By now, you probably know at least a dozen people on keto, the popular diet that calls for a lot of fat and very few carbohydrates. But what if you want to lose weight without totally abandoning carbs? That's where the Super Carb Diet comes in.
The Super Carb Diet is the brainchild of celebrity trainer Bob Harper, of Biggest Loser fame. Harper suffered a heart attack in 2017, which led him to reevaluate his whole lifestyle. The star traded heavy lifting for cardio, overhauled his diet, and went on to publish a book later that year: The Super Carb Diet: Shed Pounds, Build Strength, Eat Real Food.
What is the Super Carb Diet?
The program focuses on balancing protein with plenty of fiber from complex carbohydrates and a limited amount of fat. The idea is to help you lose weight without feeling deprived of your precious carbs.
"It's a balanced plate of all of your macronutrients," Harper explained to KUSA-TV.
That doesn't mean you can hit up the Olive Garden for unlimited breadsticks. Harper recommends eating "Super Carbs," or fiber-dense carbohydrates that take longer to digest. (An example would be whole grain breads or sweet potatoes.) Meanwhile, you'll need to stay away from what Harper calls "Carbage," or empty carbs that are easily transported into the blood system. These leave you hungry and yearning for more food.
"You need to be careful about those things you know you shouldn't be eating," Harper told WREG News in Memphis, Tennessee. "It's those chips, the movie popcorn, the cookies and the white bread. Lead more toward those complex carbohydrates that are filled with fiber."
Here are the main Super Carb Diet rules:
- Eat three meals a day, plus one mini — or "floater" — meal
- A sample meal for a 180-pound man should consist of roughly 160 calories from carbs, 136 calories from protein, 135 calories from fat and 75 calories from vegetables, for a total of 506 calories per meal
- The "floater" meal should consist of 136 calories from protein and 135 calories from fat
- Sleep seven to nine hours each night
- Weigh yourself and take waist measurements
These are some Super Carb foods:
Although this is not a complete list, here's an idea of the kinds of carbs Harper says it's okay to eat:
- Quinoa pasta
- Lentil pasta
- Brown rice pasta
- Sweet potato
- Brown rice
- Whole grain bread
The Super Carb Diet vs. the Keto Diet
When asked how the Super Carb Diet compares to the ketogenic diet, Harper told WREG News that high-fat diets can be detrimental to weight loss if you don't follow them to the tee.
"If you're trying to lose weight, then you really do have to watch your fat intake," he said. "If you're eating a really high fat diet like that, you have to make sure you are following it to the letter of the law. If you start to incorporate any sort of complex carbohydrate in that diet plan, your body will store all that fat."
Of course, he doesn't rule out eating healthy fats like avocado and nuts completely.
"There are all these really good fats that I want you to eat, but I don't want you to eat them in abundance," he said. "I want you to find a balance."
Of course, as with any diet, the best one is a plan that you'll be able to follow.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health US.