I've been eating the low carb high fat diet for more than two years now. It works great for me, but it isn't for everyone. I moved to this way of eating for more energy, less cravings and simplified lifestyle. Join me to learn more about living low carb or keto.
The Low Carb High Fat Diet: A Brief History
Sometimes to move forward, we have to look back.
Here's a brief history about the origins of the modern low carb high fat diet. It all started with two of the modern day pioneers of the LCHF diet: Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek.
Stephen Phinney thought he was breaking new ground with this new way of eating and was really excited about it. What he actually discovered were some old log notes from a European expedition which trekked across northern Canada to recover a lost ship.
The journal remarked that the guides for the expedition, members of an Inuit tribe, survived on reindeer only. After a few weeks of weakness, the journal notes indicated that the European explorers became stronger very fast.
It noted that they were experiencing more energy than ever before even while expending massive amounts of energy. Why? Because they had adopted a low carb high fat diet without even knowing it.
Over time and with better research, we are re-learning that eating plenty of healthy fats is crucial for having good energy.
But is the Low Carb High Fat Diet right for you? Read on.
THE BENEFITS OF A LOW CARB HIGH FAT DIET
There are many benefits of eating increased amounts of healthy fats such as organic butter, coconut oil, unheated olive oil, ghee, rendered animal fats and whole foods like eggs, avocados and nuts and seeds.
Here are the benefits of the low carb high fat diet:
- Satiety Signals: Healthy fats send signals to the brain indicating you feel full faster and easily control portion sizes. Imagine eating a loaf of bread vs. trying to eat a stick of butter. Like me, I’m guessing you could get through a lot of bread but would have a bite or two of butter and that would be enough!
- Builds Cell Membranes: We need healthy fats to build our cell membranes. While that doesn’t sound exciting, the membranes are largely responsible for the health and signaling of the cell. If you have the wrong fats (like hydrogenated for example) in your diet, your cells are stiffer and unable to function optimally. This translates to brain fog, poor memory, low energy and a slow metabolism.
- Evolutionary Safety: Fats tell your body that your environment is “safe” and signals weight loss if needed. Our bodies are wired as if it was 100,000 years ago (that’s not a typo!). So if we eat fewer calories and less nutrient-dense foods - like sugar, bread, grains and too much fruit - it signals our body that there is the potential for famine. Of course, your body will stall metabolism and favor fat storage to keep you alive.
WOULD A LOW CARB HIGH FAT DIET WORK FOR ME?
While most people can benefit from eating more healthy fats, it is NOT a one-size-fits-all solution.
Here are a few questions to guide you.
- Do you regularly experience being “hangry?” For example, if you’re late to eat or miss a meal you may feel irritated, fatigued and also lightheaded or “off.”
- Is it hard for you to go more than 2-3 hours without eating?
- Do you carry most of your weight around your stomach and thighs?
- Have you been/are you a yo-yo dieter or have you done low-calorie diets in the past?
- Do you experience an afternoon crash when all you'd like is to take a nap?
If you answered yes to some of the above then the chances are you could benefit from the low carb high fat diet.
If you answered yes to more than one, it’s definitely worth your time to explore the low carb or keto lifestyles.
The Blood Sugar Rollercoaster
If you answered YES to the questions above, let me explain a little why you might explore the low carb high fat diet a little more...
Saying YES to the questions above most likely means that you're on the blood sugar rollercoaster. At points during the day you are going fast and other points it feel like you're just barely moving.
Essentially, these are blood sugar irregularities.
Blood sugar irregularities are common in people who would do better with higher fats and by eliminating many carbohydrates in their diet.
Phinney and Volek argue that about ⅔ of the population can benefit from a low carb high fat diet. At the same time, they say that ⅓ will do better with higher carbohydrates.
References: Jeff S. Volek & Stephen D. Phinney. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living. 2011.
HOW TO PROCEED ON A LOW CARB HIGH FAT DIET:
How many carbs you should eat each day is a different conversation that we will cover in a future article.
BEFORE radically changing your diet or introducing massive amounts of fats into your way of eating... it is ALWAYS advisable to speak with your physician first.
For now, if you think that increasing the healthy fats and decreasing appropriate carbohydrates seems like a good idea, then let's start SLOWLY. Your body needs time to adjust as with most changes.
Stop Being Afraid of Fats!
Here's the bottom line: we have been trained for YEARS to be afraid of all fats. Marketing companies made TONS of money off this idea in the 80's and 90's... and still are today.
We shouldn't be so afraid of fats. Cook with organic butter and coconut oil. Add a splash of olive oil to your veggies.
Whether or not the low carb high fat diet is right for you is determined by how it makes you feel.
Your body will tell you what it wants, how it is reacting and whether or not this way of eating is what it is looking for or not.
The hardest part is learning to listen to what our body is telling us. Let me know in the comments how your body reacts to the low carb high fat diet.
Additional Low Carb and Keto Resources
Hopefully this article has helped to clear up a little bit about whether the low carb high fat diet will work for you.
Remember, according to Volek & Phinney at least ⅓ of the population would do better on a high carb diet!
If you liked this article, perhaps you would be interested in reading how to Start a Low Carb Diet. It includes 7 awesome tips to get started.
Wondering if the Low Carb Diet Works to Lose Weight? Again, it has worked for me but it isn't for everyone.
Are you cooking for the whole family? Wondering if the Low Carb Diet is Safe for Kids? This article has 10 incredible tips on how low carb might work with your family.
If you have issues with your blood sugars, reading about the differences of Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis is a good read.
Lastly, please take a look at my FREE 7 DAY LOW CARB DIET Meal Planner. It's loaded with recipes not found on my site along with tips and a BONUS grocery list to make the meal plan a snap!