Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Had it with High Carbs?

In one month, I have lost 17 pounds on a popular high-protein, low carbohydrate diet. But I think the plan is not healthy for long term use. I have started your program - Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan. Should I keep my carbs low, or should I eat more? If so, will I gain back the weight?

Answer (Published 5/2/2003)

Updated 3/22/2005

Congratulations on your weight loss. Now that you've had such a successful start, you're wise to think about switching to a more balanced and nutritious diet that will allow you to maintain optimum health and weight.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Healthy Eating - Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Nutrition - Want to change your diet? The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide is your anti-inflammatory diet headquarters. Start your free trial and get access to an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, hundreds of recipes, eating guides, and more.

I recommend that you continue to avoid refined and processed carbohydrate foods, especially products made from flour and those heavy on sugar. Instead, include in your diet some beans, sweet potatoes, winter squashes temperate fruits (especially berries, apples and pears), and some whole grains (such as wild rice, quinoa and barley). To learn which carbohydrates to avoid and which to include in your diet, familiarize yourself with the glycemic index, a guide to foods that cause increases in insulin production and conversion of calories to fat. You can consume up to 40 percent of your daily calories as carbohydrate if you stick to foods that rank "low" to "moderate" on the glycemic index. (See the Healthy Kitchen section for more information.)

You should also cut back on the amount of protein you've been eating, especially red meat. Instead, choose fish and soy protein. Up to 30 percent of your total calories can come from protein, while 30 percent should come from fat. Make sure that some of those fat calories are omega-3 fatty acids from wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, walnuts, or freshly ground flaxseeds. The rest should be mostly monounsaturated fat from olive oil, nuts, and avocadoes.

You can read more about this approach to eating in the book, Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating by Walter C. Willet, MD, who believes that our national epidemic of obesity is driven by too many of the wrong kind of carbohydrates, the wrong kinds of fats, too many calories, and not enough exercise.

In fact, Dr. Willett has constructed his own version of the food pyramid. At its base is daily exercise. If you hope to lose weight and keep it off, regular exercise is essential.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here