The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet: What Is It?

This diet has been founded by Rachael Heller, MD along with Richard Heller, MD. This diet is based on the premise that some people are biologically addicted to carbs. Learn more to see if this is for you!

You may have already heard of the ketogenic diet, one of the more popular low carb diets that people use in an effort to effectively lose body fat.

Now there is another diet, somewhat similar in nature called The Carbohydrate Addicts Diet.

This diet has been founded by Rachael Heller, MD along with Richard Heller, MD and was first published back in 1993. Based on the premise that some people are actually biologically addicted to carbohydrates, this book held promise for those who seem to never be able to find energy and fight with constant food cravings during the day.

The Hellers stated that there are reasons, which are not yet clearly understood, that these individuals are not able to process food into energy properly and as a result, experience sustained high levels of insulin in the blood.

Because of this increase in insulin level that is kept high all day long, these people experience food cravings on a constant basis and have a very hard time turning away carbohydrate-containing foods.

The authors did state in the book however that this diet is not the diet for everyone to follow, and should be used with those who have this metabolic imbalance, which they predict is about 75% of the adults who are currently overweight.

So What Can You Eat?

On the "Carbohydrate Addicts Diet" you are limited in selection as to what you eat as obviously carbohydrates are going to be restricted.

-> First Two Weeks:

For the first two weeks of the diet you are only supposed to eat three small meals per day, two of which will include a small portion of meat or cheese and then two cups of vegetables along with a third meal which can be anything you desire.

It is recommended that this meal be nutritious however, to ensure you are meeting your daily requirement for the vitamins and minerals. The only restriction on this 'reward' meal, as they call it, is that you are only allowed to be eating within a one hour time span.

-> Foods:

The foods you are never allowed to choose for the prescribed meals or snacks on this diet, however, are the really carbohydrate rich foods such as fruits, fruit juices, breads, pasta, granola bars, cereals or sweets.

The book does give you a very long list of foods that are acceptable however, and strongly urges you to follow these as closely as possible.

The majority of the foods that are accepted will be your lean meats, cheese, oils, fat sources, vegetables, some dairy products and other foods that have a limited number of carbohydrates.

The book recommends that you try and drink as much water as possible and that you should limit yourself to one cup of coffee per day.

-> How It Works:

The authors of the book explain that this diet works because there will be less insulin present in the system, which means less fat is stored. Additionally, the brain is better able to regulate the appetite and will feel more satiated because of the decreased insulin level in the body.

They also feel that the 'reward' meal will work because it controls the time duration it is extended over, which will also control the amount of insulin that is released into the body. They explain that the insulin release will occur after about one and a half hours post-meal and by then, since you are no longer allowed to eat, you will not be able to binge on more carbohydrate rich food.

So What Does All This Mean For You?

Basically, this diet is a low carbohydrate diet with a daily cheat meal. Plain and simple. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who is looking to work out intensely unless you make a few changes to the protocol and ensure you are timing your reward meal properly.

The good thing about this reward meal is that since it is only an hour long, you won't be binging all day. However, there are a vast number of individuals who could very easily consume thousands of calories in that hour thus setting themselves up for weight gain rather than weight loss.

Furthermore, if they are eating non-healthy foods as part of this reward meal and then not taking in many nutrient rich fruits and vegetables (trying to maintain low carbohydrate levels the rest of the day), they will be deficient in vitamin status.

Furthermore, if you are working out intensely, you need to be consuming a pre and post workout meal. Considering you only get three meals per day on this diet, one of which consists of carbs, that doesn't leave you with much else to work with.

Most people will do best on a diet that includes carbohydrates pre and post workout, particularly if they are looking to gain lean muscle mass.

If you put your reward meal right around the workout you can improve the situation slightly, but then the reward meal may lose it's 'reward' properties because you will need to be again selective what you eat here (since you should be following a proper pre/post workout protocol).

This diet makes no reference as to specific amounts of protein or fat grams an individual should be taking in, nor does it take into account that larger individuals will need more calories and protein than smaller individuals. A 250 pound male is likely not going to be getting the nutrition he needs from 2 small serving sizes of meat coupled with whatever you eat at the reward meal - unless again, more planning is put into place.

So overall, this diet needs vast improvements for the athletic individual. The principle it follows in terms of controlling insulin and the belief that high blood sugar levels will encourage you to want to eat more carbohydrates is definitely sound, however there are simply not enough measures in place to make this diet specific to someone who has detailed fitness goals.

Overall Diet Rating: 1/5