A diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat, commonly called the Low-Carb High-Fat (LCHF) Diet is very trendy lately. This is a less restrictive version of the ketogenic diet.
Carbohydrate intake is 20 to 30% of total energy intake, compared to 50% for a regular diet. Thus, there is no production of ketones, but limiting the intake of carbohydrates and increasing the intake of good fats could potentially have favorable health effects for some, while avoiding the undesirable effects of the ketogenic diet. These dietary changes could be beneficial for people with diabetes who have difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels and for people who have tried to lose weight without success by following a diet that was higher in carbohydrates.
Some studies have examined the effects of a LCHF Diet. It should be noted that research on the subject is recent. Some results seem promising, and further studies are underway to evaluate the near and long-term effects of this type of diet.
Some studies suggest that a diet low in carbohydrate and high in fat could be beneficial for weight loss, at least in the short term. It could promote satiety and reduce hunger. The longer-term effects have not yet been studied further. Studies are underway to investigate the individual factors that may promote weight loss. Some people may be more successful at losing weight with a lower carbohydrate menu while others may be equally successful at losing weight by reducing their fat intake.
Short-term studies suggest that the LCHF Diet may help improve glycemic control, decrease glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) rates, and decrease medication use in adults with Type 2 Diabetes. Longer term studies are underway.
Low-carbohydrate diets have the advantage of eliminating simple sugars that are associated with the development of cardiovascular disease. However, these diets also limit the intake of plant-based foods (fruits, whole grains, legumes) that are known to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. Meta-analyses indicate that low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets are associated with a decrease in triglycerides and blood pressure, as well as an increase in good HDL cholesterol, which is conducive to heart health. However, they also indicate that these diets are associated with an increase in LDL cholesterol, which is known to have a negative impact on heart health. It should be noted that no study to date has evaluated the effects of a high-fat diet, favoring good fats, on cardiovascular health.
A high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet creates metabolic adaptations in just a few days and increases the muscle’s ability to use fat during exercise. On the other hand, this diet also decreases the use of muscle glycogen during exercise, which is the main source of energy for the muscle. As a result, the ability to maintain a high intensity effort becomes limited. Fat is a less efficient fuel than carbohydrate because it requires more oxygen to perform the same effort. Thus, a low-carbohydrate diet is not recommended for athletes and sportive people who engage in high-intensity activities. However, this diet may potentially be useful in certain situations, such as in ultra-endurance sports which require a low to moderate intensity.
There is also emerging evidence that low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets may have beneficial effects for other health problems such as cancer, neurological diseases, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and acne.
The LCHF Diet has been criticized for several reasons. Reducing the intake of fruits, legumes and whole grain products may result in nutrition deficiencies, including B vitamins, vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, dietary fiber and antioxidants, if foods included in the menu are not chosen wisely. In addition, people who eat this type of diet often consume a high amount of animal fat, such as bacon and red meats, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, not to mention the harmful effects on the environment.
Our new menu low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats contains 25 to 30% carbohydrates and 45 to 50% fats. It provides an amount of protein similar to that found in a regular diet. It has been balanced to meet the needs in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants (except for vitamin D which often requires a supplement, regardless of the type of diet). In addition, most of the fat intake comes from good polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that are beneficial for heart health. We utilized all our know-how to make this menu appetizing, nutritious and varied.