Diet Doctor - LCHF

I'm having a look at the low carb high fat way of eating, just out of interest really. I've done every diet going and am now trying to make better choices rather than "do a diet" which I hope will provide sustainable weight loss. Anyhow I'm looking at the low carb high fat to see if this would be a good life style way of eating for me to adopt.

In all honesty the recipes look like things I would never cook and, if I did, probably only the once as they have ingredients I am not familiar with like "psyllium seed husk" what on earth is that and where would you get it? Ok so it is an American website so they talk about "Rutabaga Fries" which translated means swede or turnip which are perfectly manageable when you know what they are.

What I was wondering was if anyone on here would provide a sample menu that is realistic to do, please, for someone who works full time and has a family to feed who don't have weight problems. Simple things that could be done in limited time.

There is one breakfast I thought looked good - Full Fat yogurt with nut muesli and some blueberries but the lunches and dinners look like a bit of a faff and for the lunches not easily transportable to a desk (no access to microwave - just a kettle and a fridge).

Last question - could you do a form of the LCHF diet whereby you limit your carbs, select full fat over lite versions rather than go the whole hog with the pysllium seed husk etc.

So for example - B/fast: All Bran for breakfast, milk, a Fruit. Lunch: Chicken Salad. Dinner: Protein and veg. Snacks: nuts, full fat yogurt.

Many thanks and Happy Friday!

22 Replies

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  • Hello! I am not a dietician but I have read some good books and what you are suggesting sounds unbalanced, if not a little extreme. May I recommend you get a copy of 'Food for Thought' by Saul Miller (from Amazon, for a few pence + delivery), it talk about carbs, proteins and fats but using a different language, one that we can all understand, food by name! it is backed up but a lot of research but it is easy reading, and it was an eye opener for me. I have made already changes, and I am sure I will see the results soon.

    :)

  • Hi SVR28,

    I second what Stefaniax says, as I also have significant reservations about the LCHF way of eating. I personally think it's unhealthy and unbalanced.

    I think eating a balanced diet is much healthier.

    Of course, I know that some people have felt that eating a LCHF diet has helped them, and we should all make informed choices about which plans we wish to follow as individuals, but as you have posted your question, I wanted to also share my own views on it.

    I know there is a forum on the Healthunlocked site called 'LCHF', so you might want to explore that area of the forum as well, as they may have some suggestions that could help regarding meal plans.

    Lowcal :-)

  • LCHF seems to get interpreted in a lot of different ways. One thing seems certain, that if you combine full fat with too many carbohydrates you will pile on the weight.

    Something like Allbran would not be recommended as it is a processed carb. The rest of the day's food looks OK, although I would keep full fat yoghurt as a meal option rather than a snack. Have a few nuts or raw veg if you do need a snack, but if you get the meals right, you may not need them.

    I'm not sure that you need to go as far as psyllium husks, just make sure that you eat a wide range of vegetables. Perhaps do some more research on recipes, but the basic premise is to remove all processed carbs and free sugars from your meals. It may take some experimenting to work out the level of non-processed or unrefined carbs you can eat, like sweet potato or quinoa.

    This is one site you may find useful, although you are unlikely to need the amount of protein recommended.

    authoritynutrition.com/12-b...

  • If you can limit your carbs you will it easier to lose weight.

    So breakfast:

    bacon and egg, omelette with fried tomatoes, ham and melon, fruit salad

    Lunch:

    salad with meat or fish and fruit

    Dinner:

    any kind of meat or fish with veg but not potatoes

    Now if you are going to have carbs e.g. a sandwich for lunch choose wholemeal with seeds. If you are having rice or pasta have wholemeal. Do not have butter substitutes with vicious chemicals they do more harm than good. Cook with cold pressed rapeseed oil or virgin olive oil.

    And be kind to yourself, you will fall off the diet wagon but climb aboard the next day and do not worry about it.

  • I think thats good advice for most of us! At first, giving up fresh crusty bread was hard for me. Nowadays I still eat a little bread, but i just buy a small wholegrain loaf per week and have one slice with my scrambled egg breakfast! Overall I feel much better for eating less carbs ie cake, pastry and dont really fancy them much anymore! I've lost my excess 2 st this way and maintaining!

  • Well done Ellie. I have had more carbs this week than last and so far have put back a pound. I find it is harder to shift weight when the weather is miserable as a cosy meal with carbs is what I fancy.

  • I know what you mean ....just remembered I went out for a cuppa with my daughter the other day and ate a buttered, toasted teacake !

  • I had a small piece of my seedy, homemade bread spread with honey and butter this morning. - Oh dear.

  • I generally now follow what could loosely described a LCHF, I did not though lose weight with it, I didn't try to lose weight with it as I only discovered sometime after, during maintenance, I followed it at first because I found I was hungry all time whilst eating a typical calorie restricted carbohydrate rich diet and found unbelievable satiety once I introduced a good quantity of fat into my diet, in fact it was like nothing I can ever remember feeling before in my lifetime. I've also noticed a notable increase in lots of aspects of my health and general wellness, since switching.

    One of the biggest problems we have in the UK is that if you are 40+ then the chances are that you've not had a truly balanced diet for the majority of your life. This is because we've had decades and decades now of having Fat demonised and removed or reduced within our food chain by the food industry, it has become the 'norm' way of eating and when you reduced one energy source, fat you have to have more of the other, Carbohydrate, whether that be added or eaten separately, so I say it again, most of us, including myself have not eaten balanced diets to date. Things might be starting to change now slowly but try to buy a "Fatty" cut of meat from the supermarket, extremely hard, even our meat itself is bred now to be leaner before it even arrives at the shops, go pick up a pack of Frozen, Healthy Lean Frozen Chicken breasts from the supermarket and chances are there will be a list of ingredients on the back, which include some sort of sugar, dextrose, maltose or something similar. The dairy aisle is full of diary that has had it's fat removed or reduced, practically guarantee there will be more semi-skimmed milk than Full Fat! Same with butter, you'll find the lower fat "processed" vegetable spreads outnumber the real butter by quite some ratio. And this is just the food we buy to prepare ourselves, what about the food that's prepared for us.

    So the ideal answer would be for us to all start to now be aware of that and start eating a healthy balance of all 3 macronutrients Fat, Protein and Carbohydrate but it's not that straightforward, because for one as I've explained the norm is now that our food does not contain the fat it should and secondly lots of us (not all) have become affected by exposure to this unbalanced diet for years and years to the point where the fix may actually be to go to the other extreme unfortunately.

    For these reasons It may well be that a LCHF diet would benefit you (it may also not), especially if you've become insulin resistant but if you are going to try it, I would recommend that you really do your homework first because from your example menu, "Bran Flakes" are not LC. The other mistake people make is that they tend to eat too much protein and that is by far the hardest part to get right, getting enough Fat into your diet without too much protein.

    I've never personally associated "psyllium seed husk" with anything to do with LCHF in particular as far as I am aware it's used by people trying to mimic gluten when making gluten free products such as Bread and Pasta. It's certainly something I've never eaten or felt the need to eat :)

    I can share my menu today with you that I have eaten if that helps you. I had a handful of nuts and half an avocado this morning at breakfast as I was in a hurry. Lunch was a mixed salad (Spinach, Toms, Cucumber, Feta Cheese, Olives, Pine Nuts), full fat dressing, A roasted Chicken Thigh with the skin on, a hard boiled egg and homemade Coleslaw (Homemade full fat Mayo). Dinner was 3 rashers of Streaky Fatty Bacon, 2 eggs, 2 x 99% meat sausages, Mushrooms fried in Butter and couple of toms. I've not snacked throughout the day nor will I need to eat anything else this evening, though I might had a couple of small whiskies later as it is Friday! I have drank a couple of cups of coffee with a little cream in and I've had several cups of tea with full fat milk in throughout the day and water.

    Once again, I would personally do your homework, make sure you understand the concept if you do decide to follow that way of eating because as Penel said there is a chance of driving fat gains if you cheat or don't get it right.

    I would write more but I am tight for time this evening and I don't want to sound like a preacher. Like it has been said LCHF does work well for some people but not everyone gets it or in fact needs it :)

    Good Luck with your endeavours.

  • Yes, it's sad that high-glycaemic or high-fructose foods that have a detrimental effect on our hormones are accepted as part of healthy balanced eating plan without a second thought, whereas we are all warned to have low-fat dairy, trim the fat from our meat, eat low-fat spread instead of butter...

  • Just to leave a further comment, as I know that the LCHF eating regime does seem to advocate eating fats often from meat, and they often list 'bacon' and red meat as a significant food choice in their suggested diet plans, that this article from the Daily mail today (23rd October 2015) is quite pertinent. It says that the "World Health Organisation is to list processed meat among the most cancer-causing substances, alongside arsenic and asbestos."

    The article is by Fiona MacRae and Stephen Wright, and they go on to say that in addition to processed meats, that red meat is also considered dangerous, as: "Meat in general contains high concentrations of fat and it is thought the compound that gives meat its red colour may damage the bowel lining".

    They go on to say: "Any advice to cut, or avoid, processed meat will be welcomed by cancer charities".

    I have only taken a few quotes from the article, but if you want to read the entire thing, it's here:

    dailymail.co.uk/news/articl...

    I'm sure it's likely that the Daily Mail has over-sensationalised these statements, but I believe the points are valid, and personally I would suggest choosing healthy fats like olive oil, fish oils and stick to fish and chicken as reliable healthy proteins.

    Lowcal :-)

  • That's exactly what LCHF is NOT about and is the classic mistake made by most including me when they first start following LCHF. You can't simply pig out on "Meat" red, white or whatever colour because if you do you'll be eating too much protein.

    On an additional note that article discusses the dangers of eating processed meat, because of the chemicals used to preserve the meat which is hardly news. I think a good rule of thumb for everyone to follow is if you're food is packaged and has a list of ingredients on the back, especially ingredients that you can't pronounce or do not know what they are and it's food that normally should not then perhaps either avoid it or eat it in moderation. An example of that is as I stated above, a pack of chicken breasts from a well known UK Supermarket.

    Ingredients: Chicken (90%), Water, Dextrose, Salt

    OK those ingredients are probably not going to do you any harm but it demonstrates that there are huge differences in the quality of the food we consume and lots of people will not be even aware.

  • Yes, I don't eat processed meat such as bacon very often because they use sugar in the curing, with sausage, pate, and other processed meats almost invariably having preservatives.

    This meta-analysis in the British Medical Journal highlights that natural saturated fat does not affect all-cause mortality bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h3978

  • Hi SVR28, I think I have been eating what you describe as a form of LCHF rather than the whole hog. I do still have more carbs than a strict LC H F diet would reccommend, probably about 25% of my food is whole grain carbs rather than the 50% plus reccommended by the Eatwell plate, and they are generally lower Gi ones. I also avoid anything low fat that is full of sugar or other additives or tasteless but still eat some lower fat foods ( eg cottage cheese) because I actually really like them. I don't eat meat through personal choice not a health or diet reason so a lot of my fat comes with protein in the form of dairy, eggs , nuts and oily fish. It's more a move away from processed food and increase in veg.( actually probably nearer to a meditteranean diet now I think of it ) Apart from one odd episode the other day (different thread) this way of eating has worked very well for several months although to be fair I haven't been using it to lose weight so much as to keep energy levels stable and generally keep a few health issues at bay. I also looked at recipes which called for psyllium husk and though crikey can't be bothered with that! Personally I find a very low carb lunch helps me avoid the afternoon energy slump, and same goes for breakfast if I'm planning a several mile walk. I need my carbs in the evening or I get headachy and can't sleep so well. That's just me though and other people may have very different views and experiences. Worth giving it a try though and keep listening to your body to see what works for you ☀️

  • I am still eating carbs as a pert of balanced diet. My dietician recommended it.

  • I don't think anyone has suggested we don't eat carbohydrates Aqua_marine. What's being discussed is the amount and the quality.

    My own personal view is that we should aim to replenish the quantity our body uses as carbohydrate in a day; usually between 480 and 640 kcalories.

  • LCHF doesn't suit everyone and you should check with your GP before starting out to make sure that having a high fat diet doesn't affect your health in other ways. I'm T2 diabetic and I cannot eat high fat as it upsets my tummy but I do it lower carb and medium fat and I exercise every day.

  • A diet that does have some good back-up from research studies is the Mediterranean diet - there are demonstrated potential health properties of such an eating plan, and a good review can be seen here:

    journals.cambridge.org/down...

    I agree completely with what Ceejayblue just said about checking with your GP before starting out, as potentially trying a high fat diet such as the LCHF diet could affect your health in other ways that may be detrimental in the long-term. Certainly there don't appear to be any long-standing studies that have been undertaken to look at the long-term health implications of that way of eating.

    Lowcal :-)

  • A cardiologist asserted in the media earlier this year that the Mediterranean eating plan is higher in natural fat, and that current healthy eating guidelines need amending.

  • I have emailed my dietician. I will let you know what he says.

  • Wow, thank you all for your responses. I can clearly see I need to do my homework on this style of eating, not as simple as I thought.

    My current stressy state of mind (mentioned in an earlier post) would prohibit any proper research into this and I really need to get the small things in life right right now rather make an attempt at a new way of eating that I can't (for now) get my head around. My interest in it really stemmed from me noticing that I do do better weight wise and feeling within myself when I have less carbs so this may well be another of my starting points - slowly reduce carb intake.

    Small changes for me, start seeing the results of those and then revisit LCHF properly as it does interest me.

    I am off to see my GP next week for a couple of things but also including my weight situation. It's a new GP (moved house recently) so I hope he will be empathetic and helpful. I'm always a bit worried speaking about my weight openly. I gabble on ashamed and embarrassed and probably come across like a complete twit!

    Thanks again all, take care

  • I think its definitely worth checking with your GP before starting a LCHF and when you do begin ensure you find a very well balanced diet or way of eating, do not make it too extreme.

    Often these methods of weight loss were used to enable overweight people to lose weight quickly for operations etc in the 80s and I think they can make people feel really well and lose weight successfully but do be careful , make sure it is well balanced and gives you all you need for optimum health and nutrition.

    A few years ago I followed an old diet which was high protein, low carb but restrictive it was easy to follow and weight came off very quickly( I got very slim) and i felt fab but it worked on ketosis and I ended up losing lots of hair and ended up having many problems with my gallbladder as a result so had that taken out and have never been the same since.

    I think times have changed and probably modern LCHF are much more balanced but do check and research the best ones for you :-) and make sure its ok to be on if you have any health problems.

    x

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