LCHF stands for ‘Low Carb High Fat’
It involves eating more natural & good fats and few carbohydrates.
Why would we do eat fewer carbs and more fat?
To become healthier, to lose weight, to reduce inflammation, to reverse diabetes and to decrease or eliminate the risk of a host of other diseases like blood pressure, cholesterol problems, heart disease etc.
But to prevent all these diseases, we must eat less fat, right?
May be not.
We are so used to the ‘low calorie, low fat’ and ‘eat less, exercise more’ theory for many decades. Has it worked? Does it work? Is it the right approach? Read on a bit more.
Read more both on this website and elsewhere, gather knowledge and draw your own conclusions.
Watch this clear, explanatory 11-min video to understand the basics.
There are four sources of energy for the human body:
Alcohol is obviously not a healthy source of energy and neither is carbohydrate (not so obvious, thanks to mainstream dietary advice, but by the time, you’re done reading and researching, I hope you’ll be convinced otherwise)
According to the mainstream Food Pyramid, it is recommended that we eat mostly by carbs, a little protein and very less fat – as energy for our body.
But in the LCHF diet, the main source of energy is fat, not carbohydrate.
The body is fuelled in the following distribution
70 – 80% fat
15 – 20% protein
5 – 10% carbs
Why should we fuel our body in this “controversial” and “unconventional” way?
(People refer to the last 70-100 years as ‘conventional’!!)
When we eat carbohydrates, they’re digested and converted into glucose (sugar) which the bloodstream transports throughout the body. Three things can happen with glucose:
- It can be burnt immediately for energy
- It can be stored as glycogen in limited amounts
- It can be converted to fat
There should be a very small amount of sugar circulating in the blood (less than a teaspoon). If there is excessive glucose in the blood, it is dangerous. So the body has a mechanism to move the sugar out of the blood stream.
How does the body move sugar out of our bloodstream?
A hormone called ‘insulin’ makes it happen.
Insulin is a
- blood glucose regulatory hormone
- fat storage hormone
Insulin does 3 things:
- Moves blood sugar out of the blood stream
- Converts the excess of blood sugar into fat
- Prevents the use of existing/stored body fat as a source of energy
The carbs we are eating is making us fat
The constant high level of insulin secreted because you’re constantly eating carbohydrates makes you fat.
If insulin is low, body will use your own stored body fat as fuel.
If insulin is high, body will use some carbs for energy and store the remaining carbs as fat.
If you eat carbs, insulin will be high. So, stored body fat will not be used for energy.
Eating a lot of carbohydrate acts as a metabolic bully, it blocks your body from burning its own fat, just like a playground bully who doesn’t let other kids use the swing. (metaphor from one of the books I read)
How to make the body secrete less insulin?
Eat fewer carbohydrates, preferably from non-sugary, non-starchy, unrefined sources. Most carbohydrates (except from some plant sources) create a high insulin response. To reduce insulin response, it is best that the preferable sources of carbs are some vegetables.
More & unhealthy carbs –> more insulin —> more fat storage
Few & healthy carbs –> less insulin —> less fat storage
Fat storage vs Glycogen storage
- The body stores very less glycogen (the storage form of carbs).
There are limited storage sites for carbohydrate in the body.
- The body stores more fat.
There is unlimited storage sites for fat in the body.
Even a thin person carries about a 2-month reserve of fat supply.
So, when you eat a high-carb meal, the body fills up the limited glycogen storage sites, and converts the excess carbs to fat and fills up the fat storage sites. That’s why when you eat a high-carb meal, most of it get converted to fat. So, you’ll feel hungry again in around 3 hours. And you’ll eat another high-carb meal or snack. This happens around 5-6 times a day. So, more and more fat is being stored in the body.
Conversion of glucose to fat is a one-way street. You cannot convert fat back to glucose.
What happens when we eat fewer carbohydrates on the LCHF WOE?
You burn more body fat and store less.
Instead of manufacturing new body fat, you’ll burn existing body fat.
More benefits of eating LCHF
But fat has more calories! Is that not bad?
- 1 gram fat = 9 calories
- 1 gram protein = 4 calories
- 1 gram carbs = 4 calories
- 1 gram alcohol = 7 calories
All calories are not equal.
Try eating 200 calories from butter, 200 calories from meat and 200 calories from rice.
And see which makes you more full.
You can’t eat more than 30 gms of butter at a go. That’s 270 calories. On the other hand you can easily eat a cup (about 190gms) of cooked brown rice. That’s around 760 calories.
See the difference?! Fat is a satiating form of energy that creates minimal insulin response and helps reduce your food intake.
On the LCHF, it is better to count carbs instead of calories.