Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Purple Carb Diet: How Low Do You Go?

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If you are thinking ‘I am a mother of three and not a goddess with endless legs’, then you might be toying with the idea of low carbs diet.  Or perhaps you are a 20 something career woman needing to shed a few for a glamorous party.  You want that quick fix and you want it now.

Either way you’ve asked me to review the dispute between low carb diets and low fat diets.

The verdict?

The truth is it’s complicated.  I’ve reviewed the literature and it doesn’t matter if you decide Atkins (low carb) or just a low fat diet.  Stick to any diet and you will have guaranteed results. 

The gripe? 

Well you may relish the rapid weight loss you experience initially from a low carb diet, but compared to your tough grind, the low fat diet group will sail straight through to the end with similar weight loss results. 

If I have to eat fatty meats and give up my one love; chocolate, then I need to know that it’s worth it.  I definitely will be gutted if my fellow dieter managed to eat cubes of chocolate daily and still managed to reach his/her weight loss goals.  And on a more pleasurable diet too!

What will your Dr say?

From a medical perspective, weight loss of any kind will certainly have a beneficial effect on your cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose profile.

However, the long term benefits on a low carb diet have not been assessed.  This is not surprising if you consider how demanding and challenging it is to maintain low carb meals repeatedly through-out the day.  The risks of eating large amounts of fat and protein over a long period of time are not known and may be associated with health risks.

So final word, forget the low carb diet.  Losing weight is the easy bit, but how do you plan to maintain your fabulous new shape?

The purple carb diet

Keep reading if you want suggestions on how to lose weight and to lose weight fast.  But when I say fast, I still mean months depending on how much you want to lose.  It’s safe and realistic and the ideal plan if you are asking yourself ‘how do I lose weight’ the healthy way.

Finally the diet that you’ve all been waiting for!

Refer to my article Purple Detox How To Do It Safe Way as it has excellent suggestions for breakfast which are delicious and contain the right type of carbs.

The right carbs, what are they?

You may know what carbs are and restrict this quite successfully, but do you know what the different types of carbohydrates are?

Carbs with a high glycaemic index (GI) are foods like sugar, sweets, cornflakes, dates, syrups, pretzels, rice cakes, instant white rice, mashed potato and so on.

Low to medium GI carbs on the other hand are foods such as basmati rice, brown rice, wheat pasta, new potatoes, milk chocolate, most fruit, legumes and dairy such as yoghurt, milk and sweetened custard.

You may be surprised to see high fat foods on the low GI list, but that’s because carbs combined with fats in a food take much longer to digest.  Hence eating low GI foods ensures a slower release of sugar from the digested carb into your blood stream. 

High GI carbs on the other hand are usually ‘highly processed carbs’.  Your body requires little work to break this down and it’s very quickly released into your blood stream for that instant peak in blood sugar levels.   This is why a glass of fizzy drink is an excellent solution for a diabetic child who suddenly experiences a very low blood sugar level or a hypoglycaemic episode.  

Select from vegetables, salads, small portion of meat or fish and combine with complex or low GI carbs.  Don’t forget that wholegrain breads have a lower GI in comparison to highly processed white breads.

Ensure that these are also from the low GI group, but don’t fall into the trap of choosing high fat foods, simply because they are a indexed as a low GI food.  Remember, the ultimate goal is calorie restriction if you want to lose weight.  Or simply spice up your weight loss plan by burning off any extra snacks with exercise.

Evening meal
If I have played sport or have completed a run, I will include low GI carbs as part of my evening meal.  Stick to a small portion but fill your plate up with veg.

On the nights that I don’t plan to exercise, I may choose to skip the carbs in my evening meal and trade it for low GI desserts such as fruit salads for my daily dose of vitamins & minerals.  This is the ultimate compromise when juggling desires for healthy dewy skin and the need to satisfy a sweet tooth!  Alternatively, low fat yoghurts or custards make excellent desserts mid week too. 

So there you have it, my purple carb diet.  I hope you’ll find this useful and I wish you success with your weight loss plan.

For an example of a low carb dinner plan, why don’t you try preparing my Thai Salmon & Pepper Meal? 

Thai Salmon & Pepper

It’s dead easy!  Heat a sauce pan, throw in the salmon fillets with crushed garlic, Waitrose Cooks Ingredients Thai Mix (blend of lemongrass, coriander, ginger, garlic and chilli), fresh chives and yellow and green bell peppers sliced.  Add mushrooms, dash of fish sauce and finally season with salt & pepper to taste.  Finish your meal with yoghurt or fruit salad and a refreshing cup of tea.  You will not need any oils for this recipe.

For more delicious ways to eat fish, try Melissa's Mack Daddy for a yummy mackerel twist.

Enjoy and don’t forget to let me know how you get on.

Please comment below, I really love and read all of your comments!


  1. A really good and comprehensive breakdown! I hate diet eating as my brain thinks I can't eat anything, but it's def all about knowledge. I'm watching this space for more useful info! xx

  2. Thank you Melissa! I forgot to also add in the article that for those who eat large portions of high GI carbs for dinner, a combination of changing to low GI carbs and a reduction in the portion sizes may be all that is necessary to facilitate the weight loss process. Please let us know of any new recipes that you develop x