LCHF/Scandinavian Diet

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LCHF stands for Low Carb High Fat. One difference between for example Bodytrim and LCHF is that when eating LCHF your protein intake stays approximately the same as before. When you cut the carbs, you increase the fat intake instead. LCHF is quite similar to Atkins - before Atkins started to become afraid of fat, plus selling a lot of low carb products that are anything but low carb... The focus on LCHF is REAL foods: Whole foods, organic where possible. The main principle is that you limit your intake of sugar and starches.

Lowering your sugar and starch intake leads to lowering your blood sugar. That in turn leads to decreasing the amount of insulin the body secrets. Insulin, as we know is the body's fat storing hormone. When the insulin level is constantly low, the body can't store fat as easily as before, and starts burning fat instead.

BUT why should you increase the fat and not the protein content of the diet? The simple reason is that increasing fat in your diet is more efficient for weight loss and for controlling hunger: Eating food with natural fat simply leads to you feeling fuller for longer and actually decreasing your food intake (when not eating fats with carbs, that is...). As recent scientific studies are starting to prove, fat isn't bad for our health. A reason for not increasing your protein intake much when you restrict carbs is that excess protein in our diets is converted to glucose. And what happens then? Exactly, insulin secretion, fat storage and weight gain!

Calorie restriction is not part of LCHF, nor is eating a certain amount of meals. If you're not hungry in the morning - don't eat. Eat only when you are hungry, there's no stress about eating every 3rd hour. Some people find that they have to eat only 2-3 times per day, and the need for snacking stops. But why does this happen? When we decrease our intake of carbohydrates and increase natural fat, the body automatically controls it's appetite. Try it, you'll see!

Another thing that separates LCHF from for example BT, is that there are no "cheat meals". Eating large amounts of carbs one day, to then go cold turkey next day only leads to unstable blood sugar levels, which leaves us more prone to falling off the wagon. Therefore I have rarely come across yoyo-dieting when people eat LCHF. That being said, when the weight is stabilized there are lots of yummy recipes for cookies, cakes etc using natural sweeteners that you can enjoy in moderation. Stay away from these low carb treats in a weight loss face, though.

A third thing about LCHF is that all the info about it is free! There are no expensive "LCHF" products out there - just real foods that you find in a supermarket or a health food store.

The following is cut and paste from the wonderful resource www.dietdoctor.com, by MD Andreas Eenfeldt, who is a Swedish specialist in family medicine:

Eat all you like

  • Meat: Any type. Beef, pork, game meat, chicken. The fat on the meat is good as well as skin on the chicken. Try to choose organic or grass fed meat if you can.
  • Fish and shellfish: All kinds. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel or herring are great. Avoid breading.
  • Eggs: All kinds. Boiled, fried, omelettes. Preferably organic eggs.
  • Natural fat, fat sauces: Using butter and cream when you cook can make your food taste better and make you more satiated. Béarnaise, Hollandaise, read on the packages or make it yourself. Coconut fat, olive oil and canola oil are also good options.
  • Vegetables growing above ground: All kinds of cabbage, such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts. Asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, olives, spinach, mushrooms, cucumber, lettuce, avocado, onions, peppers, tomatoes and more.
  • Dairy products: Always select high fat options. Real butter, cream (40% fat), sour cream, fat cheese. Turkish yogurt. Be careful with regular milk and skim milk as it contains a lot of milk sugar. Avoid flavored, sugary and low fat products.
  • Nuts: Good to eat instead of candy in front of the television (preferably in moderation).
  • Berries: Okay in moderation, if you are not a super strict /-sensitive. Good with whipped cream.

Avoid if you can

  • Sugar: The worst. Soft drinks, candy, juice, sports drinks, chocolate, cakes, buns, pastries, ice cream, breakfast cereals. Preferably avoid sweeteners as well.
  • Starch: Bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, french fries, potato chips, porridge, muesli and so on. »Wholemeal products" are just less bad. Moderate amounts of root vegetables may be OK if you're not too strict with the carbohydrates.
  • Margarine: Industrially imitated butter with unnaturally high content of omega-6 fat. Has no health benefits, tastes bad. Statistically linked to asthma, allergies and other inflammatory diseases.
  • Beer: Liquid bread. Full of malt sugar, unfortunately.
  • Fruit: Very sweet, plenty of sugar. Eat once in a while, treat it as a natural form of candy.

Once in a while

You decide when the time is right. Your weight loss may slow down a bit

  • Alcohol: Dry wine (regular red wine or dry white), whisky, brandy, vodka, drinks without sugar.
  • Dark chocolate: Above 70 % cocoa, preferably just a little.

Drink most days

  • Water
  • Coffee: Try it with full fat cream
  • Tea

Breakfast suggestions

  • Eggs and bacon
  • Omelet
  • Leftovers from last night's dinner
  • Coffee with cream
  • A can of mackerel and boiled eggs
  • Boiled egg with mayonnaise or butter
  • Avocado, salmon and crème fraiche
  • Sandwich on Oopsie-bread
  • A piece of very thin hard bread with plenty of butter, cheese, ham etc.
  • Cheese with butter on it
  • Boiled eggs mashed with butter, chopped chives, salt and pepper
  • A piece of brie cheese and some ham or salami
  • High-fat yoghurt with nuts and seeds (and maybe berries)

Lunch and dinner

  • Meat, fish or chicken dishes with vegetables and rich sauce. There are many alternatives to potatoes, such as mashed cauliflower.
  • Stews, soups or casseroles with allowed foods.
  • You can cook most recipes in cookbooks if you avoid carbohydrate-rich ingredients. It's often a good idea to add some fat (e.g. butter, cream).
  • Drink water with your meal or once in a while a glass of wine.

Snacks

When you eat a low-carbohydrate diet with more fat and a bit more protein you will probably not need to eat as often. Don't be surprised if you no longer need to snack. Many do well on two or three meals a day. If you need a snack:

  • Rolled up cheese or ham with a vegetable (some even spread butter on cheese)
  • Olives
  • Nuts
  • A piece of cheese
  • A boiled egg from the refrigerator
  • Some canned mackerel in tomato sauce

Olives and nuts can replace potato chips in front of TV. If you always get hungry between meals you probably do not eat enough fat. Don't be afraid of fat. Eat more fat until you are satisfied.

Dining out or with friends

Eating in restaurants is usually not a big problem. You can ask them to switch potatoes/fries for a salad. Ask for some extra butter with meat dishes if you need more food.

Kebab can be decent fast food (preferably avoid the bread). In hamburger chains the hamburgers are usually the least bad option - naturally avoid any soft drinks and fries. Drink water. Pizza toppings are usually OK, the stricter you are the less of the pizza crust you can eat.

If you eat strictly everyday it is less of a problem to make a few exceptions when you are invited out. If you are not sure what will be served you can eat some food at home before you leave.

Some nuts or cheese is popular as "emergency food" when there are no good options to be found.

Shopping List for Beginners

  • Butter
  • Heavy cream (40%)
  • Sour cream (34%)
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Meat (minced, steak, stew pieces, steaks, fillets, etc.)
  • Fish (preferably fat fish like salmon or mackerel)
  • Cheese (preferably high fat)
  • Turkish yoghurt (10% fat)
  • Cabbage (cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc.)
  • Other vegetables growing above ground
  • Frozen vegetables (broccoli, wok vegetables, etc.)
  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts

Clean pantry

Want to maximize your chances of success? Especially if you have difficult cravings / sugar addiction it is smart to throw out (or give away) sugary and starchy foods, light products and stuff like that:

  • Candy
  • Potato chips
  • Soft drinks and juices
  • Sugar in all forms
  • Wheat flour
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Everything that says "low fat" or "no fat"
  • Ice cream
  • Cookies

For more excellent, and of course free, LCHF information, have a look at http://www.dietdoctor.com/lchf - and of course all his other blog posts.

Just to clarify, dr Eenfeldt doesn't mind me cutting and pasting all the info into this forum. He's all about spreading the information about how to eat for best health, and states on his webpage that "You may also use anything you find on this page in whatever way you like"

The original LCHF thread