The Biggest Fears on Low Carb – and the Solutions

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

We recently asked our members this question, and got 826 replies. 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 a guide to conquering these fears: 

Giving up foods I love

Here are our recipes for low-carb versions of foods you may love:

What else do you love that is high carb? Please let us know in the comments below, and we’ll look into it.

Failing

Not losing enough weight? Check out our How to Lose Weight page with helpful tips.

Don’t know how to start on low carb? Join our free two-week low-carb challenge.

Suffering side effects? Check out our page on how to cure low-carb side effects.

Do you have other specific problems? Check out our low-carb Q&A page.

Lacking inspiration? Check out our low-carb recipes page or 100+ low-carb success stories.

Eating lots of fat
Dr Westman’s Guide to LCHF 2/5: How to Become a Fat-Burning Machine

No need to eat “lots” of fat. Just use as much in your cooking as you need to feel satisfied. Let your body tell you how much fat your body needs.

And remember: on a low-carb diet your body turns into a fat-burning machine.

Dealing with social situations

We’ll add a guide on this topic soon. Please help us out by leaving a comment below about what kind of social situation you find hardest, and why.

A general tip can be to eat before you leave for a social situation, when you predict it will be hard to find good food. This will at least minimize any damage. And if you are addicted to sugar or processed foods, check out our video course for helpful tips >

Feeling hungry

Most people feel way less hungry on a low-carb, high-fat diet. There’s no need to be hungry on low carb.

In fact, if you’re hungry between meals you’re probably doing it wrong. Eat bigger meals, specifically add more fat to your cooking.

If you like, sign up for our free two-week low-carb challenge. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Safety

Low carb is very safe. Millions of people have been using it over hundreds of years, with no major risk identified and proven. There’s not a single drug on the market with anything similar to that safety record.

However, there are a few situations to be aware of:

  • If you’re on diabetes drugs, especially insulin, low carb is great for you, it may be the best thing you can do. But make sure you adapt (lower) the doses as appropriate so you avoid low blood sugar. Consult with your physician. More >
  • In type 1 diabetes, low carb is great for controlling blood sugar. But don’t do super strict low carb. Unless you absolutely know what you’re doing, stay above around 50 grams of carbs per day. Strict low can result in high ketone levels (1+ mmol/L). This is fine for other people, but in type 1 it is uncomfortably close to ketoacidosis. Missing an insulin shot or two – or a brief pump malfunction – in this situation can tip you over the edge. You’d risk ending up in the hospital. More >
  • When breastfeeding, don’t do a super strict low-carb diet. Stay above 50 grams of carbs per day. More >

Physical Performance

Sports performance

Learn more about maximizing sports performance on low carb >

Losing too much weight

If you eat to satiety at meals, this will not be a problem. Low carb works by lowering the fat-storing hormone insulin, but it never goes away completely. You’ll always eat tiny amounts of carbs, and protein also raises insulin.

The bottom line is that on low carb, as long as you eat to satiety, weight loss will slow down and stabilize within the normal zone (BMI 18,5 – 25). Where in this range you stop will depend on your genes and other lifestyle factors. But you’ll never become underweight.

More questions

Check out our full low-carb guide and our low-carb Q&A page for more tips.

Guides

 How to Do an LCHF Diet – Dr. Eric Westman
How to eat LCHF
The 5 common mistakes on LCHF
The Top 5 Tips For Weight Loss

 

17 comments

  1. Ashley
    I wish I could find an easy alternative for flavored iced coffee drinks. Mine is iced coffee with caramel and cream. I've always gotten it on the way to work in the morning so it's so hard to give up. When I give in and buy it, then I feel the whole day is ruined...very frustrating.
  2. Thiago Silva
    Dr Andreas one thing I miss it is sushi. I have read about konjac rice. Could you give us a recipe of sushi with konjac rice. What do you think about low carb beer? I miss it too. Here in Brazil there are some brands of beer with 4 g of barbs each bottle.
  3. Gemma
    Some end of the day chocolatey morsels (no need to be too sweet) would be fabulous! Thank you for all these wonderful resources.
  4. Jo
    With regards to a social situation - yesterday I met another mum at her house as my daughter and hers had a play date - had a cup of tea then the biscuits (large cookies) came out! Since this was our first meeting I felt awkward saying no, and had one. Felt very guilty all day afterwards!
  5. DK
    Enchiladas, enchiladas, enchiladas!

    Also, I'm deathly allergic to eggs, quinoa, and oatmeal and sensitive whey protein which is what most low carb breads are made out of. It is really depressing.

  6. Dan
    Social situations: an invitation to dinner is a challenge. In other situations I can pick and choose for buffet, restaurants, etc. but when a friend invites you to enjoy something they have prepared, you feel tremendous pressure to enjoy what is offered. Unless you have allergies it is a social stressor to talk about your diet and put them into the awkward place of cooking LCHF when they are unfamiliar with it.
  7. Janknitz
    Some foods you are just going to have to give up, and sometimes you need to make new habits. Ashley, Caramel is sugar, and the only substitute is going to be full of artificial sweeteners and fake flavors, not real foods.

    You might try some heavy cream or coconut milk and a few drops of vanilla in your coffee--it won't be the same, it won't be sweet, but over time you will come to enjoy it just as much (when your tastebuds are no longer overwhelmed with added sweetness, you'll be very surprised to find out that many things including heavy cream and coconut milk have a natural sweetness to them). Try eating a hearty breakfast and make your coffee at home, so that you aren't tempted to stop on the way to work. It's just as fast to make coffee at home as it is to wait in line at a coffee shop and It will save you money in the long run, too. If you want to take your coffee to work, invest in a good thermal commuter cup.

  8. tz
    Freeze Drying scrambled eggs turn them into snack puffs. Meringue is like a wafer. Freeze Drying thinly sliced cooked meat (peppered turkey, herb chicken, roast beef) turns them into crisps. Freeze-dryed Raspberries and blackberries substitute for candy. (I have a HarvestRight).
    Breads are still a problem, your fake "bread" isn't. I don't have a problem with using other things for texture - like pizza crusts, but it still sn't bread.
    I'm testing eating controlled portions of Einkorn (from Jovial foods https://jovialfoods.com/einkorn/ ) - which is the original wheat - no hybridization, so it is higher protein than Quinoa and such and even the Gluten is a much lower molecular weight. More vitamins, less starch. I'm doing it as sourdough since I don't need sugar - the lactobacilli digest the starch, so the Yeast gets sugar from the grain.
    So far, so good - I'm only eating a little bread but with lots of butter, usually pan fried, often with eggs. It isn't for "strict" but I seem to be doing fine with it as part of "moderate". It is a pain to make, but is real bread - actually better tasting.
    Zoe Harcombe says "eat real food", and even real-food carbs are much different. Even fruit has been bred to be much sweeter. We are able to digest and use sugars and starches, but in proper proportion. They had sugar and grains for centuries, but our ancestors weren't poisoned by it. But what we have to day called "food" has been through a lot of factory processing.
  9. Denise
    The most difficult situation for me is eating at friends' homes. If they are kind enough to cook for me I feel that I can't dictate what I want to eat. If they've gone to a lot of trouble it would be bad manners not to eat what they've cooked. I'm actually allergic to some foods ( cheese, coconut and mushrooms) and they already accommodate this; to then not eat what they HAVE cooked would be terrible! I always offer to take my own food but this is always refused. I'm a very sociable lady and eat with friends often.
  10. Doreen
    Yes---I think the main problem with me is eating at friend's houses too. The meals usually centre around carbs---pastas, breads, desserts,etc. very hard to refuse, especially when I love them and everyone else is eating them. Also, most are slim, and have no problem eating what they want. Then I have to be careful with the wine--more carbs added. Even eating out in restaurants is hard. We went for a drive the other day, and usually always stopped for an ice cream--couldn't have that. Really depressing. I am really not enjoying this----so restrictive in the eating choices. Getting sick of salads too!!
    Reply: #11
  11. bill
    You're depressed because you couldn't
    have an ice cream when you wanted?
    I can and often do eat ice cream every
    day. But it's close to 100% fat. Why
    would you want any other kind?
    What else do you think you are being
    deprived of? Are you saying only carbs
    can mitigate your deprivation?
    Sorry to hear that...but I don't get it.

    Sick of salads? Don't eat what you don't
    want to eat. It's a simple concept.

  12. Julie
    I have read about this diet extensively and I have a concern. I have no doubt that LCHF would help me achieve my weight loss goals but I have read that the low levels of carbs make the body super sensitive. So the smallest amount of carbs or sugar any time after means it will go right back on as fat. So if I fell off the wagon for any reason, could I reasonably expect to pack all the weight I lost back on plus some ? Is this true ?
    What about when I travel ? I Love to eat the local food ? Can I do that intermittently ?
  13. Elle
    Social situations: Business lunches at restaurants, church socials, or eating at in-laws' house (the in-laws already accommodate to my food allergies, so it seems like a lot to ask to be even more specific and demanding, when they prefer lots of grain and sugar).
    Giving up foods I love: brownies, chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles. Finding recipes that are dairy-free is especially difficult.
  14. Elle
    Social situations: I should add that people are often okay with your ordering something very strange at a restaurant at a business lunch or eating something they find strange at a church social, but then the conversation becomes a routine of questions about why are you eating that?, don't you like what was offered?, you're hurting so-and-so's feelings, etc., and every new person who joins the table asks the same questions (there's a lot of mingling while eating supper at church socials especially). I'd love to have something to say that would cut the conversation short without being rude, so that I don't have the same conversation over and over and over every time I eat with new people.
    We've lost a lot of friendships since eating LCHF. Not that we argued or anything; they just stopped inviting us when it became clear, meal after meal, that we couldn't eat what they provided and that it was troublesome to figure out what we could eat that they could cook. (To us, it seems straightforward, but if you're not used to it, LCHF can seem mysterious and counterintuitive.) While I'd like to say, "Oh, good riddance to those terrible 'friends' who wouldn't cater to our needs," the truth is they were good people. They were just busy like most of us, and it was a troublesome thing to attend to at every get-together. I imagine it's often not even conscious why so-and-so just doesn't seem like a fun person to invite over for a meal. (I tried suggesting things to do together that don't involve food, but this is the South, and they were totally not up for things that don't involve food! haha You have to bring food and eat even if you go to the park or watch a dvd together at home.) I thought about bringing food with us, sort of potluck, and we tried that a few times. My husband and I ate what we brought and they ate what they brought. It sort of worked, but it caused a social awkwardness that deteriorated the relationships we tried it in. Again, I'd like to say, "Well, they must not have been good friends, then," but it really wasn't like that. They were good people and we had things in common. The differences in food make for big differences in social relationships, at least in certain social groups in the deep South. There are probably lots of cultural groups elsewhere in other states where it isn't an issue.
  15. Marianne G
    When I have friends over, I will make something like Thai red chicken curry with lots of coconut cream and veggies. I make rice for them, or potatoes or some other carbage and don't have it myself. My friends always make sure they do the same for me (steak or pork chops or chicken with a veg and salad for me, potatoes or something extra for them.) Works very well for us, and I haven't lost any friends! If they want pizza, I eat the toppings off a piece and put in on a salad. If they want fried chicken, I take the breading off. I pass on any desserts, but nobody seems to mind that. When you're really committed to something, you just make it work. (Oh, btw, until just recently I lived in North Carolina, and I saw no difference between my NC friends' reactions to my way of eating and those of my Ohio friends.)
  16. CS
    Was doing some research online and was wondering what you guys think of einkorn flour for use in bread?
  17. Sina
    Social situations: husband! :) We eat most dinners together, and when we travel (which we do a lot), also most other meals. He is an ultra-endurance athlete and eats a lot of carbs, which works well for him because he runs so much... He also enjoys beer more than other alcohol, and he enjoys it more if he can share all this with me. I'm trying to adapt the meals I'm cooking so that my version is low-carb, but it's a challenge. Between dinners, intermittent fasting has been my saving grace so far. But I find it hard to get in longer fasts. Also, the rule of "eat when I'm hungry, and not eat when I'm not hungry" does not seem realistic to me... I'm always hungry, but feel I need to "save my meals" for social situations.

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