Will LCHF work long-term? Say, after four years?


Does LCHF work long-term? The answer is usually yes – assuming, of course, you really do eat accordingly long-term. Should you return to your previous food habits, you’ll also eventually return to your previous weight – just like with any other diet.

One man who’s kept to a very strict low-carbohydrate diet non-stop for four years is Tommy Runesson. Above is his amazing weight graph. It shows a steep decline of around 200 lbs for 1.5 years, and then a smoother stabilization period approaching normal weight. Today, his weight has been stable for around 2.5 years.

An LCHF diet won’t normally make you underweight, as long as you eat your fill. Instead, it helps most people (but not all) lose their excess weight.

Here is Tommy Runesson’s update after four years: 4 years and -200lbs (Google translated from Swedish)

Does LCHF work long-term for you?


LCHF for beginners / Weight Loss Stories

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Top comment

  1. Buzz
    Alan, I agree with you. I've got 100 pounds to lose and have been doing LCHF for nearly a year. I've lost nothing. I stay around 20g Carbs/day, about 75% fat, and rarely eat more than 100g of protein. Yet I lose nothing. Nothing artificial, real food.

    Have you noticed that the low carb "experts" extoll the virtues of LCHF, put down everything else, but if someone is having a problem with it, they run away. They don't try to help. They take it as their ego has been attacked.

    I went to see a Low Carb expert. After a few months, I still hadn't lost. When I asked his help in trying to figure out why, all he said was this works and I was cheating. I wasn't. He then got on me because I had 1T extra of cream when he only wanted me to have 3 T/day. Yea, like 1T of heavy cream was going to ruin my weight loss. So I cut back and still didn't lose.

    I've even noticed on this site that the Diet Doctor was making a list of 17 things to do to lose weight. The last three would be for those who are having problems. Well, there are only three left in the series and it's been months since he's posted anything. Oh, except to put down anything outside his beliefs.

    I've know people who have lost on LCHF. I've known people who have lost on Low fat, High Carb. I've known people who have lost on vegetarian. And you know what.....each has its own experts stating why their's is right and the rest are wrong.

    I think we just have to find what works for us and ignore anyone who has written a book or runs a diet program. Why? Because if you prove them wrong, they lose a lot possible income. And let's face it, money talks. They like the money and will do anything to protect their theory.

    I'm going to be attacked now by the LCHF cultists but that's okay.

    Reply: #118
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  1. frank
    To Mr. "FrankG" Yes I understand what you said about metric numbers, and agree. But...in perusing various diet forums, do you not also see how many "tenths of a pound" are listed. Do believe it to be quite ridiculous. And these are not metric conversions. In the case of this fellow, very likely what you said is true, so a different story.
    Reply: #103
  2. FrankG
    Perhaps not tenths of a pound but surely ounces are acceptable? I wonder how many people visit Weight Watchers every week (?) and live or die by a few ounces of difference?

    As a general comment I agree that it is not worth the fuss: as having tracked my own weight closely I have seen how it can vary by a couple of pounds in the course of just a single day.

    But I also don't see any harm in being precise, if you have precise numbers. I certainly don't see it as any need to look down on someone and make disparaging remarks about them as you did.

    What else should we round? Blood Glucose numbers? Cholesterol levels? If my BG meter, or lab reports them with decimals places then I tend to record them as such.. why not?

    And why on earth would someone on a diet forum report their weight in tenths of a pound unless it WAS a conversion? Isn't it normally pounds and ounces?

    Reply: #120
  3. frank
    I wonder how many people visit Weight Watchers every week (?) and live or die by a few ounces

    Indeed so, and equally ridiculous. Just a glass of water can make a difference either way, of whether they peed recently or did not. My person concern (and am hugely fat) is that the pounds will go down on the scale, but body will go up! When that happens, you have nowhere else to go. Look in the mirroir, and if you like what you see, that's what counts, Scale is fine, but not to ridiculous obsess with ounces.

    Reply: #106
  4. frank
    I wonder how many people visit Weight Watchers every week (?) and live or die by a few ounces

    Indeed so, and equally ridiculous. Just a glass of water can make a difference either way, of whether they peed recently or did not. My person concern (and am hugely fat) is that the pounds will go down on the scale, but body will go up! When that happens, you have nowhere else to go. Have been 170 lbs, vs 370, at one time or another, and STILL blimplike. To the devil with the scale, it is a mocker. Look in the mirroir, and if you like what you see, that's what counts. Or at least don't get heart palpitations or otherwise ruin your day because the scale shows 2 ounces. The diet forums are full of such nonsense.

    Reply: #107
  5. frank
    The young person above provided a link to a place that does indeed show scales with tiny fractions. Ok stand corrected. But...it's the same as "House for sale, price $999,999.99." Cut it out!
  6. sten
    Only measure your waist as that's the only thing that is closely correlated to disease. You can be healthy fat if the fat is anywhere else as subcutaneous fat has no known health risks associated , unless your bones are bending or collapsing from excess weight. In such case take vitamin D3 as you then may suffer from rickets, like scoliosis. 5,000 iu for me with no or little sun exposure.

    On the other hand it is very very hard to not lose weight when your waist measure drops. To avoid further confusion from natural daily variations simply measure once a week and spend the gained time on walks, for instance.

    Finally it is worth pointing out that "BMI" is one of the most useless measures that exists, nearly as bad as total cholesterol. BMI make no distinction as per above, and also athletes with large chest, muscles and very little fat easy get "too high" BMI....
    Both total cholesterol and BMI add up bad and good or harmless numbers and doctors still daily state the more the worse; a gross indictment that current main stream medicine is off badly course.

  7. PhilT
    @Buzz if you maintain at 2000 and gain at 2500 or above then you need to be eating less. I wouldn't lose at 2000. Do a week at 1000 calories with 75-80% from fat and see what happens. 50g of protein max.

    If you have a block about reducing calories to that level then you have your answer. Get over the mental block and you'll lose weight.

  8. PhilT
    "Short term high fat feeding in rats results specifically in hepatic fat accumulation" http://www.jbc.org/content/279/31/32345.short

    " Short term fat feeding (FF) caused a ∼3-fold increase in liver triglyceride and total fatty acyl-CoA content without any significant increase in visceral or skeletal muscle fat content. Suppression of endogenous glucose production (EGP) by insulin was diminished in the FF group, despite normal basal EGP and insulin-stimulated peripheral glucose disposal. "

    Reply: #110
  9. sten
    This has been up before. Many "high fat rat chows" contain both fructose and dextrose, else the rats wont eat it, just like many kids at McDonalds!
    The combination of fat and sugar is also in the low carb community regarded as a the very worst, as fast-carb initiated insulin spikes cause both fat and sugar to be stored as excess calories, god knows what goes into AT and what goes into liver fat, while the following BS drop cause renewed hunger instead of the long term satiety caused by fat alone.
    The LC carbs must be slow like from salads and few vegetables!

    Chris MasterJohn has written several pieces on the subject of "high fat rat chows" finding they are usually not what the name would advertise! I recall that also transfats have been found in high fat chows! Otherwise transfats have been found included in studies proving the health hazards of saturated fats.

  10. Hilary
    I'm sorry you are struggling. I know from experience it is not easy. I've been on HFLC in varying forms off and on for 10 years (I'm 31). Currently, I use it to treat a number of ailments: PCOS (an insulin-related hormonal disorder), mental health, food intolerances, and an autoimmune disease. I have a very hard time losing, but love the energy inducing, anti-inflammatory, hormonal and food intolerance effects. I eat LC primal, but with dairy only very rarely (due to the intolerance). A few things have helped me recently. I started intermittent fasting through breakfast (as a woman this is 14 hour fast 10 hour eating window; for men 16 hour fast and 8 hour eating window is recommended) Then at 12:00 p.m., I eat 2/3 of my lunch (meat, veg, olive oil), then eat the other 1/3 at 3 and a normal dinner then a little bit of dessert (dark choc, PB). I also recommend evaluating yourself for food intolerances. This means no gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, and limited nuts, high histamine foods, and nightshades (autoimmune) for me. I mostly used food trials to figure this out but ELISA assays also confirmed the intolerances I knew were present (although a few false positives appeared too). I hope these ideas help you and I hope that low carb helps you feel better, even if it isn't helping you lose weight right now.
  11. Katy H.
    frank FYI digital scales measure in tenths of pounds...ie 135.2 = 135 2/10 lbs.
  12. Moo
    Hi All, I am currently on the Low carb high fat diet. and I started a month ago. I've lost 3.5kgs roughly in that time... I work in Kj not calories.. so I eat about 5100 kj a day, with no more than 20g carbs (excluding dietary fibre) per day. I have to say that I have tried other diets and this one works for me..

    I notice that Buzz is on 2000 calories a day ? I think that's over 8000 kj a day. That'll be why you are finding it hard :( my 5100 kj equates to roughly 1200 calories p/d although I know I could be stricter on my self. I do sneak some dark chocolate and I have too much coke zero.. but its still working for me. and because of these "naughty" things I Allow myself im not tempted to blow my new way of living... I wish everyone the best with their meals.

    I've found a few little naughty treats that help me
    Atkins bars - caramel nut chew bar. 2g carbs
    Aeroplane Jelly Lite - no carbs and only 29 kj
    I have a sweetner called Norbu made from Monk Fruit.
    Coke zero - 0.4g carbs per 375ml can

    does anyone else have some things they have found?

  13. Laura
    Try eliminating dairy for a month. For some people this can make all the difference.

    Kind regards!

  14. An
    I don't get this. First it is stated that you can eat as much as you want as long as it is the right stuff. Now people are stating they eat no more then 1200 calories a day and the guy who is eating more should cut back. Let's face it, 1200 calories of anything (even white bread) a day will make you loose weight! Show me the person who eats all the fat that he is supposed to be eating according to the experts and that still looses weight!
    Reply: #117
  15. PeterMalta
    LCHF is working fine for me but sometimes I just want something sweet. Solution: whipped cream sweetened with STEVIA.
  16. Zepp
    The thing is that on a high fat, adequate protein diet one dont want to eat that much calories anymore!

    Theres even a problem with scientific studys.. people on high fat diet seems to eat less.. by them self.. but control groups on higher carbs have to be limited!

    And then.. people with no sens of apetite/self control of eating can be eating to much or too litle for a grown up person.. then we have to say to those to eat more or less.

    Its about that fat should be high of ones energy demand.. but people dont know there energy demand!

  17. Rebecca Robbins
    I am kind of on board with you Buzz. For some of us this is working.. 2 years keto... and I have not lost.
    Reply: #119
  18. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    I am kind of on board with you Buzz. For some of us this is working.. 2 years keto... and I have not lost.

    I am sorry that you have not seen weight loss. Here is our guide to breaking weight loss stalls that you may find helpful.

    We also have a 10 week Weight Loss for Good course.

  19. Max
    You probably had constipation on the few pounds heavier days. Holding on to some extra baggage
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