Low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diets are all the rage with those wanting an effective weight loss plan. With these plans, dieters will get a high percentage of their calorie intake from protein and fats. If you are interested in starting an LCHF diet, there are a few things that you should know.
What is a Low-Carbohydrate, High-Fat (LCHF) Diet?
An LCHF diet reduces carbohydrates in a diet and replaces them with healthy fats. Your body uses the ketones from fat for energy in place of the glucose in carbohydrates. As a person decreases their carbohydrate intake, the body will be forced to use fat as fuel. The process of breaking down ketones into fuel is known as ketosis.
LCHF is an umbrella term for many meal plans, including the Atkins or ketogenic diet. All these plans are low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and high in fats. Most of these diet plans require you to eat unprocessed foods like eggs, low-carb nuts, vegetables, and fish. Dieters are discouraged from eating any packaged or processed foods. In addition to that, potatoes, pasta, bread, and rice are severely limited. Most keto-style diets contain 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrates. The daily carbohydrate recommendations often range from 20 grams to 100 grams according to individualized plans.
While on the diet, the body will switch from burning carbs to fat for energy. These plans might seem restrictive, but they do allow for an individual to customize a plan to meet their needs. It gives you the flexibility to change your eating habits. Many of these eating plans consider themselves to be a “lifestyle change” instead of a crash diet.
Benefits of an LCHF Diet
One of the main reasons people chose an LCHF diet is to lose weight. There is evidence supporting the claim that an LCHF diet allows patients to take off the weight quicker than other methods. These eating plans are also showing signs that they can help to improve various health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
One study has shown that obese adults with type 2 diabetes saw improvement in their blood sugar with an LCHF diet. This diet allowed the participants to reduce their diabetes medication and control blood sugar. A second study with type 2 diabetes participants also showed improvements in lowering the amount of sugar in the blood. In some cases, the participants were able to stop the need for diabetes medication.
LCHF diets can help to lower inflammation, improve blood markers, and reduce body fat in relation to heart disease. In one study with 55 obese adults, those who followed an LCHF diet were able to improve HDL cholesterol levels, decrease C-reactive protein levels, and reduce their triglycerides. LCHF diets are also known to lower LDL cholesterol and reduce blood pressure. All these benefits are essential to maintaining a healthy heart.
Over the past few years, LCHF diets have been used as a treatment for epilepsy. Recent studies have shown that LCHF can also help with Alzheimer’s disease. In one such study, a keto diet improved the cognitive abilities of those patients with Alzheimer’s. Processed carbs and sugar have been linked to a decline in cognitive function, while LCHF seems to enhance these abilities.
LCHF plans are great for weight loss, but how does it work? These diets allow people to lose weight by improving insulin sensitivity, increasing protein intake, and suppressing the appetite. LCHF meal plans target hard to lose fat, especially in the areas of the belly. You want to lose that fat since belly fat is known to increase the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
In one study, obese adults who consumed an LCHF diet lost more body fat in 16 weeks compared to those on a low-fat diet. Not only can you lose weight fast, but you can keep it off too. Another study showed that 88 percent of participants lost more than 10 percent of their starting weight and kept it off for over a year.
An LCHF diet is known to reduce those cravings for carbohydrates, which can sabotage a diet as you try to lose weight. One study found that the participants on an LCHF diet had fewer cravings for starches and carbs than those on a low-fat diet.
What to Eat on an LCHF Diet?
When you are on an LCHF diet, you will need to reduce your daily carbohydrate intake. For many people, it can be hard to give up bread, pasta, rice, and cereals. You will also have to limit sugary drinks like juice, soda, sweet tea, and smoothies. You’ll have to cut artificial and natural sweeteners as well. You also want to limit the number of fruits since most of them contain natural sugars. Vegetables are great, but you should stay away from potatoes, peas, and other starchy veggies. Processed foods are another no-no with their high levels of sugar. Finally, you will want to reduce any beer or wine. These alcoholic drinks contain a high number of carbohydrates in them.
You want to choose foods that are low in carbohydrates and high in fat. Eggs are an excellent choice as they are high in healthy fats and have zero carbs. You want to choose red meat, chicken, and high-fat fish for your diet. If you love cheese, then LCHF is for you. Your diet should have full-fat dairy, including butter, cheese, and cream. Non-starchy vegetables like mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower are also excellent choices. Berries and avocados are perfect additions to any LCHF diet plan.
The LCHF diet focuses on reducing your carbohydrates as you add more healthy fats to your diet. Many eating plans incorporate these guidelines, and you can find the right one to fit into your lifestyle. If you are looking to improve your health and lose weight, the LCHF might be right for you.
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