A Keto diet or sometimes referred to as LCHF stands for Low Carbohydrates and High/Healthy Fats. A Ketogenic or LCHF diet is a way of eating that emphasizes eating real unprocessed foods, Whole-foods. It is a way of life that is intended to be very sustainable and easy to follow rather than a 'diet plan'.
Most diets can only be sustained for a short period of time and once completed the results may seem good for a short period but more often than not people end up gaining the majority (or more) of the weight back in a short period of time. It is naturally higher in fats and lowers in carbohydrates than the current mainstream way of eating.
For many years we have been told that a “healthy diet” means avoiding fats and that sugar is not really a concern. There is now a lot of scientific evidence that confirms that this is incorrect and that that there is no reason to fear fat. It’s the sugar and excess carbohydrates that are causing havoc and are leading to an epidemic of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and many other common diseases.
- LCHF or Keto eating can bring many benefits for people including:
- Easier fat and weight loss (without muscle loss)
- Improved energy levels and stamina
- Clearer thinking: improved focus and memory
- Reduced aches and pains
- Improved satisfaction with food: it tastes better!
- Improved blood sugar control
- Improved digestion and reduced bloating
- Reduced sugar cravings
- No hunger
- Improved skin
- Fewer migraines
- Improved mood
- Improved sleep
- Overall improvements to health
Is this way of eating Healthy?
The foods you will eat are whole, real foods that you can easily cook at home. These foods are naturally higher in nutrients than the foods that are eaten in the mainstream way of eating.
Yes, you will be eating a lot more fat. Fat is high in nutrients as well, and eating more fats at the same time as avoiding sugar and eating fewer carbs, has been shown to improve lipid levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as many other conditions that make us sick and reduce our lifespan.
With a LCHF/Keto plan you will be eating a good range of protein foods with lots of vegetables. This will give you all the nutrients your body needs in most cases.eating
There are many studies that have been done which help us to understand that this way of eating is healthy and good for most people.
What will I eat?
First, you will learn about real foods and how to choose the foods that will nourish your body well and keep you feeling great. Also, you will learn which foods to avoid and which ones you can have in moderation.
The first step is avoiding all foods high in carbohydrates and sugars. Carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient and your body is easily able to make the small quantity of glucose it needs for your brain function, the beauty is that following this way of eating ensures the body produces the correct amount of Glucose for the brain rather than over-consumption of high sugar or high Carb foods (the body cant tell the difference) that most of us have on a daily basis. When you reduce your carbohydrate intake your body will learn to use fat as a fuel and you will become “fat adapted”. In this state, your body will prefer Fat over any other fuel source.
As well as dietary or consumed fat, we are all carrying around fuel as stored fat from years of eating what we believed to be a healthy diet. This means that between meals or when your body needs additional energy (during exercise etc) your body will learn how to tap into this otherwise inaccessible fuel source.
Foods high in carbohydrates include sugar of all kinds, juices, cordials and fizzy drinks, cereals, bread, rice, pasta, potato, sweet potato, crackers, dried fruit, lollies, biscuits, and cakes.
Below is the pyramid that is recognizable to most people as this how we have been told to eat for years:
On an LCHF or Keto way of eating you will be flipping the food pyramid so it looks more like the below image:
You will need to have good quality protein foods such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese, chicken, nuts and seeds. These are best purchased in their natural form rather than pre-packaged with other ingredients added.
Then you will be adding a lot more fat than you used to. With the fats, we are looking for natural fats. The best ones include coconut oil, olive oil, butter, cream, avocado, coconut milk, and cream. Instead of avoiding it, you will now be eating the fat and skin on meat and fish. There are also great sources of good fats in nuts and seeds.
Along with these foods, you will be eating a lot of fresh vegetables both cooked and raw to add vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber to your meals. These can be purchased fresh or frozen and even better if you can plan to grow some of your own at home overall the focus is on good quality, real foods that have undergone little or no processing.
Are there any recipes to help me?
There are many recipes available online and in various books. We recommend “What the Fat” by Prof Grant Schofield, Dr. Caryn Zinn, and Craig Roger. This book gives a great overview of LCHF with background, evidence and a great range of recipes. You can get your very own copy of What The Fat in our store.
You will soon become familiar with ways to cook and what to add for flavor. Collect a range of spices and herbs both dried and fresh to add to your cooking. Onion, garlic, chili, ginger, and turmeric all work well. Most meals can be made in very little time if you are in a hurry or you can use slower ways of cooking if you prefer.
We have a selection of our favorite recipes on our website too.
This all seems too hard to get started and I have existing medical conditions. Is this diet right for me and who can I ask for help?If you are not confident changing your diet without support or you just want some clear guidance from a professional then contacting a dietitian that understands complicated conditions like diabetes, leaky gut, irritable bowel and allergies or food sensitivities like, gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance or more complicated issues like FODMAP's is a great way to get a clear plan to follow and ongoing support to ensure you reach your health goals.
Our Dietitian and LCHF/Keto expert offers consults both in person (if you live in Canterbury NZ) or anywhere in New Zealand via the Web or Phone.
To find out more about the packages we offer and how seeing an expert can help you click on the 'Dietitian' link above.