So, I posted awhile back that I was taking the plunge into a high fat, low carbohydrate diet. I just wanted to update my progress. And answer the most commonly asked questions.
And I will remind you that I am not a doctor or dietician. I'm a researcher, fact-finder, truth seeker who has many years experience in the fitness world.
1. So, you're eating high fat-- like burgers, fries, doughnuts and stuff?
NO! When I say I'm eating a high fat, low carb diet, this means that I'm getting my fat from the following sources: meat (any kind, including sausage and bacon-- organic, nitrite free, natural); whole eggs; coconut and olive oil; grassfed, hormone-free butter; and avocado.
2. Doesn't eating fat make me fat?
No. Eating carbs with fat make you fat. Eating deep fried foods, sugary treats and carb dense foods make you fat. Specifically, sugar is the big problem. Sugar (NOT fat) has been found to be linked to an increased risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia, arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
3. But isn't saturated fat bad for you?
No. A 2010 study found that there isn't significant evidence for for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease. As a matter of fact, I was shocked when I looked at the information found here. Click the link and take a look at the top food sources of saturated fat in America. Here are the top five-- cheese, pizza, grain based desserts, dairy desserts, chicken and chicken mixed dishes. Eleven of the 18 top dishes listed also contained carbs and/or sugar with an additional 4 of those listed containing "mixed with" carbs dishes. So, if your saturated fat comes from ice cream, pizza, muffins, cookies and potato chips, YES it's bad for you!
4. What about my cholesterol?
Did you know that your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells? *gasp* The problem arises when cholesterol creeps too high, but see the info above (or the links below)-- saturated fat alone is not the culprit.
5. Don't you need carbs for high intensity training?
Our bodies contain massive amounts of energy stored in the form of fat in our bodies. MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) are also a source of energy for the body. Here is my interpretation of what happens when you transition to a low carb diet: Initially you experience about a week or two of a lack of energy as your body is still looking for carbs as an energy source. In time, you become fat adapted, and your body becomes more efficient at dipping into your fat stores as an energy supply. My husband has been on a high fat diet for 7 months now and hasn't experienced energy or strength loss, but he has lost about 30 lbs. He's nearly as "cut" as he was when he competed in body building.
6. I really can't believe that eating a high fat, low carb diet is perfectly healthy.
Ok, as with anything in life, you have to be smart. You have to do your own research and find out what works for you. Do not eat a high fat diet if you can't commit to sticking to it. I do 2 higher carb days a week, but the remainder of the week, I'm eating about 60% fat, 30% protein, 10% carbs. My carbs come from green veggies, other veggies and fruit-- not Paleo cupcakes, ice cream, or candy.
Great Resources to support my above statements:
On saturated fat:
General sources on the eating a high fat diet:
Why we Get Fat and What to do About It by Gary Taubes
On potential problems: