Does Low Carb Create Weight Loss by Simply Reducing Calories?

askdrandreaseenfeld

Does low carb create weight loss by simply reducing calories? Is coconut oil a less healthy saturated fat? And what do you do about constipation on low carb?

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

Does LCHF just create weight loss by simply reducing calories?

Does LCHF work by simply causing a caloric reduction due to decreased appetite and removing a macronutrient, as opposed to its effect on hormones causing the weight loss, as claimed by other health professionals. Does it really just come down to calories in, calories out? If you eat more LCHF calories than you burn will you still gain weight? Are there any studies which show weight loss on LCHF diet while at same time either increasing caloric intake or at least maintaining same caloric intake?

This would be essential to prove (to myself and family members) that it is indeed the CONTENT of the LCHF diet and its effect on hormones that is creating the weight loss, not just a caloric reduction causing it.

Thank You!
Claire

 
Hi Claire!

It’s all connected. Hormones – like insulin – influence how hungry you get and how many calories your body burns.

A low-carb, high-fat diet helps you eat and feel satisfied while eating fewer calories and burning more calories. This happens because of hormonal factors.

Some people might say it’s all because of the calories, but for all practical purposes this doesn’t really matter. The LCHF diet was what made it possible to eat fewer calories and burn more calories, while still feeling fine and eating delicious foods. What matters is that it works.

Best,
Andreas Eenfeldt

Is coconut oil a less healthy saturated fat?

A LCHF non-believer friend is very concerned that we consume coconut oil. He refers to the American Health Association which states that “coconut oil isn’t healthy and has never been healthy.” His reference is a USA article printed on June 16th 2017. Apparently it is “far worse” than butter or animal fat. Would love your scientific perspective.

Frizzie

 
The AHA is partly funded by the unsaturated oil industry and their guidelines on fat are obsolete to say the least.

Best,
Andreas Eenfeldt

Dying of constipation

Hi Andreas,

Fabulous site and happy to contribute to your success as a member.

I’ve been at this LCHF lifestyle now for 6 months or more. I only eat one meal per day on average and (except for the odd social event) stick to the plan rigorously. Lost 19 kg (42 lbs) so far with another 6 kg (13 lbs) to go.

The problem is I’m suffering chronic constipation. For months now, if I don’t take 4 Coloxyl tablets every 5 or 6 days I don’t think I’d ever have another bowel motion. I don’t like taking the drug but if I don’t I’m afraid I would just blow up and end up exploding (a terrible mess). Is taking Coloxyl long term an issue?

I take magnesium, drink copious amounts of water each day but don’t add salt to my food because I’m on BP medication.

It gets me down because I hate the feeling (bloating) of being constipated. What to do?

Thanks,
Tony

 
Tony,

Coloxyl should be OK, although it may be that taking it long term makes it hard to stop taking it, without the symptoms returning.

If possible, you may discuss the possibility of reducing or eliminating blood pressure medication – BP often goes down on low carb, long term.

Adding extra fiber may also be helpful:

Low-Carb Side Effects: Constipation

Best,
Andreas Eenfeldt

More

Low Carb for Beginners

More Questions and Answers

Many more questions and answers:

Low-Carb Q&A

Read all earlier questions and answers – and ask your own! – here:

Ask Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt about LCHF, Diabetes and Weight Loss – for members (free trial available).

Q&A

More about low carb and weight loss

Calories

5 Comments

  1. Debbie
    Love the site. But how do you join Facebook groups for lchf?
  2. Helen
    I have researched this question extensively (whether it's really the calorie deficit that causes weight loss), and there do not appear to be any reliable studies on it. Dr. Fung does mention one Huffington Post writer who first ate over 5000 calories of LCHF foods and gained minimal weight, then switched to the same number of high carb SAD foods and put on more weight and visible belly fat, etc. But I am concluding that the simple fact is that although the LCHF diet "teaches" your body to burn fat, it continues to prioritize the fat from foods (exogenous fat) over stored body fat (endogenous), so you don't really tap into the body fat until you've burned up all the fat and protein from food. That means that the less food you eat the more body fat you burn, ergo the calories you EAT are still key. By keeping insulin levels low you're slowing down the process of fat storage from excess LCHF foods, and also keeping your hormones optimal for burning fat if you do go into a calorie deficit (as opposed to whacked up hormones geared to store carbs rather than burn fat), but the amount of food you eat is still the main factor in weight loss. Your best bet is to take advantage of the diminished appetite from LCHF regimen, and eat as little food as you can without getting hungry. Over time your caloric intake will go so low you can't help but burn body fat, and you're still never hungry.
  3. paul
    Andreas

    You say that blood pressure comes down on low carb, but I haven't experienced that. I still get readings around 140/90 and sometimes 150/10
    I've been strict low carb for 10 months and I lost nearly 20kg. should I be concerned?

  4. Dolores. m
    Dolores I was going low carbs 3 months. I was under 20 g carbs per day. Drank 7 or more 14 o z. Glasses of water per day. Did not lose anything. My thyroid is good. Very upset.
    Reply: #5
  5. Ana
    Hey Dolores, did you track your macros? You might have eaten too much protein (remember that each gram of protein encompasses 4 kcals and raises your insulin levels if you're glycogen depleted)

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