History of Low Carb Diets

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Most people believe that Dr. Robert Atkins is the person who first invented low carb diets upon publishing the Atkins diet in the year 1970. The truth is that low carb diets have been followed and prescribed by health professionals long before Dr. Atkins popularized this way of eating for the general public. There are many later ones too. To know if low carb diets still work, see the Metabolic Factor review here.

A lot of people, before the development of agriculture, naturally followed a low carbohydrate diet plan by just eating whatever was available. When the development of agriculture took place, most people relied on eating high carbohydrate foods since grains were what could be easily grown. It wasn’t a problem because most of them have suffered starvation and not obesity.

However, weight related issues have been experienced when the societies became richer. By this time, the doctors have discovered the benefits of following a low carb diet plan especially when it comes to preventing certain diseases and health conditions. In the 19th century, diabetics were advised to limit eating carbohydrates rich foods such as sugar, potatoes and bread.

The first low carb weight loss routine was actually published by a man named William Banting in the year 1863. He was a craftsman suffering from serious health problems due to obesity. Because of this, his doctor recommended him to follow a diabetic diet with low carbohydrates, and he noticed that following this particular diet helped him and several other people to lose weight effectively.

Banting gave up most of the starches and carbs in his diet and this included beer, bread, poratoes, and milk. He decided to eat mostly fruits, green vegetables and meat. By following this type of diet routine, he effectively lost weight and he even published a book named “Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public” in the year 1863.

The publication of this booklet became very successful and the word “banting” was even commonly used for the next decades, which meant “following a weight loss diet”. Unfortunately, the low carb diet of William Banting has also attracted many criticisms especially from health professionals since Banting lacked qualifications. There were even rumors about how his diet greatly affected his health even though he lived up to the age of 80.

The 20th century began as a lean time for most of the Western nations. Weight loss did not become an issue before the 1960s when fat became the main enemy of health. So when Dr. Atkins published his own diet program in the year 1972, it was like a new thing for most people at that time even though the popularity of low carb diets happened way before the Atkins diet.

This entry was posted in Health.


  1. Franklyn says:

    Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and designed me a whole new diet. I wouldn’t mind except she put in a ton of stuff that she likes and I don’t. How to dump it all and get back my lost plans…

    • Russell says:

      Sure Sharonna, if you run a search for “William Banting Letter on Corpulence” you will find several sites that have the PDF available for free. It is more of a booklet than a book, so pretty short, and a quick read. Enjoy!

  2. Marang says:

    If you exercise more, your metabolism is bound to begin to start working and cut weight – as long as you eat a good diet as you say here. If this doesn’t work for you, then I don’t know what’s going to benefit you. Of course, when it comes to losing weight, being disciplined is amongst the
    secrets of achieving your ideal weight. It’s the discipline that’s the hard part.

  3. Herney says:

    Low carb = low cal. That’s why it works. Plain and simple. When you reovme one whole macronutrient from your plate, you reduce your calories by approx 1/3rd. Was nothing to do with food type. You can lose weight eating pasta, or rice, or yams. So long as you run a calorie deficit. I eat lean protein, carbs, fat. I just eat less and I exercise more. I lost 30 lbs in 4 months and kept it off 2 yrs now. Eat from smaller plates. Ur eyes see a full plate, but ur eating less. Go walking too

    • Russell says:

      It’s not as simple as that because (a) protein and fat keep you feeling fuller longer than carbs, so it’s much easier to eat less and (b) removing one macronutrient doesn’t necessarily cut calories because you can easily replace the calories with other food. It’s true that you *can* lose weight eating anything, but with a low carb diet you don’t have to count calories. It sounds like you haven’t tried it, in fact 🙂

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