Is Zero Carb a Good Idea?

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Is it a good idea to eat a zero-carb diet?

The answer to this and other questions – for example, how do you make sure to not eat too much protein? – in this week’s Q&A with Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt:

Struggling with eating too much protein

I am having no trouble keeping my carbs low (20 g). However, struggling not to go well over my protein limit trying to get my fat in. Especially as cheese, double cream does have protein in. I then easily go well over on my protein for the rest of the day when I add meat and fish for example. Especially as I struggle with intermittent fasting. Any tips please?

Thank you,
Marianne

 
Do you absolutely need to keep protein moderate/low? For most people just keeping the carbs low is enough, unless they go totally crazy on the protein. The main thing is to add plenty of fats when cooking (like butter) and pour olive oil over salads etc. Then you’ll not need to eat as much protein to feel satisfied.

Just remember that in the long term, meaning especially when you reach weight maintenance, low carb should be a high-fat diet, not a high-protein diet. While you are losing weight you’re burning a lot of fat from your fat stores. Once you’ve reached your goal weight, and you’re no longer burning excess body fat, you’ll have to eat significantly more fat to stay satisfied.

Best,
Andreas Eenfeldt

Is there a good motivation when those around you are eating junk foods?

Hi,

I just signed up today. I have tried LCHF and it does improve my numbers (glucose, triglycerides, etc and weight loss). However, like any diet, I am unable to stick to it long term (we have birthday cake celebrations at work, my desk is 20 feet from the vending machine and my immediate family eats a lot of carbs as well as coworkers and lunch and breakfast meetings).

Is there a good motivation when you do not have willpower when those around you are eating pizza, cake, cookies, chips, ice cream and pasta – my favorite junk foods)?

Thanks,
Karen

 
Hi Karen!

Wow, a very good question indeed. It’s certainly not easy in today’s society where junky carbs are always easy to find.

I think it’s always a good idea to reduce the amount of willpower wasted on not eating junk. This means changing the environment. Try not to keep junk food at home (it helps immensely if your family is supportive) and find some way of NOT sitting 20 feet from a vending machine etc. Teaming up with a friend for support is also great.

It also gets easier with time the longer you’re off that sort of food. Our habits are powerful, but it works both ways.

Best,
Andreas

What are your thoughts on zero carb?

I’ve been low carbing since May now and it seems impossible for me to lose weight. I even gained a bit. Even after all the tweaks on the site. I think the culprit is gut problems. Could zero carb, for a short while, do the trick (starving “bad” bacteria and lowering insulin levels)?

Marijke

 
I don’t think zero carb is sustainable. I’ve never met anyone who managed to do it for more than a limited time period.

Adding intermittent fasting to a strict or moderate low-carb diet is much easier for most people, in my experience. And usually at least as effective.

Best,
Andreas Eenfeldt

More

Low Carb for Beginners

More Questions and Answers

Many more questions and answers:

Low-Carb Q&A

Read all earlier questions and answers – and ask your own! – here:

Ask Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt about LCHF, Diabetes and Weight Loss – for members (free trial available). The ability to ask Dr. Eenfeldt questions had just been relaunched after a major upgrade of the functionality. Other experts will start answering questions very soon, as we refine the upgraded functions.

More About LCHF and weight loss

  • Keto for beginners: weight loss
  • How to Maximize Fat Burning
  • Too much protein is better than too little
  • Isn't weight loss all about counting calories?

10 Comments

  1. Joe
    Zero carb fyi is growing and many are doing it long term for a variety of reasons. Check out Keto Saved Me and Carnivora Principia (sp?) on Facebook.
    Reply: #7
  2. EJ
    I would like Diet Doctor to further explore zero carb and better understand why we may need any carbs in the diet. In addition to principia carnivora, see:

    zerocarbzen.com
    borntoeatmeat.com
    empiri.ca

    It seems some do well with zero carbs or zero plants in the diet.

    Reply: #8
  3. Layne
    Yeah!! Don't disregard zero carb! I love it and feel/look great as a female turning 50 next week. Do some research on it and post about before saying it's unsustainable, etc. It would seem you should be more open to exploring it as a viable option for some if not many. After all, LCHF, Keto, and the like seems 'unsustainable' or even harmful for many before doing research into it and trying it. I have put on muscle mass and lost body fat easily with ZC and not with LCHF!!!
  4. Bob Niland
    The biggest problem with ZC might be getting enough (or any) prebiotic fiber (resistant starch, soluble fiber), needed to maintain an optimal microbiome.

    A dedicated ZC enthusiast who is consuming entire critters, fur and all, might get some animal fiber, but I suspect this is rare in practice, and that the typical ZC'er is just consuming fat and protein, and is avoiding all plant foods, even those that both have zero BG effect, and are essential for important gut flora.

  5. EJ
    Do we know for certain what an "optimal" microbiome is? Perhaps resistant starch and soluble fiber are only beneficial in the context of a diet containing carbs. I'm intrigued by the idea of a zero carb carnivorous diet. If LCHF is healthy, perhaps ZC is even better; I don't know. Since carbs in the diet aren't essential for life, what benefit do they provide? Fiber? Micronutrients? Are they necessary?
    Reply: #6
  6. Bob Niland
    re: Do we know for certain what an "optimal" microbiome is?

    Nope, and I didn't mean to imply that it is. I can predict that if someone does ZC without attending to the matter, theirs is apt to be even more suboptimal than for moderns on standard diets.

    Reply: #9
  7. Michael
    I am currently doing zero carb and loving it. I haven't felt this good in years!!!
  8. Michael
    I've been following My Zero Carb Life and Zero Carb Health. Fantastic Blogs!
  9. David
    You don't know what you are talking about. That much is obvious.
  10. 1 comment removed
  11. Donna
    There are many people who have sustained a zero carb diet for years. I would like you to interview some.

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