6

votes

What % of people lose weight easily when they reduce carbs?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 14, 2011 at 5:17 PM

We've all read stories about Mr. or Ms. Overweight who discover Paleo/Primal, ditch the grains, reduce the carbs, and the weigh just drops off. And then there are people who do the same and for all sorts of reasons, the weigh doesn't come off so easily.

I'd like to hear from those who have a lot of experience working with others, what percentage of people fall into the first group and what into the second (and of course, it isn't two groups, it's a spectrum).

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 15, 2011
at 10:00 PM

Indeed. But just so you know there's a 33-year old out there (is that how old I say I am in my profile?) who went low-carb (50 or below) for a year and a half but then switched to a low-moderate carb starchy paleo (75-150g, probably an average of around 100g). But before I finally made the switch back to more starch I felt just as you did: every time I tried to eat more than 50g I felt icky.

698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on September 15, 2011
at 06:21 PM

I agree that the best bet is to eat the way you plan to over your lifetime to sustain your accomplishment but I also think this leads to a lot of people compromising on their food choices and eventually gaining. LC for a lot of people sustains weight loss if you can up the diet, if you use LC as a means to an end then dont bother. If it works for you whereas your normal diet didnt before then you have found your cure and going back to even a hybrid approach wont have long term success.

1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on September 15, 2011
at 05:19 PM

YOURE AWESOME!!!!

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 15, 2011
at 03:36 PM

Thank you, Rose.<3

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 15, 2011
at 05:34 AM

As usual, your comments are insightful and enlightening. Thanks, mem, and thanks for the work you do with these folks, too. We're facing a real tidal wave of disease and misery; we've got to get smart soon.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 14, 2011
at 11:00 PM

Congratulations! It's o.k. to still have a little ways to go. You stuck with it and you keep heading in the right direction. 9 years?! You have slayed the dragon! Good job.

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on September 14, 2011
at 10:38 PM

Oh, and the word meaning "you are" is spelled "you're" with an apostrophe.

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on September 14, 2011
at 10:34 PM

Thank you, Rose. Yes, Cliff, I disagree with you on almost everything you write. Maybe I should start voting down all your answers involving your personal situation.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 14, 2011
at 08:48 PM

Voting back up. Not to accelerate the carb wars, lol, but because Mr. T. is describing me, and lots of people like me. Yours is but one experience type of many, Cliff. How about posting your own experience as an answer, instead of downvoting someone else's true story?

6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on September 14, 2011
at 08:39 PM

Thank you. I still have a little ways to go. :)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 14, 2011
at 08:24 PM

Voting back up. Not to accelerate the carb wars, lol, but because Mr. T. is describing me, and lots of people like me. Yours is but one experience type of many, Cliff.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 14, 2011
at 08:11 PM

I eat relatively low fat and have no problems with hunger, if your always hungry despite calorie intake I think it comes down to a lot more than eating some carbs.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 14, 2011
at 07:50 PM

Wow; except for the "lean, active male" (and young) part, I could have written this. And I'd have to switch your 50g and 10g of carbs to 20g and 2g, but I have little doubt anymore that that's a function of me being a middle-aged female who came to this woe rather late. Maybe I wouldn't have to be ZC/XLC if I'd started when I was 20, lol. Anyway, nice clear explanation of your experience; thanks for sharing it.

6498694060d879a7960b35913539b75f

(1307)

on September 14, 2011
at 06:46 PM

Congratulations on the weight loss, vdh. 100 pounds is an amazing accomplishment!

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on September 14, 2011
at 05:39 PM

most overfat men lose on reduced carbs, it seems

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10 Answers

8
Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 15, 2011
at 05:19 AM

First of all, there may just be one thing that we can all agree on, and that is that males, on virtually any diet, lose more and faster than females.

I have worked with alot of people, primarily women, on low carb eating.

I have actually never found anyone who doesn't lose as long as they follow the diet strictly and really get into ketosis. To my knowledge, I have never worked with anyone on low carbing who has a serious eating disorder. I have worked with many people who will not or cannot tolerate "such a restricted diet," or cannot follow the diet due to feelings of deprivation of a food they consider absolutely essential to life, ie., often: pasta or bread.

And then there is the medication issue...

One situation that will thwart weight loss, that Atkins talked about even in his first book in the 70's is certain types of medications.(I feel this is not emphasized enough in ancestral eating circles - just the basic info that some meds are real show stoppers.) Some of the very notables for women are: oral contraceptive pills, (and I would add to that other types of horomonal birth control) hormone replacement, with the exception sometimes being bioidenticals, and certain types of oral antidiabetic meds, though not metformin. Insulin qualifies as a problem as well, though with newer types of insulin which are slow release and some human forms, as well as dosing which is not so much of an overwhelming "blast" this can be somewhat ameliorated, but is still a big slower, if not stopper, in my eperience with many.

The oral antidibetics would also apply to men as would insulin. And then there are other classes of drugs, which are problematic such as the vast majority of neuroleptics, virtually all the SSRI antidepressants and tricyclics and and the drug class which are antiseizure meds as well as mood stabilizers - with a couple of notable exceptions, one of which is actually weight loss inducing.

And there are others, but these are very common ones.

This is not an absolute, but these drugs, in my eperience with women primarily will in many cases nearly 100% block weight loss and in others make it very, very, very slow and minimal.

I am also working at this time with a number of overweight/obese/morbidly obese women who also have one or more or multiple medical conditions. All of them are doing varying degrees of circuit style strength/resistance training and some are doing str/resistance in circuit x15min alternating with aerobics (dancercise) x15min two days a week, and then regular circuit 1 day/wk. A number of these women are on meds that contribute to very stubborn weight loss. Inspite of minimal to no weight loss for some of them, they are getting great results with health parameters (BP, pulse, labs, less need for diabetic meds, reduced BP meds etc) and a few, while losing next to no weight are having very remarkable visceral fat loss and inches loss. Of maybe 10 women, the vast majority are 45 or over, with some in their 60's or pushing 70, and maybe 3 younger women.

A very cool thing for me is seeing how focussed some of these women are on the real deal - their health status. Yes, they'd like to lose weight and in some cases, a bunch of weight. But they are getting feedback at medical appoinments that what they are doing is working on some very important health parameters for them. And, some are fitting clothing they haven't in a long time, inspite of no weight loss per scales. I should hasten to say, though, that none of these women are anything close to what I would deem to be strict low carb. They just are not going to totally (maybe 60/40!) give up the bread, fried chicken and at least occasional sweet tea.

Guys, as a general statement are such a total cakewalk...as long as there is good adhereance to the diet.

And young people, the same, with the same adherance and medication caveats.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 15, 2011
at 03:36 PM

Thank you, Rose.<3

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 15, 2011
at 05:34 AM

As usual, your comments are insightful and enlightening. Thanks, mem, and thanks for the work you do with these folks, too. We're facing a real tidal wave of disease and misery; we've got to get smart soon.

7
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on September 14, 2011
at 06:54 PM

I can't speak for the efficacy of paleo or paleo low carb specifically, but when I went low carb it made a huge difference to my hunger and weight loss. Before, I wasn't fat, but would constantly be thinking about the next meal, and constantly eating the lowest calorie food I could find (raw cabbage, lightly steamed carrots, tomato soup (that was basically just tomato) in order to stay full yet not lose weight and did a lot of cardio. After going low carb- eating a lot of mature cheddar- I instantly had not merely no appetite, but a definite feeling of not needing to eat anything (intuitively began not eating until midday, despite not having read about IFing and so on). I lost a lot of weight without noticing, because I simply didn't feel hungry (though eventually I had a few symptoms of undereating- i.e. cold, distracted etc., due to not feeling hungry). I discovered paleo shortly after that, but there wasn't much alteration required in my diet, and I didn't notice much difference either way.

In my experience genuinely low carb is necessary to get the noticeable effects. Above 50g or so of carbohydrate and so into moderate carb territory, I just begin to feel hungry constantly again. There's worlds of difference between 60g carb and 10g carb, but I've not compared 60 to, for example, 500g. To be honest, so far as my experience goes, moderate carb paleo feels much the same as high carb non-paleo; in fact, I prefer plain wheatgerm to potatoes (but who's to say which is better for me).

Also this applies to me as a pretty lean, active male in my early-mid twenties. If I'm sufficiently 'metabolically damaged' to benefit from low carb, then I suspect a lot of people are (although tbf, maybe I damaged myself with all the fructose from vegetables, calorie restriction and PUFA from seeds of previous years).

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 14, 2011
at 07:50 PM

Wow; except for the "lean, active male" (and young) part, I could have written this. And I'd have to switch your 50g and 10g of carbs to 20g and 2g, but I have little doubt anymore that that's a function of me being a middle-aged female who came to this woe rather late. Maybe I wouldn't have to be ZC/XLC if I'd started when I was 20, lol. Anyway, nice clear explanation of your experience; thanks for sharing it.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on September 15, 2011
at 10:00 PM

Indeed. But just so you know there's a 33-year old out there (is that how old I say I am in my profile?) who went low-carb (50 or below) for a year and a half but then switched to a low-moderate carb starchy paleo (75-150g, probably an average of around 100g). But before I finally made the switch back to more starch I felt just as you did: every time I tried to eat more than 50g I felt icky.

3
485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

on September 14, 2011
at 08:00 PM

I was obese and lost weight easily on low carb. You can show graphs of equivalent result of low fat and low carb, but I don't see how weight can be maintained over a long period of time on low fat, given that you will be hungry and need to eat frequently. The reason low carb untimately fails is that most obese people are addicted to carbs, so the rate of caving in to temptation is high. Even if you are not hungry, carbs are everywhere and it's easy to fall off the wagon. OTOH adding carbs back in gradually to thwart binging will often result in halting of weight loss. It's a catch-22.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 14, 2011
at 08:11 PM

I eat relatively low fat and have no problems with hunger, if your always hungry despite calorie intake I think it comes down to a lot more than eating some carbs.

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on September 14, 2011
at 10:34 PM

Thank you, Rose. Yes, Cliff, I disagree with you on almost everything you write. Maybe I should start voting down all your answers involving your personal situation.

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on September 14, 2011
at 10:38 PM

Oh, and the word meaning "you are" is spelled "you're" with an apostrophe.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 14, 2011
at 08:48 PM

Voting back up. Not to accelerate the carb wars, lol, but because Mr. T. is describing me, and lots of people like me. Yours is but one experience type of many, Cliff. How about posting your own experience as an answer, instead of downvoting someone else's true story?

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 14, 2011
at 08:24 PM

Voting back up. Not to accelerate the carb wars, lol, but because Mr. T. is describing me, and lots of people like me. Yours is but one experience type of many, Cliff.

3
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 14, 2011
at 06:54 PM

Check out the graph on this page. Either a LF or LC works "easily" early on the diet. The problem occurs over the longer term (typically when compliance becomes an issue and/or reduced weight changes results in slower weight loss). Best bet is to lose weight the way you plan on eating over your lifetime whatever that is.

698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on September 15, 2011
at 06:21 PM

I agree that the best bet is to eat the way you plan to over your lifetime to sustain your accomplishment but I also think this leads to a lot of people compromising on their food choices and eventually gaining. LC for a lot of people sustains weight loss if you can up the diet, if you use LC as a means to an end then dont bother. If it works for you whereas your normal diet didnt before then you have found your cure and going back to even a hybrid approach wont have long term success.

3
6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on September 14, 2011
at 06:17 PM

Reduction of carbs worked fantastically for me at first. I have to eat VLC to maintain or lose. Now my weight loss is MUCH slower, but I had to turn to IF and fat fasting to get the scales to start moving again. I suspect my asshat metabolism has adapted and I need to start doing some carb cycling by having a carb day once a week or so. I feel much better though eating low carb.

I have lost over 100lbs over about the past 9 yrs or so doing low carb at first and then going paleo almost 2 yrs ago or so. I have to be hyperviligant of my weight or it creeps back on.

6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on September 14, 2011
at 08:39 PM

Thank you. I still have a little ways to go. :)

6498694060d879a7960b35913539b75f

(1307)

on September 14, 2011
at 06:46 PM

Congratulations on the weight loss, vdh. 100 pounds is an amazing accomplishment!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 14, 2011
at 11:00 PM

Congratulations! It's o.k. to still have a little ways to go. You stuck with it and you keep heading in the right direction. 9 years?! You have slayed the dragon! Good job.

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 15, 2011
at 07:41 AM

OK, I see lots of people here claim about big weight loss in the begging and then it goes slower. Thats how it works - first you loose water/glycogen/shit then fat and muscle. Here is how it goes:

It should work for majority of people. This is not guessing, its science. It works so good because science is correct. Like any other science, there are special cases which are not handled correctly with this diet.

My experience is as the following: I lost ~20kg in 8 months and now I have weight that is better then when I was in high school (From 110kg to 93kg). My best friend lost ~35kg in a year. My wife lost 6 kg. We all don't have problems with the system and it works better for me then previous eating habits. My clinical markers are all in check first time in last 10 years (I had high Tg, low HDL, low MCV, borderline Glucose)

So why it doesn't work for some people. As you all probably know, the obesity is caused by multiple factors and you need to cover as many as you can since you don't know which one is it, generally.

  • The biggest problem is malnutrition. You need to take your supplements. Ascorbate, Mg, Carnitine, Vitamin D, Zinc, Iodine, Selenium, Fish oil, Choline, CoQ10 and 1 multi ARE MANDATORY. Some other stuff may help like Policosanol, Metformin etc. if you are willing to experiment. You can get seriously malnourished on low carb - toxins are released from adypocites after years of storage. Sudden high fat usage promotes absorption of bacterial liposoluble endotoxins which will make your immunity lower. Exercise does the same.

  • Until you are fixed you need strategic eating - its not just low carb, its when and why and what proportion. After you are fixed, you can relax. How much protein for breakfast, do I eat before or after exercise, how many hours before sleep I don't eat and what do I do if I get crazy before it and what is plan B if I smoked to much of that funny plant.

  • This is the diet for forever. If you can't do it forever, don't do it.

  • If you are premenopausal female, learn to cook and stop whining :P. If you are postmenopausal woman... well.... good luck:)

  • Log ALL input/output. If machine is broken, you take its logs, look at them and change something. If you don't have a log, you can't do anything. Most people will be surprised that they wrongly judged it. You may be think you are at 30g carbs while at 75. Big difference. Lots of hidden variables. You need computer and lots of tools to generate data.

Then it will probably work, but not that fast anyway... you didn't get fat in 1 month and you can't loose it in 1 month. Your have chronic disease, get real.

1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on September 15, 2011
at 05:19 PM

YOURE AWESOME!!!!

2
13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on September 14, 2011
at 06:22 PM

I can only answer for me, but I'm doing a moderate carb (The Primal Blueprint--no dairy) approach. The weight came off quickly at first, but has slowed and even reversed a bit in the last couple of weeks even though my diet has stayed the same. I'm not sure what's going on, but I don't think this approach works for everyone.

I think VLC works, but it's not sustainable for me as I would never want to eat that way for the rest of my life.

2
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on September 14, 2011
at 05:37 PM

I can speak only for myself. Reduced carbs definitely causes weight loss, but for me it also increases the risk of an obsession with food that usually ends in a binge. I find, then, that VLC is risky and frequently self-destructive. For long term success, I do better on the moderate carb intake recommended by Mark Sissons.

1
Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 14, 2011
at 11:56 PM

I personally responded to moderate carb, dairy free, low saturated fat, high fruit paleo with a huge amount of weight loss. I was not overweight to begin with, so I ended up going from ~13% bodyfat to single digits over the course of losing 15lbs.

Afterwards, I switched to a more Primal regiment (high fat dairy, fatty meats) and cut out fruit, starch, and went from 5 meals/snacks a day to 2 or 3.

The result was actually that I gained a pretty significant amount of weight, much of it muscle though, as I am stronger than I have ever been in my life (Can lift more at 28 than 18 and I worked out just as hard then).

Right now I'm about 195lbs, and find that it is stable there with the VLC routine.

I'm considering how to transition back into carbs, likely titrating up with "safe starches" rather than fruit this time to see how it goes.

1
94a4a87e3d2e1e9160b6ed77678b4bea

(1311)

on September 14, 2011
at 10:37 PM

Reading the posts on this site there seems to be a clear pattern emerging that men lose weight more easily on VLC than most women do. I am a female who is not obese but slightly overweight and I have been doing VLC paleo and lost weight easily in the beginng but now I keep going through patches of stalling and also slight increases in weight. I am still doing VLC because I find it keeps me the most satiated and I am happy to continue eating this way. I am cutting out dairy now to see if it makes a difference (although I wasn't eating large amounts of it anyway).

On the other hand my husband - who I have slowly been bringing to the paleo party - eats mostly VLC but "cheats" now and then and continues to lose weight easily and steadily. When I say cheat I mean some white rice, wholemeal bread and I even caught him with his hand in the cookie jar the other day! (note: these are for my teenage stepkids whose diet I will never be allowed to dictate - so no I can't remove all offending items from our pantry). This has led me to try and count calories - which I HATE - but I need to see if keeping my calories within a certain range will have any effect.

At the end of the day I do find this a sustainable way of eating - I feel better, I always have energy and I am almost never hungry. It would be good if the weight loss kept going however.

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