Why Isn’t My Low Carb Diet Working?

A diet that works for others may not work for you. Nutrition Diva explains a better approach to weight loss.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Why Isn’t My Low Carb Diet Working?


Q. It seems that low carb diets have taken the world by storm so I thought I would give it a try. I was really strict for about 5 weeks and the scale did not budge. My energy levels were very low. I also found it difficult to stick to. Sometimes my only choice is a sandwich with bread. I think I’m going to give up and return to a more balanced approach—but I’m confused. Why didn’t it work for me? Could I have been taking in too much fat? The low-carb gurus say you can eat as much fat as you want but, as you’ve pointed out, fats are very calorie dense.

A.  Advocates of various dietary philosophies often seem to think that what works best for them is going to be the ideal solution for everybody. But, as your experience shows, we don’t all respond the same way to a given diet prescription. Part of this is genetics, part of it has to with your current metabolic status, and part of it may simply be in the execution.

It’s certainly possible, for example, that unrestricted consumption of fats led you to take in too many calories. More importantly, this diet just didn’t seem to be a good fit for you. Not only did you not lose weight but it doesn’t sound like you felt very well on this regimen, plus you found it challenging to stick to. Regardless of what combination of factors contributed to your lackluster results, I think you probably know all you need to know about low-carb dieting.

As I talked about in my series on finding the best diet, there are a variety of ways to build a healthful diet. The trick is to figure out which formula gives you the best chance of long-term success. You want a strategy that fits your lifestyle, that doesn’t require you to eat stuff you don’t like or forgo all the stuff you do like, that doesn’t monopolize all your time and mental energy, that doesn’t leave you feeling hungry, sleepy, or grouchy, and that produces the best results in terms of helping you manage your weight and health conditions. The answer is not going to be the same for everyone.

Find out more: What Diet is Best?
Or try my non-diet approach: The End of Dieting

Sandwich photo from Shutterstock

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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