I’ve realized that just because the tag phrase Low Carb High Fat Diet is self-explanatory to someone who has been low-carbing for a while, it isn’t so for everyone. This article introduces the LCHF concepts of the diet.
We’ve had house guests; quite a few house guests in fact. Some have come to stay for the month, others just for a meal. I’ll explain the new found interest in our diet plans in another post but here I’d like to explain the premise and practice of following a low carb high fat diet.
If you’ve followed any popular low carb diet plan (the most popular being “The New Atkins” diet), what you’re about to read below won’t seem strange. A true Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet is similar to Atkins (and can even spin off from basic Paleo principles). The difference is that more fat is eaten with your meals.
While a common misconception in the health industry is that by eating fat you will get fat, such is not the case. Our bodies require fat to function properly. Many of our internal processes either do, or can, run on dietary fats.
In the LCHF Diet you’ll be training your body to do precisely that.
This isn’t a trick. In fact it is quite natural. What is not natural is the way most of us have been eating for the last 50 years — namely high carbohydrates and virtually no fat or protein. This ‘Western’ or ‘American’ diet isn’t serving our bodies. We have more sickness, cancer, obesity, heart troubles, plaque, high blood pressure and damaged metabolisms today than at any other time in history!
In this diet you eat less carbohydrates and a much higher proportion of fat than you’ve been used to. The hard and fast rule is to avoid sugars and starchy foods.
What, no wheat or white bread? No.
No sweet treats and desserts? No.
No large portions of potatoes and rice on your plate? Absolutely not.
Don’t worry, after a few days you’re not even going to miss those things.
You will be eating a wide variety of other delicious and nutritious foods. Your appetite will be sated. You will sleep better at night. And you will feel better about the entire program once you start easily losing weight.
Why We Love The Low Carb High Fat Diets
I don’t know how you came to hear about this diet – the low carb high fat way of eating – but I’ll share with you how we did. Veronica was doing research on coconut oil for a book she was editing. During that research she investigated a laboratory study performed at McGill University (Montreal). The study proved that when people simply added coconut oil to their diet, and changed nothing else, they lost an average of 35 pounds per year.
That sounds preposterous, I know. It is scientific fact.
There are quite a few other scientific studies proving similar results of a LCHF diet. Add to it that many people are blogging and reporting on their personal success with the diet; losing weight, managing blood sugar, and healing overwhelmed organs and sluggish metabolic processes.
What Can I Eat On The LCHF Diet?
I hope you’re excited enough now to give this a try. Let’s get right to the basics.
You’ll be eating:
- Most vegetables that grow above ground, and
- Naturally occurring fats (butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil)
Don’t worry that it will be a boring menu! I’m going to teach you ways to spice it up, have plenty of variety, and still love your food. Then, once you see and feel the results (give it just 10 days) you’ll never want to return to your old way of eating again. I just need you to stick with me for a week and a half. Can you do that?
What you won’t be eating:
- Sugar of any sort
- Starchy foods (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes)
- High Glycemic foods
For the first 10 days (or until you are completely comfortable with the diet and all old cravings have waned) you’ll be eating when you’re hungry and only until you feel full. If you accidentally overeat during a few meals – that’s okay. It takes a while to learn that when you’re eating this way you neither want nor need to eat as much.
That’s the Low Carb High Fat diet in a nutshell. If you’ve got it down, you won’t be counting calories or portioning out your meals. You won’t be shopping for factory made, heart healthy (or at least that’s what the label says), low fat and fat free foodstuffs.
The main reason this diet works so well for weight loss is the avoidance of carbohydrates but there is more to it than that.
Like the Atkins diet you will be limiting your carb intake until your body adjusts. You body will adjust in two ways.
First, without all the sugar and starch (which your body converts to sugar), your blood sugar levels will stabilize. When this happens the need for insulin production slows. Insulin is largely responsible for converting sugar to energy; energy that is not immediately used then gets stored to fat. Less insulin, less fat created from your food source.
Secondly, your body will re-train itself to burn fat for energy. This is completely natural and possible. Not only will your body burn the fat you put into it (through all that butter and other natural oils), but it also starts burning up your fat stores and uses it for energy.
All that fat you’ve been holding onto, that you’ve been convinced you need to starve out or sweat out, can be used for energy! It’s true. It’s healthy. And medical doctors and scientists have been testing and using it for years. (Check out my upcoming posts of ketosis to learn how that happens, or search from Google to find out more.)
Low Carb High Fat Diet and Diabetes
Now, since we’ve been talking so much about blood sugar and insulin, you’re probably wondering what the low carb high fat diet does to a diabetic (type 1, type 2, or insulin resistant).
I’m not a doctor (but one of us is insulin resistant). If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, I do suggest you talk to your doctor or specialist about this diet before embarking on such a drastic change.
When you start on this diet you’ll find that by avoiding sugar and carbohydrates (that naturally raise your blood sugar) will result in a decrease for the medication that manages it. Moving too fast with this diet, and without medical attention, diabetics need to be extra mindful of adjusting their daily intake of insulin and be mindful of excess ketones in their bloodstream.
Can I Really Eat All I Want?
I suggest you eat all you want in the first 10 days if you are looking to lose 45 pounds or less, and have been eating the standard American diet up until now. You’ll need those 10 days to adjust to the low carb high fat diet and I want this to be as easy as possible for you. To starve yourself with portion control or calorie counting has a high chance that you won’t last long enough on the diet to stick with it for more than a few days.
After that, if you plateau (and nearly everyone does after losing 1/2 the weight they wanted to get off), you can keep a closer eye on portion control. By this I don’t mean measuring ounces – what you’ll be measuring is percentages and ratios to ensure you are getting the correct amount of fat to protein to carbohydrates. You will hear of those percentages being called macros (macro-nutrients) by folks who have been following this diet (or the Ketogenic Diet) for many years.