LCHF for Beginners

Do you want get healthier and leaner, just by eating real food, with no hunger? Then LCHF (low carb, high fat) and this page is for you.

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Dietary advice – in 31 languages
  3. Video course
  4. How LCHF works
  5. Tips and recipes
  6. Recommended cookbooks
  7. Learn more
  8. Frequently asked questions

LCHF Food

1. Introduction

An LCHF diet means you eat fewer carbohydrates and a higher proportion of fat. Most importantly you minimize your intake of sugar and starches. You can eat other delicious foods until you are satisfied – and still lose weight.

A number of recent high-quality scientific studies shows that LCHF makes it easier both to lose weight and to control your blood sugar. And that’s just the beginning.

The basics

  • Eat: Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables growing above ground and natural fats (like butter).
  • Avoid: Sugar and starchy foods (like bread, pasta, rice, beans and potatoes).

Eat when you’re hungry until you are satisfied. It’s that simple.

Skaldeman's fish soupYou do not need to count calories or weigh your food. And just forget about industrially produced low fat products.

There are solid scientific reasons why LCHF works. When you avoid sugar and starches your blood sugar stabilizes and the levels of insulin, the fat-storing hormone, drop. This increases fat burning and makes you feel more satiated.

Note for diabetics

  • Avoiding the carbohydrates that raise your blood sugar decreases your need for medication to lower it. Taking the same dose of insulin as you did prior to adopting a low-carb diet might result in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). You need to test your blood sugar frequently when starting this diet and adapt (lower) your medication. This should ideally be done with the assistance of a knowledgeable physician. If you’re healthy or a diabetic treated either by diet alone or just with Metformin there is no risk of hypoglycemia.

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    2. Dietary Advice

    Eat all you like

    • Meat: Any type, including beef, pork, game meat, chicken, etc. Feel free to eat the fat on the meat as well as the skin on the chicken. If possible try to choose organic or grass fed meat.
    • Fish and shellfish: All kinds: Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel or herring are great. Avoid breading.
    • Eggs: All kinds: Boiled, fried, omelettes, etc. Preferably organic eggs.
    • Natural fat, high-fat sauces: Using butter and cream for cooking can make your food taste better and make you feel more satiated. Try a Béarnaise or Hollandaise sauce, check the ingredients or make it yourself. Coconut oil and olive oil are also good options.
    • Vegetables that grow above ground: All kinds of cabbage, such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, olives, spinach, mushrooms, cucumber, lettuce, avocado, onions, peppers, tomatoes etc.
    • Dairy products: Always select full-fat options like real butter, cream (40% fat), sour cream, Greek/Turkish yogurt and high-fat cheeses. Be careful with regular milk and skim milk as they contain a lot of milk sugar. Avoid flavored, sugary and low-fat products.
    • Nuts: Great for a TV treat instead of candy (ideally in moderation).
    • Berries: Okay in moderation, if you are not a super strict or sensitive. Great with whipped cream.

    LCHF-mat1-vibr-ffffff2-800x276

    Read the nutrition label in the grocery store.
    No more than 5% of carbohydrates for a food is a good rule of thumb.

    LCHF-mat2-vibr-ffffff-648

    Avoid if you can

    • Sugar: The worst. Soft drinks, candy, juice, sports drinks, chocolate, cakes, buns, pastries, ice cream, breakfast cereals. Preferably avoid sweeteners as well.
    • Starch: Bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, French fries, potato chips, porridge, muesli and so on. Wholegrain products are just less bad. Legumes, such as beans and lentils, are high in carbs. Moderate amounts of root vegetables may be OK (unless you’re eating extremely low carb).
    • Margarine: Industrially imitated butter with unnaturally high content of omega-6 fat. Has no health benefits, tastes bad. Statistically linked to asthma, allergies and other inflammatory diseases.
    • Beer: Liquid bread. Full of rapidly absorbed carbs, unfortunately.
    • Fruit: Very sweet, lots of sugar. Eat once in a while. Treat fruit as a natural form of candy.

    badfood

     

    Once in a while

    You decide when the time is right. Your weight loss may slow down a bit.

    • Alcohol: Dry wine (regular red or dry white wine), whisky, brandy, vodka and cocktails without sugar.
    • Dark chocolate: Above 70% cocoa, preferably just a bit.

    Drink on most days

    • Water
    • Coffee: Try it with full-fat cream
    • Tea

     

    countries3Advice on LCHF in other languages

    Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, (pdf) (another version), Croatian, Czech, Danish (Word), Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian (pdf), Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Polish (pdf), Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Ruthenian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish (Word), Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian

    Do you have another translation or a significant improvement of one of the earlier ones? E-mail me (more info).


    3. Video course

    How to Eat LCHF Video Course

    Do you want to see a new high-quality 11-minute video course on how to eat LCHF? And about the most important things to think about on an LCHF diet? Just sign up for our free newsletter and you’ll be able to see it instantly:




     

    4. How LCHF Works

    What are you designed to eat?

    Humans evolved over millions of years as hunter-gatherers, without eating large amounts of carbohydrates. We ate the food available to us in nature by hunting, fishing and gathering all the edible foods we could find. These foods did not include pure starch in the form of bread, pasta, rice or potatoes. We have only eaten these starchy foods for 5 – 10 000 years, since the development of agriculture. Only a limited adaptation of our genes takes place in such a relatively short time.

    With the Industrial Revolution, 100 – 200 years ago, we got factories that could manufacture large amounts of pure sugar and white flour. Rapidly digested pure carbohydrates. We’ve hardly had time to genetically adapt to these processed foods.

    In the 80s, the fear of fat gripped the western world. Low-fat products popped up everywhere. But if you eat less fat you need to eat more carbohydrates to feel satiated. And it’s at this time in history that our disastrous epidemics of obesity and diabetes started. The most fat-phobic country in the world, the USA, was hit the hardest and is now the world’s most obese country.

    Today, it’s clear that the fear of real food with natural fat contents has been a big mistake.

    The problem with sugar and starch

    All digestible carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars in the intestines. The sugar is then absorbed into the blood, raising the blood glucose levels. This increases the production of the hormone insulin, our fat storing hormone.

    insulineng

    Insulin is produced in the pancreas. In large amounts it prevents fat burning and stores surplus nutrients in the fat cells. After some time (a few hours or less) this may result in a perceived shortage of nutrients in the blood, creating feelings of hunger and cravings for something sweet. Usually at that point people eat again. This starts the process again: A vicious cycle leading to weight gain.

    On the other hand, a low intake of carbs gives you a lower, more stable blood glucose, and lower amounts of insulin. This increases the release of fat from your fat stores and increases the fat burning. This usually leads to fat loss, especially around the belly in abdominally obese individuals.

    Weight loss without hunger

    An LCHF diet makes it easier for the body to use its fat reserves, as their release is no longer blocked by high insulin levels. This may be one reason why eating fat gives a longer feeling of satiety than carbohydrates. It’s been shown in a number of studies: When people eat all they want on a low carb diet caloric intake typically drops

    So, no counting or food weighing is necessary. You can forget about the calories and trust your feelings of hunger and satiety. Most people don’t need to count or weigh their food any more than they need to count their breathing. If you don´t believe it, just try for a couple of weeks and see for yourself.

    Here’s some inspiration:

    Health as a bonus

    No animals in nature need the assistance of nutritional expertise or calorie charts to eat. And still, as long as they eat the food they are designed to eat they stay at a normal weight and they avoid caries, diabetes and heart disease. Why would humans be an exception? Why would you be an exception?

    In scientific studies not only is the weight improved on a low carb diet – the blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol profile (HDL, triglycerides) are also improved. A calm stomach and less cravings for sweet food are also common experiences.

    Initial side effects

    If you stop eating sugar and starch cold turkey (recommended) you may experience some side effects as your body adjusts. For most people these side effects tend to be mild and last a just few days. There are also ways to minimize them.

    Common side effects in the first week:

    • Headache
    • Fatigue
    • Dizziness
    • Heart palpitations
    • Irritability

    The side effects rapidly subside as your body adapts and your fat burning increases. They can be minimized by drinking more fluids and by temporarily increasing your salt intake a bit. A good option is to drink some broth every few hours. Alternatively, drink a few extra glasses of water and put extra salt on your food.

    The reason for this is that carbohydrate-rich foods may increase the water retention in your body. When you stop eating high-carb foods you’ll lose excess water through your kidneys. This can result in dehydration and a lack of salt during the first week, before the body has adapted.

    Some people prefer to decrease their intake of carbohydrates slowly, over a few weeks, to minimize the side effects. But the “Nike way” (Just Do It) is probably the best choice for most people. Removing most sugar and starch often results in several pounds lost on the scale within a few days. It may be mostly fluids but it’s great for the motivation.

    How low to go?

    The less carbohydrate you eat the bigger the effects on weight and blood sugar will be. I recommend following the dietary advice as strict as you can. When you’re happy with your weight and health you may gradually try eating more liberally (if you want to).

    More details: How low carb is LCHF?

    The Food Revolution

    This presentation I gave at the Ancestral Health Symposium 2011 summarizes the history and science behind the ongoing LCHF revolution.

    More theory and practice

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

    LustigYT
    Low Carb Explained

    Low Carb Living
    The Science of Low Carb

     

    5. Tips and recipes

    Choose a topic below or keep reading for all of them.



    Breakfast suggestions

    Skaldeman breakfast

    • Eggs and bacon
    • Omelet
    • Leftovers from last night’s dinner
    • Coffee with cream
    • A can of mackerel and boiled eggs
    • Boiled egg with mayonnaise or butter
    • Avocado, salmon and sour cream
    • Sandwich on Oopsie-bread
    • Cheese with butter
    • Boiled eggs mashed with butter, chopped chives, salt and pepper
    • A piece of brie cheese and some ham or salami
    • High-fat yoghurt with nuts and seeds (and maybe berries)

    Lunch and dinner

    Skaldeman-FiskBacon

    • Meat, fish or chicken dishes with vegetables and a rich full-fat sauce. There are many alternatives to potatoes, such as mashed cauliflower.
    • Stews, soups or casseroles with low-carb ingredients.
    • You can use most recipes in cookbooks if you avoid the carbohydrate-rich ingredients. It’s often a good idea to add fat (e.g. butter, cream) to the recipe. Or get an LCHF cookbook.
    • Drink water with your meal or (occasionally) a glass of wine.

    Snacks

    On a low-carbohydrate diet with more fat and a bit more protein you will probably not need to eat as often. Don’t be surprised if you no longer need to snack. Many people do well on two or three meals per day. If you need a snack:

    • Rolled-up cheese or ham with a vegetable (some people even spread butter on cheese)
    • Olives
    • Nuts
    • A piece of cheese
    • A boiled egg from the refrigerator
    • Canned mackerel in tomato sauce
    • Babybel cheese

    Olives and nuts may replace potato chips as great TV snacks. If you always get hungry between meals you’re probably not eating enough fat. Don’t fear fat. Eat more fat until you feel satisfied.

    Dining out or meals with friends

    • Restaurants: Usually not a big problem. You can ask to have potatoes/fries switched for a salad. Ask for extra butter.
    • Fast food: Kebab can be a decent option (avoid the bread). At hamburger chains the hamburgers are usually the least bad option. Avoid soft drinks and fries, obviously. Drink water. Pizza toppings are usually OK, and the stricter you are the less of the pizza crust you will eat.
    • If you eat strictly everyday it’s less of a problem to make a few exceptions when you are invited out. If you’re not sure what will be served you can eat something at home before you leave.
    • Nuts or cheese are good “emergency food” when there are no other adequate options to be found.

    Shopping list for beginners

    Print this list and bring it to the grocery store:

    • Butter
    • Heavy cream (40% fat)
    • Sour cream (full fat)
    • Eggs
    • Bacon
    • Meat (minced, steaks, stew pieces, fillets, etc.)
    • Fish (ideally fatty fish like salmon or mackerel)
    • Cheese (preferably high-fat)
    • Turkish yoghurt (10% fat)
    • Cabbage (cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, etc.)
    • Other vegetables that grow above ground
    • Frozen vegetables (broccoli, wok vegetables, etc.)
    • Avocados
    • Olives
    • Olive oil
    • Nuts

    Clean out your pantry

    Want to maximize your chances of success? Especially if you have difficult cravings / sugar addiction, it is smart to throw out (or give away) sugary and starchy foods, low-fat products, etc. These include:

    • Candy
    • Potato chips
    • Soft drinks and juices
    • Margarine
    • Sugar in all forms
    • Bread
    • Wheat flour
    • Pasta
    • Rice
    • Potatoes
    • Breakfast cereals
    • Everything that says “low fat” or “no fat”
    • Ice cream
    • Cookies

    Why not do it now?

    The Serpent in Paradise

    Be very skeptical of special “low-carb” products, such as pasta or chocolate. Unfortunately these products usually work poorly. They have prevented weight loss for loads of people. They’re commonly full of carbs once you see through the creative marketing.

    Carb FictionFor example, Dreamfields’ “low carb pasta” is almost pure starch, which is absorbed more or less like any pasta, albeit slowly:

    How about low carb bread? Be careful: if it’s baked with grains it’s certainly not low carb. But some companies still try to sell it to you as a low-carb option. Here’s an example:

    Low-carb chocolate is usually full of sugar alcohols, which the manufacturer does not count as carbs. But roughly half of these carbs may be absorbed, raising blood sugar and insulin. The rest of the carbs ends up in the colon, potentially causing gas and diarrhea. Furthermore, any sweeteners can maintain sugar cravings.

    If you want to be healthy and slim, eat real food instead.

    Recipes

    Easy ways to cook eggs

    1. Place the eggs in cold water and boil for 4 minutes for soft-boiled or 8 minutes for hard-boiled. Enjoy them with mayo if you like.
    2. Fry eggs in butter on one or both sides. Add salt and pepper.
    3. Melt butter in a frying pan and add 2 eggs and 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream per serving. Add salt and pepper. Stir until done. Add some chives and grated cheese on top. Serve with fried bacon.
    4. Make an omelet batter with 3 eggs and 3 tablespoons of cream. Add salt and spices. Melt butter in the frying pan and pour in the batter. When the upper surface turns solid you can fill it with something tasty. For example one or several kinds of cheese, fried bacon, fried mushrooms, good sausage (read the ingredients) or left-overs from last night’s dinner. Fold the omelet in half and serve with a crispy salad.

    Instead of bread

    Will you have a hard time living without bread? Ooopsies are a good option. It’s a “bread” without carbs and can be eaten in a variety of ways.

    Oopsies
    6–8 depending on size.

    3 eggs
    100 grams (3.5 ounces) of cream cheese
    a pinch of salt
    ½ tablespoon fiberhusk / psyllium seed husks (optional)
    ½ teaspoon baking powder (optional)

    • Separate the eggs, with the egg whites in one bowl and the egg yolks in another.
    • Whip egg whites together with salt until very stiff. You should be able to turn the bowl over without the egg whites moving.
    • Mix the egg yolks and the cream cheese well. If you want, add the psyllium seed husk and baking powder (this makes the Oopsie more bread-like).
    • Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mix – try to keep the air in the egg whites.
    • Put 6 large or 8 smaller oopsies on a baking tray.
    • Bake in the middle of the oven at 150° C (300° F) for about 25 minutes – until they turn golden.
    • You can have an Oopsie as a sandwich or use it as a bun for a hotdog or hamburger. You can also put different kinds of seeds on them before baking them, for instance poppy, sesame or sunflower seeds. One big Oopsie can be used to make a swiss roll: Add a generous layer of whipped cream and some berries. Enjoy.

    Instead of potatoes, rice and pasta

    • Mashed cauliflower: Divide the cauliflower into smaller pieces and boil them with a pinch of salt until soft. Remove the water. Add cream and butter and mash.
    • LCHF-middag: LaxSalads made from above-ground vegetables, perhaps with some kind of cheese. Try out different kinds.
    • Boiled broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts.
    • Vegetables au gratin: Fry squash, aubergine and fennel (or other vegetables you like) in butter. Add salt and pepper. Put in baking dish and add grated cheese. Bake at 225° C (450° F) until the cheese melts and turns golden.
    • Vegetables stewed in cream, e.g. cabbage or spinach.
    • Cauliflower rice: Grate cauliflower, boil for a minute or two. Great substitute for rice.
    • Avocado

    Snacks and dessert

    • Mixed nuts
    • Sausage: Cut it in pieces, add a piece of cheese and stick a toothpick through them.
    • Vegetables with dip, Try cucumber sticks, red, yellow or green peppers, cauliflower, etc.
    • Cream cheese rolls: Roll some cream cheese in a piece of salami, air-dried ham or a long slice of cucumber.
    • Olives
    • LCHF chips: On a baking tray, form small piles of grated Parmesan cheese. Heat in oven at 225°C (450°F). Let them melt and get a nice color (be careful – they burn easily). Serve as chips, perhaps with some dip.

    More healthy tips


    6. Recommended cookbooks

    There are a million cookbooks with low-carb recipes. Just avoid books that are unnecessarily scared of fat. Remember: If you avoid carbs you have to eat more fat or you’ll be hungry. Don’t fear fat. Fat is your friend. Add fat until you feel satisfied.

    Here is a good cookbook:

    The Low-Carb Gourmet

    And two more:
    SkaldemanengLow-Carb Living

    Good luck with your new LCHF life!

    7. Learn More

    Do you want updates with the latest news for your health and weight? Do you want to join the revolution? Subscribe to the free weekly Diet Doctor newsletter:

    Diet Doctor on Facebook

    Press “Like” below to get tips on popular new posts and some insider tips:

    Further reading

    Do you have more questions about LCHF? See my page with common questions and answers.

    Do you want to lose weight as effectively as possible?

    Improve this page

    Do you have any suggestion – big or small – to improve this page? Email me at andreas@dietdoctor.com.

    4,133 Comments

    1. karen
      the only problem that l have with this diet is that l get constipated.... what can l do?? please help
      Replies: #4103, #4116
    2. Desi
      Thanks Ben,
      That post of mine was old & was in response to a panic attack & someone telling me to monitor my macros.
      I've started this lifestyle in Nov 2014 & have lost 8.1kg (we talk in Kilos in Australia but that's 17.9lbs).
      I have joined some F/B groups & find they are helpful.
      Cheers, Desley.
    3. Desi
      Hi Karen,
      Constipation is very common when you're starting.
      Are you eating enough fibre?
      Make sure you are drinking 8 glasses of water a day. Drink 2 glasses of water before breakfast.
      You can also have Psyllium Husks (Metamucil). Which is a natural Fibre.
      Metamucil comes in both capsules & powder formation.
      Or there's another fibre product called Glucomannan. Glucomannan is harder to find in Australia & comes in capsule form.
      These product are bulking agents that also soften the faeces. But must be taken with plenty of water as they need that to expand.
      Best of luck, Desley
    4. Charlotte
      Hi there,

      I have been reading Lynn and Phillip's comments with interest as I too have been following this diet since late February 2015 to date, and have not lost any weight infact I (according to my scales) have put on 2 kilos! My body measurements have not decreased either. I am 58 years old, 5.9" and weigh 86.4 kilos. I have the toffee apple body shape i.e., long slim legs and an apple on top. I quote Lynn and Phillip (4015) particularly, because Lynn speaks of the same frustrations I am experiencing (perseverance, no weight loss) and which Phillip experienced in the early stages of his diet until he discovered the 'My fitness pal' app which he used to his advantage. I concur with his comment that very little emphasis is given to a discussion about portion size/control in any of the on line literature available (that I have studied) particularly when you put the comment "eat as much as what you want from this list" up against the former. Clearly you can but in moderation. Lynn's story resonates for me as she says she has not lost any weight for 6 or so weeks.

      I constantly research and re jig my menu plan with every bit of new information I read, but thus far to no avail. I'm wondering if the major stumbling block for me is my daily medication's of Liviel 2.5mg HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) , Zoloft 50mg (anti- depresent) , Nexium 40mg, and Candestartan 16mg. for high blood pressure. I walk about an hour 15 mins at least 6 days a week and have 1hr Pilates class per week. I try to have at least 3 if not 4 AFD (alcohol free days) a week, I do not drink wine I have only Vodka with a Diet tonic mixer. I must say though I do feel a lot healthier and less tired and no longer have the peaks and troughs of carbohydrate side effects. Is there any one out there able to shed any light on my situation? I am determined to stick to this diet as it is the first time in many years I do not feel constantly hungry! I know many of you will say, well that's a great result straight up but, I need to lose belly fat. Should I pull my head in and just be more patient? What would you recommend as suitable calorie intake per day for my stat's, plus medication which by the way I hope I will not need if this diet does it's job. I look forward to hearing from you.

    5. Graham
      oh Dear I'm scared reading all this...I'm obese and I've been losing weight on a traditional diet and exercise plan and found myself naturally gravitating towards eating more and more protein and less and less potatoes and pasta...but this all seems so confusing. I don't see how you can not count calories because I just don't believe that you can feast on unlimited amounts of fat and still lose weight and I can't afford to lose my momentum. So the last few days have been difficult. My conclusion is that the 'eat as much as you like until you are not hungry' does not apply to people like me who have a 'emotional' relationship with food. I don't always eat because I'm hungry..I eat because I'm depressed or bored or anxious or happy even. So I think it should be emphasized more clearly that portion sizes really do matter and telling someone like me to 'eat as much as you like' is a dangerous thing to do because the comments where people have been on the diet for months and not lost anything testify to the fact that it's easy to get it wrong. I'm going to bang on with this and try to limit the carbs to under 20 g and calories to about 2k with my exercise program of an hours speed walking a day.
    6. AH
      Hi all,
      I have read the comments on macros and I feel a little confused? went on the site and wondered how you measure the protein,carbohydrates and fat you in take, is it a case of doing as you would measuring calories?
      Looked at Robert Lustig's lecture on sugar, had no idea before of the effects on the body.
      Lastly I was so good this week no cheats that is until Friday. I went to the take away and ordered spare ribs with a sweet coating of some sort, that was the bad bit, crispy seaweed, I love crispy seaweed as that is the good bit, my treat instead of chips, rice or pasta also you can purchase it from stores like Sainsburys.
    7. Abhishek
      A similar thing happened to me. My cholesterol and triglycerides increased after HFLC diet but I lost a lot of weight. I searched through some forums online and found many people on the same page. Well, I am not a medical expert so I can't be sure of the accuracy, but a lot of people said that when you lose weight on a HFLC diet, a lot of the "released" fat is in your system as you are using it primarily as fuel and causes the numbers to go up. The numbers go down eventually. So I decided to get another blood work done after 3 more months. And I was astonished. Everything had gone almost perfect. Total Cholesterol was 132 (from 212), Triglycerides 90 (from 149), HDL 54 (from 43), LDL 60 (from 144), VLDL 18 (from 30), TC to HDL ratio 2.44 (from 4.9) and LDL/HDL ratio 1.11 (from 3.3).

      This was exactly after 3 months of the previous test. So try to get another blood work after a few months. If your numbers are still up then you should try to change your diet. No need for statins. Everybody is different and your body may not be reacting to HFLC in the same way.

    8. BooDreaux
      Thank Zepp.......GI doctor says it's not GERD....Oh well it has gone away LOL

      Next question: My BS upon arising was 132.....I had PHO for breakfast(rare rib eye, fatty brisket, tendon, pork meatballs) NO noodles I always sub bean sprouts for noodles

      2 hours & 15 minutes after eating with no real carbs my BS was a high 215......WTF

      Any Type 2 gurus on here have any thoughts?

      Thanks in Advance

    9. StressBunny
      Hi everyone! I discovered this blog/website after a google search. Its been really interesting reading everyone’s testimonies/experiences.

      So let me fill you all in my own details – and why I’m here: I’m 47, male, 1.68m tall, small-medium build. I regularly play sports (tennis/squash). I walk for at least 1 hour every day. But even that hasn’t prevented the development of the dreaded tyre around the waist area. Nothing too vulgar mind you – not a car tyre – more of a bicycle tyre! My weight typically hovers around the 64kg mark. The BMI is typically around 22.5. All sounds reasonable, right ? Not quite. After xmas (2014) my total body fat was 22%, and visceral fat at 9. My biggest binges were on bead – morning, noon and night. Add to that a smattering of chocolates and beer – and well, you see the problem. So, I took up the low carb-high fat diet, coupled with 3-4 times a week gym sessions. I noticed rapid weight loss almost immediately. After 3 weeks, I went from 64.8kg to 61.4. That’s a loss of just over a kg a week!!
      My total fat percentage dropped to 19.4 and visceral fat is at 6.

      After 5 weeks, my total fat is at 18% and visceral fat at 5. Skeletal muscle is 37.5%. BMI is 21.4

      I would like my total fat percentage to be around 17% and visceral around 5. So I’m almost there. During these weeks on LCHF, my protein intake has consisted primarily of fish or chicken, while the fat intake has come in the form of eggs, coconut milk, and cream. My carbohydrate intake is has been around 50 grams per day.

      So I'm a happy bunny. Its hard to argue with results. However, the question that keeps popping in my head is - shall I continue with the diet after reaching my goal ? Perhaps I can return to a more balanced diet (with more fibre and fruit) but just not binge on bread & biscuits. It would be a real shame to have worked hard to get to this point, only to relapse.

      Any pointers/advice/tips/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

    10. Alison
      Reply to comment #4104 by Charlotte

      I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 10 years ago, which was discovered after losing a great deal of weight with with zero effort. Since then I've cut out most fat from my diet, and kept to a low calorie regime. LCHF seemed like the dream alternative - meat with the fat on, cream in my coffee, streaky bacon, butter on my veggies. However, I've been following the Induction phase of LCHF for 6 weeks now, but instead of losing weight I have actually put on a few pounds. I've also suffered from frequent bouts of diarrhoea and heartburn.

      Very disappointed, so I did more research. While the Atkins diet book devotes 357 pages to saying don't count calories, on page 129 it says women should aim for 1500 - 1800 calories per day. So I sat down and worked out exactly what I was eating. I was horrified to discover that the 45 ml cream per mug of coffee @ 5 mugs a day, was accounting for 1000 of those calories - leaving only 500 - 800 calories for food! And as I have metabolic syndrome, that figure is more likely to be the lower one - 500 calories. This means that my intake of creamy coffee alone was already two thirds of my daily fat allowance, without counting the rest of the fat which I was eating.

      The problem was, clearly, that I was eating TO MUCH FAT - with no effort at all! This possibility is barely mentioned by this website, or by Atkins, or by the Swedish Diet.

      I know I could have solved the problem by drinking black coffee, but that was a sacrifice too far! I'm glad I've had this high fat "holiday" but I've now returned to the previous low calorie diet. The whole milk I drink hot in my coffee amounts to about half the calorie content of cream; Butterbuds sprinkled on my veg is only 10 cals per sachet; and my recent discovery, Konjac Pasta and Rice, is only 9 cals per serving of 100 g. Wish me luck!

      Replies: #4111, #4118
    11. Desi
      Hi Alison,
      I've also read a few of Dr Atkins books & it does say somewhere "If your following Atkins guidelines & not losing weight then you may have to look at the calories you are consuming". I also believe it does say that on the Diet Doctor site too.
      You also said you where having 45mls per cup of coffee. The Atkins nutritionist say you should only be having 45mls per day.
    12. Kallie
      I'm 81, 5'1", weight 111 and I'm eating the wrong things I guess. My A1Cs are always above 150 and I need a solid meal plan for every day, month to month. My husband eats what I do (I'm the only cook) and we go out occasionally for dinner. Please help me. I need to get my numbers down. I just started walking for a half-hour a day and hope that helps. I do drink a lot of water; maybe 2 to 3 glasses a day. I've had type 2 diabetes for about 12 years and just recently started recording my numbers.

      Thanks. Please tell me what to do!! I'm really up the proverbial tree when it comes to diet. I don't eat many potatoes, with beef stew I limit myself to six small pieces, and at dinner we share a small potato. I don't eat fries, I can't eat Fritos or potato chips but I do snack on sugar-free cookies (and they taste terrible!).

    13. Lynn
      Desi

      hi again this is Lynn in OZ.
      I just had my blood test and my Cholesterol has gone from 4.9 to 6.8 ....holy cow!!!
      I have not lost any weight and my blood pressure is sky high at 190 over 81.
      I am devastated as I have been so faithful for 4 months.

      I think I will have to give this diet a miss for awhile and go back to my dietician diet where I lost 5 kilos. and my cholesterol went to 4.9. I hate to do it as I enjoy this way of living.
      I sure will not be eating cabs again or sugar as my glucose went down from 10.8 (borderline diabetes) to 7 .
      Mind you, I was on Statins which give you diabetes within 3 years so they did not help the glucose levels.

      I have stopped my statins 2 weeks ago so that too could have affected the cholesterol levels
      The statins were killing me and I could not even walk some days,......now I am a new woman without them.

      I am going to try some Bergamot capsules that are a natural cholesterol lowering supplement.
      I will keep you updated.
      Cheers
      Lynn

      Replies: #4120, #4121
    14. dawn morris
      I started the diet last week im so pleased i lost 8llb in the first week looking forward to gettinf weighed next week
    15. Teena
      I'm loving this way of eating ,the only problem I'm having is that im feeling very tired and lethargic .
      I have been eating LCHF for the last 3 weeks .
      I am also worried that when I'm tracking in my Fittnesspal it's showing I'm going overrun my cholesterol and also sodium.
      My cholesterol is already high sitting around 8.
      What foods can I eat that are High in fat but low in cholesterol .
      I will be getting bloods done again to keep a eye on this .
      I'm loosing weight and so want to stick with it .
    16. rorybreaker
      you can take a fiber supplement like http://isabgol.co.in/index.html or equivalent. its safe and doesn't have side effects. have it once a day.
    17. Chris
      I’ve been doing low carb high fat eating experiment and measuring its influence on muscle mass increase, fat loss, weight loss and so on and have to admit it’s doing miracles:)

      If anyone is interested in my thoughts on it and detailed measurements here's my blog -> http://chrishf.com

    18. SandyLP
      Hi Allison.

      I've done LCHF a couple times in the past (with success) and have been on program again for the past 5 weeks. I've lost over 12 lbs and I feel great. I'm 59 yo, 5'2" and have had Type 2 diabetes for the past 5 years. Even on 1000mg of Metformin twice a day, I was still having trouble getting my BS below 125 to 135 upon waking in the mornings. After 5 weeks on LCHF my BS has been amazing. This morning it was 99. WooHoo! Anyhow, I have over 75 lbs of weight to lose, and I have no doubt I will reach my goal by staying on this eating plan, but you absolutely cannot eat whatever you want without counting calories. It's just not possible even on LCHF. The best thing to do is to decide how many lbs or Kilograms you want to lose each week (for me that is 1.5 to 2 lbs a week). Google a calculator online such as (http://www.caloriecount.com/tools/calories-goal) and plug in your current weight and desired weight, and it will tell you how many calories you can consume in order to lose the amount of weight you want to lose in a week. My daily allowed calories are 1285. Now I know this seems quite low, but my goal is to reach 135 lbs by this time next year, and honestly I'm not suffering. The amount of fat and protein on this diet are sufficient to keep me satiated and happy. I don't feel deprived at all, and I often have a nice big piece of LC cheesecake 2 or 3 times a week. I also use MyFitnessPal.com to log my food intake and keep track of my calories. It's a lifesaver because it keeps me where I need to be in order to reach my goal. After I lose the weight I'll be able to consume around 1500 to 1600 a day to maintain that weight. :)

    19. byron
      hi i have been doing LHCF for a week now my eyelids have swollen and i am really freeking out my cholestrol has probably spiked any suggestions should i continue LHCF
    20. Desi
      Hi Lynn,
      Sorry I didn't get this until today. We've been away for my birthday.
      So you're experiencing some problems. But don't give in keep doing LCHF.
      Are you making sure your Carbs are under 20grams per day?
      Are you getting some exercise ie; a 30min walk per day.
      I've now lost 10.9kg (24.3lbs) & feel great. Go totally carb free for about 3 days & see how you feel.
      Good luck. Stay in touch I'd like to see how you get on.
      Desi
    21. Desi
      Also Lynn unless you've got a family history of heart disease, try not to worry about your Cholesterol too much.
      Our bodies NEED Cholesterol & the studies that told us our cholesterol should be lower were funded by the very companies that produce Statins.
      So what does that tell you? I was told to take Statins. I gave them a try, they gave me severe leg cramps & muscles weakness. So I stopped them & changed my life style to LCHF & I will never go back.
      For my birthday my treats were fresh Prawns & a couple of Vodkas & carb free cola (available at Woolies).
      Hang in there Mate :)
    22. Lynn
      hi mate
      Thank you for your reply.
      I will keep going with the LCHF for awhile longer too see if anything happens now that I have stopped my statins.

      You are right about the carbs ....I eat too many Macadamia nuts I think.

      My heart Dr was pleased with me on Saturday as I go once a year after my heart attack.
      He said that it was ok to stop them as I had so many side effects. I really believe Dr Sinatra in the States as he says that Cholesterol is not the culprit it is all the sugar and carbs we eat.

      I may now be able to exercise a bit now that the pain from the statins will go. I cannot do mush as I have narrowing of the spine and cannot walk up hills and stairs very well and I live on a mountain that is all hills.
      I do have a rowing machine so I will do more on that now.
      thank you for caring and I will talk again soon
      Lynn

      Reply: #4124
    23. AH
      Hi Desi
      Hope you had a good birthday and congrats!!! You have done well and lost more weight, well done you. I have not been so fortunate, however I haven't gained, I know I have the odd blip but on the whole I am very concious of what I eat, I am just happy that I have energy and vitality Oh and there was a comment from someone about a week ago saying they had no energy I had the same trouble when I started this plan, my Dr told me to take vitamin C and zinc, It helped, and for anyone prone to coughs and colds reduce your dairy for a bit as I have been told that dairy like cream etc, can cause this reaction.
    24. Desi
      Hi again Lynn,
      We can do this if we stick at it. All these experts spruiking LCHF can't be wrong.
      You & I have a bad back in common. Mine's from a car accident.
      I've had 3 spinal surgeries & I now have a spinal Neurostimulator implanted & just like you I also have Spinal Stenosis. So I can only exercise when the pain is bearable.
      I have a very small plastic container that holds just under 30g of Macadamia nuts. That's all I allow myself a day.
      I bought myself a walking machine. I use it when it's raining, windy or when I'm feeling awful & don't want to be seen.
      Talk again soon, Desi
    25. Desi
      Hi AH,
      Thank you for the birthday comment.
      So you're maintain your loss. Congratulations on not gaining!!! :)
      When I started this lifestyle I too had "The Carb Flu" & had no energy.
      I ached all over. But I had read about it so knew what it was & just stuck it out.
      Keep doing the right thing & something will give sooner or later.
      Desi
    26. Desi
      Have been checking my blood Ketosis & it's usually between .5 & 1.5mmls.
      Today it's 2.3mmls so keeping my carbs low is working.
    27. marissa
      its common sense. if you are consuming more calories than u are burning in a day you are going to gain weight. regardless if the calories are from carbs, fats or protein. i don't think this forum is very well educated bc if you are not eating enough carbs for your body your body starts STORING fat no matter how much fat and how less of carbs you are eating. just silly
    28. Kushka
      To all of you asking how it's possible to not count calories and still lose weight, this is a general rule of thumb:
      Eat maximum 3 meals per day, less if possible.
      Leave at least 5 hours between every meal. (Only 4 hours after a meal will your body start breaking down body fat)
      I'm not saying you won't be hungry before the 5 hours are up, but restrain yourself from eating or snaking before then, as this will have an influence on your blood sugar levels and so forth. Don't respond to hunger with eating, rather see it as your body telling you: "Seeing that you're not feeding me, I'm burning calories and fat now."
      If you think of hunger in a positive way, it will become positive. Your body will accept the fact that you're feeding it every 5 hours, therefore it will not hold on to fat or go into starvation mode once it gets used to being fed every 5 hours.
      If you have to have coffee, only drink one cup per day, with milk/cream but without sugar. Restrain yourself from having more than one cup. If you have to have more, drink it without sugar and milk/cream, or rather drink green tea without sugar and milk/cream.
      When having your meal, load your plate with lost of veggies/salad, (only eat veggies that grow above the ground, excluding butternut), because veggies don't contain a whole lot of calories. Eat until you're full - nothing more, nothing less! Last but not least - the goal is to achieve ketosis, but ketosis dehydrates you, so make sure you drink at least 2 litres (approximately 68oz) of water per day!
      That's how I managed to lose 7.7lbs in 7 days.
    29. Erwin
      After being on LCHF diet for almost 9 months, I would like to share my experience

      Pros: I'm 5'9'' and I started out at 230lbs. Over the period of 9 months, I have lost 70 lbs and currently at 160 lbs +/- 2 lbs. The total weight loss is, actually, 90lbs, because I gained some weights over the holidays last year. While on this diet, I don't have to eat much. When I first started, I had to eat a lot to eliminate the craves. After two weeks or so, I started eating less but still had three meals a day with coffee here and there. Five months into the diet till now, I drink coffee with extra cream for breakfast and lunch, and same food for dinner. This diet also makes my skin better than ever. It got smoother, I've had less acne, and brighter.

      Cons: 1)This diet can be expensive. I spend on average $ 15 dollars a day on just food, this mainly because I can't maximize the sales at the grocery markets. Also when eating out with friends, say I want a burger, I have to have it lecture wrapped and add in an extra patty or two to fill me up.
      2) This diet gives you less energy when exercising due to the lack of oxygen in your cells. Now, this doesn't mean you can't exercise while on this diet; it is just that you would be less energetic when exercising than you normally would on regular carbs diets.
      3) This diet might causes extreme hair loss. I got introduced to this diet by a friend. I started noticing hair loss about three months ago and it has been more severe lately. At first, my friend and I thought I didn't eat enough to keep up with my body nutrition needs, but sometime later, my buddy started to notice his hair loss as well. He's been eating 3 meals a day since the start. I looked around the web and apparently it is very common so heads up.
      4) Constipation.

      Sorry for my lengthy comment, but I figure it would help if I share. I really like the diet, despite the hair loss problem. The cons I've listed vary from person to person so don't take them as facts. Try the diet yourself and switch back if you have to. Now that I have reached my ideal weight, I'm thinking of switching back to a normal diet.

      Thanks for reading.

      Replies: #4130, #4132
    30. Desi
      Hi Erwin,
      Thanks for sharing your story. If you're losing hair, I'd say you're not having enough Protein.
      I went to a Bariatric Surgeon's lecture about the Gastric Sleeve & he told everyone if they didn't eat enough Protein one of the side effects of the Sleeve operation was "Hair Loss."
      Desi.
    31. Helen
      THIS IS RIDICULOUS, MEAT AND MILK CAUSE INSULIN SPIKES, WHICH CAUSES WEIGHT GAIN. WAKE UP PEOPLE, YOU ARE POISONING YOUR BODY. OH AND ERWIN YOU PROBABLY ARE LOSING HAIR BECAUSE YOUR BODY IS IN KETOSIS MODE BECAUSE OF LACK OF CARBOHYDRATES. HAVE FUN WITH YOUR CLOGGED ARTERIES PPL <3333 #cutcarbscutlife #SORRYICANTHEARYOUWHENYOURBODYISINKETOSISMODE
    32. Dee
      Experienced the same: hairloss And constipation . I think hair loss is due to vitamin b deficiency . Normaly I would get the vitamin b from whole wheat bread. Also the constipation because not eating my daily orange. I eat vitam b pills for a whole and added fibre by having this phy.. Husks but somehow I gathered the diet can't be that healthy if you have to start adding pills and fibre solutions. So I stopped
    33. xiko
      i got low carb diet exercise manuals from here: http://downupfiles.com/file/05ob69
    34. J.B
      Hi,

      I'm used to have coffee with pounder cream and splenda everyday, because I don't like just coffee. What can I put in my coffee to taste better?

      thanks!

    35. joan
      I started this diet today and hope it works.Am only 22 and weigh 87.4 kgs.Wish me luck
    36. Tim H
      Marissa, "if you are consuming more calories than u are burning in a day you are going to gain weight" is absolutely correct BUT what determines how many of your calories in are burnt and how many are converted to fat? And what determines whether you feel like eating more or less calories, i.e. hunger?

      I'll start with the first question. Insulin reduces "burning" and promotes storage of calories in at least 3 ways. First, it opens up the entrance receptors of the fat cells, along with muscle cells, to glucose in the blood. One inside the muscle cells, insulin turns the glucose towards making glycogen instead of letting it burn. And once inside the fat cells, the glucose molecules burn only 5% of their energy before becoming Acetyl CoA. That Acetyl CoA can enter the KREBS Cycle and the Electron Transport Chain in the mitochondria to burn the remaining 95% of its energy OR that Acetyl CoA can join with another Acetyl CoA to form a small fat molecule called Malonyl CoA. What decides which way the Acetyl CoA goes? The strongest traffic cop at that intersection is insulin. So, second, less insulin and the Acetyl CoA burns, you feel energetic, all your systems function like they should. Or more insulin and the Acetyl CoA becomes Malonyl CoA which then becomes palmitic acid just like olive oil. And finally, 3rd, insulin prevents the burning of fat. How? That palmytic acid above or any other fat stored in your body is in the form of triglyceride. A triglyceride is like a hanger with 3 ties hanging from it. The hanger part is half a glucose molecule and the 3 ties are fatty acids. That's what's in the bottles of oils on the supermarket shelves, that's what's in the tallow or lard that you cook in if you're like me and that's what's in that tire around your waist. (I lost mine.) To get rid of that triglyceride/fat you've got to burn it but it can't burn until you yank those ties off the hanger. Yanking those fatty acids free of the glycerol hanger, lipolysis, is the first and necessary step before you oxidize a fat and insulin inhibits it. If you want to burn your fat, you've got to find a way to keep insulin from coming along and spoiling the party.

      So insulin reduces the conversion of calories to energy and increases the conversion of calories to fat in at least 3 ways. And insulin is one of the strongest hormones in the body. So where does the insulin come from and how are you going to reduce it? The answer is that insulin is secreted in different amounts in response to different foods. The greatest amount of insulin is secreted in response to the glucose that carbohydrates provide. Proteins also make the beta cells secrete insulin but less than carbohydrates, though all proteins are not identical. Even fat makes insulin secrete but the amount is so small that it's usually ignored. The difference in the amount of insulin secreted in response to these different foods, carbohydrate/glucose, protein and fat is why your statement "regardless if the calories are from carbs, fats or protein" is wrong. You don't need low carb web sites to tell you this. College textbooks on biochemistry and endocrinology will tell this. The above actions of insulin are not controversial. They're teaching it in medical schools all over the world including, of course, the U.S.A.

      Reply: #4137
    37. StressBunny
      Yep, very good summary - and considerably better explained than my 26 year old undergraduate textbook on endocrinology.

      I think people are hesitant to try the LCHF diet for the simple reason that appears to go against perceived wisdom popularised for the past 40 years - primarily that of reducing (or even eliminating) "high fat" content. The take home message should be that in the absence of any serious medical conditions, LCHF may be tried safely for a limited period in combination with moderate exercise. Once a healthy weight has been achieved, the individual can return to a more balanced diet - but taking care not to indulge frequently in insulin inducing spikes to as to prevent weight regain.

    38. Lorraine
      Hi Everyone

      I have been eating low carb / high protein for a year now. I lost 34 pounds and I have been able to maintain my weight. I found once I understood how to eat, my eating lifestyle became very easy. I am now able to dine out with family and friends and select from the menu food that suits my new eating lifestyle. I occasionally indulge in some high carb foods but the old saying ..eat something occasionally and enjoy, rather than enjoy everything all of the time seems to be fitting here.

      I am able to go away on holiday, eat everything within my new lifestyle regime and I can truthfully say I never feel hungry.

      It is amazing when you look closely at foods and what they do to your weight gain, you can very easily dismiss and find an alternative that will not necessarily gain the weight back but for me which was more important it will not bloat you either.

      I am happy with how I now look and I have achieved my weight loss through sensible eating (the high protein/low carb food)

      I wish everyone success, if you stay focused on your goal, this really is achievable. If you cheat then you are just cheating yourself and why put yourself through that. Have a goal weight in mind but to reach that goal give yourself smaller goal posts to pass first before you go for the final goal.

    39. Carlos M
      I am trying to cut down on carbs and get a higher fat intake. What is your reasoning on why I should "avoid" fruits, other than the fruit being too "sweet?" Later you give us a history on past generations how they were hunters and gatherers and of course they ate fruit. And no beans? I don't see where your carb intake is then, other than sweet potatoes and yams what else?
    40. chad
    41. Desi
      Yay am down another .5kg (1lb) without even trying.
      I love my new lifestyle. Once I stopped being in a hurry about losing weight & concentrated on improving my health the weight started to come off.
      I tried calorie counting & cut out all the fat from my diet. But once the Doctor told me
      I had High Blood Pressure, my Triglycerides were elevated & my LDL Cholesterol was on the high side of normal. I knew what I was doing wasn't right. So I read all I could about Paleo & LCFH & the GPS free (no Grains, Potatoes or added Sugars) way of eating.
      I also wasn't happy with my weight so I knew I had to do something or else face the consequences.
      I had a blood test when I began so I had a base line to start with & so I could see if this WOE was right for me.
      After 3mths I had them taken again; Blood Pressure & Triglycerides had returned to normal & the Cholesterol was coming down.
      Here I am 6mths later very happy with my weight. Not constantly thinking about food like I was in the past if I went on a "DIET".
      I will have my blood rechecked in another month or so to see if the cholesterol has come down further.
      I was very interested to read recently that the USA Academy of Nutrition & Dietetic say they no longer consider Cholesterol a Nutrient of concern.
    42. Lew
      Does anyone know if there are any energy bars that would work ( or at least sorta work ) for LCHF?
      I have a hard time when backpacking keeping my numbers right. seems like i may have to just count hike and backpack trips as loose LCHF days. I dont like to cook much out there just looking for convenience. thought about Quest bars????
      Reply: #4143
    43. Desi
      Hi Lew,
      Have a look at the Atkins bars they're available at most manger supermarkets.
      I'm not familiar with Quest bars, but you could compare the ingredients against the Atkins bars & others. There's a lot of different brands out there I'm sure you'll find some that suits.
      Have you thought about beef jerky? & you could always take some boiled eggs & salami sticks in your backpack.
      Good luck Desi
    44. Joan
      somebody help
      i started on the diet last week n so fae v lost only 2.3lbs
      is it normal though v heard to cheat alot of times
    up

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