A Low-Carb Diet for Beginners

A Low-Carb Diet for Beginners

Do you want weight loss without hunger? Or type 2 diabetes reversal and other health benefits? Then a low-carb diet is a good choice.

You can eat all you need to feel satisfied – there’s no calorie counting required. No products. No pills. No surgery. Just real food.

A low-carb diet restricts sugary foods, and starches like pasta or bread. Instead you’ll eat delicious real foods, including protein, natural fats and vegetables.1

Low-carb diets just work. They’ve been used for over 150 years and just about everyone knows someone who has successfully tried it. Scientific studies now prove that compared to other diets, low carb is more effective.2 Below you can learn how to use low carb to achieve your personal goals.

Make low carb even simpler by signing up for our free two-week low-carb challenge. Get unlimited meal plans, shopping lists and much else with a free membership trial.

 

 

What is Low Carb?

A low-carb diet means you eat fewer carbohydrates and a higher proportion of fat. This is often called a low-carb, high-fat diet (LCHF).

Most importantly, you minimize your intake of sugar and starches. You can eat other delicious foods until you are satisfied – and still lose weight.3

Many high-quality scientific studies show that a low-carb diet makes it easier both to lose weight and to control your blood sugar. And that’s just the beginning.

Learn more about the benefits of low carb

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’re satisfied. It’s that simple. Here are examples of what you could eat:

Top 30 recipes

You 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 low-carb diets 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.

Who should NOT do a strict low-carb diet?

checklistMost people can safely start any kind of low-carb diet right away. But in the following three situations you may need extra preparation or adaptation:

If you’re not in any of these groups, you’re good to go. Great!




 

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What to Eat on a Low-Carb Diet

Here’s a quick visual guide to low carb. For details check out the links below. Let’s start with the foods you can eat all you like of, until you’re satisfied.

Low-carb diet foods: Natural fats (butter, olive oil); Meat; Fish and seafood; Eggs; Cheese; Vegetables that grow above ground

 
All the numbers are grams of digestible carbs per 100 grams (3.5 ounces). Fiber is not counted, you can eat all the fiber you want.

All the foods above are below 5% carbs, as you can see. Sticking to these foods will make it relatively easy to stay on a strict low-carb diet, with less than 20 grams of carbs per day.

More detailed low-carb foods list

What to drink on low carb: water, coffee, tea, wine

So what do you drink on low carb? Water is perfect, and so is coffee or tea. Ideally, use no sweeteners, and a modest amount of milk or cream if you like (beware of caffe latte!).

The occasional glass of wine is fine too (low-carb alcohol guide).
 

Try to avoid

Here’s what you should not eat on low carb – foods full of sugar and starch:
Foods to avoid on low carb: bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit, beer, soda, juice, candy

 
The numbers are grams of digestible carbs per 100 grams (3.5 ounces), unless otherwise noted.

A more detailed list of foods to avoid

 

Visual low-carb guides

Meal plans

14-Day Low-Carb Meal Plan

Get lots of weekly low-carb meal plans, complete with shopping lists and everything, with our amazing premium meal planner tool (free trial).

How low to go?

The fewer carbohydrates 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 carefully try eating more liberally (if you want to).

Here are three examples of what a low-carb meal can look like, depending on how many carbs you eat per day:

 
 
A strict low-carb diet is often called a ketogenic (or “keto”) diet.
 

Get started

For everything you need to get started – meal plans, shopping lists, daily tips and troubleshooting – just sign up for our free 2-week keto low-carb challenge:

challenge_pic2

 

countries3Advice on LCHF in other languages

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

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


 



 
 

Success Stories

Here’s inspiration: Hundreds of success stories. Slide image below horizontally to see more stories.

 


 

All success stories





 

How Low-Carb Diets Work

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. Our genes only undergo limited adaptions 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 wheat flour. Rapidly digested pure carbohydrates. We’ve hardly had time to genetically adapt to these processed foods.

In the 80’s, 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 blood glucose levels. This increases the production of the hormone insulin, our fat-storing hormone.

Insulin

Insulin is produced in the pancreas. In large amounts it prevents fat burning and stores surplus nutrients in 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 fat release is no longer blocked by high insulin levels. This may be one reason why eating fat produces a feeling of longer-lasting satiety than carbohydrates. This has 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.

Do you want to know more? Here are our top videos on the topic:

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.

Here are the most common benefits:


 


 


 

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 broth every few hours. Alternatively, drink a few extra glasses of water and put more 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. This may be mostly fluids but it’s great for motivation.

The 6 most common problems on low carb


 

Less common issues on low carb



All low-carb side effects and how to cure them

 

Low-carb myths

There are many unfounded fears about low carb, that are mostly based on myths and misunderstandings. Read all about them on our low-carb fears page, or choose a specific topic below:



The Food Revolution

This talk from 2016 summarizes the history and science behind the ongoing LCHF revolution.

Top videos about low-carb basics

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

More (for members)

Top low-carb movies

All movies (for members)

 


 



 

Low-Carb Tips and Guides

Choose a topic below for a thorough low-carb guide on it.
 

 

 

Low-carb breakfasts

Breakfast is a great time to eat low carb – think eggs & bacon with coffee. And there are many more great options. Below are a few of our most popular low-carb breakfast recipes.

No fan of eating breakfast? On low carb you may not feel hungry in the morning. If so, it’s fine to skip breakfast – many people do.
 

All 40+ breakfasts

Low-carb meals

There’s no end to the amazing food you could have for lunch and dinner on low carb. These are the currently most popular low-carb meal recipes.
 

All 130+ meals


Low-carb side dishes

All side dishes


Low-carb condiments

All condiments


Low-carb snacks

All snacks


Low-carb desserts

All desserts


Low-carb bread

All breads


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’s 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 may maintain sugar cravings.

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

 




 

Recipes

For all of our low-carb recipes check out our main low-carb recipe page.


 


 

Learn More

 


Low Carb is Fantastic for Reversing Type 2 Diabetes and Normalizing Blood Sugar

Do you have type 2 diabetes? If not, you most likely know someone who does. And low carb is fantastic for treating type 2 diabetes.

DiabetesTestF9-reversedIt only makes sense that eating less of what turns into blood sugar (carbohydrates) makes it easier to keep blood sugar down. Low carb may be so effective that people with diabetes need to reduce their medication – especially insulin doses – immediately.

A better blood sugar from day 1. Less need for medication. And weight loss as a bonus. Low carb is a fantastic treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Learn more about Low Carb and Diabetes

PS: People with type 1 diabetes can also benefit from a low-carb diet. Learn More



How to Lose WeightHow to Lose Weight

Losing Weight Effortlessly
on Low Carb

Some people lose weight fantastically well on low carb, immediately on the first try. Perhaps the weight even stays off forever.

For others it can be a more of a challenge. Do you want to lose more weight or lose weight faster? There are many things you can do to improve your chances.

Read more about How to Lose Weight

 
 


Blood Pressure

 

Normalizing Blood Pressure on Low Carb

An elevated blood pressure reliably drops on low carb. This can be clearly seen in scientific trials, and it’s a very common experience for people trying it.

In fact, this effect can be so marked that people on blood pressure medication may end up feeling dizzy and tired from too low blood pressure. They’ve basically become too healthy for their medication!

If this happens you’ll have to reduce the dose of your blood-pressure medication, or stop taking it completely, with guidance from your doctor.

Learn more about Blood Pressure and Low Carb



 

Side Effects on Low Carb

Avoiding Side Effects on Low Carb

Do you struggle when starting low carb? Do you get a headache, leg cramps, constipation or any of the six most common side effects? It’s usually possible to avoid them – and feel great while losing weight.

The main solution to most common problems when starting low carb is to increase the intake of water and salt. It’s even better to do it preventatively during the first week. If you do, you’ll most likely not experience any of these problems, or they’ll only be minor.

Learn about the 6 common side effects on low carb – and how to cure them

 



 

Times 1984 and 2014

1984  Fear of Fat →
2014  “Eat Butter”

Chances are you’ve heard that a low-carb diet will kill you. This as a low-carb diet normally means we eat a higher proportion of fat instead.

This old idea is based on the belief that natural fat is not good for us. Even though humans have always been eating fat, somehow it’s supposed to mess up our bodies, raising our cholesterol and giving us a heart attack.

The good news is that we now know that this idea was simply wrong. Check out these two covers of TIME magazine. The first one is from 1984 – the start of the intense fear of fat. Instead of natural food we got lots of low-fat products, loaded with added sugar and starch. This, not so coincidentally, marked the start of the modern obesity epidemic.

The second cover is more current, from 2014. It says “Eat butter” and the story is about how scientists are now realizing they were wrong to fear fat. What a difference 30 years make!

Just about everybody already knows that low-carb works for weight loss (and some other things). The good news is that we now also know it’s safe… and likely even a very healthy way to eat.


Learn more about the obsolete fear of fat

Learn more about the causes of the obesity epidemic

 



 

Cholesterol

The unnecessary fear of fat and cholesterol started the epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Modern science shows what the mistake was.

We thought that all cholesterol was harmful. That a low cholesterol was always good, and that a high cholesterol was always bad. This was wrong. The truth is – as usual – more complicated.

More important than having a low cholesterol is to have a good cholesterol profile. To have a lot of the good protecting HDL-cholesterol, for example. And how do you get that? Well, the easiest way is to avoid sugar and flour, and instead eat enough fat to feel satisfied.

Cholesterol

Avoiding fat and instead eating a lot of easily digestible carbohydrates often causes a dangerous cholesterol profile: small, nasty, dense LDL particles and a shortage of protective HDL-cholesterol. This is probably why low-fat foods seem to cause more heart disease.

Read the science showing how low-carb high-fat improves the cholesterol profile

Read all blog posts on cholesterol
 

 
 

Answers to Your Questions

Low-carb questions and answers

Do you have questions about anything low-carb related? We have ready answers to all common questions – and more.

Low-Carb Questions and Answers
 
 
 


 
 

Next

Keep reading about What to Eat on a Low-Carb Diet

 



 

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Do you have any suggestion – big or small – to improve this page?
Anything that you’d like added or changed?
 
Comment below or e-mail me at andreas@dietdoctor.com.

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  1. Check out our 300+ low-carb recipes.

    Visual guides

    Low-carb vegetablesLow-carb fruits

    Low-carb snacksLow-carb nuts

    Low-carb alcohol

  2. Here are two of the top studies showing more weight loss and improvements in risk factors on low carb:

    Similar results have been found in meta-analyses of all studies, for example this recent analysis:

    PLOS ONE 2015: Dietary Intervention for Overweight and Obese Adults: Comparison of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets. A Meta-Analysis

    For many more studies on the topic have a look at our low-carb science page:

    The Science of Low Carb

  3. Does this sound to good to be true? Many people think so initially, and then they experience it for themselves.

    The reason is that our weight is hormonally regulated. Eating fewer carbohydrates lowers blood glucose, lowering the fat-storing hormone insulin. This often makes it way easier to access and burn excess body fat, without hunger or calorie counting.

    Learn more

4,350 Comments

  1. sebastian
    Hi,
    I really want to start this diet, I fall under the skinny fat person, meaning I get fat around my chest and lower belly. I was doing heavy workouts but my eating habits were terible the success was not achived. Now I stopped working out and I been consuming tons of alcohol felt my "man boobs" got bigger, not a good time, I just spent 2 weeks in the Caribbean and going to the beach has been embarrassing. Going to get back on my weighlifting program and give this diet a go, hopefully I can shed that unwanted stubborn fat and build muscle, does this diet work for muscle bulking as the over all calories must be increased?
  2. v
    I have hypothyroidism - many years of weight gain struggle. I have followed LCHF for 7 weeks diligently. I keep a daily food log ,use FITDAY.com . keep to 20 grams carb per day - eat nothing white. use ketostixs - 2nd bottle - no sign of ketosis. I make my own healthy meals and sauces and soups and watch portion size and ingredients . I have now gained 8 pounds... I measure weekly - stayed the same. I am confident I am sticking to the plan. do I keep going and eventually it will start to work for me? I understand with damaged adrenal glands it takes longer for some. is there hope for me -anyone experience this?
  3. Linda
    I am also curious as to the reply to this post, as I also have hypothyroidism. I haven't really gained any weight but I also haven't lost any either. I stay on the diet because I feel better, but I really need to lose at least 15 pounds.
  4. Carm
    Hi
    I have been doing LCHF for nearly 3 weeks now, Ketonix tells me I'm in ketosis (yellow 6-7 blinks or red 1 blink) I am eating I believe right my fitness pal shows average 67% fat 26% protein 7% carbs over a week, I excercise 3-4 x/week and yet no weight loss yet, is this normal? I sometimes do not feel like eating come meal time, should I eat anyway?
    Also, after the first 3 days I felt fantastic, full of energy on top of the world, it was great, then I over did my carbs on about day 5 and lost that feeling, I've been very strick since, but can't get that feeling back..... I want that feeling back, any suggestions? Thanks
  5. Tanya
    Hi all. Thank u for taking the time to help.... I would like to know what spices are allowed in cooking and can one use salt. Also what do I use for oil to cook with, must I use coconut oil?
  6. Forky
    Hi Folks,

    Does anyone know of a list of Doctors in the UK (ideally Scotland) who promote the LCHF diet?
    I am sick of my current Doctor looking at me like a fool.
    I am not a medical person, but since following this dietary lifestyle for the last two years I have lost over 8 stone without too much difficulty (I changed from the Carb lunacy to only organic fat and protein).
    I am completely bemused as to why society just does not accept the fact that large quantities of sugar in any form is a bad thing???

    However, foolishly (I know its my own fault, I was weak and everyone looked so happy), I enjoyed lots of Carbs and Sweets during the Christmas Holidays and a 20 year old Gallbladder issue has reared its ugly head again (or so I think at least), I would rather not lose my Gallbladder despite everyone saying I can live without out it.
    If I could live with out it, why was it put there in the first place?

    I think everyone knows that the tonsils were once thought as expendable but have since been proven to provide a first line of defense against infection in the throat and lungs.

    Anyway, I digress, I am looking for a proper, enlightened Doctor which is worthy of being called one (how can any person call themselves a professional if they don't have the first clue about Human energy systems?).
    I wouldn't be allowed to get away with it in my line of work (I am assessed every 3 months to make sure I am following current Electronic and Safety practices).

    Apologies for the outburst, I am fed up with our current perception of competence.

    Many thanks,

    Replies: #3979, #4019
  7. LOW CARB FOOD
    I am trying to loosed some weight, and wondered what some high protein low carb foods were. Besides eggs and tuna.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwh1alb53gk
  8. Hilary
    Just interested in the answer to Lewie0075, who asked about his cholesterol going higher. I have been thinking about going lchf, but this was my main worry. My levels are low, but on small does of statin, just cut back to only 3 days per week, but don't want to have to increase, looking to get away from pills.
    So, somebody, anybody got an answer?
    Reply: #3990
  9. Dar
    for anyone interested this video is about cholesterol going up and why,, it is very interesting and you can just look on youtube for it if this link doesn't open,=== A/Prof. Ken Sikaris - 'Does LCHF Improve Your Blood Tests?' ===it isn't negative at all, it explains it very well
  10. Michael Alward
    Dr. Eenfeldt:

    I enjoyed watching your presentation from the Ancestral Health Symposium 2011 and have shared it with many friends.

    One graph in your presentation showed the recent DECLINE of Sweden's obesity rates. That is very encouraging ! Can this really be attributed to the adoption of a higher fat diet ? Can you please let me know - what is the source of this Swedish obesity data ? Where can it be found ? If it is not readily available, can you add it to this website ?

    Thanks very much,

    MJA
    Canada

  11. Lynn
    I need help here.

    I have been on the HFLC diet now for 5 weeks and I have not lost a thing. If anything I have put on weight.

    I have not had any sweets, flour. bread, pastas or any carbs . I have had a small amount of nuts each day for fibre and I have a small amount of Camembert cheese each day as a treat.
    I eat bacon and eggs for breakfast with a fried tomato and black coffee.

    I have cold bacon for lunch and some tomatoes as I am not hungry at all. I have some salmon with a small salad some days.

    Dinner I have small amount of cabbage . a small piece of pumpkin, and two small lamb chops.

    I feel as if it is all a waste of time even though I enjoy it,,,,I might as well be eating bread and fruit that I enjoy.

    I have a spoon full of dollop cream with some blackberries as a desert.

    I am so depressed over this as I hated doing the fast for 2 day diet where I was soooo hungry.
    Can some one tell me where I am going wrong as I have been ever so faithful to this diet.
    thanks
    Lynn

    Reply: #3980
  12. Desi
    Have stalled, no more weight loss. Due to having back surgery the only thing I have been doing different. Is I haven't been able to exercise , is exercise a must?
    Was very interested to hear about the effects that Stress Hormones have on weight loss.
    Should I restart with a FAST? Where can I find a LCHF program to follow.
    Can anyone help this Aussie girl by posting some meal ideas.
    I hope someone can help.
    Desi from Australia
  13. Eric
    Lynn -- it could be that you are not eating enough (or not paying attention to the cheating you are doing). When you don't feed your body enough calories over a long period of time, it will slow down your metabolism and reduce your hunger (which you said has happened) in an effort to keep you alive longer (this is a survival mechanism). When that doesn't work, you'll lose weight all right, but it will be because you are forcing your body to burn it's own muscle for energy (and end up looking like Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyer's Club - perfect modern-day examples of healthy lean people ravaged by starvation and malnutrition due to undereating for long periods of time). Muscle catabolism is a BIG no-no. I don't think this is the kind of weight you want to lose ;)

    By eating a proper amount of calories (and correct lchf macros) for your daily expenditure, you are telling your body that the famine is over and that it is now okay to rev up your metabolism, spare your lean muscle tissue, and release the fat stores.

    Eat adequate protein, eat lots of nutrient-rich green veggies with each meal (LOTS of salad veggies for instance), ditch all processed, man-made garbage, and eat a good amount of fat (at least 50% of your diet, but higher to start and get you going down the right path).

    This is not a low calorie diet! EAT!!

  14. Eric
    Desi, if you are eating the same calories as when you were exercising, THAT could be the reason for the stall. Re-evaluate the diet you are eating. Get adequate (but not too much) protein, eat lots of green salad veggies (they are so low net carb these should be where you get the majority of your carbs because of the high fiber), and keep those carbs between 50g and 100g daily, right in the sweet spot for effortless fat loss. Keep fat intake at least 50% of your diet, maybe even higher, and don't undereat either.

    If you can't exercise, just adjust the diet. Getting lean and trim is probably 80% or more getting the diet (calorie amounts and macros) dialed in.

    Getting ripped or generally having higher fitness ability is a different story though ;)

  15. Eric
    Desi - foods for meal ideas...

    Today (so far) I've had:

    3 Large Brown Eggs from Cage-Free chickens (nice orangy yolks - yum!) - zero net carbs -
    8 oz. of Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon (great protein source and high omega 3 content - super important!) - zero net carbs -
    2 oz. of Walnuts - 4 net carbs -
    4 oz. of Almonds - 12 net carbs -
    1 can of Spinach (cuz I am what I am) - 6 net carbs -
    4 pats of Kerrygold Grass-Fed Butter to cook and flavor the eggs and fish - zero net carbs -

    That's roughly 1750 calories and I'm about to eat dinner which will consist of about 3 oz. of cheddar cheese and a big bowl of various salad veggies (no dressing) putting me somewhere in the 2000 calorie range which is actually a little higher than need be today (been sitting around all day - too cold outside to go anywhere).

    My Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio is about 4:1 today which is acceptable to me.

    It's so easy. My hunger has been mostly blunted today even though I'm on the internet reading article after article about FOOD and diets, etc lol.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Reply: #3967
  16. Lynn
    Thank you Eric for your reply and answer.
    The only thing I do not do that you suggest is eat a lot of veggies and salad except for tomatoes and shallots. I eat pumpkin and cabbage with butter on them.
    One thing that I have not done is cheat......I only wish ....as I am desperate to get this off and stay true.
    I am not a sweet tooth so sweet things I do not eat and never have but I put the weight on with savoury stuff like pies, and potato chips , bread and stews and lots of grazing.

    I have not eaten processed food since my heart attack nearly 3 years ago and now I cannot stand it ...lol.
    I have tried so many diets and I cannot lose anything much ....whether it is the medication I am on or not much exercise I do not know.
    Anyhow, I shall get into the salads as I quite enjoy them as it is very hot here in Australia right now.
    thank you again Eric ...I will let you have an update
    Lynn

    Reply: #3968
  17. Desi
    Hi Eric,
    Thanks for your helpful & encouraging reply.
    Interesting that Lyn & I have having a similar problem at the moment.
    I do need to increase the amount of salad vegies. I should be eating & as Lyn said I have no excuse as it's very hot here in Oz at the moment. Perfect salad weather.
    Have not been able to get to the shops, but I managed to go today & bought some Pork Belly.
    Because I saw a video about it that said it's one the most LCHF friendly meats the is. Apparently the fat to lean mean ratio is just right.
    Also bought some cauliflower which I intend on roasting with olive oil & garlic.
    Desi
  18. Desi
    Hi Lyn,
    Some low carb sites suggest we take it easy on the tomatoes as they are high in fructose & low in fibre.
    Desi
  19. Lynn
    Hi Desi

    Thank you for that information. I checked it out and you are correct. I will stop eating as many as I eat a lot of them. I have one fried for breakfast and I buy a pack of little ones and have them as a snack....silly me.
    I am so glad I dropped a note on here as I am sure I will get this right at last.
    What State are you in ? .....I am in Queensland
    Thank you again
    Lynn

    Reply: #3970
  20. Desi
    Hi Lyn,
    Pls'd to be able to help.
    I live Sth West of Sydney in the Macarthur Region.
    I'm determined to get this right. This is my lifestyle now.
    I have managed to get my blood pressure back to normal & I'm now working on getting my cholesterol down.
    I have dropped about 5kg but I started low carbing about 3mths ago, Nov 2014.
    So there was Xmas, New Years & 2 cruises in that period. So I guess I'm not doing too bad.
    Happy to share as I think as I think we can all learn from each other's successes & mistakes.
    Desi
  21. LYNN Z.
    Can I start this LCHF diet as I have gallstones if I am underweight?
    Reply: #3972
  22. Desi
    Hi Lyn Z.
    Everything I've read about LCHF would indicate you can & that it will improve your health.
    LCFH is a lifestyle not just a weight loss diet. Sure those of us who are carrying extra fat lose it, that's one of the benefits.
    But if you haven't got extra fat, that's fine. Your body will continue to burn what ever you're putting into it & if you're following the LCHF lifestyle. That will be the fat you're eating.
  23. Lana
    Hello,
    I and my husband first started on Atkins diet 7 weeks ago, shortly after a New Year celebration with our friends, when we ate uncontrollably and both felt overwhelmingly heavy. We were sitting in the kitchen and I started looking up different diets. Atkins attracted attention because it made sense, so we both agreed to start it literally the next morning. Today my husband is 19 lbs (9 kgs) lighter and I managed to lose 7 lbs (>3 kgs). We were both happy and feeling well when I found info about high-fat version of low-carb diet, and so now we will be transitioning to higher fat/lower protein intake.

    We started strictly at below 20 grams of carbs a day and by now increased it gradually to about 40 gr. We have added a 100 grams of berries (blackberries, strawberries or raspberries as berries are much lower in carbs than fruits), occasionally a tablespoon of ricotta cheese, a medium tomato, a little bit of beets, and so on, but we regulate carbs so that if we ate beets, we won’t eat berries that day. You kind of become so accustomed to this regime that it becomes easy to follow without even looking up the carbs in different products. The main thing is to try and eat whole foods, naturally grown veggies, whole fat diary (not milk), etc.

    Main points:
    1.don’t count calories, just eliminate carbs as advised
    2.if you crave sweets, which was my problem, get coconut or almond flour and start making cookies with stevia as a sweetener, it’s all natural and yields literally no carbs. There are ton of recipes for low-carb sweets on line, just google them. One of my favorites are walnut cookies, which only contain walnuts, stevia, eggs, vanilla and baking soda—they are so good! Once I did them, I then wasn’t afraid to experiment with making cookies using almond and/or coconut flour (organic).
    3.for snacks, we can eat one or two hard-boiled eggs, chopped with some cilantro and scallions, added spoon of mayo and fresh cucumbers or celery, cut in cubes – delish! Or you can have celery dipped in sour cream (full fat), or just almond—about 15 of them. Olives are good for snacking too. We are now only using sea salt.
    4.fry using ghee or coconut oil. Google ghee—you can make it yourself or buy in Whole Foods stores. Both can take high heat and are good for your health. Olive oil is good for salads.
    5.all spices are good. I use them all the time, making delicious sauces. We are not big on eating steaks, so I may pan fry chicken, then into the oven with some great sauce based on ghee, sour cream, dry wine and spices.
    6.when I quickly lightly pan-fry veggies, I always pore bitten eggs over them or add cheese, or even both eggs and cheese, so they become a real meal with no need for meats. This is a great alternative when you are fed up eating meats.
    Now, we are not losing much weight—it still going down, but much slower, a pound a week, and we know it’s because we went up on carbs. I do believe after reading a lot and researching that by adding more fat and lowering protein, the diet becomes healthier. We now started eating macadamia nuts, which are the highest in fat and are very healthy. I bought them on line, a big bag at very reasonable price.

    Good luck to all of you on your journey to losing weight and getting healthier! :-)

    Replies: #3974, #3975
  24. Desi
    Hi Lana,
    Thank you for sharing. Like you & your husband I started this lifestyle with Atkins in Nov 2014.
    I am frustrated sometimes just wanting the weight to drop off. I have lost about 5kg.
    Like you I don't count calories, just carbs.
    Have introduced Macadamia nuts recently & find them very satisfying.
    I look forward to hearing of your progress.
    Keep well, Desi
  25. Carla
    Hi Lana,
    did you follow up some LCHF Meal Plan or did you create your daily meal plan by your self ?
    I would love to start it, but I'm afraid to eat at wrong way.
    I live in China and the Nutrition Doctors here are not fans of a LCHF Diet.
    I don't need to lose to much weight only 11 pounds.
    Please let me know if you can help me about that.

    All the best for you.

    Carla

  26. Lana
    Thank you, Desi!
    Carla, you can do it on your own without a doctor: there isn't really much to it. My goal is exactly like yours, 10-11lbs. All you have to do is totally, without compromises, eliminate all breads, grains, sweets, sugar, starchy vegetables (beets, carrots and the like--especially at the induction phase), flour, all legumes, and fruits. Berries can be added after you drop off half of you goal weight. Focus on green-leaf vegetables (spinach, lettuce, etc.), cucumbers, scallions (not onions in the beginning), herbs (cilantro, dill and such), cauliflower, mushrooms, and broccoli. This gives you a good veggie choice. Later you can also add green beans.
    Meats and fats should be organic/natural if possible, as well as eggs and fish. You can have coffee or tea with heavy cream and stevia. NO milk, but fermented whole milk products, like whole fat sour cream or kefir/yogurt as they have very low carbs. Main thing is to drink a lot of fluids like tea and water and use salt. You can have beef or chicken broth with meat in it or by itself. Meats and fish should be unprocessed, so no hotdogs or sausages, rather clean-cut pieces of meat, fried, simmered, added to salads or made into casseroles with added cauliflower, broccoli or mushrooms.
    Most people eat eggs, cheese, butter for breakfast, but if you throw a few florets of cauliflower on the pan and pore eggs over it, it makes a great variety.
    The induction phase, when you have to stay under 20 grams of carbs a day lasts usually around 2-3 weeks, from all that I have read about it and from how we did it ourselves. You will see pounds shedding off very quickly--great motivation! Some of them because of the water loss, as your liver and kidney get used to a new way of eating and your liver starts using your fat to turn it into energy as opposed to using carbs.
    After induction, the weight loss is not as fast, but you will still see it going down. Per Atkins diet advices, you can start adding carbs back, but only in a way of veggies and berries, such as eggplants, beets, carrots, tomatoes, blueberries, etc. Add them one a week and see how your weight is: if you added a couple of pounds back, then you know which food caused it and cut it back, introducing another one instead.
    Nuts become an important part of the diet from the beginning, but only macadamia, walnuts and almonds as they are lowest in carbs and healthier than other kinds for different reasons. Have them for a snack or add them to your salads.
    Again, prepare everything that requires heat using coconut oil or ghee. You can find on YouTube how to make ghee--I make it from organic butter. In it, there are no any traces of milk left, not casein--milk protein that is not too good for health, but rather pure clear fat. It doesn't burn like regular butter and tastes much better. Fry your eggs or fish using it. I am still getting used to coconut oil, but love using ghee.
    Please let me know if this is helpful. I'll be happy to get you more info if you need.
  27. Desi
    Thank you Lana,
    I haven't had Milk, Bread, any foods containing sugar, flour or Grains of any kind since starting ANA in Nov.
    I find this way of eating very simple & I'm not missing those things at all.
    I now only drink water during the day. My only treat is a carb free cola after 5pm.
    I occasionally will have a herbal tea or an Atkins shake for a snack.
    I used to make myself wait until after 5pm to strengthen my will power. Now I can take it or leave it.
    I have always cooked with olive oil. Now I also cook with butter or coconut oil.
    I find if I use coconut oil on it's own it's smokey! So I add a little olive oil.
    I am recovering from spinal surgery. I was walking for 30+mins daily, then only when my back allowed it.
    But now I am almost sedentary I'm finding my weight loss has almost stalled.
    I have 18kg to lose to put me back into the normal weight category. So I'd like to lose 20kg or more to give me some lee way.
    Would you mind giving us an example of a typical days menu for you at the moment. I would find that very encouraging.
    Also Atkins tells us we can have boiled eggs with a bit of Mayo on them. But I can't find a sugar free mayo here in Australia & I'm not interested in making my own.
    Do you use commercially made Mayonnaise? If so what brand?
    I look forward to hearing from you. Desi :)
  28. Lana
    Hi, Desi!
    Incidentally, I am recovering from acute lower back pain for 2 weeks now, and so haven't moved at all the first week, with this week still moving only around the house and having to alternate sitting and standing, with some walking--tough! I, too, haven't lost weight during these 2 weeks, but I haven't gained any either, while eating all the same.
    I, by nature, get bored with all the same foods, so I try to alternate recipes every day and will give you a few of each: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    Breakfast: a piece of low-carb bread with butter and cheese and a cup of tea with stevia and lemon (this piece of low-carb bread is the last thing I have to get rid of--it has 6 gr of carbs in it and is really tiny, so it's a little cheat that we sometimes do); or 2 fried eggs with scallions and spinach (first fry scallions and spinach, then pore eggs over); or low-carb pancakes (less frequent, mostly on weekends), which include eggs, coconut flower, a couple of tablespoons of buckwheat flower, sour cream or heavy cream, cinnamon, baking soda and stevia).
    Snack before lunch: coffee with heavy cream and stevia and 10-15 almonds or 5 macadamia nuts; or macadamia nuts with a 100 gr of berries; or even a cup of tea with lemon and 2 coconut or almond flour chocolate cookies (I buy organic unsweetened cocoa and always use stevia for sweetening);
    Lunch: pan-fried veggies (cauliflower, spinach or broccoli) with pored-over eggs and/or cheese; or a piece of salmon with all-greens salad; or chopped greens, cucumbers, and green pepper mixed with full-fat sour cream; or hard-boiled eggs with cucumbers, scallions, and celery, mixed with mayo. For frying I use mostly ghee, as I mentioned before. I used to always fry on olive oil, but lately learned that olive oil, though healthy, better eaten with salads as it can't take high heat and becomes more harmful than beneficial. I also learned that cold-pressed oils are the best, so now I pay attention to the information panels more.
    After lunch, which is usually around 11:30-12:00, I get hungry around 5 pm--that's when I have my last meal of the day--dinner.
    Dinner: soup (meatball or chicken "soup" with spices and herbs and a little bit of tomato sauce--nothing else in it), with green salad with added olive oil and apple cider vinegar; or a piece of chicken with baked veggies and also green salad with olive oil; or salmon with veggies, fresh or pan-fried or baked. Another good salad is cabbage salad: shredded cabbage, scallion, and dill, salt, pepper, add olive oil and apple cider vinegar--it's really good with any meat!
    After that, I am usually full until morning, my breakfast is usually around 6:00, so I have a full 12-hour rest/fast.
    I drink mineral water, filtered water or tea between all meals, and I don't normally drink during lunch or dinner.
    Mayonnaise: we in USA have full-fat mayo with 0 carbs. Look for a full-fat version: most of them don't have carbs/sugar in them.
    I use a lot of herbs--cilantro and dill are a big part of my salads, they add flavor and are healthy. We now also allow a small tomato in our salads.
    Reply: #3983
  29. Mary
    I'm a fellow Scot living in South Africa. Lost my gall bladder in 1990 - myself and many others on the Banting 7-Day Meal Plan are without our gall bladders and banting is not causing any problems. Quite the opposite in fact. I started banting mid Dec and have lost 25lbs so far. Blood sugar down (I'm prediabetic) and BP down.
  30. Mary
    Lynn - are you having enough fats? If banting, we eat butter, use coconut oil for cooking (or lard) and eat hard and soft cheeses. Instead of milk in your coffee (must be pure coffee), have some cream. Never take anything labelled low-fat, fat-free or slimmers. Go easy on fruit which is high in natural sugar. And last, but not least, are you drinking enough water? 2 litres a day. Good luck.
  31. Sam
    Can you still do LCHF if you don't have a gall bladder?? I recently started LCHF (Its been 6 days). I feel great! I read somewhere that people who don't have a gall bladder can't go into ketosis, so I'm worried LCHF won't work for me :-( Do you really have to limit the amount of cream you use? Read that somewhere too. I've been using a lot of cream to get my daily fat intake, so not sure if thats okay. Any info on Fats and how much fats I should be eating would be greatly appreciated. I know some people have mentioned 50% fat, but how do you know how much that is? stupid question I know.
  32. Mary
    Please help me with labels. I'm trying to keep a log of my protien, carbs, and fat. I do not understand which fat I write down. Label says TOTAL FAT 16g 25%
    SAT. FAT 6g 30%
    TRANS. FAT 0G
    CALORIES 180 FAT.CAL.140
    Thank you
  33. Desi
    Hi again Lana,
    Well unfortunately we have our back as our something in common.
    Thank you for the meal ideas. I hopped on the scales today & YAY!!! I dropped .9 of a kg!
    Mayonnaise: I read every label in our Aussie supermarkets & can't find one single Mayo that has no or low carbs. I've read about Hellman's but can't find it here.
    So I go without! I have a recipe for homemade & I'll make it when I'm desperate.
    Sine starting the LCHF lifestyle I only eat between 8am & 6pm & drink water if I want anything after this time.
    I used to have breakfast at 5.30-6am Morning tea 9.30-10am lunch 12.30-1pm & dinner at 6.30-7pm.
    But since my 1st surgery I've not been able to work. So now I usually get up between 7am + 7.30am as I don't need to get up so early.
    I read if we reduce the hours of the day in which we eat. We may find it easier to manage what we eat & it works for me.
    Breakfast for me today was a 2 egg omelette with cheese cream & mushrooms + water.
    Morning snack: A Babybel cheese & water.
    Lunch: 2cups of salad greens & roast chicken + water.
    I plan to have Pork Spare Ribs, Salad greens + Roasted Cauliflower with garlic for dinner tonight + water.
    I also only use Olive or Macadamia Oil + Vinegar on my salads.
    Cheers, Desi
  34. JJ
    Dk y my weight has platued for past 3 weeks, been eating about 120g of fat, +70g of protein, and about 20 or less grams of carbs and about 2100 calories, what m I doing wrong?
  35. Lana
    Hi, Desi!
    It's so great you lost more weight! :-) We are having a very snowy and cold winter this year, so I can't wait for the spring and the time when we can start walking. That will help with faster dropping weight too.
    You eat everything great! Sorry you don't have 0 carb mayo--Hellman's is the one I usually use. Actually making a salad today with eggs, turkey breast, pickles and herbs with mayo. Keep me posted on your progress! Hope you recover rather quickly!
  36. Lana
    JJ, I am not a big specialist in high fat diet yet as we started first with Atkins, but with Atkins, the weight was dropping much faster than when we started transitioning to higher fat intake. I think, first because we did increase intake of carbs from berries, but also, just logically speaking: when we go super-low on carbs, our liver starts looking for the source of energy and starts using our stored fat as a fuel...right? So if you give it the fat from outside, with food, maybe liver just uses that fat instead of burning your own. What I am trying to say is why don't you try a little experiment and go on high protein, low fat/low carb for a couple of weeks and see if that helps? It's not going to destroy your diet, you still eat low carb, just switch from so much fat to much more protein for a while. If that works, then once you burn all of your body's extra fat, you can transition to high fat diet again. Just a suggestion...:)
  37. Desi
    Am feeling very happy with my new LCHF lifestyle. Am finding it effortless, have lost another .9 of a kg.
    When I first found this site the new comments used to come through to my email. Now they don't. Can anyone tell me why, & how I can get them to do that again?
  38. Andrea Betts
    I was wondering if you could recommend any courses in the UK that I could take to qualify as a dietitian/ nutritionalist and to specialise in lchf, I feel very strongly about this and would love to help a lot of people. Any help would be much appreciated.
  39. Desi
    I can't believe it. In the last month I've lost 5cm off my tummy. YAY! :)
  40. Caeleigh Shae
    Hilary,
    I have read that it's a myth that it will increases your cholesterol; in fact, it increase HDL and decreases LDL.

    This site was very insightful and mirrored much of dietdoc. It talks of what you are concerned of.
    http://authoritynutrition.com/

  41. Vanessa
    Hi, I've been doing this diet for 10 Months now and although there was Xmas, New Year and other Occasions where also I ate alot of chocolate & carbs etc I have lost 11kgs. I am back on the keto diet but now as I've reach my ideal wieght I'm finding it hard to maintain without loosing more weight. I just don't have the big appetite as before. I don't want to start eating sweets etc as that is obsessive and not good for me. Any sugggestions :)
  42. Caeleigh Shae
    Is homemade Ranch dressing made with the Hidden Valley packet mix, 2% milk, and full fat may LCHF compliant?
  43. Charlene
    Eating cholesterol & fat does not necessarily raise your cholesterol. I believe in this low car high fat diet. However, you should look at the kinds of fats you are eating. When I did this diet and lost 70 lbs, my bad cholesterol levels lowered slightly and my good cholesterol went way up (which is a very good thing). How did I raise my good cholesterol? I did some fat research. I was careful to add in a good amount of good/ healthy fats. Dairy and meat fats - are not totally "bad" fats , but eating only those kinds of fat can cause health issues. The key is balancing the types of fats you eat. Look up Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. If eaten alone on a two week induction phase of Atkins that some people keep on doing for longer than two weeks - it can cause health issues. Examples of good fats to add to your diet to balance out the "bad" fats in meats and dairy - walnuts, almonds, coconut oil, olive oil based dressings & sauces, avocados. If you are not losing weight on this diet then I would also look at your portion sizes. They don't place a lot of emphasis on calories in vs. calories out on this diet, but I believe (from personal experience) that this still matters. If you eat 5000 calories a day and your body is only capable of burning 2000 a day then you ARE going to gain weight. Get a more active, drink water (eat enough salt in the first couple weeks of this diet) and eat smaller portions. You will be amazed that you are full on a lesser volume of food than when the bulk of your diet was starch based. 3 eggs soft boiled will keep you satisfied for many hours longer than 3 slices of whole grain bread.
  44. Amanda
    I've always been overweight, even in high school. In fact the only time I ever remember being skinny was when I was nine or ten. I've always known that carbs weren't good for you, especially whole grains, but I can never convince my family of this. So I continued to follow their guidelines just to have them shut up and leave me alone about it. But now that I've read this and watched the video, I know I wasn't wrong in my way of thinking. A recent trip to the doctor told me I needed to lose weight, seeing that I have low signs of high cholesterol in my blood. I'll try this for a few weeks and see what I get (or lose) from it. I really hope this works.
  45. 1 comment removed
  46. Desi
    Zepp
    Some you posted a link to a site that explained the LCHF concept very clearly & concisely.
    I had only just adopted this lifestyle. So it was very helpful to me. I printed the information & would refer to it when needed.
    I have let my appearance & my obvious improving health speak for it self.
    But now my girl friends are asking me what am I doing & saying things like; "Your looking great, better & better each day. What are you doing"
    I have tried to explain the LCHF concept. But thought I'd give them the printed article to read for themselves.
    But! you guessed it. I can't find it, I may already have given it away.
    Would you please repost the link. I think it was an about.com or a Dukes medical.
    Hope you know the one I mean.
    Desi
  47. ellen
    When I tried the high protein diet it caused me to have gout. What can I do? Help.
  48. cliff
    I have been diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic but am not taking medicine for it. After about 9 days of lchf diet I have gained 8 lbs. Blood sugar seems to have lowered a bit (160's-170's) but still not in normal range. Does it take a while to start losing weight, and normalizing blood sugar? When should the lchf diet start dropping lbs? I have been sticking close to diet. No Carbs. I have been eating a bit less than normal, cheese, butter, sausage, chicken, greens, cream, etc.
  49. Natalie
    Husband and I have been trying the LCHF way of eating for 6 1/2 weeks now and we both lost some weight initially - like in the first 3 weeks but neither one of us has lost any more weight since then and it is getting very discouraging. We eat lots of fat and protein and try to keep the carbs below 20 gr. What are we doing wrong - really want this to work but are very frustrated!!!
  50. Anne
    I have been following a low carb diet on and off for a year now. I have occasionally lost a kg here and there, but not much. Then I came across Tim Noakes' book and decided to up my fat intake and follow a strict LCHF diet. Have been strictly LCHF for two weeks now, but no difference in weight. I am guessing I have not gone into ketosis yet. Any advise on how to get there or thoughts on what I might be doing wrong?

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