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:



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 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.




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




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.


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



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



Improve this page

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


  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

    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.

    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.
  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

    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.
  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."
  31. Helen
  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

    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?


  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. 1 comment removed
  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
    Reply: #4145
  45. Desi
    Hi Joan,
    I'm not sure what your question is, but I think you should be very happy with a 2.3lb (1.04kg) loss.
    Keep it up. Desi
  46. Khalida Manzoor
    I have type 2 diabetes and would like to try this diet but I have fatty liver. Wouldn't this diet aggravate this condition? Also have fibromyalgia
    Reply: #4147
  47. Desi
    Hi Khalida,
    After a few months you may find you no longer have Type 2 DM after you begin this WOE.
    I had NAFL (not alcoholic fatty liver) too.
    I had baseline blood test taken before I began in Nov 2014 & had them repeated after 3mths.
    The baseline blood showed that my Cholesterol & Triglycerides where elevated & that I had Fatty Liver.
    After the 3mths the Cholesterol is going down & the Triglycerides & Liver function have both returned to normal.
  48. 1 comment removed
  49. anne white
    I need help. I have been on lchf for about 8 weeks and have lost 15 pounds. Next week I am going on a bus trip with a group of ladies. We will be eating breakfast in hotels which mainly offer cereals, milk and donuts. Coffee and milk. What can I do ? Lunch and dinner shouldn't be a problem. I can take my bullet but don't know if hwc and Kerry butter will travel well in a cooler. I usually have bpc for my breakfast. Thanks for some help.
    Replies: #4150, #4152
  50. Desi
    Hi Anne,
    Maybe you could take some protein shakes. They're not ideal, but I'm sure they'd be ok for breakfast just for 1 week.

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