Questions & Answers
About Low Carb

Questions and Answers about Low Carb

 
Here are common questions and answers about low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) nutrition and health:

Is saturated fat dangerous?

No. That is an old and disproven theory. It’s been a mistake from the beginning. More.

I started eating LCHF / very low carb and I feel dizzy / a headache / tired?

Dizziness / headaches and similar symtoms are common during the first week as your body adapts to a very low-carb diet. These symptoms usually go away in a few days.

Adding a few more carbs to the meals reduces the symptoms but can slow the adaptation (and weight loss).

Another possibility is that you are dehydrated / low on salt. When starting a very low-carb diet there is extra loss of salt and fluids through the kidneys in the first weeks, until the body adapts. Drinking some extra fluid and putting some extra salt on your food during the first week can avoid this problem and often cures the symptoms. Alternatively you can drink some buillon a few times a day.

Do you use blood pressure medication? A very low carb diet can lower high blood pressure, and medication may need to be reduced in that case. Low blood pressure may result in dizziness.

I have other beginner’s problems on low carb

Check out our full guide on common low-carb side effects and how to cure them. Alternatively you can jump right to the section that interests you. Here are the most common early problems:

 
I have longer-term problems on low carb

Here are less common long-term problems that some people may experience:

I fear XXX…

What is the biggest fear that people have when starting a low-carb diet?

We recently asked our members this question. Here are the results:

Other answers include some brave people having no fear at all, concerns about safety, losing sports performance as well as the fear of losing too much weight.

So what can be done? Here’s our guide to conquering these fears

Can kids eat low carb?

Yes. Although healthy normal-weight kids do not necessarily have any extra benefits from following a strict low-carb diet, they can be massively helped by avoiding most added sugars and refined carbs. Here’s our helpful guide:

Low Carb Kids – How to Raise Children on Real Low-Carb Food

Why are Asian rice eaters thin?

Probably because they do not eat a lot of sugar or refined starch. More.

I’m eating a low-carb diet but I’m not losing as much weight as I’d like. Why?

There can be many reasons. Follow the checklist on the How to Lose Weight Page

Can low carb result in osteoporosis (weak bones)?

No.

Can you breastfeed on a low-carb diet?

Yes, but you should probably eat a more moderate low-carb diet with 50+ grams of carbs per day. It’s also important to eat enough food.

It’s not recommended to eat a strict low-carb diet or to starve (restrict calories) due to a rare but serious risk of complications

I’m eating low carb for health reasons but people say I’m getting too skinny. Can you ADD weight on a low-carb diet?

First of all, this “too skinny” can be normal. But normal weight can appear skinny in a society – like the US – where the large majority is overweight.

Secondly, yes it’s possible to put on quality weight on low carb: lift heavy things (strength training) and eat when you are hungry. The heavier things you lift and the more often, the more effective.

What about gallstones and LCHF?

High fat food can give you short term trouble if you already have gallstones. Low fat food gives you gallstones in the long term. More.

Can you eat LCHF if you’ve had your gallbladder removed? Yes.

Can you eat low carb cookies / bread / pasta and lose weight?

That is probably not a good idea:

Do you get cancer from eating red meat?

Highly unlikely, although favoring unprocessed meat is the healthiest choice. Replacing meat with processed carbs may be one of the worst things you can do for your health and weight. More. 

Do you need to eat resistant starch on low carb to feed your gut bacteria?

Unknown, but there appears to be some potential benefits of doing so

Do you get hypothyroidism on a very low carb diet?

No, hardly on a well-formulated low carb diet, meaning you replace the energy from carbs by eating more fat. In scientific studies on LCHF there are no problems with the thyroid and I see no new thyroid issues in my patients going strictly low carb.

However, starvation can lead to hypothyroidism, and if you remove carbs AND fat from your diet you will be starving. So you do need to eat carbs or fat to fuel your body.

Bottom line: A LCHF diet is fine for your thyroid. More.

Is there scientific proof that LCHF is good for weight / blood sugar / cholesterol / blood pressure?

Yes.

Are studies showing better weight loss on low carb diets sponsored by the meat industry or the Atkins foundation?

Yes, a few of them are. But repeated independent studies show the same results.

Does insulin play a role in weight gain / loss?

Yes, it’s absolutely crucial in most cases. Some bloggers have objections but they do not change biochemical facts. More.

Can you drink alcohol on LCHF?

Sure, in moderate amounts. But beer and sweet drinks need to be avoided. Choose wine or non-sweetened liquor. More.

Is salt dangerous?

No. At least not in moderate amounts. More.

What’s a good low-carb breakfast except for eggs?

Lots of Low-Carb Breakfasts

Can you eat fruit on LCHF?

Only occasionally, as an exception, if you want to be strict and get the maximum effect. Fruit contains a lot of sugar. Fruit is candy from nature.

Why are Americans obese?

This is why.

More knowledge

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

More theory and practice

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

Dr Westman’s Guide to LCHF 2/5: How to Become a Fat-Burning Machine
The 5 common mistakes on LCHF
 How to Do an LCHF Diet – Dr. Eric Westman
 LCHF for Obesity and Diabetes – Dr. Jay Wortman
A Worldwide Nutrition Revolution – Prof. Tim Noakes
 

Next

Keep reading about The Science of Low Carb

 

 

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