What LCHF Is and What LCHF Isn’t
The low carb, high fat (LCHF) diet is fast becoming the new trend. With new research suggesting sugar, and not fat is whats lead to the obesity epidemic, a lot of people are turning to this new way of eating, and adopting what we call the LCHF lifestyle.
This LCHF lifestyle is certainly something I promote as an alternative to the mainstream recommendations which still advises a high carbohydrate diet, eating 6+ serving of breads and cereals, and choosing only low fat products.
However, there are a number of common misconceptions on what LCHF actually means in practice, which is causing a lot of people to go either way too restrictive on their carbohydrates, or way to overboard with fats and protein, and not getting the benefits of the LCHF eating.
So here, I would like to shed some light on what LCHF IS and what LCHF ISNT.
THREE COMMON LCHF MISCONCEPTIONS
1. LCHF is NOT NCHF (NO Carb high fat) 💡
A lot of people think that in order to get results they they need to restrict ALL carbohydrates and adopt what we call a Ketogenic Diet. Let’s get one thing straight – LOW CARB is defined as anything under or around 100g per day or <25-35% of total daily energy intake. KETOSIS – is a physiological state where the body uses predominantly ketones as a fuel source, and this occurs when individuals restrict carbs to less than 25-50g per day.
LCHF simply means LOWER carb than the current guidelines which recommend >250g carbohydrate per day, or 45-65% of total daily energy intake for the average adult, and up to 6-10g/kg body weight for athletes.
To put this into perspective, you could have 30g of oats for breakfast, 100g kumara in lunch , and 100g potato at dinner, with a berry smoothie as a snack in a day, and still be technically eating “low carb”. Low carb is a spectrum, based on grams per day or percentage of total daily energy intake, NOT just eliminating all carbohydrate groups.
2. LCHF is not LCHP (Low carb, high protein) 💡
It is very easy to fall into the high protein trap when you start trialling a lower carbohydrate higher fat diet. And you might find mixed recommendations on the internet about whether protein is a free for all, or whether you must restrict it. A steak, for example, is just protein after all, so it must not need to be limited – right?
Studies have shown that the average amount of protein that can be metabolised in one sitting is around 30g (approximately 100g cooked meat weight). More than this, the excess protein gets reconverted back into carbohydrate and metabolised in that way. This is why people who are consuming high amounts of protein on a LCHF diet can struggle to get the weight loss benefits . Protein portions are important.
3. Lastly – LCHF is not LCUF (Low carb,unlimited fat) 💡
A lot of people get into the low carb way of eating because they have been told (or read) that you can essentially eat as much fat as you like without putting on weight. Now, although fats are no way NEAR as restricted as they are in mainstream guidelines, there is still such thing as TOO MUCH FAT even on a very low carb diet. The amount of fat you need will depend on a huge range of factors and will differ for everyone. The idea is that you should only add enough fat to your meal to keep you satiated between meals.
At the end of the day, when you switch to a whole food way of eating, cut down on your processed carbohydrates like bread/pasta/processed cereals, and stop trying to avoid fats, your diet NATURALLY becomes lowERin carbohydrate and highER in healthy fats. It doesn’t have to mean eliminated all carbohydrate foods, it doesn’t have to mean living off a high protein diet, and it also doesn’t mean eating fats to your hearts content. You can adopt a LCHF way of eating in a balanced way, and in a way most people wouldn’t even consider “low carb”.
So for those of you who are interested in the whole food/LCHF way of eating I hope this has shed some light on what it actually means in practice. Remember, whatever “diet” or lifestyle you decide to adopt for whatever reason, it is important to understand how and why it works, and be careful not to have too little or too much of certain foods that might be “allowed” or “restricted” on that way of eating. Everyone has a different amount of carbohydrate at which they feel best on and that enables them to achieve a healthy body weight, so it’s about finding what works best for you.
If you have any questions or queries about the LCHF way of eating, you can message me via the contact page.
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