A lively look at the low carb phenomenon from the Atkins Diet in the 1970's to the South Beach Diet of today. Does low carb dieting work? How? What's the science behind it? We'll see some amazing success stories and share some secrets low carb recipes.
Low Carb Dieting
Questions about the wildly popular low carb diets?
Ask George Stella -- a chef who lost 250 pounds on the diet -- and he'll select a few to answer in the upcoming weeks. Click here to read his bio.
Chef George Stella shows how a little planning ahead goes a long way in maintaining a low carb lifestyle. He makes a few different dishes in just a short time that can be wrapped and kept until the mood suits. He bakes chicken breast wrapped in bacon and topped with tomato and fresh thyme; a colorful plate of grilled portobello mushrooms and summer vegetables; a family sized serving of tequila marinated grilled London broil with a tomato fromage as an accompaniment; and finally, blackened salmon cooked with spinach and soy black beans great anytime.
Top 5 Tips
1. When cooking a low-fat protein such as chicken, wrap it with bacon. The fat from the bacon adds flavor and much needed moisture, while keeping the dish low carb.
2. Tomatoes are fairly low in carbs, but they do contain some natural sugars. You can eat them but remember: only in moderation.
3. Many vegetables are an important part of a low carb diet but some are better for you than others. Keep in mind that red bell peppers contain more Vitamin C than green ones. Also, most vitamins and minerals are found in veggie skins, so skip a step and leave the peeler in the drawer.
4. Store-bought marinades contain a lot of sugar; even some dry spice mixtures do too. Make a large batch of your own so you can top your proteins and veggies with it anytime you want.
5. Soy black beans are an excellent alternative to regular black beans, since they taste very similar but have far less carbs.
Our favorite comfort foods the low carb wayit can be done! Chef George Stella creates several sinfully satisfying low carb dishes: "beefed-up" meat loaf with a layer of prosciutto and provolone, onion rings, Southern fried chicken, "mock" garlic mashed potatoes, and a quick chocolate almond ice cream. Go ahead, indulge without the guilt!
Top 5 Tips
1. You can eat onions on a low carb diet. Avoid them the first few weeks, but in moderation, they're fine.
2. Use a mixture of parmesan cheese and eggs in place of breadcrumbs. They'll bind just as well as their carb-laden counterpart.
3. Soybeans are already toasted and have a tendency to burn when you deep-fry them. This is why we finish the chicken in the oven, rather than in the oil.
4. Cauliflower is low in carbs and absorbs the flavor of any ingredient you put with it.
5. Use a plastic baggie for the dessert if you don't own a pastry bag. Fill baggie with your mock ice cream, snip off a corner, and pour mixture into tall glasses.
Chef George Stella invites his family and friends over for a dinner party that no one would ever suspect was low carb! He starts off the meal with one of his personal favorites teriyaki sesame chicken skewers served outside a hollowed out melon half filled with melon balls. Next he prepares fresh Key West crab cakes (without using breadcrumbs) and a mustard dipping sauce; grilled Jamaican jerk pork loin cooked to perfection with a light summer squash salsa; and a healthy dessert a gratin of fresh berries with a little sour cream. No sooner do the guests arrive than they all dig in to taste the fruits of Georges creations.
Top 5 Tips
1. Watch out for mayonnaise that is labeled "light," as it may contain more sugar than regular, full-fat mayo.
2. When cooking with crab, splurge for the real thing. Many imitation crabmeats contain added sugars.
3. Baking powder, along with eggs, will act as a binder in place of the usual carb-heavy breadcrumbs.
4. Pork is an excellent carb-conscious option. It is low in fat, has zero carbs, and usually costs less than beef.
5. Cantaloupe is a good fruit choice for the low carb dieter. Contrary to popular belief, George says that many fruits are acceptable on a low carb diet, but limit your intake.
Everyone has their weak moments. Chef George Stella reveals low carb secrets to satisfy the most urgent of cravings. His low carb vegetable and "mega-meat" pizzas made with a soy flour crust, "mock" fettuccini primavera using spaghetti squash, fresh fruit margaritas with blueberries, cantaloupe and strawberries, and the biggest one of all, cannoli parfaits with chocolate chip covered ricotta and whipped cream will get you through those tough times.
Top 5 Tips
1. Pre-made spaghetti and pizza sauces are discouraged due to their high sugar content, but tomato paste or sauce in a can without added sugar is allowed. Just remember to always read the labels!
2. Once the spaghetti squash starts to resemble strings, it is ready. Take out immediately and put in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. If not, you'll end up with squash squash, not spaghetti squash.
3. The spaghetti primavera has 8 net carbs per serving, but don't worry about the carbs. Spaghetti squash is full of fiber and everyone needs that!
4. Each cannoli serving is 7 net carbs, but you can always trim your carb count by dividing into six servings and then you'll have 5 net carbs per serving.
5. Fresh fruit is allowed on a low carb diet as long as you pick the right fruit. Honeydw, cantaloupe, strawberries, and blueberries are all great choices.
Chef George Stella is right at home as he cooks up a smorgasbord of his favorite Italian dishes. He assembles a beautiful antipasto platter of sliced meats and cheeses topped with fresh basil that takes only a few minutes to prepare. He makes an Anaheim shrimp scampi with spaghetti squash in lieu of pasta; a radicchio salad with a simple and light raspberry vinaigrette; and he finishes the meal off with low carb neopolitan parfaits topped with strawberries and mint for garnish.
Top 5 Tips
1. Don't peel cucumbers -- the skin is full of vitamins and nutrients.
2. Remember to buy unsweetened cocoa powder for the parfaits, not a cocoa drink mix.
3. Radicchio is a great Italian lettuce you can buy in most grocery stores. Cut the core off the bottom, throw it away, and peel off the leaves.
4. If you can't find fresh raspberries for the salad, substitute frozen ones without added sugar.
5. Stock your pantry with a low carb staple: hearts of palm.
Eating low carb isnt tough, especially when it comes to snacks. Chef George Stella makes easy low carb options like turkey and Swiss BLT roll-ups, "Mock Raisinettes" with unsweetened chocolate and blueberries, and cinnamon pecans and almonds. Georges youngest son, Christian, also joins in to make his favorite, Philly Steak Salad with cheese. George finishes it off with a beverage everyone will love, a lemon lime slushee, perfect for after school or work.
Top 5 Tips
1. Use whole or real mayonnaise. Low-fat or lite is usually an indication that sugar has added to make up for the loss of body and flavor from fat.
2. Most nuts are low carb, but overeating them is a problem. Avoid this by portioning them out.
3. Frozen blueberries can be used as a substitute for raisins.
4. You can set a good example for your kids by eating the right foods. It's also fun to cook with your kids.
5. Keep your fridge full of good low carb foods such as cheese and sliced meats. When anybody in the house is hungry or having a craving, they can just go and find some great low carb selections.
Chef George Stella shows the quick and healthy way to grill practically everything. Some of his favorites are Bourbon BBQ Pork Shortribs, Cilantro Chicken Breast, and Balsamic Grilled Vegetables. Accompanying this, George makes a Waldorf Coleslaw, and for dessert, Grilled Strawberries a la Mode with a "mock" vanilla ice cream. Fire up the grill! The choices are endless!
Top 5 Tips
1. Add bourbon to barbecue sauce to give it extra flavoring. Don't worry, it happens to be zero carb.
2. Avoid hidden carbs when eating out by asking if the meat is breaded or marinated in sugars.
3. Tomatoes have natural sugars, but in moderation they are acceptable. You only would avoid them it you're in the induction period.
4.Low carb ice cream can be made with fresh whipped cream, sugar substitute, no sugar added vanilla extract, and ricotta cheese.
5. Strawberries only have about 7/10 of a net carb each. They're allowed on a low carb diet.
Chef George Stella is joined by best-selling cookbook author Dana Carpender to prepare some of her favorite quick and easy, low carb gourmet meals. Together they make a heaping fresh spinach salad topped with toasted pecans; a feta-spinach salmon roast; a dish Dana calls "Little Mama's Side Dish" which uses chopped cauliflower as its base mixed with green pepper, chopped onion and sautéed bacon; and finally a simple dessert called strawberry cups topped with a pretty fanned strawberry and a dollop of homemade whipped cream.
Top 5 Tips
1. Cauliflower is a great stand-in for potatoes and rice, adding texture while picking up the flavor of whatever it is cooked with.
2. Low carb is about freshness, but not everyone has time to prepare a fresh meal everyday. Stay healthy by preparing things in large quantities and saving the leftovers. Protein-packed chilis and meat roasts are easy to make and can last for days in the fridge.
3. Watch out for unsuspecting veggies. Onions are what George calls a "borderline vegetable" since it contains so many natural sugars. Limit yourself by using one onion for up to four different meals.
4. Olives are a great salty snack alternative for low carb diet programs.
5. Berries are an excellent choice for low carb dieters. They are lower in sugar than their fruit counterparts and are packed with anti-oxidants.
Chef George Stella heads for the border with a menu of tequila chicken quesadillas, southwestern chili con carne, a no-bake Key lime cheesecake, and guacamole. George finishes the meal off with a classic Mexican drink, Sangria. Ole low carb!
Top 5 Tips
1. Avocados have the highest amount of oils and protein of any fruit. They're also loaded with healthy fats that actually lower your cholesterol.
2. Soy flour is made from toasted soybeans that are ground up. It's not absorbed by your body the way white flour would.
3. Cream cheese is a low carb staple and contains almost zero carbs.
4. Spice up dry red wine by adding fresh lime and lemon juice, sugar substitute, diet orange drink mix, and club soda to make sangria. Garnish with slices of lime and lemon.
5.Club soda isn't only a beverage. It can be used as a leavener in quesadilla crusts.
George heads to the Far East, and returns with some low-carb inspiration. Teriyaki sesame chicken skewers, Szechuan vegetable stir fry with kim chi, bok choy and sliced bamboo shoots, a simple ginger salad with iceberg lettuce, and a Shrimp Egg Foo Young dish top his menu. Forget ordering in, start cooking!
Top 5 Tips
1. Sesame oil is a heart-healthy alternative when you want to add a nutty flavor to your dishes.
2. Since milk should be avoided on a low carb diet, eat veggies like bok choy and spinach. Theyre high in calcium, so your daily intake won't suffer.
3. Sesame seeds have zero carbs and are full of fiber. Use them to coat fish as an alternative to bread crumbs.
4. Vegetable choices don't need to be limited to your everyday staples. When cooking low carb Asian cuisine, bamboo shoots, kimchee, straw mushrooms and bean sprouts are great alternatives.
5. Cook with canola oil when you want the flavor of the food to shine. Canola oil is healthy, like olive and sesame oils, without the strong flavor.
Chef George Stella cooks up a low carb feast that the whole family can enjoy. He makes a baked ham thats brushed with a maple bourbon glaze; an eggplant, yellow squash and tomato casino; low carb zucchini muffins that double as both dessert and dinner muffins; and finally, his version of strawberry shortcake served in martini glasses. Chilled, straight up, with mint.
Top 5 Tips
1. All hard alcohol has zero carbs (beside spiced rums or creamy liqueurs), and can add a lot of flavor to a dish.
2. Sugar substitute can be used for more than just your baked goods: Mix it with some liquid (water or alcohol) to create a "glaze" that has zero carbohydrates.
3. Parmesan is a great low carb substitute for breading. It browns nicely and adds great flavor to any dish, particularly veggies.
4. Yeast needs to be avoided on low carb diets. Try using eggs, heavy cream (preferably low carb) and baking soda as natural leaveners when baking.
5. Berries are a great, lower sugar fruit, but can sometimes be a bit tart. Add sugar substitute to berries, and then toss, just like you would with regular sugar, to enhance their natural sweetness.
It doesn't have to be summer to fire up the old grill! Today George shows you some great grillin ideas that are sure to become family favorites any time of the year." Grilled Rosemary Ginger Pork Tenderloin and Peaches; Grilled Basil-Marinated Chicken; Grilled Peppers, Leeks and Portobello Mushrooms.