Carbohydrates and fats and the overall effect on health has been a topic of controversies for decades. But what do science have to really say about these two essential nutrients that dominate diets across the globe? Research has not offered conclusive evidence on the effect of Low-Carb, High-Fat diet on human bodies. Some researchers, especially those that are inclined to health organizations believe that increased fat in the body causes numerous health problems. However, the last decade has seen numerous studies that hold a contrary opinion.
‘High fat, low carb’ is the new scientific catch phrase that underlines the recent research arguing that eating fat and reducing the amount of carbohydrate could be beneficial in solving the health problems of the first world. Some of the major health problems that are thought to be reversed by the ‘High fat, low carb’ dietary concept include diabetes type 2, heart disease, obesity, and hyperglycemia.
Such an argument that put conventional nutrition knowledge to test on a matter that affects critically important health concerns is bound to attract heated arguments. The risk factors that are in play in regards to low carb and cholesterol include triglycerides, HDL Cholesterol, Blood Sugar Levels, and LDL cholesterol.
Here is a comprehensive analysis of Low-Carb, High-Fat” Diet researches and the impact on health that have been conducted over time that supports that high fat and low carbs could be beneficial to your health.
1. Low-Carb, High-Fat” Diet leads to more weight loss and cures obesity.
There is growing evidence that eating low carb diet with high fat content promotes weight loss. One particular reason underlying low carb weight loss mechanisms entails the loss of excess water from the body. Besides, low carb diet lowers insulin, and as a result, the kidney starts eliminating excess sodium in the body. The shift in sodium balance eventually leads to weight loss.
The findings of several scientific research back the weight loss conclusions. For instance, a randomized report focusing on the effect of low carb on obesity concluded that low carb individuals who took part in the research lost an average weight of 7.3% of their total body weight in a period of 3 to 6 months.
2. Reduces triglycerides and enhances HDL reducing risk of heart disease
Triglycerides, a strong indicator and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, has been seen to significantly reduce when low carb, high fat diet is taken for a given period of time. The level of triglycerides tends to increase when carbohydrates are consumed, particularly simple sugar fructose. In essence, when individuals cut down carbohydrates there is a corresponding reduction in blood triglycerides.
In a research that focused on 53 females who were healthy but obese deducted that the individuals did not only lose an average weight of 8.5kg but also saw a significant reduction in blood triglyceride as a risk factor to many cardiovascular diseases.
On the other hand, low-carb and high-fat diet has been observed to increase the level of HDL, a good cholesterol that lowers cardiovascular risk factors. Research conducted in 2004 focusing on the effect of low carbs, high protein, as well as mono-saturated fat on 60 overweight individuals demonstrated the following findings:
- A significant increase in blood HDL. The molecule is important as it carries cholesterol to the liver where it is metabolised and excreted.
- Waist-to-hip ratio improved for the individuals who were on low carbs. Waist-to-hip ratio is a marker of obesity.
- An increase in LDL particle size. Larger particles of LDL are good for the heart as it lowers chances of a heart attack.
- Low carb and high fat individuals recorded an increase LDL articles by 4.8nm and a subsequent reduction of small dense LDL by 6.1%. Small dense LDL particles are a strong indicator of possible heart attack.
3. Reverse type 2 diabetes and reduce blood sugar and insulin levels
Low carbs and high fat has been reported to reverse diabetes type 2 or even cure it. The mechanism underlying the observation is very simple. Initially, when you consume a diet packed with carbohydrates, they enter the bloodstream in the form of simple sugar, mostly glucose. As a result, the glucose in the blood stream shoots up. For a healthy individual the glucose is regulated with the help of insulin, but in diabetes type 2 individuals this may cause serious health issues.
However, when you take low carbs and high fat diet, there will be a subsequent low level of glucose in the blood stream. The fat is broken down slowly, and energy is released in a form that does not elevate blood glucose. Additionally, fat has the ability to mask hunger longer than carbs. Several researches support these findings. A study undertaken to establish the effect of low carb on risk factors for diabetes focusing on 40 overweight individuals demonstrated that the individuals on low carbs diet lost 7kg.
Dr. Eric Westman, a renowned physician who has treated diabetics for decades on low carbs, stated that he often reduces insulin intake for type 2 diabetic patients on the first day he introduces low carb diets.
4. Lowers blood pressure
Hypertension or elevated blood pressure is a known risk factor for many life-threatening diseases such as stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure. A diet that has low carbs and high in fats has been observed to reduce blood pressure. A diet such as Atkins, Ornish, and Zone has been observed not only to reduce body weight but also stabilizes blood pressure for individuals who subscribe to such diets.
A randomized study focusing on 311 obese individuals showed a reduction in blood pressure and body weight by an average of 4.7kg after being on Atkins diet.
Though the low-carb, high fat diet has been surrounded by controversies, the latest findings have indicated that the diet has immense health benefits. Some of the major health issues that the diet provides is a solution to obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases.
17 Low-Carb Foods You Should Add In Your Diet
Low carb foods are a great way to kick start a diet, get your metabolism up, and to help you lose weight naturally. There are thousands of low carb foods out there that you can choose from but here are 17 of our favorites.
1. Avocado, 15 g carbs whole fruit
This little guy has only 15 grams of carbs for the entire fruit. It is great for those that are looking to trim pounds and add great monounsaturated fats into their diet. They help lower cholesterol, burn belly fat, and they make your hair and skin look great.
2. Broccoli, 6 g carbs one cup
For those that love fiber, broccoli has only 6 g per cup. It also has vitamin c, glucosinolates that help to fight cancer, and it can help keep you full longer. This is a great veggie that can be prepared a wide variety of ways and that is perfect for those that are low carb lovers. Broccoli is also great if you are looking to find a food that is going to help keep you regular.
3. Coconut Oil, 0 g carbs
Looking for something to cook with that has fewer carbs, coconut oil has no carbs and very little flavor so it is perfect for cooking in all applications. You can use it for sweet, savory, or flash fried options and it is also very heart healthy.
4. Eggplant, 5 g carbs one cup
This is a great veggie that is low carb and that can be subbed for things like pizza crust. They are great for those that want to protect their brains from oxidation as well as it does contain nasunin.
5. Eggs, 0.6 g carbs one egg
This is a great alternative to carb-filled foods. This is a super food that also has tons of protein and is great for the brain and hair, skin and nails as well.
6. Grapefruit, 13 g carbs half fruit
This is a great sweet treat for those that are looking to cut carbs. Grapefruit has one of the lowest sugar contents of all the citrus fruits and it is also packed with healthy vitamin C.
7. Greek Yogurt, 6 g carbs for each 6 ounces
This is a great food that can also help keep you full and is full of great calcium for bones and teeth. It is also protein packed with a whopping 17 g of protein per 6 ounce serving. Greek yogurt also has probiotics so it can help with healthy digestion as well.
8. Green Beans, 7 g carbs per cup
This is another great veggie for those that want to go low carb. These are great for those that want some great nutrients as well.
9. Olives, 1 g carbs per two tablespoons
This is a great little snack and it has tons of great nutrients and flavor. Olives have been proven to help lower cholesterol and help to lower stress as well.
10. Peanuts, 5 g carbs per one ounce
This is a great high protein snack that is full of great fats for the brain and the body. They are full of vitamin B and are great for managing your metabolism as well.
11. Pumpkin Seeds, 15 g carbs per ounce
These little guys are loaded with magnesium and can help to maintain healthy blood pressure and digestive health so that you can feel great about eating them. They are also super easy to make on your own and easy to eat and flavor as well.
12. Raspberries, 2.5 g carbs per ten
These are a great little sweet treat and they are low in carbs and have fiber as well. They have also been linked to bone health and are great if you are looking for something healthy to replace all those sugary snack.
13. Salmon, 0 carbs
This is a fantastic high protein, low carb alternative to all the high fat foods that are out there. It is also bursting with omega-3 fatty acids which have been linked to healthy brain function, better skin, and lower inflammation in the body. This is a great meat for those that want something that is very tasty without being full of fat.
14. Shellfish, 1 g carbs per ½ cup
For those that love sea food, shrimp are also low carb. They are tasty, contain tons of vitamins and minerals, and are great for the body. They contain zinc to help fight off immune diseases and are great if you are looking for low fat foods that are also low carb.
15. Sunflower Seeds, 6 g carbs per ¼ cup
These are a great low carb snack that when in the shell can also give your mouth something to do. These are great if you are trying to quit smoking or if you just need something to keep you occupied and to keep you from mindless eating. They are also high in essential oils and are great for the body.
16. Tomatoes, 5 g carbs per one medium tomato
Tomatoes are a universal fruit that everyone loves. They can be used in a ton of different ways and are great if you are looking for a low carb food that is going to be easy to use in a wide range of recipes. They are also high in vitamin C and are rich in beta-carotene which is great for eye health.
These are super low in carbs and are great for those that are looking to find an alternative to high carb foods. These can be fried, baked, added to stews and soups, and so much more. Zucchini is also high in vitamin C and is full of water so it can keep you hydrated as well. These are great for summer fruits and for those that are looking for something that is seasonal.
These are just a few great low carb foods that you can choose from. Any of the foods here can be combined, added to recipes, and can even stand in for higher carb foods.