What happens when you cut carbs to lose weight? Test yourself, or test your friends, to find out how much you know about this popular weight-loss trend. Answers follow the questions.

1. True or False. The idea of cutting carbs to lose weight originated with Dr. Robert Atkins.

2.  True or False. Low-carb/high-protein diets suppress the appetite better than traditional low-calorie diets.

3. True or False. French fries, soft drinks and pizza are typical low-carb foods.

4. True or False. Dieters who exclude all carbohydrate foods typically consume 500 fewer calories per day.

5. True or False. Much of the initial weight loss exhibited in low-carb dieters is due to water loss in the muscles and liver.

6. True or False. Bad breath can be a common side effect from carbohydrate-restrictive diets.

7. True or False. In the initial weeks, it’s common for a low-carb dieter to lose up to 5 pounds or more.

8. True or False. Cutting carbohydrates is a good way to fuel the body before an intense workout.

9. True or False. On a low-carb diet, you can eat all the food you want and still lose weight.

10. True or False. If you want a lean, fit body, all you need to do is cut carbs.


The Answers

1. False. Long before the South Beach and Atkins craze, William Banting reported in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine in 1863 that he lost 46 pounds and was never hungry when he ate a low-carbohydrate/high-protein diet.

2. True. Carbohydrate restriction increases production of chemicals called ketones that reduce food cravings. So, low-carb/high-protein diets do decrease appetite better than diets high in carbohydrates.

3. False. A lunch consisting of one slice of pizza, a soft drink and some fries will typically add up to 100 grams of carbohydrates – more than double the daily intake of most low-carb diets.

4. True. Being carb conscientious will cut back options and help suppress the appetite. As long as dieters do not overindulge on low-carb foods, their calorie intake will most likely decrease.

5. True. Thirsty? You may not be, but your muscles are. Water loss accounts for much of the early rapid decreases in bodyweight. Much of that water is lost as carbohydrate stores are depleted from the muscles and the liver.

6. True. Striking out at the bar? Blame your diet, not your bod. Ketones – sources of very bad breath – are produced when low-carb dieters replace carbohydrates with fat.

7. True. It’s not unusual to lose 5 or more pounds in the initial weeks of a strict low-carbohydrate diet. That’s a dramatic difference from traditional low-calorie diets that average 1 to 2 pounds lost per week.