, herrings, or eels, any meat except pork
or veal, any vegetable except potato, parsnip, beetroot,
turnip, or carrot, one ounce of dry toast, fruit out of a
pudding not sweetened, any kind of poultry or game,
and two or three glasses of good claret, sherry, or
Madeira- Champagne, port, and beer forbidden; making
together ten to twelve ounces solid, and ten liquid.

For tea, at 6.00 P.M., Two or three ounces of cooked
fruit, a rusk or two, and a cup of tea without milk or
sugar; making two to four ounces solid, nine liquid.

For supper, at 9.00 P.M. Three or four ounces of meat
or fish, similar to dinner, with a glass or two of claret or
sherry and water; making four ounces solid and seven

For nightcap, if required, a tumbler of grog (gin, whisky,
or brandy, without sugar)-or a glass or two of claret or

So great were the changes in his appearance and health
that his friends and acquaintances began to notice and
just like today wanted to know what diet he was on.
Most important of all Banting could feel and see a
difference himself.

"I am told by all who know me that my personal
appearance greatly improved, and that I seem to bear
the stamp of good health; this may be a matter of opinion
or friendly remark, but I can honestly assert that I feel
restored in health, 'bodily and mentally,' appear to have
more muscular power and vigour, eat and drink with a
good appetite, and sleep well. All symptoms of acidity,
indigestion, and heartburn (with which I was frequently
tormented) have vanished. I have left off using boot-hooks,
and other such aids, which were indispensable, but being
now able to stoop with ease and freedom, are unnecessary.

I have lost the feeling of occasional faintness, and what I
think a remarkable blessing and comfort is, that I have
been able safely to leave off knee-bandages, which
I had worn necessarily for many years, and given
up the umbilical truss."

His how-to dieting book became very popular and was
translated into multiple languages. However, over time it
was abandoned.

Banting noted in Letter on Corpulence that a common
health paradox of our time did not exist in his. This was
the paradox of obesity, widely believed to be a problem
of excess, among the poor. The poor of the 19th century
could not afford the refined sugary foods that cause
weight gain. But poor people of the 21st century sure can

In a recent Associated Press article titled, "Health Paradox:
Obesity Attacks Poor", the reporter noted that many poor
families are stretching their food dollars by purchasing
unhealthy processed and refined foods. Of one family
Barbassa wrote,

"During winter, jobs are scarce, so Caballero feeds her
husband and three children the cheapest food she can get:
potatoes, bread, tortillas… As processed foods rich in
sugar and fat have become cheaper than fruits and
vegetables, the poor in particular are paying a high price
with obesity rates shooting up, followed by diabetes."

Unfortunately for the Caballero family, these cheap staples
are bad for their health. Fresh meat, low-starch fruits and
vegetables may be more expensive and have a shorter
shelf life, but they are definitely worth the price in saved
medical expenses and better health.

Throughout the years, as "calories" became known,
variations of counting them were included in dietary
solutions. And a variety of other issues were explored
like how many of which foods should be eaten and how

While Banting’s diet eventually fell out of favor, low-carb
diets did begin appearing again in the 20th century. The
most famous of these are the Atkins and Scarsdale diets
that came to popularity in the 1970s. While Scarsdale has
a set 14 day meal plan that must be followed and greatly
restricts calories, the Atkins diet allowed for unlimited
calorie consumption as long as those calories were from
protein, fat and vegetables and carbs intake was kept low.

Atkins and Scarsdale fell out of favor in the 1980’s as
the U. S. Department of Agriculture encouraged the
consumption of grains and grain products with the USDA
food pyramid.

It was only in the 1990’s that we began to see a return
to low-carb dieting that seems to be more than a fad. It’s
a lifestyle! As more and more people realize the weight
loss and other health benefits that are available to people
who eat low-carb, the number of diets and stores that sell
specialty low-carb products continue to rise.

In a nutshell, most low-carb diets carry the same basic
premise: that too much of simple, refined carbohydrates
leads to over overproduction of insulin, which leads to the
storage of too much fat in the body. This fat storage is
especially prominent around the middle.

While there are degrees of difference among the many
diets, they all agree on the negative effects that excess
insulin production have on our systems.

As you can see from Banting's own experiences - being able
to discard the knee wraps and truss - losing the weight through
a low carb diet is truly beneficial.

low carb diet plan


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