Why high fat?

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Why high fat?

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Old 11-19-2011, 18:37   #1
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Default Why high fat?

I understand the low carb part of LCHF, but why high fat? Why not high protein?


11/2011: 8.8 | 03/2012: 5.6 | 08/2012: 5.9 | 09/2013: 6.0 | 03/2014: 6.2 | 03/2015: 6.2 | 02/2016: 6.9 | 01/2017: 6.8 | 05/2017: 7.1 | 09/2017: 6.8 | 01/2018: 6.5

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Old 11-19-2011, 19:04   #2
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Great question!

There are basically only the three macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Fat and Protein (in alphabetical order).

If we reduce the amount of energy we eat by cutting back on Carbs, we need to increase the amount from other sources; in order to remain in balance (isocaloric).

Always remembering that we don't just eat to provide energy -- we also need to meet the body's other requirements. For example: there are fat-soluble vitamins.

Carbs and Protein give us around 4 calories per gram, while Fat gives us around 9. This means that simply replacing 100g of Carbs from your diet with 43g Fat can be enough to switch from Low-Fat/High-Carb to Low-Carb/High-Fat, expressed as a percentage of energy. This does not require sitting on the couch eating from a tub of lard with a spoon, but simply no longer avoiding fat -- such as eating the real (full-fat) versions of your food and leaving the skin on chicken, for example.

Carbs are converted to sugars and have the biggest impact on BG.

Protein can also be converted to Glucose in the liver (Gluconeogenesis)... although this is a slower process than digesting Crabs.

Fat is broadly speaking BG neutral in that it cannot be converted to Glucose (although a small amount of Glucose is reconstituted from glycerol when Triglycerides are broken down) -- if anything, dietary Fat tends to slow the release of Glucose from Carbohydrate sources and delay or flatten the post-meal spike.

The body only needs a relatively small amount of Protein (around 60-80g per day for an adult male) for its jobs of building and repair. Any Protein above this may be converted to Glucose.

In ad libitum diet trials, invariably it seems that humans adjust the amounts of Carbs and Fat while Protein tends to stay fairly constant.

Protein is more expensive to buy than Fat -- compare lean ground beef to regular for example; or a whole chicken per pound compared to boneless, skinless breast-meat.

And there is some concern that dietary Protein is harder on some organs such as the kidneys -- although this is controversial and I'd suggest that compared to the confirmed risks of high BGs it is a non-issue for most of us.

There is no need to be afraid of dietary fat -- so long as it is natural... avoid man-made trans fats and industrially processed vegetable oils.

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Old 11-19-2011, 20:21   #3
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Frank gave you a very good explanation. I find if I limit my carbs without adding fat my liver seems to kick in more with liver dumps. There is something about adding the fat that keeps my bgs stabalised in between meals. If I increase my protein I tend to get a bg spike several hours after I eat because protein can be converted into glucose. So I keep my protein portions 2-3 oz at a time.

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Old 11-19-2011, 22:49   #4
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I look at it this way: fat and carbs are energy sources, protein is a building block (used in muscle, bones, organs, etc). So if I reduce my carbs, I have to increase fat to keep my energy levels stable.

The issue of excess protein being converted to glucose is also a consideration.

But in the end the real factor for me is this. Fat is YUMMY and fills me up.

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Old 11-19-2011, 23:41   #5
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One word answer: ATP.

Your cells need ATP to thrive. It comes from exactly three sources and no other:

glucose (from ingested carbs directly or converted from amino acids which resulted from ingested protein)

free fatty acids (from ingested fats)

ketones (from ingested fats if one is in a state of ketosis)

There is no other choice. So, if you cut carbs significantly without compensating with fats, your cells cannot get the energy (ATP) they require to thrive. Substituting proteins just give you glucose again but taxes your body with the conversion to amino acids (digestion) and then to glucose (gluconeogenesis in the liver).

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Old 11-20-2011, 15:42   #6
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A healthy range of protein intake is roughly 15-25% of calories. This gives you some flexibility to replace carbs with protein, but won't work if you're trying to greatly restrict carbs, since you'll end up with way too much protein (if keeping fat intake constant).

Another issue (as mentioned above) is that protein, unlike fat, can be converted to glucose (gluconeogenesis). In fact, the main reason that advanced T2 diabetics need insulin is to suppress this conversion of protein (amino acids) to glucose, since, even with no carb intake, their bodies still produce too much glucose from protein (and they can't live w/o consuming some protein). So, generally, the more insulin resistant one is, the less effective it will be to replace carbs with protein.

See the recent Quest Bar thread for an example of the effects (in diabetics) of consuming something that has lots of easily digestible protein but few digestible carbs. The same bar consumed by someone like myself (prediabetic) with lower insulin resistance, however, has little effect on my BG.

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Old 11-20-2011, 22:02   #7
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Great Thread. Takes me back to Organic Chem; Pharmaceutical Chem and Bio Pharmaceutics those 40 plus years ago.

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Old 11-21-2011, 01:51   #8
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Bump Up for a GOOD THREAD..

It now explains and taken off a few mysteries & questions of our minds !

Wonder if Moderators makes this Sticky ?? It would be wise for New comers to read and learn something from it as we all know it WORKS for US!


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23/06/12 HBA1C - 5.6[/COLOR]
8/10/12 HBA1C - 5.7[/COLOR]

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Old 11-21-2011, 22:39   #9
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Hi all. As regards to high fat, one is concerned as to the effects it has on the heart. Recently after adding more fat into my diet, i experienced some needling feeling around my chest area. Is this normal?

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Old 11-22-2011, 02:15   #10
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Originally Posted by taipan View Post
Hi all. As regards to high fat, one is concerned as to the effects it has on the heart. Recently after adding more fat into my diet, i experienced some needling feeling around my chest area. Is this normal?
If it persists, it should be mentioned to the doctor, but one shouldn't worry about the effects of diets high in fat; study after study has disproved the propaganda that fat is bad & presents a risk for CVD. It does not, and never did.

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