What is the LCHF diet?
The LCHF diet refers to a diet low in carb and high in fat, which is also called the “Banting diet”, in reference to a British man, William Banting, who lost a large amount of weight using this way of eating. This diet advocates the consumption of natural, whole, and unprocessed foods, such as fish, eggs, seeds, nuts, and vegetables. Additionally, moderate amounts of protein are recommended in this diet to help maintain your muscle mass, as the body tends to break down fat and muscle when it’s starving (a.k.a lacking sugar).
LCHF diet vs ketogenic diet
Most people get bogged down, trying to figure out the difference between all the low carb, high-fat diets out there, and the LCHF is often mixed up with the ketogenic diet (another low carb, high fat diet), which is understandable due to the great overlapping. The term LCHF is used as an umbrella term that covers a variety of diets, including the ketogenic diet and the Atkins diet. However, the main difference between the LCHF diet and the keto diet is that keto has restricted guidelines when it comes to how much carbs you can consume per day, whereas the LCHF diet doesn’t. You can think of the LCHF diet as a way of living that reduces carbs in fear of their several adverse effects. The ketogenic diet; on the other hand, is a metabolic state (ketosis) that switches the liver from using glucose as a primary source of energy to using ketone bodies, thus burning the extra triglycerides stored in your adipose tissues.
What are the benefits of the LCHF diet?
Numerous studies found that individuals who follow the LCHF diet experience weight loss more rapidly than other diet types. The mechanisms involved include appetite suppression, increased insulin-sensitivity of the cells, and partially utilizing fats as a primary source of energy.
Lowering the number of carbohydrates you consume per day has been shown to help regulate your blood sugar levels by increasing the cells’ sensitivity to insulin and reducing the frequency of glycemic spikes. Glycemic spikes are abrupt elevations of blood sugar levels that stimulate insulin secretion, predisposing people to type 2 diabetes, and worsening the condition of diabetic patients. One study found that following the LCHF diet for 24 weeks in diabetic patients has led to better control of blood sugar levels, as well as a reduction in the need for hypoglycemic medications.
The LCHF diet also helps with the following conditions:
- Heart disease
- Blood hypertension
- Some psychiatric disorders (e.g. depression)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
Whether your ultimate goal is to lose weight or improve your health, the LCHF diet might be the right fit for you. Moreover, if you tried the ketogenic diet and couldn’t stick to the severe carbohydrate restriction, you can switch to the LCHF diet, as it does not have any precise instructions on the amount of sugar you’re allowed to eat. Just remember, moderation is key!