Before and after: how a low-carb, high-fat diet changed my life

Happy 2015 everyone! Today we have a guest post from my friend Adrian who changed his life on a low-carb, high-fat diet. Here is his story.

Before I started my low-carb regiment in December 2012, I would catch a flu bug once every two to three months. When I visited the doctor, he would give me the same cough syrup and pills to suppress my cough, fever and joint aches. I was extremely overweight with body mass index (BMI) of 31.7; I weighed 95 kg on my 173 cm frame. I suffered from borderline hypertension and high cholesterol. Even climbing two flights of stairs or brisk walking would cause me to be out of breath.

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After visiting the doctor for the umpteenth time about my cough, I was given two options: one, to start exercising or two, to be prescribed a medication to help lower my blood pressure. I chose the first option and started running on a daily basis.

My weight fell from 95 kg to 87 kg but soon plateaued. I ran more, ran faster and even introduced resistance training into my exercise regime but the weight refused to budge. At that time, I was still eating the typical USDA-recommended diet, with more than two-thirds of my calories coming from rice, pasta and bread.

It was only after I read “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes did I suspect that my high-carb diet was keeping me from reaching my ideal weight. In his book, Taubes argued that the best diet is one loaded with protein and fat but very low in carbohydrates. Most health problems are due to refined carbohydrates, which raise insulin levels and promote the storage of fat. Hence, it is not so much about the quantity of calories we eat but the type of calories.

To overhaul my diet, I focused initially on cutting all refined carbs and grains, which were overloading my pancreas and causing my body to accumulate fat. A typical dinner would consist of a slab of meat – be it chicken thigh, grass-fed steak or pork chop – and accompanied by some greens and a handful of nuts. For breakfast, I would eat eggs, a lot of unsweetened cheese, such as gouda, brie, cheddar, camembert, port salut, emmental, comté, sausages, full-fat Greek yoghurt or Paleorina’s grain-free bread with peanut butter. Continue reading Before and after: how a low-carb, high-fat diet changed my life

Resistant starch can improve your health

Resistant starch is the new buzzword in health circles. It started with Richard Nikoley unearthing research at his blog Free The Animal and the excitement surrounding resistant starch has been picked up by the paleo world as a type of good starch that can be eaten even as part of a low-carbohydrate diet. Resistant starch’s main role is to feed the good bacteria in our gut, and subsequently, help to reduce leaky gut syndrome, improve allergies and autoimmune conditions, reduce colon cancer risk and improve blood cholesterol. Dieters also have cause for cheer. Resistant starch can aid in weight loss by increasing satiety; it is a carbohydrate that with virtually zero impact on blood glucose.

What is resistant starch?

Essentially, resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by your body, but becomes food for your gut bacteria. Normally, starch is digested in your small intestine and absorbed by your body. The remaining non-digestible portion is called resistant starch and travels to the large intestine, where it is broken down by bacteria for energy.

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Bacteria using the resistant starch for energy in the large intestine

The subsequent by-product – butyrate – is the preferred fuel of the cells that line the colon. Butyrate may reduce inflammation in the gut and other tissues and may improve our immune system and metabolism. Continue reading Resistant starch can improve your health

Paleo vs low-carb, high-fat (LCHF)

I met a couple of people recently who are on low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets. This diet goes by other names as well, including the ketogenic diet.

Many of us have heard of low-carb diets. They have been popular in recent years and even my rice-loving mum would tell my brother not to eat so much rice if he wants to get rid of his tummy fats. So what is the difference between simple a low-carb diet and the LCHF/ketogenic diet?

People on simple low-carb diets tend to be less concerned about the other macro nutrients (protein and fats) and eat them in any proportion they want. So they may cut out the rice and bread from their meals and eat lean white chicken breast, for example.

The LCHF diet takes this idea one step forward by significantly increasing the fat percentage in one’s diet, which is supposed to force the body to use fat as energy. So instead of eating lean white chicken breast meat, the dieter eats the fattiest part of the chicken, while keeping carbs low at the same time. Jimmy Moore lost 180 pounds on this diet.

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Typical low-carb high-fat diet

Continue reading Paleo vs low-carb, high-fat (LCHF)