What is the LCHF diet and should you try it this winter?

A low-carb high-fat approach to eating has a lot of benefits—including weight loss and improved energy levels. 

For dietician and founder of Eat Play Thrive Vicky Kuriel, the low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diet falls into the category of safe, lasting regimes that are equal parts delicious, satisfying, and rewarding.

"On an LCHF diet, you minimise your intake of sugar and starches and instead focus on nutrient dense, good quality whole foods," explains Vicky. "When following an LCHF diet you can expect to eat delicious foods until you are satisfied—and still lose weight."

Very basically, it's the broader and more relaxed version of low-carb high-fat spin-offs like the popular of-the-moment Ketogenic diet. While Keto requires a strict ratio of fats, proteins, and carbs for your body to reach a state of 'ketosis', which can be taxing on the body long-term, more general LCHF principles will be simpler to abide by now and into the future. 

"If you have tried every diet under the sun and are frustrated by the feeling of deprivation and lack of results, well then LCHF is for you," Vicky adds.

"LCHF will revolutionise the way you think about food. It will also teach your body to efficiently use fat, which in turn has a powerful effect on reducing your hunger and thereby making weight loss effortless."

Here, Vicky counts the top 10 reasons to try LCHF this winter. 

1. Low carb forces your body to use fat as a fuel

Fewer carbs in your diet means less stimulation of the hormone insulin. Insulin is a fat storage hormone, therefore with less of this hormone floating around you become better at burning fat.

2. Low carb leads to effortless calorie restriction

Carbs stimulate appetite, therefore when eating fewer carbs an automatic reduction in appetite ultimately leads to less calorie consumption, followed by effortless weight loss.

3. Eat delicious food without feeling guilty

LCHF means that you need to add fat to your meals. Fat makes food flavoursome and delicious. Think salmon, cheese, butter, full-fat yoghurt, olive oil, avocados, and eggs. When you follow an LCHF diet you will not feel like you are on a diet at all!

Try Vicky's recipe for baked chicken with creamy mushroom source, here. 

4. Improve your blood sugar levels

A low carb diet can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes (every five minutes someone in Australia is diagnosed with diabetes). It can also significantly reduce the need for medication in individuals who are diabetic.

5. Lower your triglyceride levels

Triglycerides are fat molecules that are linked to increased risk of heart disease when elevated.

6. Consistent energy levels

When we use fat as a fuel, as opposed to carbohydrate, our energy levels become more stable, predictable and consistent. Say goodbye to that 4 pm slump (which ultimately has you reaching for a sugary ‘pick-me-up’).

7. Lower your blood pressure

A low carb diet is one of the most effective ways of lowering your blood pressure naturally.

8. Clarity of thought and improved mental functioning

When avoiding sugar highs and lows we are suddenly able to concentrate and function better. You can look forward to the brain fog lifting.

9. Improved gut health

LCHF focuses on real food and thereby improves both the type and diversity of your bacteria in your gut. This ultimately reduces your risk of an array of lifestyle diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and neurological diseases, but also immediately makes you feel less bloated and more comfortable in your gut.

10. Reduce inflammation

This is particularly important over the winter months as reduced inflammation will reduce your chances of picking up that nasty cold going around the office.

Vicky has created the 6-Week Low Carb Challenge, with challenges running several times throughout the year. The next challenge kicks off 22 July and can be completed from anywhere in the world. Receive weekly challenges to your inbox, ongoing support, and delicious recipes to help you transition into the LCHF lifestyle! Join the challenge here.

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