A New Menu Low in Carbohydrates and High in Good Fats (LCHF)

17 August, 2018 , ,

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.

Satiety and Weight Loss

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.

Type 2 Diabetes

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.

Cardiovascular Disease

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.

Sports Performance

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.

Other Health Issues

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.

“Low Carb, High Healthy Fat” Menu

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.


References

  • Extenso (2018) La diète cétogène et ses effets sur le poids corporel et sur les lipides sanguins, État de la question, 14 pages.
  • Naude et coll. (2014) Low carbohydrate versus isoenergetic balanced diets for reducing weight and cardiovascular risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS ONE;9(7): e100652.
  • Bueno et coll (2013) Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr; 130:1178-1187.
  • Gomez-Arbelaez et coll. (2017) Body composition changes after very-low-calorie ketogenic diet in obesity evaluated by 3 standardized methods. J clin Endocrinol Metab;102(2):488-498.
  • PEN Nutrition (2017) Diet Composition – Low Carbohydrate-Evidence Summary http://www.pennutrition.com.proxy3.library.mcgill.ca/KnowledgePathway.aspx?kpid=25612&trid=25973&trcatid=42
  • McKenzie et coll. (2017) A Novel Intervention Including Individualized Nutritional Recommendations Reduces Hemoglobin A1c Level, Medication Use, and Weight in Type 2 Diabetes. JMIR Diabetes;2(1): e5.
  • Meng et coll. (2017). Efficacy of low carbohydrate diet for type 2 diabetes mellitus management: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 131, 124-131.
  • Noto et coll. (2016). Long-term Low-carbohydrate Diets and Type 2 Diabetes Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Observational Studies. Journal of General and Family Medicine, 17, 1, 60-70.
  • van Wyk et coll. (2016). A critical review of low-carbohydrate diets in people with Type 2 diabetes. Diabetic Medicine: a Journal of the British Diabetic Association, 33, 2, 148-57.
  • Mansoor et coll. (2016) Effects of low-carbohydrate diets v. low-fat diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr; 115:466-479.
  • Holland et coll. (2016) Effects of a ketogenic diet on adipose tissue liver and serum biomarkers in sedentary rats and rats that exercises via resisted voluntary wheel running. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol;311: R337-R351.
  • Paoli et coll. (2013) Beyond weight loss : a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67, 8, 789-96.
  • Murphy et coll. (2015). Influence of high-fat diet on gut microbiota: A driving force for chronic disease risk. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 18, 5, 515-520.9.
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Author

Kathryn Adel

Kathryn Adel

Kathryn completed degrees in kinesiology and nutrition, as well as a Masters in Sports Nutrition. She is a member of OPDQ and of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She ran track and cross-country at a national level. Kathryn specializes in sports nutrition, weight loss, diabetes, as well as heart and gastrointestinal health.

Kathryn Adel

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