The Schwarzbein Principle

Created by Dr. Diana Schwarzbein, a California-based physician, the Schwarzbein program centers on the link between a person’s insulin levels and his/her carbohydrate-intake and how these two affect weight.

What you can eat?

The Schwarzbein principle allows for plenty of protein consumption and a lot of "good" fats. But since it focuses on insulin levels, it discourages consumption of processed foods, sugars (including artificial sweeteners) and refined foods such as salt, alcohol and caffeine. Also, being a kind of modified low-carb diet, it encourages you to watch your carbohydrate intake.

You can eat butter, eggs, and plenty of meat at each meal. Your carb intake will be drastically reduced at the start of your diet. However, you will be able to add more later on because the body requires fiber for proper bowel movement. To have more carbs, exercise regular carbs.

Is it effective?

Losing weight right away is not guaranteed. In fact, this diet plan takes a while to "heal" your metabolism, and for you to lose weight. Once you have achieved your goal, maintaining it means it’s for life.

The Schwarzbein principle has two programs: healing and maintenance.

The healing program is aimed at healing your metabolism. It is during this phase where you’ll see a noticeable weight loss. During the healing program, your carb intake is kept at a minimum. Green leafy vegetables are also allowed during this phase, as well as plenty of vitamins. Your carb intake is determined by your weight and activity level. According to Dr. Schwarzbein, the healing phase is not meant to be permanent. Once your metabolism is healed, you can move forward to maintenance.

During the maintenance program, you can add more carbs to your diet. However, the Schwarzbein principle does not give guidelines with regards to this, so it’s up to you to find out how many carbs are too many by the way your body reacts. If you feel that you are putting weight back on, you can go back to doing the healing program.

Other health benefits

Dr. Schwarzbein claims that too much carb intake causes insulin levels to rise, leading to insulin resistance which in turn causes weight gain. She also associates insulin increase to conditions like arthritis. The goal in decreasing your carb intake is to moderate your insulin level, and, along with exercise, lead to weight lose and improved health.