Sunday, 14 May 2017

LCHF: Eat Bacon, Lose Weight.

Image created using Pokémon Battle Scene Creator - Pokémon And All Respective Names are Trademark & © of Nintendo 1996-2017
It may sound too good to be true, but I swear to you that you can genuinely stuff your face with bacon and lose weight. Not just bacon, but butter, chicken, eggs, cheese, beef, pork.. Basically anything that is high in fat, but low in carbohydrates (or low carb, high fat - LCHF).

But how does it work?

Image created using Pokémon Battle Scene Creator - Pokémon And All Respective Names are Trademark & © of Nintendo 1996-2017The science behind the diet is that by reducing your carbohydrate intake, you also reduce your insulin levels. This has the effect of making it much easier for your body to burn fat.. And you'd be surprised just how much fat you can burn in a relatively short period of time using this method.

I'm living testament to the effectivness of LCHF.  I only returned to my ketogenic diet on Monday (after having to break it for a couple of months due to a low income), and since then (today being Sunday); I have lost a total of 8lbs (or just over 3.5kg for those of you using metric).


A ketogenic diet is the next step with LCHF; but like a LCHF diet it's not going to be for everyone. With a ketogenic diet you are going to further reduce your carbohydrate, to less than 20g per day. To put that into perspective, a slice of brown bread (something generally considered healthy); contains on average 14g of carbs. So two slices of brown bread and, you'd break the ketogenic state (or ketogenesis to give it it's proper name).

That doesn't mean you can't still eat great food though.

As I opened with you can eat bacon, eggs, cheese, pork, and plenty more besides. You just have to be very careful to fully read the labels on the food you are buying when you do your weekly grocery shop; as you may think that one piece of chicken is much the same as the next, but that's rarely the case.

Different methods of production lead to wildly different products, that whilst looking similar have grossly different nutritional values. Even with something as simple as a chicken drumstick I have seen ranges of <0.5g (which is very good), to 2.1g per 100g.

Which brings me on nicely to my next piece of advice when it comes to adopting a LCHF / Ketogenic diet; when you read the labels, always do it by the 100g. Typically (at least in the UK) there are two pieces of nutritional information recorded on the back of food products. One is per portion, and the other (the one we want) is per 100g.

Why by the 100g?

Personally I do it because I find that the portion sizes listed on the backs of food products often distorts how good (or bad) a particular item is for you. Doing it by the 100g though, you know where you are.

As an example let's return to our chicken drumsticks. Let's say there are four of them in a 500g pack, listed as containing 2g of carbs per 100g. Comparing the contents to the weight, I know that each drumstick is approximately 125g; which according to the "per 100g" values listed, is 2.5g of carbs per drumstick. Quite high for chicken in my opinion, and no doubt a result of either the production methods used or additional seasoning (BBQ style chicken for example, which has a marinade that is often loaded with sugars).

The Catch

So far it's all been good, but there is as you might have well guessed a few catches. In no particular order they are:

Cost: LCHF isn't cheap (which is why I had to drop the diet when I became unemployed); as you often can't buy budget products. That's not saying that you have to buy the most expensive products on the market; but you are looking at least mid-range.

No Vegetarian Option: This diet isn't really suitable for vegans or vegetarians as most fruits and vegetables are heavily restricted by the diet; being rich in natural sugars.

Induction Flu: This is what often causes folks to quit their LCHF / Ketogenic diet within the first couple of days; and I won't lie to you, it is rather unpleasant. Despite it's name, Induction Flu isn't viral; but rather your body adapting to its new diet, and getting used to its new energy source (fat).

In short, it's a part of the process, whereby individual may experience flu like symptoms for 3-5 days on average. Emphasis here being on the may, and there are things that you can do to offset; even completely negate any unpleasantness as you pass through this barrier.

Personally I recommend lots of water, preferably low carb squash (of which there are many on the market going by the backs of packages) to ease you through it. Not only will this keep you hydrated (which really helps with Induction Flu), but the majority of fat is lost through excreted water (urine / sweat), so by increasing the amount of water you take in; you'll increase the amount of water you pass. Effectively killing two birds with one stone.

In Conclusion

So there you have it. The eat bacon, lose weight diet as I like to think of it; or LCHF to give it it's proper name. It's not going to be for everyone, but for those of us that could use to lose a few stone it's an absolute godsend.

By all means though, don't just take my word for it.

Do your own research as I did before giving it a go, and see if LCHF is the diet for you.

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