Low carb myths and misconceptions are generally the opinion of individuals who have done little or no research in this area or are making assumptions based on old science. Over the past decade an endless number of gold standard studies have been published supporting the fact that low carb is an excellent lifestyle choice to improve health and weight loss outcomes. Here are my top 8 myths that require debunking:
Low Carb High Fat (LCHF)/Keto:
- Is not a sustainable lifestyle choice – contrary to this believe, studies have shown that once people give up sugars and grains they are very likely to do this for good! With LCHF resulting in better control of hunger and appetite returning to low fat, appetite-stimulating, processed food becomes extremely undesirable
- Includes NO carbohydrate – this is LOW carb not no carb. Done correctly, when carbs are eaten they come from nutrient dense sources such as lower carb vegetables, nuts, seeds, dairy and a small amount of seasonal fruit.
- Excludes food groups and will lead to nutrient deficiencies – foods excluded on LCHF/keto are primarily nutrient void sugars and starches including grains, legumes, sugary foods and drinks and other high carb food. In reality humans have no biological need for any of these foods. We didn’t start eating grains until about 10,000 years ago and we certainly didn’t have access to processed junk food until very recently. There are simply NO nutrients present in starchy or sugary foods that we can’t get in greater amounts from a varied LCHF/keto diet.
- Makes you tired and unable to concentrate as the brain requires carbs to function – our brain can function effectively on both glucose (carbs) and ketones (a by-product of fat breakdown). In fact there is argument that the human brain may even function better on ketones. This is evident in many people reporting mental clarity and heightened levels of concentration on a low carb diet. If glucose is required, our bodies can actually produce it from protein through a process called gluconeogenesis.
- Results in large amounts of fat in your diet, which is harmful to your health – specifically claims relate to increased cholesterol, raised LDL levels and greater risk of heart disease and stroke. In reality this has never been proven! To point out just one study that included 347,747 subjects, results showed absolutely no association between saturated fat and heart disease. Despite being high in saturated fat, low carb diets result in lower blood levels of this fat, as it becomes the body’s preferred fuel source. Overall LCHF results in an improved cholesterol profile and reduces every single risk factor associated with heart disease.
- Fat will make you fat! – a favourite quote of mine is “Fat doesn’t make you fat, just like green veggies don’t turn you green” Dr Andreas Enfeldt. It is high levels of insulin and being insulin resistant that prevent you from burning fat and thus cause an increase in fat. Of the three macronutrients, it is carbohydrate that results in the highest level of insulin secretion and is therefore the greatest contributor to increased fat storage on our bodies. A low carb diet will assist in lowering insulin levels, ultimately reducing the degree of insulin resistance and thereby making it easier to burn fat and become/stay lean.
- Doesn’t provide enough fibre – when LCHF/keto is done well your diet is full of whole food, food that has minimal human intervention, including leafy greens, a variety of veggies, nuts, seeds, coconut and a small amount of fruit all of which provide a good level of fibre. Yes there is no wholegrains but why choose to get your fibre from processed sources which are otherwise nutrient void when we have an array of nutrient dense whole foods to choose from
- Low carb is just another fad diet – ask your grandparents what they did to lose weight and they’ll answer they stopped eating bread and potatoes. Humans have been thriving on low carb diets for centuries. If we stopped eating processed food and only ate what is available to us in nature, our diets would naturally become lower in carbohydrate and higher in fat. I ask you to ponder that thought for a moment and then consider that perhaps the fad is the current high carb guidelines that have certainly contributed to the state of our health and weight today.
The beauty of LCHF is that it can be modified to suit your individual needs. Whilst very low carb i.e. keto may not be appropriate for everyone there are elements of LCHF that are beneficial for everyone and none more so than basing your diet on whole real food and avoiding the processed junk.
Want to understand the difference between LCHF and Keto – click here to read this article which goes into all the details