LCHF  Low Carb High Fat
The Natural Food


The reason I write this is that I had such a "eureka moment" when I heard and read about LCHF! I suddenly understood how religious people feel when they are "saved". You become so full of the new insights that you want to save everyone!
However, I have realized that there is no point in trying to foist a new paradigm onto people. It only leads to heated arguments, quarrels and enmity. The last thing a person wants to do is to change their worldview. Therefore, I have decided to write down what got me to change my worldview so that those interested can read in peace and quiet with reflection. Read or leave it.

LCHF is not another slimming method!
LCHF is the food that humans have genetically adapted to eat during the evolution. With LCHF, you eat natural and nutritious food until you are full, simply to feel good and stay healthy! By doing this, you reduce the risk of getting the so-called "diseases of affluence" (i.e. non-communicable diseases), and a bonus effect is that the body finds its own natural weight and maintains it.
This is the food we are supposed to eat!
[Man is the only animal I know who suffers from obesity. No animal will be overweight by eating their natural food. What would overweight lions or obese gazelles look like?!!!]

William Banting basically discovered the LCHF diet in the 1860s. He was so overwhelmed by the discovery that he wrote best-selling books on the subject. However, over the years his books have become so distorted that the word "diet" today means to reduce one's weight through starvation. That method is doomed to fail. When you starve, the metabolism is lowered to a minimum, and at some point the starvation must stop. Then the body will try to store as much fat as possible to pass the next starvation period, resulting in the body gaining weight in the long run.

Exercise is overrated if you want to lose weight. As a hunter, man evolved to pursue and tire his prey over long distances using a minimum of energy. To reduce 1 kg a week without changing your diet, you would have to walk 10 hours a day. Furthermore, exercise will increase your appetite!

How does LCHF work?

Up here in Scandinavia we have a short period during the late summer and fall when the natural supply of sugar (ie. fruit and berries) is plentiful. The body fat we build during this period is meant to be an energy reserve during the coming winter. So it is quite natural for the body to switch between fat operation and carbohydrate operation depending on the availability of different kinds of food in different seasons.

Carbohydrate Operation
Carbohydrate is the common name for all various sugars, from simple glucose and fructose to polysaccharides (eg. cellulose) which represent all plant foods. When we eat carbohydrates, we store fat. When the blood sugar level rises, the body secretes insulin to break down sugar into fuel that our cells can absorb. Insulin is the hormone that tells our bodies to store fat. The excess food consumed is then stored as fat.

When eating carbs, the feeling of well-being comes fast, but we soon become hungry again. After an hour the blood sugar level drops down below the normal level and we crave for more sugar. The body reacts similarly to sugar as we do to addictive drugs - a short-term pleasure and then we want to have more and more - which of course is perfectly natural and purposeful as established by Mother Nature. We are supposed to accumulate as much body fat as possible during the plentiful season in order to survive the winter.
[A conclusion from this is that obesity is not a disease! It is the body's all-natural and effective way to respond to the food we eat. Also obesity is not the cause of the "diseases of affluence". The root cause is the never ending sugar intake. Today sugars are added in almost all foods!]
Carbohydrates are not essential, i.e. we don't need to eat them. If we don't eat carbohydrates, our bodies can without any problems produce all the blood sugar we need. Worse is that carbohydrates are inflammatory! All the non communicable diseases seems to start with inflammation.

Fat Operation

When we reduce the intake of carbohydrates, the body starts to burn fat (ketosis). There are two ways to switch the body to burn fat.

One way to burn body fat is through starvation or fasting. This will force the body to get its fuel from stored fat. If the body returns to a diet that is high in carb content when the famine/fasting ceases, the body will resume storing as much fat as it can in order to prepare for the next period of starvation. We see countless examples that this slimming method does not work. In Sweden we call this "jojo-dieting".

The second method to burn body fat is the LCHF diet! When you reduce the intake of carbohydrates and replace them by eating more natural fat - primarily animal saturated fat - you tell the body that the availability of nutritious food is plentiful. There is no need to store fat. As a result of this signal, the blood sugar stays at a steady, normal level. You don't get hungry and your body will burn fat!

Sugar craving immediately disappears, and you do not need to count calories. You will soon realize that snacks between meals are not necessary. You will now survive on two, maybe three meals per day. The serving size will automatically become significantly less because the food contains much more nutrients and is more filling. You will lose weight even though you eat until you feel full. By eating in this way the body is getting the signal that there is abundant food and the fat burning does not need to go on low flame. It is very difficult to increase your natural weight by overeating on the LCHF diet.

What makes this method of weight reduction successful is that this diet should NOT be stopped when some weight goal is reached. It should be continued as this is the healthiest food you can eat. When the body has reached its natural weight the weight reduction will stop.
[The same should apply if you are too skinny, but I've never heard of it - probably because obesity is so much more common.]

When the energy of a carbohydrate upload is spent, an athlete "hits the wall". With his body converted to fat operation he will have access to a much larger energy reserve. On a carbohydrate upload we can totally store about 2000 kcal. A well trained athlete can store about 100,000 kcal in his/her body fat. But ironically he/she has no access to this energy reserve if his/her body is not adapted to fat operation. On carbohydrate operation, a marathon runner will drink sugar solution regularly. On fat operation he can make do on just water. What deteriorates slightly with fat operation at sports is the explosive quickness.

Switching to fat operation

When we move from our habitual sugar-fueled diet to LCHF, we should be aware that it takes some time for the body to adjust. During that time you may experience some problems.

I made a gradual transition in that I ate the same LCHF food as my wife, but (for about a week) continued to eat my usual breakfast, tea with marmalade on toast, until the bread and marmalade was finished. For one day I was hit with something that felt like a proper hangover. I sat on the couch and felt very weak, like I did not have enough energy to get up. And I couldn't think clearly. Obviously my brain did not have enough nutrition that day. After that incident I did not have any other complaints.

It takes not much more than one day before the brain gets the nourishment it needs, but the rest of the body may need a few weeks before it is completely converted into fat mode. Maybe it was a good idea with the gradual transition? My wife, who laid on the diet abruptly, had significantly more discomfort during the transition. During 1-2 weeks, she was very tired, had a headache and upset stomach, indigestion, constipation and diarrhea.

Another conversion symptom often mentioned is that the breath smells of acetone. We did not experience that. After our conversion we did a very good thing: To avoid temptation we threw away all food containing carbs from the house: sugar, flour, pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, cereals...

Here is a brief summary of the human evolution. Viewed in this perspective, it becomes crystal clear that LCHF is the diet that humans are supposed to eat. It becomes obvious what causes the "diseases of affluence" and the uncontrolled epidemic of obesity in the West.

Human evolution verdict in a year
January 1
Five million years ago humans began developing in East Africa. Unlike apes, man left the jungle. People stood on their hind legs (the least energy-consuming way to travel) and got the ability to sweat to prevent overheating. Man's digestive system adapted to mainly animal food (carnivore), which meant that he did not need to eat as often.
[Could it be that humans have become so resourceful because they have more "free time", since they don't need to eat all day long? The human digestive system is developed mainly for digesting meats (animal foods). For example, the small intestine in humans is longer than that of monkeys. The small intestine is where meats are processed during digestion. The large intestines are shorter in humans than that of the monkeys. Vegetable foods are processed in the large intestines. Our set of genes has changed. Most genes that have been added are genes that control the production of enzymes that are important for the breakdown of animal fat during digestion.]

Humans have five enzymes for fat loss, but only one enzyme, insulin, to burn carbohydrates. Man hunted in the savannahs and gathered eggs, edible plants, etc. Fossil records show, that among man's earliest tools are tools to access the attractive fat-rich bone marrow from large land animals. Eventually, humans learned to use fire to cook. Meat boiled, fried or dried by the fire, was sturdy, easy to chew and easy to digest food.
Through mainly a meat diet we had access to a power source that far surpassed the herbivorous animals. This way, man could stalk their prey over long distances and tire them out. By following their prey, man eventually spread all over the earth. Continents collided and separated from each other (plate tectonics) and ice caps melted. The main food sources were hunting and fishing. Thus arouse the various human races with different genetic adaptations to different living conditions.

                Then the world changed quickly in three stages

Stage 1. December 31 (New Years Eve)

9,000 years ago (Time 08:15), first in Iraq, humans began to cultivate and grow crops for food. Here in the Nordic countries cultivation started about 4,000 years ago (Time 17:00). The agricultural revolution transformed humans from a nomadic to residential and the population growth rate increased. The proportion of carbohydrates in the diet increased dramatically.
[All archaeologists can attest that there is a dramatic difference between the healthy skeletons from hunter-gatherers and the illness tormented skeletons from the agricultural part of the same people.]

The processes of evolution to adapt to condition changes such as these are very slow. They would occur on a geological timescale and it would take thousands of years for these mutations to occur. It may be possible that man, as we now are, have adapted reasonably well to this change in diet. But to the following two changes the human body certainly has not had sufficient time to adapt!

Stage 2. December 31 (New Years Eve) at 23:40

The 1800s brought the industrial revolution. Now began industrial production of refined products that had previously been reserved for the rich, such as sugar and white flour. Early explorers and anthropologists observed how healthy, isolated human tribes became sick from "the white man's food". Numerous examples show that natural populations exposed to this diet, about hundred years ago, suffered all our "modern lifestyle diseases" such as rotting teeth, diabetes, atherosclerosis and cancer. These observations were comparisons over a time period of 20 to 30 years from the earlier sample of the same group that were not exposed to this new diet. In the 1930’ies, butter was replaced by margarine with a significant increase in heart attacks as a result. Today, virtually all food is processed by the food industry and it is difficult to find foods without added sugar that triggers us to eat more and more often, which makes us store fat instead of burning fat. Similarly, the health care industry (which is largely controlled by the pharmaceutical industry) focuses more on medication than preventive care.

Stage 3. December 31 (New Years Eve) a few minutes before midnight

In 1958 (Time 23:56), a hypothesis was put forth by the American epidemiologist, Ancel Keys in the "Seven Countries Study". This study stated that greasy food was the cause of cardiovascular disease in humans. It is claimed that the study was actually conducted in 22 countries, and that Keys chose to only present the results for the countries that confirmed his theory! Manipulated or not - the Keys hypothesis has been proven wrong - but it was highly influential and have shaped our "world view" of the cause of obesity and cardiovascular disease. We were taught to fear "fatty foods" and the consequences have been devastating!
[The same year, the McGuire Sisters had a hit with the song Sugar Time. "Sugar in the morning, Sugar in the evening, Sugar at supper time...]

In 1980 (Time 23:57) in the USA, the average household diet consisted of 42 % fat, while 25 % of the population had become overweight. In 1984 the USA authorities issued warnings and encouraged a fat reduced diet. It was believed (scientifically unfounded), that cardiovascular diseases are caused by high cholesterol levels in the blood. The basis of the diet should consist of carbohydrates! The industry adapted and reinforced the message. The result was not long in coming. Twenty years later (year 2000), it had come down to a diet which on average contained 22 % fat. Carbohydrates were used to compensate for the fat content of the previous typical diet. The result in the form of obesity was also changed dramatically - but in exactly the opposite direction to the expected. In a time span of just 20 years, obesity increased to alarming 65 %!
[In 1979, I visited the United States. At that time, obesity was not that common in Sweden, so I was amazed at how many hugely fat people I saw. I had to surreptitiously take photos of them to show my people at home. In 2011 I visited the United States again. Now the rate of obesity had increased tremendously! It almost felt unusual to see a normal weight person.]

The current state of things

The natural seasonal fluctuations of the availability of different foods, has disappeared. Year round we have access to fruits and vegetables from around the world. The consumption of sugar is abnormal! Because of the fear of fat, the fat content of the food has been reduced and replaced with sugar! If you were to remove the foods that contain added sugar in any grocery store, the shelves would stand gaping empty! We drink huge amounts of sugar solution, and we eat large amounts of food rich in carbohydrates. Most of the food we are consuming is unnatural, and industrially processed. Most invariably, all of it will contain chemical additives to mask the bad ingredients and extra sugar to make us hungry sooner and eat more. We eat more and more, while getting sicker and sicker and getting more and more allergies and food and pharmaceutical industries profit from it. Since the 1950s the number of doctors in Sweden has increased by 500 %, but waiting lists have never been longer.

The research that has been used as our guide to a healthy diet has overwhelmingly been funded by the food industry. The food industry's interests and pressure stands behind the FDA recommendations - such as the completely insane advice to those who have type 2 diabetes. The recommendation of a carbohydrate rich diet to a type 2 diabetic is as stupid as to recommend whiskey to an alcoholic. Many people with type 2 diabetes are asymptomatic after having changed over to the LCHF diet and could stop their insulin injections. What if such an asymptomatic diabetic ends up in the hospital and end up getting a sugar intravenous drip or hospital food that is rich in carbohydrates?!

The pharmaceutical industry dictates the actions of the medical education and care providers today. Therefore, medical care is not focused on preventive health care, but on medication. The side effects from one medication alleviated with an additional medicine and so on. For example, my doctor prescribed statins to lower my cholesterol - without checking the balance between the "good" and the "bad" cholesterol.

Gastric bypass is a very lucrative business. Lots of people let mutilate their digestive system that has been refined over millions of years, in order to lose weight on this carbohydrate fueled food foisted on us over the last decades. Recently a gastric bypass was performed on a 2 year-old (!) in Saudi Arabia. What a frightening lack of knowledge, common sense and medical ethics!

[A slight digression: Fluorine is a highly reactive and toxic substance used in a variety of industrial processes. However, through clever marketing, based on research funded by the stakeholders, the industry has led us to believe that fluoride is beneficial and prevents tooth decay. That way toxic industrial waste, harmful to the environment, could be disposed of by adding them to our drinking water and we have a positive approach to the very poisonous substance fluorine! In fact, fluoride kills all life. Thankfully, it is now forbidden to add fluoride to our drinking water. But fluoride is still added to dental products like toothpaste, mouthwash, fluoride tablets. One should avoid swallowing fluoride toothpaste (read the warning on the tubes). One must wonder how much we ingest through the oral mucosa and what (if any) benefit is there to taking fluoride tablets?!]

                                           It annoys me...

... that opponents of the LCHF diet always claim that "there is no scientific research that proves that the LCHF diet is healthy." They claim that, even though there are countless testimonies from people who improved their health with the LCHF diet. Under Swedish law, a licensed health care is based on "science and proven experience". Are these testimonials not examples of "proven experience"? It does not take a genius to realize that we should eat the natural food(s) that we are adapted to. It is just plain common sense. Zookeepers know that animals feel bad if you give them an extraneous diet. One need not be a scientist to see that the LCHF diet works. You can easily try it yourself!

I would counter by saying that medical science is not a real science, because its foundation is the dogma that fat is dangerous! That dogma has been proven wrong. Unfortunately, the food and pharmaceutical industry, doctors and nutritionists continue to stubbornly cling to it as if it were a truth. A true scientist will question and always try his/her utmost to disprove a theory before it is considered probable or likely. Despite that the basic LCHF diet has been known since the 1860s (W. Banting) it has been effectively evaded, distorted, slandered and scorned.

It goes without saying that it would be a really lousy business for the stakeholders of the pharmaceutical industry to focus on making people healthier. Instead of researching the reasons why we get sick, so that we can prevent diseases, research and medical education focus on medication that relieves symptoms, rather than making us healthy. The side effects from one medication are relieved by another medicine, etc... You got to keep the wheels turning and you cannot patent natural stuff! It also goes without saying that it is most profitable for the food industry to use the cheapest possible raw materials, to hide it with chemical additives, adding sugar and sweetener in all products so that we become hungrier and propagate more carbohydrates. 80 % of our food contains added sugars.

                                        It also annoys me...

...that when the LCHF diet is debated on TV, or written about in the press, is it not by experts, but rather by ignorant pundits and the angle is always that the LCHF diet is just another weight loss diet. Why are they never focusing on the health benefits? Why don't they ever discuss SUGAR as the addictive and partly toxic drug that it is?! It should be a human right to be able to eat food without added sugar!

                                             The future?

It will be very interesting to see if it is possible to move our derailed diet back on course. It seems to be very difficult given the stakeholder's stubborn resistance. On top of that is people's unwillingness to think for themselves, fear of questioning authority and changing old patterns. I may never experience it in my lifetime. Maybe the humans in the future will mutate into insects that can live on sugar solution? If you've read this far, you've hopefully gained some insights and food for thought. This is my small contribution to start the food revolution that is needed. Spread the word!

                   Some starting links if you have become curious:

Diet Doctor - Andreas Eenfeldt. Here is all information (in several languages) whatsoever about the LCHF diet.

Here are two highly interesting lectures by Dr Robert Lustig:
Sugar: The Bitter Truth
Fat Chance: Fructose 2.0
It is well recognized that cancer is fueled by glucose. This CBS coverage argues that cancer cannot feed on ketone bodies:
Starving Cancer - Ketogenic Diet a Key to Recovery

                                          Some last words...

Around the time that my wife and I started with the LCHF diet, I heard a lecture on YouTube about "statins" (medication to lower cholesterol levels), and I immediately went into the bathroom and threw away the tablets. After eating the LCHF diet for about three months, we went to a health check-up. We were a little worried about what our blood count would show due to our increased fat intake. After such a short time the blood count results turned out to be absolutely perfect! The nurse also saw directly from our urine test that we burned fat. At this writing, after about 20 weeks with the LCHF diet, our combined weight reduction is 20 kg! So we have both lost about 0.5 kg/week. According to BMI, my wife has gone from obese to overweight. She is currently trying old clothes that she is suddenly able to wear. Since a couple of weeks I am normal weight!!!

                                                         Anders Sterner