The Perfect Diet! LCHF
If you don't have time to read this whole post, I have summarised it HERE.
With all this in mind, somewhere over the Christmas period, I made a decision that I was going to do the "Atkins Diet" in March. Why March? Because I knew February was my birthday month and I was quite happy to give myself one more month of indulgence.
I think I know what most of you are thinking... "But James doesn't need a diet." Thank you for the compliment. I don't want to delve too deep into the reasons for why I want to diet. But it has a lot to do with taking pride in my own body and feeling good about myself. This is entirely different to the revelatory belief of one's Identity in Christ, I am not insecure about myself, instead, this is like a personal goal I aim to achieve. (Remember what I've said before, goals are essential for a positive mindset!)
Why did I choose the Atkins Diet?
Three words: Professor Tim Noakes. I have followed his opinions since he almost singlehandedly won the Springboks the Rugby World Cup in 2007. Along with a few of my friends and nurse mother, he has convinced me of the evil of Carbohydrates. It was also his promotion of LCHF that sparked my interest.
By 2011 or so I had started to believe that Carbohydrates truly were the primary problem affecting most of our health today. The blood-sugar spikes & crashes, the ravenous hunger so soon after a carb-filled meal, the excess of insulin in the blood. I knew most of the science, and hence understood why cutting down on Carbs could only be a good thing.
Like the majority of mankind today, my staple diet is Carbs and Sugar. The result of millions of dollars of industry marketing has made it that way.
Many of you may remember my 30-day experiment of gymming everyday, in mid 2012. I did that based on a theory that more energy burned than consumed should reduce body fat. I bumped into a friend in the gym in Week 4 who said the only way to see success with such a programme was to cut Carbs and Sugar. I didn't want to believe him. But he was right, I stalled on weight and inches loss by Week 2. By Week's 3 and 4 my body had adjusted to the extra physical activity.
It was after that 30-day experiment, my conversation with my friend, and some posts by Prof. Tim Noakes; that I decided the only way to successfully lose this body fat was to cut Carbs and Sugar.
The most common diet that suited such an ideology? The Atkins Diet. Hence.
LCHF - Move over Atkins, LCHF is the new revolution!
Atkins' primary theory is more protein. Careful not to have too much saturated fat in one's diet, and cut Carbohydrate intake down to 20 grams a day (30gms in first 2 weeks). The diet requires a fairly well planned menu and eating plan.
LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) on the other hand is very fat friendly. (Immediately my brain-washed mind said "that can't be healthy!") LCHF prefers you to cut down on Carbs and Sugars significantly, cut them out entirely if possible. Replace the carbs with fat as your energy source. This theory is backed up by new science that proves our body burns fat as energy far more efficiently than carbs, and it is a whole lot healthier for our body when it does.
This theory means... Eat as much fat as you want! Obviously you need to have a healthy balance of protein and veg, but do not be afraid of fat! Your body needs it.
The primary reason for the fat intake is because it makes you fuller for longer, and thus you end up eating less. The research shows that people on LCHF eat 1000 calories less a day! Without calorie counting or an eating plan!
No Eating Plan
I don't know which part of this diet is my favourite...
- the fact that I can have as much fat as I want, or...
- the fact that I don't have to plan what I am going to eat when.
Both are such paradigm shifts from all the other diets I have tried.
That's right people. You don't have to count your calories, watch how much you're eating of a certain food, limit your fat intake. Nothing.
THE BASIC RULES ARE:
1. Cut out as much Carbs & Sugars as possible. (Sweetened yoghurts, starchy veg like Potatoes, Butternut & Carrots)
2. Have adequate portions of protein.
3. Have adequate portions of veg (Peppers, Lettuce, Broccoli, Cauliflower, etc.)
It is common scientific knowledge that insulin is a hormone that causes your body to store fat. Unfortunately, this is not common public knowledge.
The more insulin you have in your body the more fat will be stored. Of course if fat is being stored, it isn't going to be burned.
So the logic would be: Stop insulin getting released into your body! How does this happen? By cutting Carbs & Sugar. Carbs & Sugar cause the body to release insulin, and the body then burns the Carbs as energy. Thereby storing any fat in your food, but also preventing current body fat from being burned.
By cutting out Carbs & Sugar, your insulin levels slowly decrease (it takes a few days to weeks). This will increase a process called Ketosis, which is a process in the body that burns fat. When your body goes into Ketosis, you're in the sweet spot.
Heaps of research shows that consuming fat (even saturated fat!) does not increase your risk of heart disease! So why don't we ever hear about these scientific conclusions?
Because the food industry is dominated by Sugar & Carb manufacturers. Their science will always be funded to make public circles. And their science says "eat less fat".
Guess what? If you eat less fat you have to supplement your energy with something else... Carbs and Sugar.
Low-fat yoghurts, milk, meat, you name it, are the order of the day.
If they can make you afraid of fat, they can make you buy more of their products.
It's really quite simple.
My Experience Thus Far
So for me... I'm loving it. A common day looks like this:
- Coffee with heavy cream in the morning (no sugar, cream over milk because there is less lactose
- Bacon & Eggs for breakfast, no toast.
- I only start getting hungry at 1pm, which is a salad packed with chicken, bacon, gouda, mozarella.
- A snack of Brazil & Macademian Nuts in between lunch & dinner, or some Greek Yoghurt (high fat, no sugar!) and Cream.
- Some beef/fish/chicken/pork and veg for dinner. (Steak is my fave!) All fat remain firmly on the cut!
- About 1,5 - 2 litres of water a day. I'm not strict.
You may say that you should rather eat smaller portions more regularly, but that is based on the theory that Carbs should be our main source of energy. It's also practically impossible in today's busy lifestyle.
I feel much less hungry than before. And I know I am eating less in total. I don't have drops of energy (so common after lunch!) and I actually feel more focussed.
This all after 8 days! Oh, and I lost 2.1kgs in my first week!
(JUNE UPDATE: I have now lost 7kgs after 13 weeks!)
This is by far the easiest diet I have ever been on. I can eat most of my favourite foods (except bread rolls) without having to worry about how much is too much etc. I can eat till my heart's content!
My plan is to be on it strictly for a month, and after that consider my results and be a bit more liberal.
Until then, I encourage you to consider the health benefits of cutting out Sugar & Carbs. And consider the science.
Start with this guy here, DR Andreas Eenfeldt, who has the most comprehensive collection of science proving the benefits of the LCHF diet.
Also, check out this video he did with an American GP here.
Am I against Carbs & Sugar? No. I will go back to the odd Steak Roll, chocolate & cold-drink. But I'm now keenly aware of what they will do to my blood systems. I want to get to a place where "all things in moderation".
FOR AN UPDATED SUMMARY OF THIS POST, CLICK HERE.
What about you?
Have heard of the LCHF? Would you consider trying it out?
Does this information differ from your understanding?
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Labels: Miscellaneous Musings