What is Low Carb High Fat?

I have received emails with questions about LCHF and how you should eat according to LCHF, so this is a summary.
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What is LCHF?

LCHF stands for Low Carb High Fat. LCHF is a Swedish diet initially. The reason it has an English name is that they wanted the name to be more international.

 

LCHF main principle  

Insulin is the culprit in terms of weight loss, or rather the fat burning. Insulin stops fat burning. Carbohydrates raises your blood sugar, forcing your body to produce insulin.  With a normal diet you wake up in the morning with low blood sugar. Low blood sugar makes you hungry. You eat a bowl of oatmeal with milk, or cereal and maybe some fruit, or some sandwiches. Since oatmeal, fruit and bread contain large amounts of carbohydrates your blood sugar rises. You feel satisfied. The rise in blood sugar means the body produces insulin to force the blood sugar down. When blood sugar drops you get hungry again. And this continues until you have eaten 6-7 times. See figures below.


Hunger

Maybe you've had a fat cream sauce with some meat or maybe fish. Maybe you reacted like a lot of people do: "This is really good, but I'm going to be full before I can finish this." The reasons a high-fat and low carbohydrate diet is effective in terms of weight loss are:
  1. You will be full with less food and it will take a lot longer before you get hungry again.
  2. You won't get hungry as soon because your blood sugar will stay neutral when you have eaten. LCHF recommends you only eat 5% (Energy percent) carbs per day. Most of this will come from above-ground vegetables.
  3. Since insulin is not produced, fat burning will continue without interruption.

 

Fat is the main energy source in LCHF

Your body has four sources of energy:
  1. Fat
  2. Protein
  3. Carbohydrates
  4. Alcohol
Alcohol is obviously not a healthy source for energy and carbohydrates as shown affects the insulin levels. Which leaves us with protein and fat. The reason we eat fat is it contains 2.25 more energy per gram than protein or carbs.
  1. 1 gram fat = 9 calories
  2. 1 gram protein = 4 calories
  3. 1 gram carbs = 4 calories
  4. 1 gram alcohol = 7 calories
This means you need less fat than protein or carbs to get the same amount of calories. And you can eat less fat, than protein or carbs. If you need proof, try eating 100 grams of butter, 100 grams of meat and 100 grams of pasta. And see which makes you more full. Obviously the fat. FAT IS AN ENERGY SOURCE, IT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT. Did you know Sumo wrestlers eat mostly carbs, and little fat? They have come to the conclusion through trial and error that carbs is the way to go to gain most weight. With that reasoning, the opposite should be true with weight loss. More fat, less carbs = weight loss. And, yes it is true.

How much fat, protein and carbs should I eat?

The general rule is in E% (energy percent):
  1. 70-80% fat 
  2. 15-20% protein
  3. 5% carbs
A general advice is to keep the carbs below 20 grams (0.7 oz).


Eat the following:

PROTEIN

Product Comments
Eggs in any form, boiled, fried, scrambled eggs, omelets. Preferably, organic eggs, among other things depending on the distribution of omega3 and omega6.
Fish and shellfish, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring is sovereign. Don't bread or flour the fish. If you want to bread it, use sesame seeds.
Beef, lamb, game, pork, beef. Do not cut off the fat and choose organic meat when possible and locally produced. Grassfed beef is the best for us, the animals and nature.
Bird, chicken, turkey, grilled, fried in the oven, in stews. Eat the crispy skin, that's the best part isn't it?
Sauces, dressings, mayonnaise, olive oil, rapeseed oil (coldpressed). Not fat-free or fat-reduced.
Bearnaise sauce
Hollandaise sauce
Check the contents or make itself.

ABOVE EARTH VEGETABLES

Very little carbs With a little more carbohydrates:
asparagus onions
avocado peppers
broccoli tomatoes
brussel sprouts
cabbages of all kinds
cauliflower
cucumbers
eggplant  
salad, green all kinds
kale
mushrooms
olives 
spinach
squash
Choose locally produced and seasonal if you can.

DAIRY PRODUCTS

Product Comments
Real butter No spreads or margarine
Cheese, Philadelphia, Haloumi, Feta, Mozzarella, Cottage cheese
Cream, creme fraiche, yogurt plain and Greek / Turkish, milk and butter milk. Choose the fattest kinds in which all nutrients and the fat has not been tampered with. Low fat products generally have a lot of carbs added. A rule of thumb is to buy the original product.
Coconut fat Make sure it has a minimum of additives
Preferably, organic products and locally produced.
If you have difficulty losing weight, reduce the dairy products starting with the least fat ones. Of course there are much more products then listed here. Just check the back. If it has less than 5% carbs AND it's a natural product, it's ok for you to eat.


Don't eat this

There are a lot of carbs in these products, so reduce them with consideration to your own needs and goals. If you want to lose weight, avoid most of it, but if you just want to feel good you can be more tolerant.

STARCH & SUGARS

Product Comments
Light products and fat free products Stay away from processed foods like the plague. A lot of the time sugar or aspartame is added to these, none of which are good for the body. Aspartame makes you hungry. Chemical processes, which are not good for you, are involved in making these products.
Sugar, granulated sugar, cube sugar, syrup, candy, soft drinks, cakes, pastries. There is hidden sugar in a lot of products, so check!
Potatoes, root vegetables, pasta, bread white bread or whole grain, cereal; is also sugar, just in a different form. No, whole grain is not any better. If you need fibers in your diet, eat flax seed. Just sprinkle a little on your omelet or your salad.
Junk food like chips, popcorn and fries.
Rice, corn, couscous, bulgur, is also full of carbs.
MARGARINE! It's a chemical product with a lot of really nasty content.
Sausages and various meat products containing additives, including glutamate and sugar. Read on  the package, there are good exceptions.
Omega6-rich oils such as corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil
Beer Liquid bread!
Fruit Did you know an orange contains sugar equivalent of 6 sugar cubes? And dried fruit is concentrated sugar. 
Berries are better, raspberries have least carbohydrates.

SINNING, no it's not a complete disaster to sin. But keep in mind your weight loss might halt for a while. So eat this in moderation.

Product Comment
Dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa content The higher the cocoa content, the less sugars and carbs
Alcohol: dry wine, whiskey / cognac Sweetened alcohol is not ok.
Nuts, macadamia, almonds, Brazilian nuts

My typical LCHF breakfast. Omelette with bacon. I last 5-6 hours with this breakfast before I get hungry again.

If you have any questions please post them below in the comment box. You can post anonymously if you want.

29 comments:

  1. This is a beautiful blog. Thanks for putting this info out there for people to read (from the USA).

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  2. Thank you, sir. Praise is always appreciated.

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  3. wow... just started on LCHF a week ago and can't describe how good I feel from within. Already lost 2kilos on a weight I was stuck to for a year and a half!
    I knew something that feels so good has to be good for me, but your blog reinforces the fact.
    Thanks for being an inspiration!

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  4. Good on you, Joe (Smith? ;)!

    Good luck on your journey. Thank you for your kind words. And yes, it does feel amazing to eat real food. Wait a few weeks, when your energy levels go berzerk. Then you will wonder why nobody told you about this sooner. ;)

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  5. I'm not interested in a diet containing animal products, since there is so much evidence that they are harmful to the environment. Is there a version of this diet which is based on pant foods, which are far more sustainable?

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  6. Hi Grey.

    What you could do is replace the animal protein with vegetable protein. :)

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  7. what kind of alchol is ok or wich is the least evil? I like scotch, vodka and red wine

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  8. As a general rule, very general, beer has about 5% carbohydrates, while wine and liquor has around 0-0.5% carbohydrates. So the alcohols you drink are fine from a carbohydrate perspective.

    However, alcohol in itself is calorie dense. The higher alcohol percentage, the higher calorie value. So from a calorie perspective liquor is worst for you. But I am sure most people find it impossible to drink half a pint of Scotch...

    If the intake is moderate, alcohol has no major effect on your weight. It does, of course, have other negative effects.

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  9. Why do you consider nuts to be bad?

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  10. I don't consider nuts to be bad. I eat nuts as a snack myself. I just don't overeat nuts, since some of them have a high-ish amount of carbohydrates.

    Maybe you misunderstood the "Sinning" part. When the sweet tooth monster is calling, LCHF recommends the things listed in the Sinning section. I experienced high sweet sensitivity, when I first began with low carb, meaning things like oranges tasted A LOT sweeter, than they used to. So nowadays bitter chocolate with a high cocoa percentage, I stay above 80%, tastes just right to me, as far as sweetness level. One or two squares is normally enough for me.

    However, I do use the 80-20 rule nowadays. I eat "right" 80% of the time and whatever I want the rest of the time. So somedays, I can eat i.e. pasta. But its more, sauce with pasta, rather than pasta with sauce, if you know what I mean. So when I go on vacation or visit a friend, and they serve "normal" food, I can eat that without making any fuzz about it. Who likes a guy that eats some kind of weird food and is a nazi about it?

    It's just until you are closing in on the weight you want to reach that it is better to stay a little stricter as far as carb intake. And in the end it all comes down to common sense. Eat what you are comfortable with and keeps you on the right track as far as your weight. :)

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  11. This is very interesting indeed. I was informed of this diet by some friends, but I wasn't entirely sure what it entailed. What I found most interesting is that fruit is a "bad" thing. Society has told us forever that fruits and greens are amazing, so that was an eyeopener (even though it makes sense).

    I have to add to this comment that studies shows that LCHF aren't for everyone and some who have tried this diet have turned ill due to malnourishment. It's the same with any diet though, so keep that in mind.

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    Replies
    1. About the malnourishment, I noticed today I never replied to that part. Common sense has to be applied as with everything else. In any diet one has to make sure to get the necessary amount of minerals and vitamins, or else one will, as you correctly point out, become mal-nourished.

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  12. There are obviously much worse foods than fruit, but if you are mindful of carbs, eating fruits moderately can be a good idea.

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  13. Hi! A while ago, I followed LCHF. Shed pounds, complexion became smoother (I have a bad acne history) and, all in all, felt terrific, up to a certain point: I was taken with nocturnal leg cramps. Awful ones. I tried taking Mg-Ca supplements, but the cramps wouldn't go away, so I returned to carbs as my main fuel.
    I wish to get back on the LCHF wagon, but am afraid of the return of those bloody cramps which just won't let me live.
    Any piece of advice available concerning this situation? Thanks!

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  14. Hi Ramona.

    The leg cramps is something that has been reported.

    I experienced the same thing. I also ate Magnesium supplements and for me it went away.

    I read a doctor's advice who recommended 400mg Magnesium supplements. Perhaps the dose was too low?

    I bought mineral salt which has a healthy amount of Magnesium, which I use in all my cooking now.

    Hope that helps.

    // Peter

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  15. Thank you for the quick feedback.

    Will purchase some Magnesium - over 400 mg, just ensure nothing disturbs the "road trip" towards a slimmer figure. :) And, hopefully, I will find mineral salt as well, although I am not a big fan of salt. However, noblesse oblige.

    Another concern of mine: hormones and antibiotics in meat and dairy. It's all over the news. And since I am against synthetic hormones and antibiotics, I am hoping that I won't be taking them from the ingested food.

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  16. Hi again Ramona.

    You can buy meat that has been grassfed only in the US. They ship all over the US. A Google search should to the trick. Prices are not that bad from what I have heard, either.

    // Peter

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  17. :) One small, significant detail: I live in Romania. Given that 3rd quality oranges from Western Europe are here 1st quality, you can imagine the rest for the meat and dairy "array". I am left with no alternative but to hunt the peasants from around the city I live in.

    Thanks for info once again. I'll check also the archive for tips, tricks, experience.

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  18. Yes, I figured you might be from anywhere in the world :) But I had already posted what I did, so too late. :)

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  19. Hi ! What about legumes in the LCHF diet ? I know it is prohibited with paleo

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  20. Stefasia, it is all a matter of common sense. Some avoid food containing more than x% carbohydrates. Others choose a higher or lower number.

    If your goal is to lose weight quickly a lower amount of carbs is appropriate. If you are intending to keep your weight level, a higher amount might be appropriate.

    The important thing, however, is to make sure you get all the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay strong. So try and eat diverse.

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  21. for a person who is 5 ft and 200 pounds, how much fat and protein in grams?. How do you figure it out yourself and when you start losing weight do you have to adjust the figures/grams again?. thanks, Kelly

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    1. Hi Kelly.

      I haven't been very active lately, but here is an answer for you.

      Eat a normal amount of protein, i.e. if you eat fish for dinner, eat one fish or whatever is your normal amount. Replace the carbs with fat. I.e. a full cream sauce or home-made mayo, or a fat dressing for your salad. The only thing different from your normal behavior is to replace the carbs with fat.

      The purpose of this is to get that nice feeling of being satisfied. Fat gives you that good feeling, without swelling in your stomach, like in example over-eating pasta does.

      One more thing. The feeling of being full, takes about 10-15 minutes to get from your stomach to your brain. That is why it is so easy to over-eat. So try and eat slower than normal and try not taking seconds. If you are still hungry after a while, by all means eat some more. If you do not start to lose weight, you are probably overeating in terms of total amount of calories.

      Another thing is to never put your body in starvation mode. Meaning you should always eat breakfast. A heavy cream omelette with i.e. bacon and some fresh veggies will keep you full a lot longer than a fat-free yoghurt
      or corn flakes, or a sandwich. Do not cut corners with breakfast, it is the most important meal of the day.

      Good luck.

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  22. I love you for this. I was reading your weight gain and it was like reading my own life. I've been LCHF since January 3, and went from 211 to 201 (I'm 6'1"), with major belly fat loss, in just the first 20 days. No exercise currently, no other lifestyle changes. Just eating meat like usual, but swapping all the carb-loaded sides for greens instead.
    Thank you very much for this knowledge. I had tried so many other things, but this is easy to stick with and gets results.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like your doing great Rae. Congratulations, and keep up the good work.

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  23. I have 2 problems. I can't let go of my apple. Can I eat 1 to 1 and 1/2 apples a day?

    What about meat, fish, chicken, etc. How much do we eat? In terms of ounces?

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    Replies
    1. The rule is around 20 grams of carbs a day if you want immediate and quick results. Keep in mind that almost everything has carbs in it to some extent. Tomatoes in example have 4.5gr per 100grams.

      About your apple, Jean-Pierre. If you cut out most of the carbs in your diet, I'm sure an apple won't do you much harm.

      Best of luck! :)

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    2. Don't count ounces as far as protein. Just eat a normal amount. Start there, and see where it takes you.

      When I started with LCHF I was very rigid and got a digital scale and weighed everything I ate, and kept a very close diary of everything, and I do mean everything, I ate. Eventually I learned what I could eat, and in what amounts.

      Living a life weighing every little ounce of food would become pretty dull in the end. :)

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete