To my patients and readers of this blog, it comes as no surprise that I endorse a nutrient-dense, low carb, high(er) fat diet. The ratios work out to 50-60% fat, 25-30% protein, and 15-25% carbohydrates. My patients are eating healthy, (mostly) whole foods, doing a lot more of their own cooking, and reversing serious conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.
A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reflects the authors’ thorough review of published papers looking at people eating either high fat/low carb (LCHF) or high carb/low fat (LFHC) diets. The authors compared the diets’ effects on weight, blood sugar, liver enzymes, insulin resistance, cholesterol levels (including particle size breakdown), blood pressure, and metabolic rate.
The bottom line of this article is that LCHF, while not for everyone, DOES lower blood sugar, reverses insulin resistance, helps more weight come off, and improves your cholesterol profile (by drastically lowering triglycerides while raising HDL and improving LDL particle size — large fluffy versus small dense). A key way this approach works seems to be by making us naturally fuller without having to restrict calories — those who ate LCHF tended to eat even fewer calories than those on calorie-restricted LFHC plans.
The authors have a very practical recommendation: “In practice, beneficial responses to any diet are entirely dependent on the degree of patients’ adherence, so an LCHF diet is only appropriate for those patients motivated to comply. In these cases, clinicians can expect positive changes in a number of cardiovascular risk factors, glycaemic control and body composition…Thus, far from being a dietary fad, but not necessarily for everyone, LCHF diets present a sensible dietary option for weight loss and health improvement in certain patients, especially those characterised by (insulin resistance, unhealthy cholesterol levels and fatty liver disease)”.
I agree 100%, and will continue to encourage my patients to embrace this way of eating. Many have and have reaped tremendous benefits. Again, this is not the “steak, cheese and bacon” diet that its detractors point to, but a healthy, sane, sustainable way of life that features whole, delicious, satisfying foods that leave you sated and full of energy, able to exercise and meet the challenges we all face in our busy lives.