The Low-Carb High Fat Diet – Everything You Need To Know For Weight Loss And Health

 SUMMARY:  Low carb high fat diets continue to be the buzz around the weight loss community simply because they work. Here’s a complete overview of a low carb diet and how to get the best results.

Benefits and advantages of a low carb high fat diet

Although low-carbohydrate high-fat and traditional ketogenic diets are some of the most popular nutrition programs for weight loss out there today, they are not a new concept and have actually been around for quite some time.

These types of carbohydrate restricted diets were first made popular in the 1970’s by the late Dr. Robert Atkins [1] and have recently given a breath of fresh air to those who weren’t getting the results that they wanted with the typical low-fat weight loss program.

In this article we are going to cover the low-carb high fat diet in detail and you can determine if it’s the best ways of eating for you.

Low Carb High Fat Diet – The Basics

When Atkins first introduced this new method of losing weight, there was a lot of hype that went along with this new and relatively unknown concept.

But does eating a higher fat and lower carbohydrate meal plan really produce the results that can help you lose weight for the long run?

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the basics of a restricted carb meal plan and how it can benefit you on your weight loss journey.

What Is A Low Carb High Fat Diet?

A low-carb high-fat diet (LCHF) is a way of eating that involves consuming an extremely restricted amount of starches, sugars, wheat and grains every day, while at the same time consuming moderate amounts of lean protein and larger than average amounts of dietary fats.

These types of diets are based on simple theories of how people get fat in the first place.

According to nutrition experts, consuming too many foods that consist of white flours and simple sugars is what leads to chronic elevated insulin levels and therefore the accumulation of unwanted bodyfat.

Experts like the late Dr. Atkins also suggest that overall carbohydrate metabolism in general, has more of an impact on whether or not you get fat than does the amount of dietary fat that you consume along with overall calories.

This theory is due to something called insulin resistance, which is when the cells in your body become resistant to the actions of insulin and are not able to use it efficiently, leading to high blood sugar. [2]

Why Is A Low Carb Diet Is Better?

People who are overweight and tend to store more belly fat than the average person, may have problems with insulin resistance.

When an individual consumes a high carbohydrate meal such as a bowl of pasta or a something high in sugar such as a candy bar, insulin is released by the pancreas in order to drive those sugars in the liver and muscle tissue as glycogen.

This stored energy is then used when the body needs it for regular activity throughout the day or for more strenuous times such as during your workout.

But the problem is when your insulin levels are elevated far too often and you become insulin resistant.

When this happens, the carbs you ingest don’t get utilized properly and easily get stored as fat. [3]

A low carb diet helps you to maintain low levels of insulin and uses fat as the primary source of fuel, thus eliminating the process of carbs getting stored as fat.

Is Low Carb Good For Insulin Resistance?

Now, people who are insulin resistant experience greater difficulty in processing and properly storing any carbohydrates that they consume in the first place.

As a result, their bodies start to pump out more and more insulin to compensate for this in which their cells become more and more resistant and the body stores lesser amounts of glycogen and more fat.

This is why people who experience insulin resistance will end up gaining more weight than they wish and then have a lot harder time losing it after the fact.

In addition to excess carbohydrates getting converted to fat and leading to weight gain, there are other side effects that take its toll in the body.

Some of these effects can even be considered even more serious than the initial weight gain around your belly.

These include increases in hunger, lethargy, lack of focus and concentration and high blood pressure. [4]

One way in which people who have trouble with insulin have combated their situation is with a restricted carbohydrate diet.

This is one of the ways in which LCHF diets can benefit people beyond weight loss.

How Many Carbs Can You Eat On LCHF?

The foundation of diets like the Atkins Diet is the complete restriction of carbohydrates in all forms, whether simple sugars that come from pastries, sweets or fruits, or carbs that come from pastas, breads and cereals.

There is no discrimination to what type of carbohydrate one must be restricted from.

As a rule of thumb, LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) diets generally restrict you to low carb foods that will add up to 40 grams of carbs a day or less.

When you take in less than forty grams per day, your body will go into a state that is called ketosis.

Ketosis is when your body shift from burning glucose for fuel to burning fat in the form of ketones (beta-hydroxybutyrate).

The Advantages of a Low Carb High Fat Diet

Even though diets that are low in carbs may take some time to get adapted to because you are going to have to avoid certain types of foods, there are some advantages of these types of eating regimens over other programs out there.

1. Quick Weight Loss

One of the greatest benefits of getting started on a low carbohydrate diet is that it’s one of the best ways to give your weight loss a huge jump start.

Some dieters even report losing 10 pounds within the first week and in some cases even more.

The initial weight loss may be a combination of fat and water but seeing the numbers drop on the scale can give you the boost in motivation you need to keep on going.

Let’s face it, nobody likes to put in the effort only to see the numbers on the scale stay the same or see their clothes still fitting the same.

A LCHF diet can be the exact solution you need to finally see some progress.

2. Weight Loss Without Hunger

There’s no doubt that when you first get started on low carb, the adaptation phase may be a bit of a challenge.

But after the initial shock to your system and your psyche, things definitely start to get easier.

What you may experience is as close to weight loss without hunger as you are going to get.

That means you won’t have to deal with the constant hunger pangs that you would normally experience with traditional calorie restricted diets.

On these types of diets you get to eat healthy amounts of satiating fats, as well as many leafy and calciferous vegetables as you wish until you are full.

There is really no way you can overdo leafy green salads or broccoli.

This is really a great benefit over a traditional lower calorie diets simply because you will not be hungry all the time and will be less tempted to binge eat all of the foods that you know you shouldn’t.

And for those times when you do get hungry in between meals, there are so many quick fixes that won’t knock you off track.

Having a handful of almonds is a great snack that will help you control your cravings while remaining strict to the diet.

3. Optimized Insulin

One of the main benefits of a low carb diet is that once you reach a state of ketosis, your body will switch to burning fat as its main source of fuel.

Once this happens, insulin will be lowered and this optimized which prevents fat storage.

If you keep an eye on your total calorie intake, weight loss will surely follow, since your body will start to burn up your fat stores for fuel.

4. Suppressed Sugar Cravings

Another one of the many  great benefits of starting a LCHF diet is that once you get deep into ketosis and start burning fat for fuel, your carbohydrate and sugar cravings will subside.

Most people will still crave carbohydrates when on the standard calorie restricted diet, which is one of the many reasons why low-calorie diets for weight loss simply don’t work.

A low-carb diet ends up being one of the best ways to break your sugar addiction that doesn’t take a lot of will-power and doesn’t involve starving.

5. Flexible Over Time

Most critics think that all low-carb ketogenic diet plans restrict you forever.

This is a common misconception, especially with commercial diets like Atkins.

After an initial induction period where you basically eat zero carbs, you can start to slowly cycle carbohydrates back into your program until you find your tolerance level.

This is going to vary from individual to individual, but can range anywhere from 50 grams for someone who is really sensitive to upwards of 75 to 80 grams for others.

The flexibility of a low-carb diet makes it a great choice for anyone burned out on following the same guidelines for an extended period of time.

Another great thing about the flexibility of this plan is that you can accelerate your weight loss at any time by reverting back to a zero-carb approach.

The Disadvantages of a Low Carb Program

There is no perfect diet so program that you come across is going to have advantages as well as disadvantages.

Here are some of the disadvantages of going low-carb.

Initial Cravings

If you haven’t started a low carbohydrate diet yet and are thinking about going on one, then you need to be aware that the cravings for sugar or any type of white starchy carbs can be pretty intense at the beginning.

As a matter of fact, a lot of people consider calling it quits before they even start to see any remote signs of progress because of cravings.

But as we all know, if you want to lose weight and succeed at your weight loss goals then quitting isn’t an option.

The good news is, the cravings don’t last very long and in no time at all you’ll be on your way to weight loss success.

Side Effects Of A Low Carb Diet

Do you feel irritable, have headaches and experience a lack of energy because of bouts of intense hunger after cutting your carbs?

Do you feel intense cravings for the high carb foods you normally eat?

Well, not all diet plans are perfect and some people are going to experience side effects, no matter what type of plan you choose.

Here are some of the side effects you may experience after going low carb.

Keto Flu

Often termed “keto flu”, there are a number of uncomfortable side effects that many dieters experience after initially going low-carb.

These usually occur during the first week on the diet, especially during the first 3-5 days when your body is adapting. [5]

The thing to remember is that this is not really the flu, but symptoms that feel similar and is the result of the body losing sodium and other minerals after going into ketosis.

Some of the more serious symptoms include:

  • Overall Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Muscle Cramps

You may also become irritable, experience a lack of motivation to get things done and feel intense cravings for sugar.

I find that the keto flu is actually fairly easy to avoid by taking an electrolyte solution that includes minerals such as Sodium, Potassium and Magnesium.

My favorite product is a drink called Keto Replenish by a company called Kiss My Keto.

Any electrolyte supplement drink or pill will do though and will save you a lot of suffering during the first couple of weeks on keto.

How To Start A LCHF Diet

Although there are many different variations of Low-Carb High-Fat diets out there, the good news is that they all follow pretty much the same principles.

The Atkins Diet is one of the most popular ketogenic diets on the market and is a good choice for anyone who is just starting out.

After you get acclimated to this way of eating, you can assess your overall progress and if you decide to continue onward, you can try any of the other popular plans that are available.

PRO-TIP: The Atkins diet seems to get a lot if criticism in the low-carb/keto community. I challenge you to actually sit down and read the book and you’ll quickly see it’s not what people make it out to be.

Now let’s take a look at some of the different ways you can increase your chances of success when starting out and maximize the benefits of a low-carb high fat diet for the best results possible.

These are just a few options for you, but if you know of anything you can start a discussion in the comments section; we’d love to hear what others are doing!

1. Plan Low Carb Snacks

Low carb snacks are great for when you are short on time, are in a situation where it’s not possible to get a regular meal or when you are just starting out and get cravings for your favorite treats.

This is why it really pays to have some low-carb snacks handy either at home, at work or with you on your commute.

Keto Bars

One of my favorite keto diet snacks for when I am on the go is the SlimFast Keto Bars.

So far these are the best bars that I have tasted and are reasonable priced if you buy them at discount stores like WalMart.

Atkins actually has some great products that replace just about any snack on the shelves of your local grocery store, from chocolate snack bars to delicious shakes.

I particularly like the SlimFast bars better since they are sweetened with Stevia and not artificial sweeteners like the Atkins products.

Having snacks handy will prevent you from reaching for the first snack you see and possible completely sabotaging your diet.

And as a side note, don’t let yourself get carried away with snacking on keto treats though; you can easily overdo it.

Nuts & Legumes

You can also opt for simple low carb foods for snacking such as a handful of almonds, peanuts or walnuts.

If you search your grocery store you will find that you can purchase various types of nuts in snack packs, which are perfect for when you are on the go.

Cheese

All natural cheeses are great low-carb snacks for curbing your appetite in between meals or when you just need something quick.

And when you are on the go, you can take individual packs of strip cheese with you as a perfect snack to get you through to your next meal.

Low-Carb Shakes

If you want something that is totally nourishing, filling and tasty too, you can opt for a low carb protein shake.

Most of the whey protein powders on the market only contain around 80-90 calories per serving and are extremely low in carbohydrates.

By adding in some healthy fats like MCT oil or an avocado, you’ll have the perfect keto shake to take care of your hunger.

There are a lot of commercial keto shakes on the market right now but I think that most of them are overpriced for what you get.

I prefer making shakes from protein powder, MCT or coconut oil and heavy whipping cream because it’s a whole lot cheaper and you are in total control of the ingredients.

PRO-TIP: When snacking, try and ensure that you are keeping the portions tiny enough to keep your overall daily caloric intake low but big enough to satisfy your hunger in that moment.

2. Avoid Snacking by Keeping Busy

Although there are a lot of low carb snacks on the market that can help you when time is short or you , one of the biggest low carb diet mistakes is to think that you can eat all the snacks you want without reserve.

The best solution is to avoid snacking in the first place.

There are some people out there who do well on keto and only eat when they are truly hungry.

But the majority of dieters will get the urge to snack in between meals because of emotional issues, just to kill time or simply because they’re bored.

To be able to stay away from having these moments of weakness, boredom or just eating out of habit, you’re going to want to ensure that you are keeping your body and mind busy.

Keeping busy prevents you from thinking about eating in the first place.

For a lot of men and women, dealing with snacking is less trouble when they’re at work because they always have the choice of doing other tasks and keeping their mind busy.

So aside from the time you are on the job, make sure that you are staying busy by engaging in activities such as doing some work around the house, taking an exercise class or just getting out and going for a walk.

3. Choose Alternative Social Activities

At the start of any diet program, whether low carb of not, something you’re going to want to bear in mind is you may want to avoid your normal social gatherings.

This is due primarily to the sorts of foods and beverages that are normally involved.

Rather than having drinks with your friends after work, you may want to think about other activities that are not going to sabotage your nutrition program.

Try to engage in social activities that are physical in nature such as hitting the basketball court or volleyball court with some friends, getting together for a long outdoor hike in the hills or just finding something else that you are going to be able to do that will not involve eating.

4. Connect With Like Minded People

Following any type of diet is always easier when you have somebody to do it with.

This is why it’s a great idea to connect with people or a group of friends that are doing the same type of program as you.

This way, you will have the support that you need to stay strict to your weight loss program and you are able to stay socially active in the process.

5. Look For Low-Carb

Although you need to keep your social activities in check, times are changing as far as mainstream nutrition.

Low-carb diets have been getting more and more popular in recent years and that works to your benefit.

This means that you’re going to see many restaurants now have a whole section of their menu focused on low carbohydrate meals.

So going out to a restaurant to socialize with your friends may not be all that bad after all.

And these types of social activities where you can connect with others who are on a similar path can also be quite beneficial to your success too.

How To Maximize A Low Carb Diet

Low carbohydrate diets have become extremely popular over the past few years because people have reported fast and effective weight loss by using them.

In simple terms, they work.

There have also been reports of amazing health benefits such as treating many ailments, improving overall well being and even beating sugar addiction.

With that said, it seems that there are way too many new low carb diet plans, books and programs that are coming out every month.

Just check out Amazon and you will be surprised how many copycats there are being released at the speed of light, all way too similar in approach.

Regardless of which plan you choose to follow though, in order for you to experience the best results, there are some ways that you can get the maximum benefit.

This section will help you to reap the greatest benefits in the shortest amount of time, regardless of which plan you decide to follow.

And these are simple tips too; just a few things you should do in order to see the fastest results while following any low carb diet program.

1. Turn Down the Exercise Volume

The first thing that you will want to keep in mind when following a low carbohydrate plan is that you should cut back on your work out volume.

The reason behind this is simple.

With the lack of carbohydrates that you would normally be ingesting, you will not have as much stored muscle glycogen and therefore not have the fuel that your muscles need.

Muscle glycogen is important because it is this form of stored carbohydrates within your muscles that actually fuels your physical activity.

Glycogen is what gives your muscles the energy to perform during intense physical activity such as resistance weight training.

So what should you do?

When you start to notice that your energy and training intensity levels are becoming a little bit lower, just start doing shorter sessions so you experience better benefits from your workouts and training sessions.

Recommended: Are you struggling to lose weight while following a low carbohydrate diet? If so, take a look at 10 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight on a Low Carb Diet

2. Start Eating More Low-Carb Vegetables

It’s essential that when on your restricted carb diet, you start eating a lot more healthy low carb foods like vegetables.

Vegetables are filled with important health promoting nutrients, are high in fiber and also have a very low calorie count.

And the best part is that you don’t have to be afraid of eating too much.

The high fiber content will barely add to the total daily carb count in your diet.

Being that most vegetables are considered a negative calorie food, if you do end up adding more vegetables to your diet and snack on them during the day, you’ll be able to experience even better weight loss results.

3. Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is a vital part of your low carb diet because these kinds of diets can seriously dehydrate your body.

You see, carbohydrates help store water in your muscles and are beneficial to other vital organs in your body such as helping to keep your kidneys flushed.

It is therefore going to be important to drink as much water as you can to keep your body properly hydrated.

In addition to combating dehydration, water is a wonderful way to help take the edge off your hunger.

When you combine an increase in water consumption with an increase in fibrous vegetables as mentioned above and an appetite suppressant, it will help you achieve your weight loss goals even quicker.

Even though the higher fat content in low carbohydrate diets will help to decrease your overall hunger levels considerably, when you start drinking more water and use an appetite suppressant, you will be able to experience much greater benefits.

4. Add High Carb Days Every Week

In order to maximize your fat loss on a low carb diet, you may want to think about adding one or two higher carb days during the week, as made popular by The Cheater’s Diet.

This is a form of carbohydrate cycling that is also termed a “Cyclical Ketogenic Diet”.

It is so easy to hit a hit a plateau on a diet like this so adding one or two higher carb days into the mix can help to boost your metabolism and stave off any plateau in your weight loss.

Another benefit of adding a couple high carb days to your eating regimen is that you can stop any food cravings that you have that can potentially wreck your diet plan.

Many people feel that after carbing up on a low carb diet, you will feel so bloated that you won’t even think of pasta for another week or so.

This simple trick is one of the best!

Resource: For more information on carb cycling on a low carb diet visit the Official Cyclical Ketogenic Diet WIKI

5. Combine With Intermittent Fasting

This is my favorite tip and from what I have personally seen it’s the most effective means for fat loss.

Intermittent Fasting is the latest trend to take the health and fitness by storm, and there is a good reason for it.

The long list of health benefits that you can gain just from limiting the window of time that you eat every day are simply amazing.

And to top that off, this is one of the most effective tools for losing weight, especially when you need something to kick start your weight loss when it has stalled.

Combined with a low-carbohydrate high fat diet, Intermittent Fasting is one of the most powerful weapons to help you get rid of that stubborn belly fat once and for all.

There are a few different popular methods of IF that you can do:

16:8 – Eat within an 8 hour window and then fast the remaining 16 hours. For example, you would have your first meal at 10:00am and your last meal at 6:00pm. Your mext meal would be at 10:00am the following morning.

18:6 – This is another popular intermittent fasting protocol that is good for beginning to intermediate fasters. In this regimen, you would eat in a 6 hour window and then fast the remaining 18 hours.

For example, your first meal would be at 12:00pm and your last meal would be at 6:00pm. Your next meal would be at 12:00pm the following day.

20:4 – This protocol is for the most advanced fasters who already have some short fasts under their belt. Your goal is to eat all of your meals in a 4 hour time slot and then refrain from eating the remaining 20 hours.

For example, you would eat your first meal at 12:00pm and then your last meal would be at 4:00pm. Your next meal wouldn’t be until 12:00pm the following day. This is one of the most effective Intermittent Fasting protocols that will yield some of the best results in the shortest amount of time.

The key is to start out slow if you have never attempted any type of fast before and slowly work your way up to the longer fasting periods.

Just remember to drink plenty of water during your fasting hours so that you remain hydrated.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I find any low-carb or ketogenic diet to be superior when it comes not only to weight loss, but overall health as well.

I have been on a ketogenic diet for several years now and the effects and improvements in my health have been nothing short of amazing.

There are many others who have had great experiences as well.

But a LCHF diet is not for everyone so you have to do your research and see if it’s the right program for you.

If you have had any success with low-carb then start a discussion in the comments section below and share your experiences.

We love to hear how others have achieved success losing weight and improving health as well.

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