Fat doesn’t make you fat, carbohydrates do.
Why go low carb? What is low carb?
We are told that eating fat will make you fat. It is actually when you eat fat AND too many carbohydrates. When you consume carbohydrates, they are converted into glucose by your body. The pancreas then secretes insulin (or it may need to be injected) to reduce the blood glucose levels. Insulin is our fat STORING hormone and fat burning is switched off. If we have very little amounts of carbohydrates in our diet, we require less insulin, and therefore store less fat and able to burn fat.
Different people can tolerate, and remain healthy, with large amounts of carbohydrates and some virtually none (diabetics). Also as we get older, our ability to handle carbohydrates may diminish and we may get pre-diabetes or insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes). When we consume too many carbs, our body will produce more insulin to help reduce the large amount of glucose now in our blood, leading to hyperinsulinaemia.
Why go low carb? By restricting your carb intake you –
- stabilise blood sugar levels
- stabilise insulin release
- stabilise hunger signals and learn to really recognise true hunger
- stop insulin spikes which lead to crashes in blood sugar then insatiable hunger
- lose weight
- improve blood lipid profile – increase good cholesterol, decrease bad and lower triglycerides
- improved nutrient intake
- can help prevent developing type 2 diabetes by reducing your insulin levels
- reduce inflammation in arteries and veins which is a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease and dementia
Why go low carb? By eating a low carb high fat diet, you are sustained throughout the day. You don’t get the sugar spikes and then sugar crashes, you don’t need the cake and coffee to stimulate you in the afternoon slump, your whole unprocessed food intake skyrockets, your blood lipid profile improves, blood pressure drops, need for type 2 medication and insulin will be reduced, thinking will be clearer for the entire day, your gut will improve the ability to absorb nutrients, migraines will reduce …….. Why not try it?
You may have heard of various new ways of eating/lifestyles such as Paleo, Primal, Mediterranean and LCHF. They all have similarities between them that they are based on eating a variety of nutrient dense food.
Paleo diet is eating the way our ancestors did. Meat, fish, chicken, vegetables and NO dairy, no grains, no sugar, no wheat, no processed food. Fabulous but not necessarily low carb. Much of their baking will use dried fruit and honey, which are just alternative forms of sugar.
Primal as for paleo but they include dairy. Again, not necessarily low carb.
Mediterranean a whole foods diet full of vegetables, fruit, nuts, olive oil, pasta and whole grain breads.
Atkins many ask is LCHF is another form of the Atkins diet? Atkins was based on carbohydrate counting and allowed a lot of processed foods as long as it was low carb. It didn’t emphasise increasing vegetable intake, it allowed manufactured processed Atkins bars, low carb breads etc. It was not a quality diet. It was also high in protein which is where most criticism lies.
LCHF is really the best part of all of these. The emphasis is on whole foods, clean foods, unprocessed foods, quality foods, variety and balance of foods, no sugar, no grains, moderate protein, and most importantly, low in carbs to prevent obesity, diabetes, dementia, cardiovascular disease etc.
So how much carbohydrate can you consume in a day? Well this depends on your tolerance (younger children can tolerate more than adults) and also your hunger levels. If you can control your hunger and maintain weight, you may tolerate more. Others who have never been able to control their appetite, may find restricting carbs quite strictly helps curb their hunger signals and allows them to regulate their appetite. Moderate restriction is keeping vary intake below 100g/day. A ketogenic diet is one where carbs are almost eliminated (less than 20g/day) so we start burning the bodies fat stores for energy. By eating this way, your body becomes “fat adapted”. Energy remains pretty constant throughout the day, you can sustain exercise for longer periods and it has therapeutic effects for epileptics, alzheimers, weight loss, T1 & T2 diabetes, acne, PCOS, and some cancers which have insulin receptors. Restricting carbs so low, is especially useful for those who are pre diabetic, hypertension, high blood pressure or those who want rapid weight loss.
If you have any of the above conditions, always check with your doctor before reducing you carb intake. Your blood pressure may drop and blood sugar control will improve and so may require a reduction in your medication so you don’t become hypoglycemic or hypotensive.
How to track your diet?
KetoDietApp is an easy way to track your daily intake of food, nutrients, liquids, and exercise. It will show your daily count of carbs, protein, fat, vitamins, calories etc. It can also show the percentage of each fat/carb/protein and highlight and vitamin deficiencies. It is a great way to calculate what you actually eat, rather than what we think we eat. I use cronometer.com to calculate recipes and food values. My nutrition values are given as a guide only, for complete accuracy, calculate your own using the brands you have actually cooked with. Brands vary enormously.
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