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Celebrity trainer Chris Powell dishes weight loss tips: Low carb diet advice

Heidi and Chris Powell use carb cycling diets for weight loss.
Heidi and Chris Powell use carb cycling diets for weight loss.
Photo by Rachel Murray

Although "The Chew" cooking show typically focuses on concocting delights that don't qualify as diet-friendly, co-host Daphne Oz regularly offers options that are lower in calories and carbohydrates. To help viewers even more with their weight loss goals, the Sept. 2 episode showcased "Extreme Weight Loss" star Chris Powell.

The co-hosts challenged Chris to perform a series of exercises before becoming serious about weight loss solutions. Chris emphasizes that getting healthy doesn't have to require buying expensive diet food or spending a lot of money on a personal trainer. He advised viewers to stock up on inexpensive fruits and vegetables in season.

Chris recommends a carb-cycling diet plan, detailed in his book "Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution." It alternates low carb diet days with meals higher in healthy carbohydrates. Examples include yams and winter squash rather than starchy carbohydrates such as white bread, sugary cereal and pasta. And he doesn't encourage dieters to eat enormous amounts of protein.

By consuming more veggies and fruit, you can stay satisfied with smaller amounts of protein, emphasized Chris. Choose quality protein, such as grass-fed beef. His recommendations earned applause from co-host Mario Batali.

Chris and his wife Heidi have four children. Healthy meal strategies include eating as a family and staying away from junk food. Chris also advises avoiding fast food, even those supposedly "healthy" items such as yogurt parfaits, because you can be tempted to add on more items and overdoing it with portion size.

A new study supports the concept of avoiding those starchy carbohydrates. Researchers found that low carb diets trumped low fat plans for weight loss and heart protection, reported the Grand Forks Herald on Sept. 1.

Lead author, Dr. Lydia Bazzano of Tulane University in New Orleans, challenged the concept that low fat diets are better for heart health and weight loss. "This study shows if you are overweight and have cardiovascular disease risk factors and haven't had success on other diets, certainly a low-carbohydrate diet is worth a try," she stated.

To replicate the diet followed by the study participants, count carbohydrates rather than calories. The low carb diet group consumed 40 grams or less of digestible carbohydrates daily. That means counting total carbs, then subtracting the total fiber grams from that amount.

The low carb diet group time lost an average of eight pounds more than dieters on the low fat plan. They also shed more body fat, reported researchers. However, overall, the dieters also made healthier choices, such as eating nuts and avocado rather than butter as their fat sources.

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