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What is healthier low carb dieting or calorie counting?

(37 Posts)

I am bf my gorgeous 7 week old and have approx. 50lbs to lose. If you are making healthy choices under both diets which diet is better? It strikes me counting calories allows for a more balanced diet to support bf?

What do others think?

HeySoulSister Tue 23-Jul-13 13:40:11

Low carb all the way.... No messing around 'counting'

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 16:15:21

with Low Carb, you are restricted on what you eat by food groups.
With calorie counting you are restricted by amounts
with 5:2, once you get the feel for the right amount of calories for your body
you get to eat what you like and not calorie count!

BIWI Tue 23-Jul-13 16:19:49

Why calorie counting doesn't work

Low carb is definitely a better way to lose weight, and you won't fuck up your metabolism along the way.

BIWI Tue 23-Jul-13 16:21:29
Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 16:31:12


I know low carb works for you, but I'm not willing to give up Pasta and baguettes and risotto

so I'll stick to 5:2 as it works for me, and many others who do not like to be told what they can and cannot eat.

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 16:36:30

That Minnesota experiment was on 32 men aged between 20 and 33 who were already physically fit
its statistical applicability is therefore extremely limited for
- women
- those over 33
- those who are not already fit
- any randomly selected sample of people, as they were self selected
- and as they were concientious objectors in WW2, chances are they were all white : many overweight people are not.

RandallPinkFloyd Tue 23-Jul-13 16:37:49

I don't think it's helpful to push one diet over all others. There's good and bad about all diets. It's horses for courses. There is no one size fits all, if there was we'd all be doing it!

You have to find what works for you. As long as it's healthy, sustainable and it works that's all that matters.

I personally couldn't cut out an entire food group for the rest of my life but that doesn't mean it wouldn't work for you. I have lost just under 5 stone since January without "fucking up my metabolism" in the slightest. But I certainly wouldn't presume to preach my diet choice as the absolute best and only sensible option for the rest of the population.

Just take things gently OP, you only have birth 7 weeks ago! Go with what ever option feels right for you, give it a month, if it's not working then have a re-think. The main thing is don't feel like you have to stick rigidly to one specific diet or another, take your time and find a balance that works for you.

Good luck and congrats on that delicious snugly baby!

BIWI Tue 23-Jul-13 17:02:12

Can I just say - low carbing isn't about cutting out an entire food group. It's about eating lower carb not no carb.

And the OP asked which was best, so I'm giving my opinion!

BIWI Tue 23-Jul-13 17:09:03

Talkinpeace - I have no issue whatsoever with 5:2, but that's not what the OP asked ...

RandallPinkFloyd Tue 23-Jul-13 17:21:25

No issue with giving an opinion at all, that's the whole point of the thread as I read it.

I think it's possibly an issue with the phrasing of an opinion as fact. Ie "low carbing is definitely best" - a bit preachy, "^I think^ low carbing is best" - giving an opinion. I think it great that low carbing works so well for you, it's just not something I would personally chose that's all.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 23-Jul-13 17:25:44

Well calorie counting worked for me. And l love my carbs. I think you just have to go with whatever that works for you.

And the experiment you linked doesn't apply to a lot of people doing calorie counting. I don't starve. I don't feel hungry because I eat enough. My daily goal is between 1500-1600 calories a day. That's three square meals of 300-400 calories each and another 300-400 for snacks. A typical day of snacks for me are a couple of pieces of fruit, a yoghurt, and a mini muffin. If I am going to eat pudding with dinner, I skip the muffin and the yoghurt. I don't think you can call that deprived.

BIWI Tue 23-Jul-13 17:27:35


OK. I think low carbing is better than counting calories. For the reasons I have given.

But yes, each to their own, and if something has worked for you then I couldn't be more pleased.

HaPPy8 Tue 23-Jul-13 17:29:42

I think calorie counting personally. Low carbing is, to me, far more restrictive.

ChunkyPickle Tue 23-Jul-13 17:30:50

I prefer low-carbing (I feel amazing when I low-carb), but I'm not sure about how being in keytosis would mesh with breastfeeding, so I think I'd go with 5:2 if I were breastfeeding.

Calorie counting is just too hard for me, I need strict rules to follow or I fall off the wagon too easily (plus I feel much worse than I do if fasting/low-carbing)

BeenieBaby Tue 23-Jul-13 17:34:00

Interesting articles - thanks BIWI! Op I don't think calorie counting in itself is a good diet as it doesn't differentiate between good and bad calories (I.e a huge salad may have the same caloies as a kit kat!). If you don't like the idea of low carbing then a diet such as ww may work well fr you. It helped me lose weight after dc1 but unfortunately I'm stuck in a rut this time after dc2 and am following biwi's bootcamp to kick start my diet. In a way bootcamp is easier as you don't have to think about what to have (there are quite limited options especially as I'm pescatarian), and there isn't the hassle of counting points and putting everything into the calculator for ww, which made me think about food more. On the other hand the carb- flu is tough to deal with with bootcamp! But I agree with pp. 7w is so early. Just enjoy the baby and don't stress about your weight now. Enough to worry about as it is!

RandallPinkFloyd Tue 23-Jul-13 17:37:03

No need to sigh Biwi have piece of toast if you're feeling weary wink

BIWI Tue 23-Jul-13 17:38:24


RandallPinkFloyd Tue 23-Jul-13 17:41:00

Soz, couldn't resist!

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 18:46:43

on the other hand, for those of us doing 5:2, low carb on fast days is pretty much the best solution wink

Lizzylou Tue 23-Jul-13 19:03:40

I do agree with Randall, we have both been on the same thread for weight loss and everyone on the thread has done thelir own thing and found what works for them.
I have tried low carb, with little success in all honesty, though I know so many (just look at the bootcamp threads!) absolute love it as a woe.
That is the key in all of this though, way of eating, not thinking diet, not thinking quick fix, thinking about changing habits for the long term and having some flexibility because you are not putting pressure on yourself to lose weight in a mad rush.

Just read some threads, think about your lifestyle and body and why you gained weight, and go from there. But you have only just had a baby, take it easy and give yourself a break. Make small changes gradually.

LogonMounstuart Tue 23-Jul-13 19:06:35

You may well lose more/quicker low carbing but it is not recommended when you are breast feeding (ditto 5:2). If bf is important to you don't risk it. Healthy choices (as you say) and calorie counting is best for breast feeding.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 23-Jul-13 19:30:43

beeniebaby the point is with calorie counting you don't eat that kitkat instead of the salad! I know the approx amount calories I need from meals and good snacks (yoghurt and fruit). Then you are left with excess where you can eat a chocolate bar, if you want. I do use myfitnesspal to track.

I like it probably because I am not a junk food person to start with. I don't actually have any urges to have a kitkat.

BIWI Tue 23-Jul-13 20:22:54

Sorry, Logon, but there is no reason why you can't keep your carbs lower when you're breast feeding. You will be eating highly nutritious food, as your carbs come from vegetables and salad when you're low carbing, rather than bread/pastry/flour/pasta. So many more nutrients in them. And you will probably be eating more calories when low carbing, as it's a high fat way of eating.

Talkinpeace Tue 23-Jul-13 20:49:49

You may well lose more/quicker low carbing but it is not recommended when you are breast feeding (ditto 5:2)
that is only because the dietary guidance for mums is extremely out of date

women have been combining food restriction and breast feeding for a VERY long time : its called not living in Europe or the USA

there are people on the low carb and 5:2 threads who have successfuly BF and lost weight
as well as lots of people doing ADF

as there is little or no medical evidence for the mainstream nutritional guidance, I tend to ignore it

Thanks all, though didn't mean to start such a debate!! opps, sorry!
At the moment I just keep a gentle eye on calorie intake but i'm not too precious about it. for example a typical day - well today in fact - I've had fruit and fibre with skimmed milk, a ham salad for lunch and brown rice with stir fry green veg (courgette, asparagus, chard) for dinner + fruit for snack.

As someone says above what I am more interested in is changing my eating habits from high sugary foods and fats (which involved a lot of meat - farmers wife!!) to a more sustainable, healthier diet, to lose weight and maintain a healthier lifestyle. A fitness friend told me my diet was still off due to too many carbs even though calories are well within allowance. I had a total of 56lbs to lose after having ds and since his birth have lost 24lbs.

I want to lose weight but above all be healthy for myself and my 2 children.

Lizzylou Tue 23-Jul-13 21:14:43

One thing I have taken away from low carb and calorie counting is that now I naturally eat more protein and little or no white carbs. It is just natural to me now.
Protein really fills you up for longer. Took me a while to get my head round that confused

Good luck and congratulations on your new baby smile

RandallPinkFloyd Tue 23-Jul-13 21:16:36

I'd say that day sounds great. A healthy mix of all food groups. If you're happy doing what you're doing stick with it, if you've lost 24lb it's obviously working for you!

LogonMounstuart Tue 23-Jul-13 23:17:40

All of that may be true, but these diets are still not recommend- which is what I said.

You may feel happy ignoring those recommendations. I don't. Breastfeeding is too important to me, and might be to the op. especially as you can still lose weight sensibly by following the guidance and know you are not risking breastfeeding.

OneLittleToddleTerror Wed 24-Jul-13 08:51:31

I don't know if low carb or 5:2 is recommended for breastfeeding. But Logon, I do know there was a study that studied the breast milk of women in scandanavia vs those in third world countries. They found no nutritional differences in them. We prioritise producing milk over our own body.

Hower, like Logon, I firmly believe you could still lose by following the standard mainstream dietry guidelines (eg the NHS eat well plate). You just cut out the crap. That's what calorie counting really is. You can easily track it via something like myfitnesspal. Stop eating the pudding and the cakes, do some exercise. I'm still eating 1/3 carbs, but mainly starch and not sugar.

And yes, if you have lost 24lb, surely it's working? There is a saying that it takes as long to lose it as the time you put it on initially!

dirtyface Wed 24-Jul-13 08:55:02

i prefer calorie counting tbh - and i personally just couldn't go low carb (and i have tried it)

but remember you are only 7 weeks post birth and BFing so don't push yourself too hard x

Its definitely working weight loss wise was just wanting to check it was still a healthy way to go whilst bf. Only friends comments about low carb being healthier which confused me. Must say rate of weight loss has surprised me (3 to 4lbs) a week but think its largely due to healthy diet, bf and loads of walking with children!

RandallPinkFloyd Wed 24-Jul-13 09:59:08

Diets are something everyone has an opinion on unfortunately!

If you feel healthy, have plenty of energy and are having no supply issues then I'd say you're doing great.

Purple2012 Wed 24-Jul-13 10:03:08

I calorie count and it works for me. I would struggle on low carb at the moment and I do a lot of exercise. When I get close to my ideal weight I will probably stop calorie counting and change some of the foods that I eat so that I am eating better things for strength and toning.

I would say do what's best for you. I know people that love slimming world but it really isn't for me. It doesn't mean they are wrong just that different things work for different people.

D0oinMeCleanin Wed 24-Jul-13 10:08:36

Carbs should be balanced, but low to the extreme of Atkins etc. Low carb like Atkins tends to be very high in saturated fats and while fat isn't bad, it should be balanced along with carbs and protein, plus you are missing out a whole food group, which is never healthy unless you have an intolerance.

I generally try to have one carb-y meal a day and try to make it my first meal of the day. I had sardines on seeded bread today for breakfast so the rest of my carbs for the day will come from salads and root veg rather than bread, cereals and potatoes.

I can't be bothered to nor do I have the time to work out how many grams of what I should be eating and stick to it religiously so I just try to make sensible, balanced choices. Making sure my diet is not too high in grain based carbs or potatos, I have protein and some kind of salad or vegetable with each meal and I eat a good variety of foods. I also try to limit fruits due to the sugar content and I just don't like them much, but I will eat bananas, berries and pineapples when I fancy them, just one portion a day, making sure the rest of my 5 a day comes from salad or veg sources.

specialsubject Wed 24-Jul-13 10:13:46

just eat a proper balanced diet (NHS eat well plate) and move around.

you should find that weight is also transferring from you to the baby.

'little or no evidence for mainstream nutritional guidance' - yeah, right...feel free to use crazy fad diets from people who want to sell you something. Of course the silly diets will make you lose weight, they involve eating less.

Poppy4453 Mon 29-Jul-13 07:10:25

I lost 5 stone whilst BF. I walked over 6 miles a day and ate 2000 calories at least.

It took a year, I could have done more excercise but I was bloody tired. Babies are hard work as is BF.

Take it easy, cut back calories and get out walking everyday, it's good for your body and mind.

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