Can counting calories be useful on a low-carb diet?


Does high protein cause cancer? How can you tell that you are hungry? And could calorie counting be a good idea on a low-carb diet?

Get the answers in this week’s Q&A with Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt:

High protein as cancer causing?

Please respond to Joel Fuhrman statement “Animal protein, because it has a high biological value, and because the protein is highly concentrated, promotes the rise of cancer-promoting hormones within the body, especially IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1” (Eat to Live Cookbook, p. 24)


Hi Marie!

Starving your body of high-quality protein may very well reduce the risk of cancer by a tiny amount. But you’ll also live a life with less strength, more hunger and possibly less enjoyment of food. Personally I don’t think it’s worth it, and I think the risk of cancer from high-quality protein is dramatically overblown in vegan circles.

Andreas Eenfeldt

What does hunger feel like?

You say eat when your hungry, but I don’t know how to do that. What does hunger feel like? I’ve always eaten when I’m not hungry. How do you start?



Good question! I’d say you start by not eating, and observe how you feel. You can definitely wait 16 hours or so before you eat again, very easily, as long as you feel OK and as long as you’re not underweight. Repeat and observe. You’ll eventually start recognizing hunger again, it just takes practice!

Andreas Eenfeldt


Counting calories on LCHF?

Most of the literature I read says that LCHF diets create a natural satiety that means that you will “naturally not overeat”. However, for a lot of obese people, satiety signals are ignored or over-ridden by psychological factors (ie, being “afraid” of not having enough to eat etc). Given that, I think that many people still overeat total calories despite (or even in defiance of) the enhanced satiety signal from LCHF.

QUESTION: Are body-weight planners, which tell you calories targets, valuable even for people doing LCHF in order to get a reality check on their caloric needs, despite the general advice to not count calories on LCHF? Any advice you can give on estimated calorie goals – again, as a reality check?


Hi Ariel,

Yes, I do believe counting calories can be helpful in certain situations as you mention, to get a “reality check”. Most people do not need to count to be successful, though. It’s way more important to get in touch with real feelings of hunger and satiety, and avoid eating when not hungry especially when aiming to lose weight.

The target for calories is extremely individual though depending on body size, activity and many other things.

Andreas Eenfeldt


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