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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I understand the low carb part of LCHF, but why high fat? Why not high protein?
 

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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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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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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. :D
 

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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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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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Great Thread. Takes me back to Organic Chem; Pharmaceutical Chem and Bio Pharmaceutics those 40 plus years ago.
 
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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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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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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.

new book review
 

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Hi Taipan, I experience the same problem and it is most probably a symptom of gallbladder problems. If I eat too much fat I get this heavy, uneasy feeling in my chest within seconds and I have gallbladder problems. Initially it was very frightening until I realised there was an immediate causality between my fat intake and the symptom. I took a herbal treatment course for my liver/gallbladder and I was symptom free for about 6 months, ate lots of fat without any problem. However lately it is starting again when I eat fat so I taking herbs again (milk thistle, chanca piedra, boldo and a local liver detox concoction)

Sent from my iPad using Diabetes
 

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Anyone wanting to read more about how a carb-restricted, fat-unrestricted diet is good should read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. It’s a pretty lengthy book, and I think he could have driven home the same points as effectively in far fewer pages, but it’s nevertheless a powerful book about the history of high-fat eating and how fat has been unfairly villainized over the last half century.

One of the caveats that I think most fat supporters like me would make is that many fats are still bad. However, contrary to the conventional wisdom that unsaturated fats are good and saturated fat is bad, people like me would argue that natural saturated fats in unrefined coconut oil and even animal fats (butter, cream, fatty beef) are good and that polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) are generally bad (except for a necessary amount of omega-3). Monounsaturated fats (EVOO, nuts, avocado) are excellent according to virtually everyone. I would never limit my consumption of EVOO or avocado or nuts that are low in PUFA. Also, no one really defends trans-fat as found in partially hydrogenated oil except for the food manufacturers who add it in. Generally speaking, fats that haven’t been screwed up by processing, refining, heating, time, light exposure, etc. will be good for you. And the great thing about saturated fats is that they are more stable and less likely to be screwed up by cooking.

My own cholesterol results go against the belief that a high fat diet causes high cholesterol and triglycerides. When I had it tested in August, my total cholesterol was 104, my HDL was 54, my LDL was 44, and my triglycerides were 31. This was on a diet that severely limited carbs while eating as many eggs, fatty steaks, avocados, unsweetened coconut, olive oil, and nuts as I felt like eating. (BTW, I myself am not a diabetic. My wife is a type 1.)
 

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Anyone wanting to read more about how a carb-restricted, fat-unrestricted diet is good should read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. It’s a pretty lengthy book, and I think he could have driven home the same points as effectively in far fewer pages, but it’s nevertheless a powerful book about the history of high-fat eating and how fat has been unfairly villainized over the last half century. ...
I'd also endorse GC,BC despite it being a weighty read but if you prefer Gary Taubes now has a more accessible version called Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It
 

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There is an interesting phenomenon called Rabbit Starvation which is characterized by too much protein and not enough fat.

I've read in many places that protein becomes toxic at high levels, but these levels and exact mechanisms don't appear well documented. Uric acid is often described as toxic or poisonous.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) are generally bad (except for a necessary amount of omega-3).
Why would you argue this? The two essential fatty acids for humans are both polyunsaturated: α-linolenic acid (an omega-3) and linoleic acid (an omega-6). And the sources of polyunsaturated fats include seeds, nuts, fish, and leafy greens. Walnuts, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter are all high in polyunsaturated fat. You're not saying one should avoid those, are you??
 

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Why would you argue this? The two essential fatty acids for humans are both polyunsaturated: α-linolenic acid (an omega-3) and linoleic acid (an omega-6). And the sources of polyunsaturated fats include seeds, nuts, fish, and leafy greens. Walnuts, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter are all high in polyunsaturated fat. You're not saying one should avoid those, are you??
It's true that we need omega-6 as well, but the normal American eats much more omega-6 than they need, and the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is much larger than it should be. It wouldn't be healthy to eat absolutely no omega-6, but unless someone is on an ultra-low-fat diet, it's unlikely they will have an omega-6 deficiency. On the other hand, people need to be much more deliberate to get enough omega-3 since relatively few foods have it. (I take fish oil capsules myself. Fresh fish that isn't overcooked would be a better choice, but I'm not going to eat fish everyday.)

In any case, PUFA are much more prone to damage than saturated fats. Although they might be healthful when uncorrupted, they are much more likely to react chemically (including inside our own body) into something toxic, i.e., they go rancid. Saturated fatty acids, on the other hand, are quite stable.

On other thing---PUFA in their natural form in food generally contain vitamin E to protect and repair PUFA from damage. Nuts, seeds, and fish that contain large amounts of PUFA generally have lots of vitamin E. Refined vegetable oils generally don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's true that we need omega-6 as well, but the normal American eats much more omega-6 than they need, and the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is much larger than it should be. It wouldn't be healthy to eat absolutely no omega-6, but unless someone is on an ultra-low-fat diet, it's unlikely they will have an omega-6 deficiency. On the other hand, people need to be much more deliberate to get enough omega-3 since relatively few foods have it. (I take fish oil capsules myself. Fresh fish that isn't overcooked would be a better choice, but I'm not going to eat fish everyday.)

In any case, PUFA are much more prone to damage than saturated fats. Although they might be healthful when uncorrupted, they are much more likely to react chemically (including inside our own body) into something toxic, i.e., they go rancid. Saturated fatty acids, on the other hand, are quite stable.

On other thing---PUFA in their natural form in food generally contain vitamin E to protect and repair PUFA from damage. Nuts, seeds, and fish that contain large amounts of PUFA generally have lots of vitamin E. Refined vegetable oils generally don't.
We're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one. If monounsaturated fatty acids are "excellent" then polyunsaturated fatty acids are at least very good; I can't see how the addition of another double bond could cause that many problems. My recollection is that rancidity and free radical formation usually occur in foods from exposure to oxygen and/or high temperature, and if you keep your foods fresh and change cooking oils often you shouldn't have problems.

This discussion is opening some very dusty rooms in my brain! I actually have two degrees (B.S. and M.S.) in food science and technology, and my graduate work concerned oxidative damage to tissues and protection by antioxidants. It was published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine and Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. My graduate professor was a big vitamin E name back in the day. But gracious! That was a LOOOOONG time ago!
 

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Our doc recently told us vitamin E benefits have been debunked - I even asked him about topical usage, since my thyroid surgeon back in the 70s had said used E oil to reduce the scar . . . he said not even topically; save our money.
 
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