Questions and answers about LCHF

Frågor och svar om LCHFHere are common questions and answers about low carb high fat (LCHF) nutrition and health:

Is saturated fat dangerous?

No. That is an old and disproven theory. It’s been a mistake from the beginning. More.

I started eating LCHF / very low carb and I feel dizzy / a headache / tired?

Dizziness / headaches and similar symtoms are common during the first week as your body adapt to a very low carb diet. These symptoms usually go away in a few days.

Adding a bit more carbs to the meals reduces the symptoms but can slow the adaptation (and weight loss).

Another possibility is that you are dehydrated / low on salt. When starting a very low carb there is extra loss of salt and fluids through the kidneys in the first weeks, until the body adapts. Drinking some extra fluid and putting some extra salt on your food during the first week can avoid this problem and often cures the symptoms. Alternatively you can drink some buillon a few times a day.

Do you use blood pressure medication? A very low carb diet can lower high blood pressure, and medication may need to be reduced in that case. Low blood pressure may result in dizziness.

Why are Asian rice eaters thin?

Probably because they do not eat a lot of sugar or refined starch. More.

What about gallstones and LCHF?

High fat food can give you short term trouble if you already have gallstones. Low fat food gives you gallstones in the long term. More.

Can you eat LCHF if you’ve had your gallbladder removed? Yes.

Can you eat low carb cookies / bread / pasta and lose weight?

That is probably not a good idea:

Do you get cancer from eating red meat?

Highly unlikely, although favoring unprocessed meat is the healthiest choice. Replacing meat with processed carbs may be one of the worst things you can do for your health and weight. More. 

Do you get hypothyroidism on a very low carb diet?

No, hardly on a well-formulated low carb diet, meaning you replace the energy from carbs by eating more fat. In scientific studies on LCHF there are no problems with the thyroid and I see no new thyroid issues in my patients going strictly low carb.

However, starvation can lead to hypothyroidism, and if you remove carbs AND fat from your diet you will be starving. So you do need to eat carbs or fat to fuel your body.

Bottom line: A LCHF diet is fine for your thyroid. More.

Is there scientific proof that LCHF is good for weight / blood sugar / cholesterol / blood pressure?

Yes.

Are studies showing better weight loss on low carb diets sponsored by the meat industry or the Atkins foundation?

Yes, a few of them are. But repeated independent studies show the same results.

Does insulin play a role in weight gain / loss?

Yes, it’s absolutely crucial in most cases. Some bloggers have objections but they do not change biochemical facts. More.

Can you drink alcohol on LCHF?

Sure, in moderate amounts. But beer and sweet drinks need to be avoided. Choose wine or non-sweetened liquor. More.

Is salt dangerous?

No. At least not in moderate amounts. More.

What’s a good LCHF breakfast except for eggs?

Perhaps this.

Can you eat fruit on LCHF?

Only occasionally, as an exception, if you want to be strict and get the maximum effect. Fruit contains a lot of sugar. Fruit is candy from nature.

Why are Americans obese?

This is why.

More knowledge

This talk by me from the Ancestral Health Symposium 2011 summarizes the history and science behind the ongoing revolution in diet and health.

More theory and practice

Here four of the world’s biggest experts on the subject explain the theory and practice of various kinds of carb restriction:

LustigYTLow Carb Explained

Low Carb LivingThe Science of Low Carb

Do you have more questions?

Here’s more Q & A from my mailbox.

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541 Comments

  1. sue g
    I started the LCHF diet one week ago and so far have only lost 6/10 of a pound. I have been eating yogurt and nuts like recommended in the "tips and recipes" however when I look at the rules of losing weight the low carb way it says avoid yogurt and nuts. Everything else I am eating is low carb. Am I just not being patient? Or should I give up the yogurt, I really don't like eggs.
    Reply: #502
  2. Zepp
    Well.. I can say that you are not patient!

    And then I dont know if you realy need to lose weight?

    If one dont need it.. its difficult!

    There are no rules, those are tips.. for those stuck on plataues.. after 3-6 months!

    Read this;

    http://www.fitintegrity.com/uploads/9/5/1/6/9516119/no_sugar_no_starc...

    And I think the time table is, 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years!

    Reply: #503
  3. sue g
    Oh, I really do need to loose about 20 pounds. after reading the website you highlighted I guess the only option for me is to stop eating yogurt and nets, but it is so good.
    Reply: #504
  4. Zepp
    The thing is that you started to lose weight, thats a symptome that you have done somthing right!

    And then 20 pounds is about 70,000 Kcal.. you need to burn those, they dont disapear in thin air!

    If one can lose 1 pound a week, thats very fast!

    And yes.. if one is in a hurry one need to reduce everything thats not necesery, whatever if its taste good or not!

    And then, why that hurry.. are in for a surgery or something?

    You know, almost everyone can lose a lot in a hurry by starving, thats not a problem, its more about dedication and willpower.. but its not healty in the long run!

    And allmoste everybody gain the weight back, becuse its seldome sustainable!

  5. sue g
    thanks, I will remember that and continue on
  6. Chelsy H
    I have a question..Hoping this was correct in where I posted it? :-)

    I see a lot of weight loss stories with huge losses in only about 8-12 months yet I see on this website where it says you can expect roughly a 1 pound loss per week. Can someone please explain how these folks are losing so much in so little time? I have about 150 pounds to lose. I am willing to be patient if necessary :-)

    Thank you in advance!!

    Reply: #508
  7. W.Payne
    In Dr Mark Houston's book, 'What your doctor may not tell you about heart disease', it says that eating low carb (which he recommends, makes one insulin resistant. This sounds odd to me as I thought becoming insulin resistance was not desirable. Are you able to clarify what might be meant please?
    Reply: #509
  8. Zepp
    Its the sucesses that get publiced.. dont think otherwise!

    I think its about biochemi and hormones?

    I.E. its those that get fat of hyperinsulinemia.

    1 pound a week is very fast.. its almoste those how is hevely obese that achive such progres over that long period.

    They probably lose weight becuse they suffer of metabolic syndrome/hyperinsulinemia!

    LCHF focus on blood sugar and insulin.. one cut out much carbs, still eat ones demand of protein and take most energy frome fat!

    It sound strange for some.. but its not!

    Here you can read;

    http://www.dietdoctor.com/lchf

    http://www.fitintegrity.com/uploads/9/5/1/6/9516119/no_sugar_no_starc...

    http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/lowcarb101/a/gettingstarted.htm

  9. Zepp
    Yes.. its altso cald "fat indcuced insulin resistantce".. its a adaption of our fuel partioning syststem.

    As you probably know.. even if you dont eat a single carb.. your body still need som glucose.. manly small parts of the brain and kidney.. and all red blood cells!

    So the liver produce glucose from amino acids, glycerole and laktat!

    And ketones replace a lot of need of glucose.. especialy your heart loves ketones.. it have a lot of ketolysis ensyms.

    But that not your muscles should use all up, muscle cells get less good to take up glucose frome blood, they have to rely more on fat.. thats what we aim at!

    http://www.ketotic.org/2012/05/keto-adaptation-what-it-is-and-how-to....

    Its temporary and if one goes back to binging carbs again its about two/three days befor its back as it was befor.

  10. gabriela guarda
    Hola este es mi caso hace 6 meses empece una dieta alta en proteinas verduras y con 2 porciones de carbohidratos y 2 de frutas al dia tomando potasio diuretico acelerador del metabolismo he bajado 30 kg y tenia obesidad mordiga pesaba 136 hoy peso 106 quiero iniciar la
    Dieta LCHF pero sin dejar de tomar las pastillas ... sera posible hacer esto .... ke me recomienda
    Pues tengo miedo de lo ke pase a mi higado pues con el peso ke tenia antes es obvio ke tenia o
    Tengo higado graso y con principios de diabetes ... ke me aconseja ... ayudeme!!
    Reply: #511
  11. Zepp
  12. Lisa
    What about low carb beers like Michelob Ultra (2.6 carbs for 12 oz.) and Miller light ( 3. something for 12 oz.)

    Can we believe that to be true?

    Reply: #517
  13. sue g
    How long does it take for your body to realize it needs to burn fat for energy rather than sugar?
    Reply: #515
  14. sue g
    I also have a question about nut butters, why do you not consider them real food when all they are (if they are done properly) are ground up nuts?
    Reply: #516
  15. Zepp
    Immediatly you stop eating carbs!

    But it take a wail befor it burn a lot of fat.. in the meantime you get transitation side effects!

    Better you read here;

    http://www.ketotic.org/2012/05/keto-adaptation-what-it-is-and-how-to....

  16. Zepp
    Homemade nutbutter is real food, but some nuts are high in carbs!

    Its more about to not snacking if one need to lose weight!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OFQ567ETUs

  17. Zepp
    If its a big company, probably yes!

    If its a "Low Carb company".. I have my thoughts!

    Big companys seldome can have secrets.

    Check if they are listed here;

    http://low-carb-scams.com/author/deborahkrueger/

  18. sue g
    Sorry, I have another question. When beginning LCHF what is an acceptable amount of carbs to eat and still reach ketosis? When I look at the ketotic website it says next to none should be eaten, but I feel that I need some fiber from greens and vegetables and they do have carbs.
    Reply: #519
  19. Zepp
    20 energy percentige or lower is kind of a ketogenic diet.. its about 100 grams a day for moste of us.

    10 E% or 50 grams is recomended as a ordanary ketogenic diet.

    5 E% or 25 grams is strikt ketogenic diet for losing weight/for diabetics/Atkins induction/ for fast transitation to ketosis.

    Less then 5 E% is UFO, Under Five (Om dagen) a day, one become an UFO becuse one cant eat anything that others eat, and they look at you as you came frome another planet!

    Dont cut out veggies.. moste people should increas veggies, perticaly green leafs.

    But one can reduce starchy tubers a bit.. there are those not so starchy altso.. like carrots.

    Its not that strange as it sounds.. read this paper;

    http://www.fitintegrity.com/uploads/9/5/1/6/9516119/no_sugar_no_starc...

    Its more about comon sens!

  20. Boris Bumagny
    Dear Doctor
    Just joined the program 4 days ago and have a lot o fdoubts
    1- Is diet jello permited?
    Reply: #523
  21. Cristi
    Hi there LCHF Community!

    I started a week ago and have been sticking to under 50grams of carbs a day.
    I've lost .8 kg (1.76lbs) in the first week. I did a few days exercise but nothing overly strenuous.
    I will increase once I have more energy. I need to lose at least 17 kg.

    I have started drinking at least one glass of water with a pinch of sodium bi-carb every day - usually in the morning. I find this helps with acidity levels.

    On top of this I drink another 2 - 2.5 litres of filtered water a day. Only 1 coffee in the morning.
    I do eat at least 1 green leafy salad a day (if not 2), with just organic cold pressed olive oil as a dressing. I only use quality Himalayan salt.

    I had my first case of gout in my right foot about a week before I started (which delayed my start on the LCHF diet) Bad timing!
    I got rid of the gout in about 5 days with Apple cider vinegar/Sodium bi-carb daily in a glass of water first thing in the mornings and 2 small glasses of organic black cherry juice a day.

    I have a few questions.
    1. Is it okay to have a little sodium bi-carb a day to help control acidosis?
    (I usually take some Lugol's iodine to alkalize and for my sluggish multi-nodular thyroid)

    2. What percentage of carbs/protein/fat is optimal?

    At the moment I'm trying to stick to: 15% carbs, 30% protein and 55% fats.
    Yesterday for example was - 44 grams carbs, 114 grams protein and 98 grams fat.

    After years of being either low fat or no fat I'm finding it hard to pile the fat on my plate - although I'm loving it!!
    I'm fine with proteins except for the acidity, hence the Apple Cider V, Sodium Bicarb and Lugol's.iodine.

    Ciao!
    Cristi

  22. Ben
    I follow the percentages of 75-80% fat 15-20% protein 5% carb
  23. Zepp
    Noe.. only real food is permited!

    Or rather, we cant forbid you to gorge on junkfood.. but thats not what your body/healt need moste!

    Read this and try to get in to the thinking.. there is no magic diets.. only real food for nutrients and energy.. some need to reduce carbs.. some other only need to get a healtyer diet!

    http://www.fitintegrity.com/uploads/9/5/1/6/9516119/no_sugar_no_starc...

  24. Samantha
    Can I drink anything other than water, tea, coffee? If I am willing to lose weight at slower rate, can I drink skim milk??? I'm one of those ppl who is never without something to drink. Until 10 days ago it was Sun drop (as bad as, if not worse than, coke). I'd rather be without food as I had something to drink and this will be my downfall on this diet. Thanks
    Reply: #526
  25. Julie
    In the diet, there is no mention of root vegetables like carrots, swedes, parsnips and sweet potatoes. They are not on the permitted list OR the banned list. I like to add a small sweet potato to a batch of veg soup (it is my secret ingredient which makes the soup delicious) but is this wrong? I am rather confused.
    Reply: #527
  26. Zepp
    Skim milk is nothing but wite sodas whitout the fiss!

    Milk is a special nutrius solution for mamal childs to grow and put on weight!

    Skim milk is altso god for reefeding carbs and amino acids after very heavy excersise.. its very insulinogenic!

    Try cabonised water, there are those whit taste nowadays.

  27. Zepp
    Well its easy understandble beginners advices but there are tubers that quite low in carbs to.. but then you need a list!

    Here you get one!

    http://www.fineli.fi/foodclass.php?classif=igclass&class=root�...

    And its European, fibers are counted separatly!

  28. chelsea
    Hello there, I am very confused as to why the net count on the ATKINS BARS says 2gms carbs on the front, but when you read the label...it says it has 17 grms of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber...wouldn't that be 15 net carbs?
  29. Zeev
    Hello there, I'm on LCHF (85% strict) about 3 years and feel awesome, lost about 10% (16 pounds) of my weight, while enjoying tasty and natural food, it wasn't a main purpose but a great bonus. My question to dietdoctor is why recently I started to gain my weight back? I eat same kind of food, sometimes a bit of sweets (as usually), I'm doing a little bit less sport, but still exercise continuously: swimming, biking and gym. I gained all my weight back in last half a year. The biggest change in past year was moving from Israel to USA, is there something I don't know that may be related to this change, like climate? Please advise.
  30. Christopher Sorby
    Hi, My wife and I and the kids to a degree have embraced the LCHF life style and it has shown in our weight loss and overall health. We first started cutting back on sugars in September 2013, but when seeing a science show in November 2014 on the LCHF diet we decided to almost completely cut out carbs as well. I have also decided to increase my fat intake more than my wife and have felt this has been going well. Just last week though I got a blood test from my GP and the results were a little concerning and just needed to see how you would look at this. My overall score was 7 with the good cholesterol at 1.6 and the bad as he put it at 4.5, he was going to chase up my inflammation markers as they were not available, all my other markers were good and blood pressure at the time was good as well. He said my level was bad and he would suggest I go on medication which is something I am not happy doing. What should I be looking for when getting tests as I have been researching this a bit and feel somewhat confused by these results. Should I be reducing my fat intake a little?
  31. ali
    I have taken part in lchf diet since late December. I lost 4lbs in the first few days! But have since put it back on and struggling to lose any kind of weight since. It's really gutting. Am I doing something wrong? I make sure my carb intake is low as possible, less than 25g most days. I exercise at the gym 4-5 days a week 30mins intense cardio with weight training. Any advice would be really helpful.
  32. Zara
    Hi Diet Doctor...

    The LCHF has changed my life. I was diagnosed as insulin resistant last year, and that made sense why I was not losing weight. I heard of the LCHF Lifestyle through a friend of mine. I weighed 119kg and came down to 105kg. During December, I ate all the wrong things, sugar, bread, just to name a few. I gained 7kgs. I knew that it was wrong and that I am playing with my health. I started again in January 2015 and to date I only lost 500g.

    Am I doing something wrong? why this time around my weight loss is slow. In 3 weeks I only lost 500g. I even cut down on the diary and protein; and don't eat nuts at all.

    Please, your input is appreciated :)

  33. Brian
    I am just starting a LCHF diet and am wondering about eating taco's. I wonder about the corn tortia shell?
  34. Sandee
    What about diet soda
  35. Pedro
    What you think about the use of SUCRALOSE .
  36. Eric
    I was looking into the eating habits of African Bushmen since they have been doing the same thing for thousands of years, and you never seem to see a fat bushman. They are as close to an ancient African slim and strong hunter-gatherer population as you can find.

    Their intake of carbs is pretty low (usually around 100g or less daily mostly from the fleshy part of the mongongo fruit), their protein (from mongongo nuts and lean game meats) is around 100g daily, and the remainder (about 50% to 70% of their diet) is fat from game meats/organs and especially the mongongo nuts which have so much vitamin E in them, they are viable as a primary foodstuff year-round.

    These are slow, methodical hunters as well -- they're not chasing their food down utilizing too many calories to catch their prey. They use stealthy techniques like bows and arrows, traps, and snares, all made from the natural resources around them.

    They are not highly active people. Yes they roam the countryside to find food, but this is at a leisurely pace as a group. They sit and stand around a lot and preparing their food takes up about 4 to 5 of their daylight hours.

    In my opinion, it is their DIET that is the major reason these people as so slim, yet not undernourished. Their level of activity is a minor reason why they are slim, but plays more into the overall health and fitness of these individuals it seems.

    Our problem in today's society, and the solution:

    Think of the typical American 'home-made' meal for a teenager -- a meat and cheese sandwich on white bread, a 20 oz. soda, and a bag of chips. This typical meal has somewhere in the vicinity of 150 to 190 grams of carbohydrate -- in ONE meal that's not even all that filling because it's relatively low in fat and protein compared to the carbs.

    What's worse, is that high amounts of refined carbs (the white bread, the soda, and the chips) cause a tremendous insulin spike (while keeping glucagon low) which shuttles all the fat you ate (in the cheese, meat, and chips) into your adipose tissue (instead of being able to use it immediately for energy) while it deals with getting all that sugar out of your bloodstream ASAP and into your muscles and liver (because too much sugar in your bloodstream is TOXIC and damaging).

    And the second problem with this is that less active people eating mostly carbs have FILLED UP their muscle capacity for carbs weeks, months, or even YEARS ago which means now those excess carbs cannot get into your muscles and instead MUST GET CONVERTED into the fat that you wear.

    Is it ANY WONDER how a soaring carbohydrate intake daily (without ridiculous amounts of professional athletic-level conditioning) makes and KEEPS you FAT? No, there IS NO WONDER anymore. THIS IS HOW IT WORKS PEOPLE.

    You are making adipose fat AND storing more dietary fat than you are EVER accessing as energy because of this huge carb load. It takes 45 solid minutes of walking to burn off the calories in one 20 ounce soda (for a person who weighs about 185). That's just for ONE soda.

    The biggest key to your weight loss solution is your DIET, and with a slightly hypocaloric low carb, adequate protein diet with the remainder being dietary fat, you will be able to access your fat stores and get lean over time, guaranteed.

    P.S. Some would point to DurianRider and Freelee as the obvious examples as a counterpoint to what I just said, and to that I say "I don't care how much they SAY they are not very active, it is CLEAR that they are ridiculously active WAY BEYOND most people watching their videos because Harley is a competitive bicyclist (PRO ATHLETE), and Freelee is bicycling everywhere with him, doing 100's if not 1000's of squats every week in her videos, etc., etc."

    They can HANDLE the 'natural fruit with fiber' carb load because they are incinerating these carbs with their high metabolic activity, and the small amounts of fat they eat are inconsequential to weight gain for them (they burn that much fat in their sleep easily -- it's only 20-25g of fat eaten daily).

    If YOU are doing athletic-level conditioning as a part of your lifestyle, then this post isn't necessarily for you (although Tim Noakes might disagree), because this post is about slow-moving people (African Bushmen) and THEIR kind of diet that keeps them lean and trim (these people aren't rippling with musculature though -- they are simply lean and trim).

    If your lifestyle is low activity, this kind of diet will make you (and keep you) lean and trim.

    Once you ARE lean and trim, you could easily switch to a high-carb, low-fat lifestyle IF you're eating whole foods and exercising A LOT and maintain your leanness. But do not expect it to go well if you eat high-carb, low-fat, man-made CRAP and get lean. That is NOT going to happen.

  37. Azra
    hi,
    I have just get to know this diet from 2 days a go. right now I am planning what should I eat and so on.
    Could somebody please give me some alternative to eat with tea? I like drinking tea very much and drinking it without anything is not as nice . For a long time I have been drinking with honey (or sometimes raisins ). I am wondering can I do that in LCHF diet ? if not do you have any alternative for that ?
    and another question, are dried fruits as bad as normal fruits ? by dried fruits, I mean homemade ones, so I know there is no adding sugar or something like that .
    What about tea from dried fruits ?
    sorry to ask too many ... but I am in first steps ...
    thanks
    Azra,
  38. Azra
    Maybe it is better to say that I am blind and not familiar with this blog that much. So if I put my questions not in proper position please accept my apologize.... :)
    Azra,
  39. Martin
    I have been on the LCHF diet for a couple of weeks and have lost weight (my primary goal) . I believe in the science but I have a couple of questions. Regarding the assertion that "real" food is what our ancestors ate and "they did alright" is that really a true statement? They died much younger and probably had all kinds of health problems related to nutrition simply because the science didn't exist. Can anyone make a statement like that? My other question, whose answer seems obvious to me, is, aren't we all different as well as alike? Some people can do just fine on a high carb low fat diet. I don't believe in it myself but it's obvious to me, just by reading these posts that nutrition is not a "one size fits all" proposition. I see some even struggle to get sustained results on a LCHF diet after a time. It makes me wonder about the genetic components and other possibilities. Last question....What's in it for the Diet Doctor? Are you really doing this altruistically and have no other motives? Just curious since the world seldom works that way.
  40. Vicky
    I need some advice. I have been eating lchf for the last year or so and have lost weight, have plenty of energy for exercise (I am an Ironman triathlete) and have generally felt well. However since last summer I have had a persistent, non-productive night cough. I have had a chest x-ray and lung function test and they have come up clear. The next course of action is to go and see a gastro specialist to see if it is acid reflux. I don't have heartburn or indigestion although I do have small bouts of belching after eating. I am pretty sure that the specialist is going to ask about my diet and immediately site fatty foods as the cause. Is this likely to be the case, I believe that this is a healthy way to eat but if it is causing my cough then I am obviously wrong. I am currently trying apple cider vinegar as I have heard this can work, three days in and so far no difference. Any advice, experiences, anything gratefully received.
  41. Scott
    Martin 2/26 20:00
    It is true that the average life expectancy of our ancient ancestors was not as high as ours today. If you factor in infant mortality, death due to accidental injury and exposure to weather, etc., and death due to predators, their life expectancy and overall health was very good. If they could survive infancy and avoid accidents and predators, they were quite healthy. They simply did not have the prevalence of death due to disease (heart, cancer, diabetes, etc...) that we have today.
  42. BryanD
    I have been on an LCHF diet for 6 months, after my doctor told me my cholesterol was a little high and I wanted to lose a few pounds. I had a blood workup done when I started and 6 months later. After 6 months I have lost 32 Lbs. but my cholesterol has gotten worse. My total Chol. went from 218mg/dL to 286mg/dL. Hdl from 35mg/dL to 49mg/dL, ldl from 148mg/dL to 205mg/dL, triglycerides from 174mg/dL to 161mg/dL, and my total chol/hdl ratio went from 6.2 to 5.8. Now my doc wants me to go on statins to lower my cholesterol, which I don't want to do. I have been very strict with my LCHF livestyle. I don't understand these results, am I eating to much fat? I am 50 yrs. old, now weigh 178 lbs., 6'-1" tall. Any help from Doc, Zepp or anyone would be appreciated.
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