What is a Low Carb High Fat Diet?

eggs avocado prawns 530w jpg

Yesterday we attended a conference run by LowCarbDownUnder.com.au on “LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) Nutrition“.

Big thanks to the organisers and presenters for such a fascinating day.

LCHF is where you eat a diet of minimal carbohydrates but high fats with a balance of protein. So you can eat meat, veg grown above the ground, fish, eggs, full fat yoghurt, butter etc with your carbs coming mainly from fruit, veg and nuts.

There’s no weighing or measuring of allowable foods, you eat until you are full as fat is a great trigger for your satiety hormones

This is a big leap for many people who follow the traditional food pyramid, where carbohydrates form the largest part of the diet and fats the smallest part. But many health professionals are starting to question the food pyramid because we are getting fatter and metabolic diseases are on a significant rise.

Now, we eat carbs and have recipes that contain them but we are also open and supportive of different ways to eat and think about food. Here’s some of what we learnt (warning: we’re not doctors like a lot of yesterday’s presenters so will just share our basic understanding without getting too medical).

Dr Zeeshan Arain discussed whether we should all be on a Ketogenic Diet, explaining how beta-Hydroxybutyrate can be used as an alternate fuel source for the brain. He offered some guidelines on achieving nutritional ketosis and benefits of ketogenic living including – keeping blood sugars level for diabetics, weight reduction and improvements for skin acne, PCOS, epilepsy and neurological diseases. He also shared “selfies” of before he moved to a ketogenic diet and after. Looking great Dr Arain!

bacon and eggs 520w jpgCan “Elite Athletes” Eat LCHF and win? The short answer is – yes!

With many athletes (particularly those in endurance events) adopting LCHF eating. Dr Peter Brukner, doctor for the Australian Cricket Team, shared his own personal experience of a LCHF diet and that of some Australian cricketers who had adopted it in the last 12 months (congrats on winning the 1st Ashes Test in Brisbane!)

Here’s one of the key messages we heard yesterday – saturated fat is good for you!

With Christine Cronau nutritionalist and author, explaining why fat is vital for our cells, organs, lungs, hormones, energy and emotional health. Christine says, “The vilification of fat has been the biggest health mistake in our history”.

When we saw the weight and health changes that happened for Christine and her family she is certainly an example of healthy living.

It was great to hear David Gillespie speak about “Toxic Oil”, explaining the differences between saturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats.

We are designed to eat fats, but not large quantities of polyunsaturated fats we get from seed oils. Try and buy any processed or fast foods without them! He gave particular focus on the dangers of seed oils and their possible influence on cancer. David recommends getting rid of margarine and all seed oils from the pantry.

One of us is an adult onset type 1 diabetic, so we were very keen to hear Dr Troy Stapleton share his personal story on being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a year ago. It was fascinating comparing the results managing his blood sugars with a LCHF eating vs the classic food pyramid eating taught to almost all diabetics. Troy warned that a keto adaptation takes 4-6 weeks and there are some side affects along the way as the body changes its fuel supply from carbs to fat. Dr Stapleton’s ketogenic diet was of much interest.

Professor Grant Schofield works in public health in New Zealand. He discussed the damage that our current diets are causing us individually and as a society. Grant highlighted how metabolic diseases are increasing at alarming rates and affect our quality of life. Grant also discussed a real concern of how health systems are going to cope in the future if we don’t find solutions.

Dr Gary Fettke is an orthopaedic surgeon in Tasmania and is a “no fructose” advocate. Gary talked about the flawed science on nutrition, convenience, politics and dollars. Plus death by the food pyramid. Gary is asking the hard questions of his profession and is not happy with their answers. He is a man on a mission.

Having followed his blog we were looking forward to hearing Damon Gameau talk about “That Sugar Film” a documentary he has been developing.

For 60 days Damon ate 40 teaspoons of sugar (average for a teenager) in everyday food such as juice, stir fry sauces and “health” bars. Damon surprised us because his film is a lot more than his sugar journey. The film also explores sugar in society and what detrimental effects it has. Hearing the extent of what could be called an epidemic makes us very keen to see the movie and learn much more.

Is a LCHF diet right for everyone? We can’t give you that answer but it is certainly something worth reading about.

Want to learn more? Here’s some great references mentioned (or written) by the presenters:

We’ve got some reading to do!

Have you adopted a LCHF eating plan? Do you have any thoughts on LCHF? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

12 thoughts on “What is a Low Carb High Fat Diet?

  1. Pingback: Marge Burkell – Why Did I Select a Low-Carb Diet Plan?

  2. Pingback: What is a Low Carb High Fat Diet? | TheSugarBreakup.com « FatBrainLeanBody

  3. Pingback: Low Carb Eating Didn’t Fail Me | OBESITY UNDONE IS FAT THEN FIT NOW

  4. I shifted to a LCHF diet in the last week of October. Best thing I have ever done for my health. I have been slowly losing weight and my overall energy and health have improved. I also have ceoliacs so this change has been excellent to help maintain my GF lifestyle! I also eat less due to being full easier and hardly snack at all and I dont get raging hunger as I did on my old way of eating.

  5. I think sugar/fructose is toxic if it is the form of carbohydrate you eat a lot of, but the same can be said of flour or even the starch in potatoes if it comes in the form of french fries. And these are especially problematic in the presence of high omega-6 intakes from oils (omega 6 actually behaves differently when carbs are restricted, it’s not so antagonistic to omega-3 then). Sugar is a “gateway carb” for a lot of people, pumping up their glucose intake and total calorie intake as well, as some of the comments above show.

    Restricting carbs and omega 6 is worth trying especially if you’re not feeling 100%, and eating real food without grains and legumes, oils and sugars (and maybe dairy), i.e. Paleo, is worth trying too. Combining the two, LCHF Paleo, has turned my physical and mental health around and made me now fitter (and happier) at 55 than I was at 25.

  6. I have been doing LCHF for the past 2 years to heal my Crohn’s Disease (GAPS Diet & now Macrobiotic with brown rice) I am the best I have been since being a teenager – slim, bright, thriving and no more Crohn’s symptoms. It is a balancing act for each individual but so worth the effort. I am having no sugar in my diet at all atm – no fruit, added sugar, sweeteners – only veggies. I highly recommend giving it a go to improve your all round health.

  7. Since going sugar free almost three years ago, I have naturally drifted towards LCHF too, with something more carby, but not sugary, once or twice a week. It seems my body and brain are the happiest here.

  8. It was a fantastic day and it was great catching up with you. I came home did a calculation of my carbs for an average week, divided by seven and interestingly I have between 35 and 38g of carbs a day. My meals don’t change very much. After about 12 months of being sugar free my body naturally decided to lower carbs on its own. I am now 17 months sugar free and I have very little interest in carbs these days. I love mashed sweet potato about three times a week and I balance the carb count with a huge amount of butter and cream when I mash them, then add even more butter as I eat them. I have a small carb treat once a week these days. My fat intake is about 80%+ a day. I can’t get enough fat into me :)

  9. This idea has been around for a long time. Atkins talked about this, although I’m not keen on some of his message. It did spark me to do further research, and I’m totally for a high fat diet. There are benefits for mental health because you don’t have sugar/carb ups and downs. As many of you know, sugar is toxic. There is lots of information out there about this. Read Atkins, Sally Fallon, Weston Price, stuff about Paleo diets. Main stream information is years behind.

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