We would like to introduce you to a novel way of eating. We call it the Carbohydrate Concentration (CC) Diet. A high percentage of the millions of people who tried this kind of diet under the title “carbohydrate addict’s diet” found it effective for losing weight. In addition to weight loss, the CC Diet can lead to significant health and healthy-aging benefits for you. A discussion of these benefits for healthy aging as well as how the CC Diet can lead to many of health benefits seen with caloric restriction and intermittent fasting can be found in Jeremy J. Stone’s paper, “Concentrate Your Carbs!”
Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting are the only proven methods for extending lifespan and preserving youthfulness in animal experiments to date. New research has demonstrated that one of the key reasons that caloric restriction works is because of the low levels of insulin in the blood stream that result. By following the Carbohydrate Concentration Diet you will experience low insulin levels for 20 hours each day. You won’t have to give up any type of food that you enjoy eating and will be able to eat normal amounts of food, yet you will still be able to experience many of the benefits of full-blown caloric restriction by having low insulin levels over 80% of the time. These low insulin levels will tend to moderate your appetite and hence lead to lower calorie consumption. The Carbohydrate Concentration Diet is very simple to follow and has only one simple rule: Eat virtually all of your carbohydrates for each day in the course of one meal.
Note that this rule doesn’t say anything about what you can or can’t eat. It also doesn’t say anything about how much you can eat. Rather the emphasis is on the timing of carbohydrate consumption — eating most of your carbohydrates over one relatively short time period of the day. You can eat a wider variety of food with the CC Diet compared to many other diet programs with the only requirement that you eat virtually all of your carbohydrates at one of your daily meals. You will find that this does not require as much discipline as you might expect because the low and steady insulin levels that you will have most of the time will moderate your appetite by unleashing your capacity to burn stored fat. In addition, your daily carbohydrate meal will tend to satiate your desire for carbs so you won’t feel deprived. The CC Diet provides enormous flexibility in the types of foods it allows. You don’t have to avoid fats or carbs or animal products. You can eat these foods — every day if you’d like — but there is a special rule for carbohydrates: you can’t eat them at every meal. Although the CC Diet requires that you concentrate your carbohydrate foods and eat them at one time of the day, it does not have to be the same time every day. It could be at lunch one day and at dinner the next depending on business, personal or social needs. Another advantage of the CC Diet is its lack of rigidity. It is not a diet which requires constant and daily compliance. We are all of us human and we all fall off the dietary wagon from time to time. Obviously the CC Diet will work best the more often it is followed but occasional lapses will not undo its effectiveness. This is in contradistinction to, say, a strict low carbohydrate diet where, if one deviates and eats some carbohydrates, ketosis ends and hunger returns.
All of the calories you eat can be divided into three types: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Technically alcohol is a fourth, separate type of calorie, but for our purposes, since alcoholic beverages share the ability of carbohydrate to block fat burning. We will regard alcohol as a subtype of carbohydrate. Hence, on a CC diet your consumption of alcoholic beverages should be confined to the time period of your main carbohydrate meal — slightly before, slightly after, or during this meal.
Foods that come from animal sources such as meat, poultry and eggs tend to contain relatively small amounts of carbohydrates. Plant-derived foods such as vegetables, fruits and grains, on the other hand, are often rich in carbohydrates. Fruits tend to be high in carbohydrates. Vegetables that grow up above ground such as salad greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale tend to be low in carbohydrates while belowground vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, turnips, and parsnips are often high in carbohydrates. Carbohydrate foods are unique in that they have a tendency to raise blood glucose more quickly than other types of calories. Sustained elevations in the level of glucose in the bloodstream will raise insulin levels which in turn can create a host of problems including weight gain, diabetes, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. When carbohydrates are eaten at multiple occasions during the day, the body experiences multiple elevations in insulin which precludes fat-reduction —the exact opposite of what we are trying to achieve.
We need to consider the three broad categories of carbohydrates (and alcohol):
A recent scientific paper out of Israel by Dr. Sofer and colleagues showed that when most of the carbohydrates for the day are eaten at one meal (dinner), there was greater weight loss as well as other health benefits.[i] This confirms an experiment done twenty years ago by Richard and Rachel Heller, authors of the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet, that showed the frequency with which carbohydrates were consumed during the day was the key. Many people will find it most convenient to have their carbohydrate meal for supper although you are free to switch it around and have your carbohydrate meal for breakfast or lunch. If you have a high carbohydrate breakfast — oatmeal, pancakes, pastries, bagels, fruit, etc. or a high carbohydrate lunch — sandwich with bread, pasta, potatoes, etc. — you will want to have low carbohydrate meals for the other two meals of the day. Carbohydrate Concentration means having the overwhelming majority of your carbs during one meal.
Here is an example of a sample day where breakfast and lunch are low carb and supper is your carbohydrate meal.
2 eggs with breakfast meat or
Protein shake prepared with no-added sugar soy milk or hemp milk
Salad with tuna, salmon, chicken and/or
Vegetable beef/chicken soup (no noodles)
Salad — ad lib
Protein (fish, poultry, meat) — ad lib
Vegetables — ad lib
Carbohydrates and alcohol — ad lib
Weigh yourself every week. Aim to lose one or 2 pounds a week until you reach your goal weight. If you are not losing any weight (or gaining weight) there are several things you can do. Drink one or two glasses of water mixed with psyllium husk (available at health food stores) 15 to 30 minutes before beginning your carbohydrate meal. This will fill your stomach and likely reduce the calories you ingest with that meal. Eating a big low-calorie green salad before a main meal can be similarly helpful. If you’re still not losing weight you mayl need to decrease the amount of carbohydrates you consume and you should consider choosing lower fat cuts of meat and reduced fat dairy products and minimizing use of added oils.
Drafted by Dr. Terry Grossman as a more reader-friendly opening than had previously appeared on the website. This article included editing contributions from Stone and McCarty. For a historical summary of how the effort to advance this diet has proceeded so far, see Recent History of Low-Carb Dieting.
[i] Sofer S et al. Greater Weight loss and hormonal changes after 6 months diet with carbohydrates eaten mostly at dinner. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Apr 7. [Epub ahead of print]