Ad libitum

Atkins described his diet in his first book as "high calorie".  Taubes describes low carb diets as unrestricted calories.  While unrestricted is not an incorrect interpretation of ad libitum, it is misleading.  Most people will equate unrestricted with higher intake when that plan is compared to a calorie restricted plan.  The implication is that those on an unrestricted plan are eating more than those on a restricted plan and therefore are losing the same amount of weight (or more weight) eating more calories on LC vs. other plans.

If I had a dollar for every time I've read something along the lines of "just imagine how much more weight the LC group would have lost if they were allowed to eat more", I'd be rich!  Clearly too many interpret ad libitum incorrectly.

This study I've previously blogged on is but one of many examples in the literature of spontaneous reductions in intake when allowed to eat as much as one wanted.  In this study carbohydrate was maintained at 50%, and weight was maintained for 2 weeks on 35% fat and 15% protein, then maintained at the same caloric level for two more weeks swapping out fat for protein - 20% fat and 30% protein.  The participants were then given an excess of food but told to just eat what they wanted of the 50/20/30 diet.  Guess what happened?  They lost weight.  Why?  Because they reduced caloric consumption by ~440cal/day on average.

Ad libitum LC diets promote caloric restriction.  This is more "natural" IMO and one of the better aspects of low carbing.  This wasn't a LC diet, but when told what to eat and when, you are necessarily overriding your personal signals.  But ad libitum means listening to those signals.  This, my friends, is a *good thing* (said in my Martha voice) for weight loss and the long run.


I've learned that I have to be very selective with my carbs,

Broccoli, cauliflower, celery, sweet bell peppers, tomatoes -- GOOD!

Bread, cakes, candy, cereal, cookies, fruits, juices, pie -- BAD

But that's just me. YMMV.

LeonRover said…
I find that I interpret the term as "to appetite", or "no restriction on amount".

Of course, any particular style of eating may have a food or macronutrient percentage rule or restriction. If the consequence is satiety at lower volumes of food, then one's energy intake will have reduced, but this is an involuntary reduction. Quite often, when eating low carb, and not very active, I do not eat until lunch-time, thus having longer than the usual 12 hours, but I do not regard myself as intermittently fasting!
Anonymous said…
LOL! Listening to my personal signals means a pound of chocolate with almonds, a pound or two of oatmeal raisin cookies, a family size bag of chips to add a little saltiness to the mix, a quarts of yogurt with nuts and fruit, a quart of ice cream, a whole carrot cake....

There is no magic solution to the problem of foods that are obscenely delicious. We did not evolve in an environment of foods like those mentioned above.

(when I posted earlier, it showed fr as my name, but I fixed google to show revelo)