From the time we were old enough to understand proper nutrition, we’ve been taught that fat is bad for us. While this is certainly true to an extent, there are certain types of fat that can benefit you if you consume them in higher quantities. Here, you’ll learn how a high fat low carb diet is the key to maintaining your health – including a healthy weight.
The Benefit of Cutting Back on Carbs
Half of making a high fat low carb diet successful involves reducing the number of carbs you consume each day. You’ve likely heard of low carb miracle diets – including the Atkins diet – that promise to help you shed pounds while enjoying steak, bacon, burgers, and anything else you choose. These diets certainly have their pros and cons; for example, while it’s a great idea to reduce your carb intake if you want to shed fat, you shouldn’t replace those carbs with large amounts of saturated animal fats.
Here are some of the things you’ll experience once you’ve cut fat from your diet.
- You’ll shed water weight. Your body holds onto a substance called glycogen, which is the energy it produces from carbohydrates. While extra energy is usually a good thing, it just so happens that glycogen, kept in your muscles, also causes you to retain water. When you stop consuming carbs, your body releases the glycogen in your muscles and that excess water goes away with it.
- You’ll feel fatigued. This may seem like a deterrent, but it only lasts a little while. Because your body relies on carbs for a quick boost of energy, it’ll essentially go into withdrawals when it tries to function without them. This means there’s less sugar being consumed and more stored sugar being used as energy, so you’ll feel the effects. Some of these include achy, tired muscles and an overall sense of fatigue. You’ll feel better after a few days, though.
- Your bowel movements will change. Carbohydrates are rich in fiber, which is important for regular bowel movements. This means that cutting out carbs will undoubtedly slow things down, so make sure you’re taking care of yourself by adding fiber from vegetable sources, instead.
- You’ll start losing weight in the form of fat. This is the biggest benefit of them all – the fat loss. It’s virtually impossible to consume no carbs at all, so you should make it your goal to decrease your consumption to less than 20 grams each day. Once you’ve done this, your body enters a state of ketosis, which simply means it has to start taking its energy from stored fat rather than carbohydrates. This will help you shed those unwanted pounds.
- You’ll feel full longer. When you consume carbohydrates, your body immediately goes to work converting them to sugar, and they’ll be used up very quickly, which leaves you hungry quite often. However, on a high fat low carb diet, this starts to change. Your body can’t use protein and fat as quickly, so you’ll feel fuller longer.
- Your diabetes risk goes down. Remember that all the carbs you eat get converted into sugar in your body, and this can spell trouble when it comes to insulin resistance. The fewer carbs you eat, the less sugar in your bloodstream. This means less risk of type 2 diabetes, too.
High Fat Low Carb Diet: How Fat Is Good for You
If you think it’s important to avoid all fat to lose weight, you’re not the only one. This is a common belief, but it’s one that’s false, too. In fact, there are several reasons why cutting fats out of your diet may be doing more harm than good. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider eating more fats.
- Your HDL cholesterol levels will stay high. Back in the 1990s, a researcher did a study on women’s HDL cholesterol levels. This study looked at a variety of important things, including cholesterol levels. The results were astonishing – women who consumed low-fat diets had extremely low HDL cholesterol levels. Because HDL cholesterol is necessary for ridding the body of its counterpart, LDL cholesterol, low HDL levels indicate a significant risk of cardiac events. When you consume a high fat low carb diet, your HDL levels will rise and lower your LDL levels, in turn. Learn more about the differences between HDL vs LDL cholesterol here.
- You’ll get more fatty acids. Taking fat out of your diet may be detrimental to your health for another reason, too – you won’t get the fatty acids you need to keep your body happy. Fatty acids are responsible for growth, the absorption of vitamins and nutrients, and even the regulation of bodily functions. Not getting enough can have a serious effect.
- You won’t have as many cravings. Aside from the fact that your body processes fats more slowly than other macronutrients, there’s also the fact that fat is simply more satisfying than carbs. Simply put, if you had your choice between a bowl of oatmeal and a bowl of ice cream, which would make you feel happier? Ice cream releases happy hormones like dopamine, which can improve your mood, but it also increases the production of satiety hormones. This can help you eat less throughout the day.
- It just tastes good. The human body craves fats and sugars for one major reason – we evolved this way. Fats provide long-term energy while sugars provide short-term energy boosts, so they seem to taste better than foods that provide little to no energy.
Choosing the Right Fats
When it comes to eating a high fat low carb diet, it’s important that you choose the right types of fats throughout the day. While animal fats from meat and dairy are certainly acceptable, it’s also important to take fats from plants. The only type of fat you should do your best to avoid is called trans fat, which is created during the production of hydrogenating certain oils. Trans fats are most commonly found in margarine and certain types of processed foods, and in the United States, food manufacturers must list trans fats on the nutrition label.
Aside from avoiding trans fats, there are some other guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to your fat consumption.
- Animal fats are fine, but you should avoid taking more than 7% to 10% of your calories in the form of saturated fats. The fats in animal products – a steak, a cheeseburger, and even milk and cheese – are almost always saturated.
- Most of your fats should be unsaturated, such as those found in nuts, fish, avocadoes, olive oil, all-natural peanut butter (free from trans fats), and even eggs. Don’t worry much about the cholesterol unless you’ve been advised to do so by your doctor; the cholesterol found in these foods will raise HDL levels, thereby improving your overall heart health.
If you want to lose weight without sacrificing your muscle mass, a high fat low carb diet could be the solution. Most of the foods high in healthy fats are also high in protein, which helps you maintain your muscle, even as the lack of carbs helps your body burn off excess fat.