What is LCHF anyway?

Skinny on LCHF

In the next few posts I’m going to spend time on the basics of LCHF, not the hardcore science of nutrition.  There’s plenty more of that to come again soon. I’m starting with our view of what the Low Carb Healthy Fat lifestyle is all about (and why you’d do it).

Here’s our “Skinny version” by me, Prof Grant Schofield – aka The Fat Professor, Dr Caryn Zinn – the Whole Food Dietitian, and Craig Rodger – the LCHF Chef). Together we are the authors of the (coming soon) complete  how to guide and cookbook on LCHF living “What the Fat? Why Sugar’s OUT and Fat’s IN.”

Here’s the questions we answer in this post:

  • What is LCHF?
  • Why might you think about LCHF?
  • Why LCHF works
  • What will I eat?
  • What shouldn’t I eat?

What is LCHF?

LCHF actually stands for Low Carb High Fat, but we have renamed it: Low Carb Healthy Fat. We feel this better reflects what it’s all about. While we do want you to eat more fat than you are probably used to, the emphasis is on healthy sources of fat. LCHF is not a “diet”, it is a way of life.

LCHF encompasses a way of eating that embraces whole foods; that is, foods that are minimally processed and generally don’t come in packages. If you truly embrace this way of eating, it will naturally end up being lower in carbohydrate and higher in fat than the current, mainstream way of eating. LCHF is a fulfilling and satisfying way of eating that is full of benefits for health. While there is an element of restriction (as there is with whatever you do in life), it is not about deprivation.

Why might you think about LCHF?

LCHF has many advantages, both for yourself and for your family. Here are the top five you might identify with. Do you want to:

  1. Lose weight and have the best chance to keep it off for good? Have you tried to lose weight before and for a moment believed you were successful, but then put the weight back on again (along with some more)?
  2. Have a healthy relationship with food? Do you constantly feel hungry and beat yourself up when you eat foods you “shouldn’t”?
  3. Improve inflammatory health conditions? Do you suffer from aches and pains and inflammation for which you have to rely on medications for improvements?
  4. Break free of that “tired and run down” feeling? Do you have a busy lifestyle, feel permanently exhausted and regularly end up reaching for quick, unhealthy food?
  5. Live better for longer? Do you simply want to “be the best you can be” in health and in life? Do you want to be able to provide food for yourself and your family that is tasty, nourishing and easy?

Why LCHF works

  1. If you gain weight easily, feel lethargic, stressed and are out of shape, chances are you are insulin resistant and intolerant to carbs (more details about this later). LCHF is the best lifestyle approach for managing insulin resistance.
  2. When you can control your blood sugars and the hormones that control your energy levels and weight (especially insulin), your body will respond by working as it was designed to – as a fat-burning machine!
  3. Weight control will become effortless, your energy levels will be better, and you will feel great free at last from the low-fat calorie counting way of living that left you hungry, sick and tired.
  4. What raises glucose and insulin levels? Carbohydrate, of course. We all vary in how we respond to and tolerate carbs. Finding your particular carb-tolerance level means your blood sugar and insulin will be well controlled.
  5. Break free of that “tired and run down” feeling? Do you have a busy lifestyle, feel permanently exhausted and regularly end up reaching for quick, unhealthy food?
  6. Live better for longer? Do you simply want to “be the best you can be” in health and in life? Do you want to be able to provide food for yourself and your family that is tasty, nourishing and easy?
  7. If you find yourself nodding your head when you read this list, then LCHF is definitely for you.

What will I eat?

  • Good-quality carbs from whole foods that are minimally processed, such as vegetables (lots of non-starchy ones), fruit, dairy products and the occasional legume (beans and pulses).
  • Protein from minimally processed meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds and legumes (beans and pulses).
  • Fat from whole, minimally processed plant and animal sources, including avocado, olive oil, nuts, fatty fish, dairy products and coconut products.

What shouldn’t I eat?

  • Refined and processed junk foods containing sugar.
  • Refined, nutrient-poor, packaged carbohydrate-based foods, including most grains such as breads, cereals, pasta, rice, muesli bars and crackers.

Please share this with those who are curious about the LCHF way, but want more information.  That’s why we wrote it!

12 comments

  1. Nice to see the community between researcher, chef and dietician – put in way that many will question, understand and ultimately benefit. Good luck on the book launch and success of LCHF.

  2. thomas Johnson · · Reply

    What happened with Bevan at ironman this year??

    1. Bev had bad cramps on the run after leading the race during bike. No idea why just yet, so need to talk to him more.

  3. Kirstie · · Reply

    When you talk about a low carb high fat diet are you actually talking about being in ketosis?

    1. Not necessarily ketosis – that is something that some people may do, I eat about 80-100g carbs a day most weeks

  4. HI Grant,
    My Mum is 74years old, classed as obese with type two diabetes and chronic urinary tract infections. Would it be safe to advise her to do this diet. She doesn’t exercise but I am hoping with a gentle start on exercise combined with this diet, her health could improve?
    Be keen to hear your thoughts.
    Sharon

    1. Yes safe to cut carbs

  5. John Atkinson · · Reply

    HI There
    I have been trying to eat paleo style for some 3 years now. Lost about 13 KGs but still feel i can lose another 5 or so. Very interested in your book and website. I feel low carb may be what I need for the rest and the health benefits are there too..
    What is your view re gluten? I have been diagnosed as being “sensitive” but there is so much hype about this right now its a bit confusing..
    anyway – looking forward to reading your book!
    John

  6. M Harikishan · · Reply

    Since I am from India and cannot have most of the foods mentioned in the forum, can anyone suggest Indian LCHF recipes or name any book on Indian LCHF diet

    1. What about changing the ratio of things like a curry to rice – several spoonfuls to one of rice rather than the other way around?

  7. My food intake is based on LCHF. But I had an interesting discussion lately with friends.

    What about farmers and workers in developing countries who eat mostly rice or corn? They have very little meat because it’s too expensive. The daily meal is a whole plate of rice and a bit of sauce, vegetables and perhaps a banana. Meat is once a week.

    It’s certainly very High Carb and little fat and protein.

    It seems to me farmers in Asia or Africa have been eating this way for hundreds or thousands of years and still going strong. I would be very interested what are their insulin levels, blood sugar, HDL/LDL etc. and also incidence of CVD or type 2 diabetes.

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Richard David Feinman

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