The Truth About The Low-Carb High-Fat Diet Review

Can It Improve Your Fitness?

The common criticism of the Atkins diet was debunked: Popular science suggested that a low-carb diet that’s high in fat diet actually improved HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and didn’t worsen LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. Phinney wondered if athletes could train their bodies to burn fat instead of carbs. If your body could burn fat, Phinney thought, you could go a heck of a lot longer before refueling
With mixed research and confusing star-studded testimonials– does the diet work? And, furthermore, is it healthy?
A favorite among celebrities and pro athletes, the LCHF diet claims to speed weight loss and boost energy. What does the science say about eating plans like the Atkins Diet?
For years, we were told to fear fat. The low-carb high-fat diet (or LCHF diet for short), which can also go by the Atkins diet brand name, is ridiculed for causing high cholesterol by giving people license to gorge on damaging full-fat cheeses and red meats.

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Can the Atkins Diet Really Help You Lose Weight?

While the now-popular weight loss angle has gotten slightly more scientific attention thanks to interested nutrition researchers, there is yet to be overwhelming evidence in either direction. Most of the limited research on weight loss and the low-carb high-fat diet has been in favor of it.

Just know that you have to give your body at least two weeks to learn how to use fat as fuel– a phase known as fat adaptation, Bede advises. “If you’re continuously feeling fatigued during your run from a LCHF diet after that, you may not be responding well to it.” Ideally, you ‘d try the diet before training starts so the adjustment period doesn’t affect your mileage or time goals, she adds.

Whether or not it improves performance, teaching your body to pull from your fat reserves– which you can do by simply switching to the diet– does offer better blood sugar stability, Fear adds. This helps prevent hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar (which is the reason Hyvon Ngetich had and collapsed to– now famously– crawl across the finish at this year’s Austin Marathon).
LCHF also helped strength athletes lose fat without compromising their strength or power, found a new study in Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. That means that while people may not have seen performance gains, performance didn’t suffer– plus they lost weight, Bede explains.

A study last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine made one of the most convincing cases yet: Researchers found that women and men who switched to a low-carb diet lost 14 pounds after one year– eight pounds more than those who limited their fat intake instead. These results are promising not only because researchers looked at the diet long-term, but also because they didn’t limit how many calories the participants could eat, debunking the idea that a LCHF diet only works as well as any other calorie-capped diet.

On the other hand, Bede has seen it work for many of her athlete clients. And the science agrees that there is little harm– other than to your speed– to trying it out. It probably will help you lose weight, and there is still a chance it’ll help your distance or power performance.
And if your first instinct on hearing “restrict your carbs” is “yeah right,” you don’t actually have to be quite so rigid: The high-fat group in the Annals of Internal Medicine study made all of their weight-loss gains despite the fact that they never actually kept their carb goals as low as the study guidelines.

The effect of a low-carb, high-fat diet on athletic performance has only been looked at in a handful of studies since Phinney’s original experiment. And when it comes to high speeds, Bede says it makes sense why LCHF would slow you down: “Carbs are a fairly efficient way to burn fuel, so if you’re running at high speeds and need that energy immediately, carbohydrates are going to be a better source of fuel,” Bede explains. You won’t be able to perform as quickly because it takes longer for your body to access the energy in fat.
If you’re focused on distance and not speed, though, don’t write off LCHF so soon. “In endurance athletes, adapting as much as possible to use fat can help those who struggle with bonking. It can help delay that significant onset of fatigue, which is favorable because it enables an athlete to rely less on carbohydrate gels or fluid carbohydrates– and to go faster for longer,” says Georgie Fear, R.D., author of Lean Habits For Lifelong Weight Loss.

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Should You Try the Diet?

No one agrees that LCHF is perfect for everyone– or ideal for anyone for that matter. Fear, for example, isn’t crazy about LCHF as a sustainable diet dogma.

Plus, at its roots, the Atkins diet or any low-carb high-fat diet is all about healthy eating, which everyone can benefit from. “You’re eating mostly fruits, vegetables, heart-healthy oils, with some full-fat dairy and a touch of whole grains– all of which are a recipe for optimal health,” Bede says.

The truth low carb high fat diet (or LCHF diet for short), which can also go by the Atkins diet brand name, is ridiculed for causing high cholesterol by giving people license to gorge on damaging full-fat cheeses and red meats. The common criticism of the Atkins diet was debunked: Popular science suggested that a low-carb diet that’s high in fat diet actually improved HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and didn’t worsen LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. A study last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine made one of the most convincing cases yet: Researchers

found that women and men who switched to a low-carb diet lost 14 pounds after one year– eight pounds more than those who limited their fat intake instead. These results are promising not only because researchers looked at the diet long-term, but also because they didn’t limit how many calories the participants could eat, debunking the idea that a LCHF diet only works as well as any other calorie-capped diet. Plus, at its roots, the Atkins diet or any low-carb high-fat diet is all about healthy eating, which everyone can benefit from.

Fitness coach Ben Greenfield finished the 2013 Ironman Canada in under 10 hours while consuming almost no carbs, while ultra-runner Timothy Olson set a record for fastest completion of the Western States 100-mile course on a LCHF diet. “Athletes I work with say that once they got used to the diet, they feel better than they ever have before, their performance is potentially better– but certainly no worse– and they don’t have sugar cravings or mood swings like when they were trying to fuel with carbs,” Bede says.

Like much of the LCHF research, the scientific evidence is mixed– it’s still a vastly under-researched area. The most promising study to date is expected to come out later this year from Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., at the Ohio State University, the second most prolific researcher on the topic next to Phinney.

“More importantly, though, fat is very satiating. If you’re avoiding refined carbs, you’re also avoiding the cravings for more unhealthy foods that research has shown they cause.

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