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The Girlfriend’s Guide To Getting Smart About Dieting

A closer look at three popular approaches.

Has your perimenopause come with a side order of 25 pounds? Or are you unable to shed those final 5 holiday pounds? For some, the easiest route to losing a little — or a lot — of weight is with one of the popular low-carb, low-sugar diets.

Simply put, you restrict carbohydrates and sugar so your body goes into ketosis, a metabolic state where you burn stored fat for energy. This results in faster initial weight-loss.

There are a staggering amount of regimens and restrictions including Atkins, Ideal Protein and countless keto cookbooks. Ultimately, you have to find one that makes you feel healthy and well, but here is a broad-stroke look at three popular carb-cutting approaches.

Atkins: It’s one of the oldest and most famous low-carb diets. And if you like bacon and cheese, this may be the one for you. In the first of the diet’s four phases, you eat no refined sugar and only 20 grams of net carbs a day. Otherwise you can eat pretty much anything you want, as long as it’s high in protein and fat (leafy greens permitted). This sounds like heaven, but can get to be a little much after a while — some people miss eating fruits and vegetables with abandon. Once you hit your goal, you slowly add back just enough healthy carbs to maintain your weight.

Ideal Protein: The basic premise is the same, and it also has four phases, but it’s a little more restrictive than Atkins when it comes to dairy. Also, it does encourage more vegetable consumption (but initially, like Atkins, you eat little to no fruit). One of the biggest differences is that you have to buy bars, shakes and packets of food to adhere to the Ideal Protein diet. You can find these at Ideal Protein centers. It can be costly, but for some people it eliminates the confusion and stress of carb-math by providing them with exactly the right amount in each meal; they also benefit from a coach to check in with.

Ketogenic Diet: Because so many of the carb-restricting diets result in fat-burning ketosis, they all get lumped into a keto-diet category. The original keto diet does not work in phases, but rather is a sustained lifestyle change that involves moderating your intake so it adheres to a specific ratio of fats to proteins to carbs based on your height, age, gender, etc. You may like your new weight, but say goodbye to a lot of fruits and root and starchy veggies.

Some people find carb-cutting to be a huge life game-changer. They are less bloated, they sleep better, and they find they crave sugar and carbs less. Others are disappointed that they are unable to sustain the initial weight loss by committing to a high fat/protein diet. Nutritionists agree that the best diet is the one you are able to live comfortably with while attaining your goals.

As always, check with your doctor if you have questions before starting any new diet.