The Low Carb High Fat Diet (LCHF) Explained – Is It Extreme or Healthy?
When I first started exploring the Keto Diet, I ran into many terms and acronyms that I did not understand. LCHF was one of them. So what is it exactly?
LCHF is the acronym for Low Carb High Fat which is exactly what the Ketogenic Diet is. The Keto Diet is very low in carbs, high in fat and moderate amounts of protein. It’s the ‘high in fat’ part that makes people squirm. And with good reason.
We have been trained since the 1980s to abhor fat, run away from fat and fear fat like no other macronutrient! This was a government initiative in the US that seemed to cross borders into Canada and other developed countries.
And yet, it is no secret that since the 1980s obesity has soared in direct correlation with our efforts to rid our diets of the dreaded fat. Why is that?
Can You Lose Weight on a Low Carb High Fat Diet?
That’s a big fat yes! (See what I did there?) You can lose a lot of weight on the low carb high-fat diet. Most people adjust macros based on where they are in their journey.
We have only 3 macronutrients to choose from and they are Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrate. So if you are lowering one of those macronutrients, it makes sense that another has to go up.
So as people have been lowering their fat intake, they have been increasing their carbohydrate intake.
With the LCHF diet, the focus goes back to fat as the number one macronutrient, with many Keto diet people losing massive amounts of weight using a Ketogenic ratio as high as 85% fat, 10% protein, and 5% carbs.
In order to get started, you have to decide what ratio you want to start with. The higher the fat content, the quicker the weight loss. Read more about how to get started here.
There are lots of delicious low carb high-fat foods on this site that fit into the LCHF diet.
LCHF – The Big Fat Diet Experiment in Alert Bay, BC, Canada
People may be shocked by that ratio of 85% fat, 10% protein, and 5% carbs, given what we have been taught. But sometimes the government is just wrong. Take a look at the people of Alert Bay, BC. I first read about this experiment in Johnny Bowden’s book called Living Low Carb.
Alert Bay is a remote fishing village in British Columbia (where I live!) with a high population of natives who are descendants of the Inuit. Most of them are obese.
An experiment was conducted there a few years ago to see what would happen if they went back to eating something similar to the Inuit diet of low carb high-fat foods of their ancestors. You can read about it in this article called The Slimming of Alert Bay.
Approximately 80 people volunteered. The parameters were to eat all the fat they wanted, seafood and meat, non-starchy vegetables. They even called it My Big Fat Diet. No bread, pasta, and other carbs.
The Results of the Low Carb High Fat Experiment
These are the same parameters as the LCHF diet. Those 80 people lost 1200 pounds, and even more important, most were also able to go off medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and so on. Low carb high fat for diabetes has been proven to show results and this study is no exception.
I am inspired by this story to keep on my Ketogenic journey. The more I read about it and learn, the more I believe it to be right for me. I think people will hear more about stories like these as the dogma of dietary fat is disproved.
Of course, I am not saying that everyone has to eat like this. But it seems that a high percentage of the population is overweight and obesity is rising (now 67%!). The current party line of what makes a balanced diet is clearly not working.
How Do You Start a Low Carb High Fat Diet?
Your first step is figuring out what your goal is and how fast you want to get there. The best part of starting the low carb high fat keto diet is that there are so many absolutely delicious recipes.
The quality of the food is so much better than what you are likely eating now.
I’ve put together a simple and comprehensive guide on how you can get started. The grocery list takes the guesswork out of trying to figure out what to buy.
In the beginning, you may experience something called the Keto flu. This is what usually throws people off when they first get started. The Keto flu is just your body adjusting to the fact that you don’t have as many carbs going into your body anymore. Luckily, I’ve got you covered. Here is my Keto flu remedy.
My advice to you when you get started is to keep it simple and go easy on yourself. Progress, not perfection is the key here. You want this weight loss to last a long time, so you have to be able to stick to your diet.
The good news is the low carb high fat Keto diet is not that difficult to stick to. It helps keep you full, so you experience fewer cravings.
So, Is it Extreme or Not?
This depends on your perspective. There are some conditions that Keto is not good for. It’s always good to talk to your doctor if you have any sort of prior health condition.
If you have diabetes, your doctor might recommend the Keto diet. If you have an autoimmune disease, your doctor might advise against it.
I’ve heard amazing stories of people who have had horribly embarrassing digestive issues and eating Keto has been lifechanging for their condition, as well as losing weight.
To me, this is not an extreme diet. What is extreme is eating fast foods and fake frankenfoods and then wondering what is going wrong. The LCHF diet protocol calls for only real foods. What a concept! Just eat real foods. Yes, please!
All the Keto Guides and How To's you need to help you navigate low carb eating and the Keto way of life! There's no need to give up your favorite foods when you go Keto. We have a swap for that! All your questions answered about MCT oil for Keto and if and how you should use it. Which sweeteners are the best to use on the Keto diet and which ones should we avoid? This is why we love coconut oil on the Keto diet! If you are starting keto you WILL need this drink! Lack of electrolytes is a major reason people give up their new keto diet. When you start Keto this can happen. Get some quick tips for instant relief from the Keto flu! There is so much confusion about fats! We know we need them but which ones are best!? My 12 favorite tips to do Keto while on a budget! The very basics of Keto explained here. This is the very best way to break through that weight loss stall or to kick start your new Keto life! Why women need their own Keto information! If you are stuck in the dreaded Keto weight loss stall, then read this now!
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Keto Diet for Women Book Review
7 Reasons You Stopped Losing Weight and How to Fix a Keto Weight Loss Plateau Fast!
All the Keto Guides and How To's you need to help you navigate low carb eating and the Keto way of life!
There's no need to give up your favorite foods when you go Keto. We have a swap for that!
All your questions answered about MCT oil for Keto and if and how you should use it.
Which sweeteners are the best to use on the Keto diet and which ones should we avoid?
This is why we love coconut oil on the Keto diet!
If you are starting keto you WILL need this drink! Lack of electrolytes is a major reason people give up their new keto diet.
When you start Keto this can happen. Get some quick tips for instant relief from the Keto flu!
There is so much confusion about fats! We know we need them but which ones are best!?
My 12 favorite tips to do Keto while on a budget!
The very basics of Keto explained here.
This is the very best way to break through that weight loss stall or to kick start your new Keto life!
Why women need their own Keto information!
If you are stuck in the dreaded Keto weight loss stall, then read this now!
52 thoughts on “Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) Diet Explained – Is it Extreme or Healthy?”
I am chronically underweight (BMI=18), and yet I have been told that I am pre-diabetic. So I am not interested in losing weight, but in reversing the pre-diabetes. Is Keto appropriate for me?
Dr. Ken Berry has some great videos on reversing T2 diabetes with Keto, look him up on youtube, I think you will really get some good info from an actual doctor. As far as being underweight I think you would simply be eating more fat to keep up your calories. Fat like butter is very antinflammatory which ultimately is going to help in your fight against diabetes.
Hello, I Started the LCHF lifestyle 6 weeks ago, I have already lost 16 pounds but it is going preety slow no, I too have to loose 100 pounds and I know this will take long. I just learned of the Egg fast and I started today but I am wondering… what can I expect on the energy side are there any side effects or lack of energy?
16 pounds in 6 weeks is actually pretty good! And yes it will take a while. The reason that I like keto so much is that it is something that can be followed long term. There are periods of time that I do lazy keto and I don’t lose much if anything at all but it gives me a break. Other times when I feel very motivated I do a stricter keto and then I can lose weight easily. So look at is a long term thing and not a diet. As far as the Egg Fast, ya some people feel more energy but many don’t. It’s a pretty extreme form of keto for when you have tried everything else and just don’t know what is stalling you.
I recall years ago when Dr. Atkins first published his book and research on the benefits of low carb/high fat eating. He was treated like a lunatic. He was right. Things have come a long way.
I just started the LCHF diet and in two days I have lost zero. I am eating virtually no carbs (outside small amounts of spinach, avocado, almonds, and cheese). My keto strips show I am already moderate in ketosis. I am lifting and riding bike. No sure what I am doing wrong.
Two days is not really not enough to judge anything. But that said, cut out the almonds and cheese. For the first few weeks while you are finding your keto legs, just focus on fatty proteins, green leafy veg and butter and coconut oil. You will go through a kind of detox. When you’ve kept it plain and simple for a minimum of 2-3 weeks, then see what affect adding in a handful of almonds or a small amount of cheese has on you. If you keep losing weight, then great! Many, many people cannot eat those items on keto unless they are trying to maintain their weight and not trying to lose.
The Ketogenic Diet causes bad breath. Is it ok to chew sugar free gum to cover it a bit?
I personally wouldn’t because things like sugar free gum can cause cravings. But maybe limit to one a day? Or try some alternatives. I’m not sure what to suggest because it doesn’t cause bad breath for everyone, I don’t have this issue. Try asking this question in one of the big lchf groups on the Facebook, you’ll probably get lots of good suggestions.
Try chewing on a mint leaf
I love this website. I just stumbled onto it from a recipe I saw on Facebook. I have been doing this for almost 3 weeks and have lost 20lbs. However, i seem to have hit my first plateau. My question is, does eating less cause weight loss to stop? Cause for the last 3 days I have had almost no appetite and really haven’t eatwn much at all. I noticed the weight loss stopped when this began. Any thoughts?
It can for some people. It is one of the benefits of high fat, low carb is that your appetite just drops! But also 20 pounds in 3 weeks is a LOT! Your body probably just needs time to adjust. Congrats on the loss so far!
Hello. I just found your blog. It looks very interesting. I have been eating this way for nearly two years now, so it is fun to read about others.
I live in Denmark ( northern Europe )
Thanks for visiting all the way from Denmark! :-)
I enjoy your blog. My husband and I are doing the LCHF diet together and we both feel so much better. I now shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Keep the good news coming.
Gee, thank you so much! Just when I wonder if anyone really reads it, I get a nice message from someone. I really appreciate it!
I concede that I am finding eating so much fat difficult … I find so guilty! I am currently going through Keto Flu (strangely after doing the diet for 2 weeks – must be that I finally struck the right balance. Love your blog!
Thanks for visiting Sara, your comments really mean a lot to me. Keto Flu can be difficult but once you see it through you will feel so much better! Just keep thinking to yourself “When this is over, my body will be burning fat!”
I meant to have the recipe up and posted by now, things got so busy at work this week. But it’s coming!
I hope you do, read some of my other posts and feel free to contact me.
Reducing fast food and eating real food is always a good idea. Supersize Me changed me forever!
Yes I totally agree with cutting back and not eating Fastfoods because it makes you crave more, plus you feel bad after it. I like it but it doesn’t like me. Any suggestions let me know.
Thanks for a great post, I never heard of LCHF diet and now can’t wait to try it and even learn more about it; sounds interesting and I’m all about being healthy
I am also a big believer in healthy fats and balanced eating. The truth is we eat so unhealthy now and fad diets make it so much worse. Eating real, whole foods are so important and your salmon looks delicious!!!
I’m a big believer in healthy fats in our diets. I just wish I could figure out the balance of calories. I don’t believe in calorie in calorie out, it just doesn’t work. But when I raise my calorie intake I just don’t get anywhere.
I use My Fitness Pal (a free app) to help with this. The Keto diet is more about ratios than calories. So on my 1500 calorie a day plan, MFP helps me to achieve my ratios of 75% fat, 5% carbs and 20% protein.
Interesting article. I love the title ” The slimming of Alert Bay”. If people think back, man was thin when all they ate was meat and fruits. No process sugar. No refined grains. Makes a lot of sense.
Ya, it sure does make sense to me. The people of Alert Bay are simply returning to what they were eating less than 100 years ago.
Wow so interesting it’s amazing how perhaps our bodies are used to what our ancestors ate and we should stop following all this diet talk as a whole and look at it more individually x
This lunch really does look good. I am in serious need of adjusting my diet. I have been gaining weight lately and know it is because I have been eating too much junk.
There are so many different diets out there and unfortunately the research is so different. You can basically find the research to support what ever you want to believe. I do think though that a healthy diet and exercise is extremely important to everyone but that not everyone can follow the same diet or exercise plan. We each have to find what works for us and if this is what works for you, then enjoy it!
Wow, this looks so good! I need to read up on the Ketogenic diet since I don’t know anything about it.
I agree with you that real foods are the way to go. We get so hung up on junk (myself included) that it’s hard to remember what a ‘real’ diet should look like.
Wow, we knew that for my body personally I do a lot better with a high fat low carb diet. I just feel a lot better. But never knew it was an actual diet that had a name like Ketogenic.
Because of a health issue, I have to be very cautious of what diets I take. I am interested in seeing how this turns out for you. Your lunch certainly does look delicious!
It was delicious! Good luck with your own health issue and thanks for commenting.
Thanks for explaining, I have been curious to what the Ketogenic diet actually is and its making sense
Thank you for sharing this i have not really heard about this diet but i will be looking up about it now :-)
I actually do not consider this diet or even Atkins for that matter to be fad diets. Easy to stay on? No, especially with all the processed foods we are faced with every day. But if you look into it, this is the way people ate for centuries before the age of agriculture and before all the GMO and super modified foods. Our current way of eating as a society is a fad that I hope leaves us!
I’ve been hearing more and more about Ketogenic diet and have been wanting to read up more on it. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to hearing more about it.
Thanks for visiting and your comment. I think people will hear more and more about this.
I think it truly depends on the individual–for me I have to keep my carbs low now (diabetic) and fats I try to keep moderate–protein is where I allow myself to EAT!! Moderation should be the key ingredient to everyone’s diet.
It’s really an interesting concept and I hope that it really does work for you if you choose to follow it.
This is such an interesting concept to me. I look forward to seeing what happens. I like the idea though.
Low fat diets have been beat into my head. I am so curious to see what your results are. I’ll stay tuned; I want to try something new.
The government has done an excellent job of beating the low fat dogma into us! More and more scientists are now providing evidence to the contrary.
Your lunch looks really good, I am working on getting healthy so this post pointed out some good info thank you!
Thanks Teresa, glad you found it helpful!
It can seem lie it’s extreme up until someone really fully reads about it. I think any diet is like that. Something seems so drastic yet the real thing we should be thinking about is the outcome. Will it actaully help in the long run? That dish looks wonderful
Yes, you are right and I do believe that for me, this is how I want to eat long term. I also believe that eating real foods with healthy fats will help me in the long run!
I eat a very low carb diet, but I eat a lot more vegetables than I do fat. I don’t eat a lot of fat at all. Your lunch looks delish!!
Thanks Terry! You are one of those lucky people who is naturally lean and what you are doing is working for you so enjoy! Vegetables are great! I’m suggesting that people who struggle with obesity rethink their relationship with real foods, and that includes fats.