Atkins, or any low carb diet, is meant to be Low Carb, HIGH FAT. That’s why it’s often referred to as a LCHF Diet.
Unfortunately “low carb” has the reputation of being all about bacon, guzzling bacon grease or slurping up butter & mayonnaise -lol. It gives Atkins (and the low carb diet in general) a bad reputation – which is why people catch so much flack from their friends/family/doctors about going low carb.
That’s not the case, by the way. 😉 Or not the case for most of us on a low carb diet. A LCHF Diet is actually very healthy – or it can be, if you understand how it works.
It can be hard for some people to wrap their head around the idea of “eating fat to lose fat”, or that eating fat can be healthy for you. But it can! Keep reading…
This will explain the “LCHF Diet” and clear up some common misperceptions:
There’s actually a science to the way eating low carb works, which is based in Food Combining. The result of eating super low carb (around 20 net carbs per day, max) is that your body goes into a state of ketosis, which means your body burns fat for energy instead of carbs/sugar.
So no, carbs are not “necessary for energy” although the low carb diet is LOW carb, not NO carb. It’s full of “good carbs” such as high fiber vegetables and healthy greens.
Your brain & body actually function much better burning healthy fat than they do burning sugar, processed foods, and carbohydrates for energy.
It’s basically a matter of deciding:
“What kind of gas do you want to put in YOUR tank?” 😉
There are a variety of health benefits to a LCHF Diet such as controlling diabetes, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, weight loss, improving symptoms of arthritis and fibromyalgia – to name a few. Many people have been amazed at the changes they experienced just by eating low carb, including things they’d been suffering with for years.
Recently, a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine received a flurry of media attention. The study authors started by admitting that low-carbohydrate dieting was indeed effective, not only for weight loss, but for reducing insulin resistance, lowering triglyceride concentrations and for raising HDL (so-called “good” cholesterol). –source
Healthy fats are necessary on a low carb diet.
If you eat too lean, with very low carb intake, your body won’t know what to burn for energy and it will stall your weight loss. The healthy fats improve your energy, metabolism and fat-burning – along with the other health benefits mentioned above.
You don’t have to worry about additional calories from these fats, as you don’t count calories on a Low Carb High Fat diet – only carbs. And the goal is to stick to 20 Net Carbs per day as a maximum. The low carb diet is also a natural appetite suppressant. You’ll find that you eat less and feel more satiated if you include plenty of healthy fats in your diet.
It has been scientifically proven that a LCHF Diet reduces your cravings, changes your food preferences, and lowers your appetite. For people who think they “can’t live without bread” – they will be pleasantly surprised (like I was!) at how quickly your appetite, cravings and tastes change when you’re eating super low carb. 😉
To clarify, healthy fats include foods like: pecan halves, walnuts, avocado, salmon, coconut oil, natural peanut butter, egg salad, tuna and tuna salad.
I like a boiled egg creamed up w/mayo & salt as a side to any meat, or 1/2 cup pecan halves for breakfast, for example.
Avocado is great on any salad, as a complement to grilled salmon, or sliced & browned in real butter.
Ideally you want to get as much of the fat in your diet as you can from “real foods”.
Who can argue with you over your health with a dinner of salmon, mushrooms & avocado?! (Mushrooms are a great source of potassium, by the way). Or snacking on pecans? 😀 These types of foods have lots of nutrients and health benefits, in addition to being a great source of healthy fat that will fuel your body and brain.
I always recommend a 1/2 cup of pecan halves over a protein shake or bar, or any other processed food. They’re just as filling, much lower carb, higher fat, and much healthier!
— Lynn Terry (@lowcarbtraveler) June 20, 2014
Be cautious about cream cheese, processed cheeses and Fat Bombs (a mostly fat, if not all fat, recipe which is usually heavy on the cream cheese and artificial sweeteners). I’ve heard many people say that those items stalled their weight loss. When I stalled after my surgery, I cut out cheese and ate very high fat – lots of pecans, salmon, avocado, eggs, grilled fatty ribeye steak, etc. I started losing quickly again as a result.
The “cleaner” you can eat the better! 😉
I know some people eat lots of butter to increase their fat intake on the low carb diet. I personally don’t (the thought of eating plain butter doesn’t appeal to me). If you DO use a lot of butter though, make sure it’s “real butter”. Kerrygold is the brand to look for.
Coconut oil is a great replacement for cooking and also a very healthy source of fat. It’s also great for your hair and skin! In fact, I’d recommend rubbing it liberally on your “fatty areas” daily while you’re losing weight. This is the coconut oil I use. Did you know you can also use it as a natural teeth-whitener? There are tons of uses!
If you brown avocado slices in a skillet with real butter & salt – it’s a lot like fried potatoes. Delicious!
It makes for a great side item at dinner, or you can eat them with a garlic herb cheese spread or your favorite low carb dressing. In this picture (below) I had them for breakfast with scrambled eggs – a great low carb high fat meal!
(Browned Avocado chunks or slices are great on top of any salad, too!)
Avocado is not only a delicious “healthy fat”, it’s also a great low carb source for potassium AND magnesium.
As a final note, don’t get hung up on daily or weekly progress – or watching the scales for weight loss. It can become a total obsession.
The LCHF Diet is a very healthy way of eating, one you can do for life – not just as a temporary “diet” to lose weight. Otherwise you’ll miss out on the long term health benefits, and of course gain back all the weight you lost too. 😐
I hope this helped you understand how healthy fats play a part in the low carb diet, and cleared up any misconceptions about the LCHF diet. I encourage you to do your own research, or talk to people who have been eating Low Carb High Fat long-term.
The health benefits are amazing!
Have questions about the LCHF Diet, or healthy fats? Leave a comment below. 😉