The LCHF Diet and Diabetes: Why It Helps Control Blood Sugar and Weight Loss

Eating LCHF, or a Low Carb High Fat diet, is a bit mind-bending for those of us who have learned to consume low-fat and lean. In many respects, it is a simple diet. There is no food weighing, carb or calorie counting, and no exchanges or required supplements. There is research indicating that LCHF helps people control their blood sugar and lose weight.

LCHF Basics

On the LCHF diet, people are encouraged to eat when they are hungry and stop when feeling satisfied. Food choices include eggs, meat, fish, veggies that grow above the ground, and natural fats such as butter. The foods to avoid are sweets, starches, margarine, beer, and most fruit (except as a treat).

What you can eat on LCHF:

  • Meat, Fish, Eggs. Any type of meat, fish, and shellfish are in LCHF, and it is okay to eat the meat’s fat and the chicken’s skin. Eggs can be prepared whatever way they are preferred. It is best to choose organic or grass-fed meat, organic eggs, and avoid breading the fish.
  • Natural Fats/Sauces. Cooking with cream, butter, healthy oils such as coconut, and olive oil is an integral part of LCHF. This means you can enjoy Hollandaise and other rich sauces regularly. The high-fat content makes people feel more satiated and naturally enhances any food’s flavor.
  • Dairy. On LCHF, people shop for full-fat dairy products including yogurt (Greek or Turkish), cheeses, sour cream, butter, and cream. Low-fat, flavored, sugary dairy items are avoided. Be aware that both regular and skim-milk contain substantial milk sugar.
  • Above the Ground Veggies. There are plenty of above the soil vegetables to choose from such as asparagus, avocado, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, leafy greens/lettuce, mushrooms, olives, onions, peppers, and tomatoes.
  • Nuts and Berries. Ditch the candy and keep nuts on hand for moderate snacking. Berries are also okay in moderation for most people—and you are free to top them with real whipped cream.
  • Drinks. Recommended drinks are water, coffee, and tea.

It is acceptable to occasionally enjoy whiskey, brandy, vodka, and dry red or white wine, but avoid beer, and sugary cocktails. Now and then you can also indulge in dark chocolate that has 70 percent or above cocoa content.

Some individuals, after achieving their weight or other health goals on LCHF, experiment with adding low to moderate amounts of carbohydrate back into their diet.

LCHF, Diabetes, and Insulin

Since the intake of starches and sugars (carbohydrates) elevates our glucose, a lower intake of carbohydrates creates a steadier blood glucose level and less need for insulin. Fewer carbs also increase the fat released from our body’s stores to burn for energy.

It may go without saying for many of you, but a diet that is extremely low in carbohydrates will decrease the insulin needed to control high blood sugar. Using pre-LCHF doses of insulin can lead to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Switching to the LCHF diet, if it is your choice, is best done in conjunction with your doctor or dietician since insulin adjustments are likely. You will need to monitor your blood sugar frequently while changing eating habits.

Theoretically, if you control diabetes with diet alone, or with Metformin only, there is no danger of hypoglycemic episodes when eating LCHF. However, a consult with your doctor is recommended. At least, test your glucose regularly and keep your doctor informed of changes.

LCHF Side Effects

Some individuals experience temporary side effects as their body adjusts to the new diet. These side effects occur because the body retains less fluid on a low carbohydrate diet. Until the body adapts to LCHF, it may become somewhat dehydrated.

During the first week of LCHF people may report fatigue, headaches, irritability, dizziness, and heart palpitations. These discomforts can be minimized by drinking more fluids than usual and increasing salt intake a little, just until the discomfort subsides.

The short-term positive side effects of LCHF, other than weight loss and steadier blood sugar, may be lower blood pressure readings, a healthier cholesterol profile, better digestion, and less craving for sweets.

However, some doctors are concerned about the long-term consequences of eating high fat, low carbohydrate foods. They point out that the thinnest, healthiest populations around the world eat plant-based diets.

Sources: Diabetes, Diet Doctor, WebMD
Photo: Pexels

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