You may be surprised what's allowed on the Carb Lover's Diet: potato chips. That's right, potato chips. Plus all those other favorite carbohydrate mainstays: pasta, bread and rice.
"Well everybody's going to buy into that one because of the title," laughed Holistic Nutritionist Beverly Kindblade. "Everybody loves carbs and why wouldn't we love carbs because carbs actually help us make a chemical called serotonin in our brain which is the feel good chemical that we make in our brain."
Carbs are filling, too. That gets Clinical Nutritionist Brian Higginson's stamp of approval.
"For any sort of diet to have success, people have to feel satisfied at the completion of the meal. If they're not satisfied, they're going to keep eating."
Sports Nutritionist Susan Kleiner is also a fan of carbs.
"II love that they talk about carbohydrates. You know you do need carbohydrate if you want to be an active person. That is our fuel. And they talk about selecting carbs. They specifically talk about carbs that are resistant starches."
Resistant starches are carbs that take time to digest: green bananas, corn, potatoes. For maxium benefit, eat them cold. That could be a dealbreaker for some of us. So could cold pasta which is also recommended.
Beverly wonders how compliant dieters will be on this program.
"I'm concerned they're not going to stick with it very long. It's going to take longer to prepare, longer to plan for. They'll have to do more shopping and cooking and I see a lot of people who just don't like to do that anyway."
She points out that we're not used to eating foods like steel-cut oatmeal, brown rice, lentils and navy beans, which are high in nutritional value, but also time-consuming to prepare.
Brian has another concern. With the Carb Lover's Diet, it is a large reliance on artifical sweeteners. According to the U.S. government, artificial sweeteners are safe, but there is still some controversy regarding the long term effects of those on our health.
Susan finds the Carb Lover's Diet too rigid.
"I don't like the restrictive concept. I want people to be able to more fully enjoy their food and not think of a diet as something you go on to go off, but something you're going to live a lifetime with that will adapt and evolve as you do."
Back to those potato chips. OK as long was they're not fried and once a week you're allowed a treat. Pick only one: chocolate, apple pie, two light beers, or two glasses of wine.
"People are more likely to follow that plan if they are allowed ot have the occasional indulgence," said Brian. However, Beverly sees a potential red flag. Too many of us don't have enough self- discipline to say no after that first bite. "Well. for a lot of people, one or two days a week, they're just going to keep going with it. They can't really stop."
So is a thumbs up or a thumbs down for the Carb Lover's Diet?
- Beverly: "If people can stick with it, thumbs up. Long-term sustainability we'll have to wait and see."
- Brian: "Carb lovers, I'd give it a 3/4s way thumbs up. There are some potential drawbacks to it , but overall it gets the approval."
- Susan: "Compared to a lot of other things, we'll give it a thumbs up."
So there you have it: The Carb Lover's Diet gets a less than enthusiastic thumbs up from our panelists, but a thumbs up just the same. The Carb Lover's Diet was designed by the editors of Health magazine.