It seems there is A BIG confusion in the definition of a “low carbohydrate diet” and it's related types of diets.
I did some researches and was astonish of my discoveries especially when I read "some nutrition experts” define a LCD as “anything” containing "200 g or lower" of carbohydrate per day. I now understand why the results of some studies make no sense…
Sadly, it seems most of the articles I founded define a LCD as having between 50-150 g carbohydrates per day, which is, as we know, far away from the reality of the LC world.
Interestingly, the American Diabetic Association seems to be nearer to the real thing: LCD is considered less then 130 g per day, and VLCD less then 30 per day. But don’t look for the definition of a Zero Carb diet here, as the ADA would never admit it can ever exist or that someone can survive on it…
Another way to find a description is to look what “our” LC experts use. Dr. Atkins would set the limit of 20 g daily carbohydrate for a VLCD, while Protein Power uses 30 g. The Schwarzbein says it is 60 g while Zone says between 100-150 and Sugar Busters are around 140-200 g.
“All this is not of great help” would you say and I will agree with you. So what can we do about it?
One way would be to consider if one of these “levels of carbohydrate” could bring any folk into ketosis and use these limits to define these said levels. But the more we learn about ketosis, we realized it is not so easy to reach, and surely not to maintain, as the threshold of daily carbohydrate may vary between individuals. Then, you have to consider the “anti-ketosis” effect of proteins, any individual carb sensitivity and the total fat in the diet. Again, I think the answer is not lying here.
Maybe we should treat the problem with another angle, beginning by the lowest level of carbohydrate, like a Zero Carb diet? So how would you define it?
Doing a Zero carb diet means someone may eat, aside "meat" , some eggs, cheese and cream, all food items containing SOME carbs, not talking about the carb in the glycogen reserves of the muscle meat, a source which is never really taken into account…
Yes, I do agree, all this, again, is not of great help.
For myself, I always considered 20 g as “the limit”. The years I was on a LCD, I was between 20 g and 50 g max daily, and the years I was on a VLCD, I was not allowing more the 20 g.
My definition of a Zero Carb diet would be more “anything like an meat and egg diet”, with maybe some allowance of cheese and cream, but certainly not milk.
Or maybe a Zero Carb diet is “anything NEAR zero carb” or even “under 5 g daily”?
I hope you are not lost after this exercise. Anyway, what we should remember here, when reading any article, is how a LCD is defined because the conclusions can be easily misleading according to the definition.
Finally, what I think extremely interesting is the recent comment of Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, an eminent and highly experienced LC doctor, on his Swedish website:
“Really carb-sensitive people and those who want the maximum effect of LCHF can benefit from keeping the carb intake below 20 grams a day (maybe even lower).”
Somewhere, somehow, the limit of “below 20 g a day” and “maybe even lower” looks more like a Zero Carb diet then anything else!!!