How Does Low Carbohydrate, Higher Fat Eating Work?

Humans evolved as hunter-gatherers.  We hunted, fished and gathered our food and did not eat large amounts of carbohydrates.

As we developed agricultural practices and  the ability to refine flour and sugar, we gradually started to eat more refined carbohydrates in our diet.


The big change came in the 1980s when dietary guidelines that demonised fat were introduced.  Low fat, highly processed foods began appearing on our supermarket shelves and we started to change the way we eat.  Although these foods are marketed as 'healthy', most contain large amounts of added sugar By switching to low fat products, which we thought were healthy, we increased our sugar intake dramatically.  To make matters worse, when you eat these low fat foods, you need to eat more carbohydrates to feel full.


Since the 1980’s carbohydrate consumption has increased dramatically and at the same time, obesity rates have increased sharply, world-wide.

Its all about the insulin

A normal blood sugar level is equivalent to about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sugar in your blood.  When you eat any digestible carbohydrate, it is broken down into simple sugars in your intestine. This sugar is absorbed into your blood, raising your blood glucose levels. Your body will respond by producing the hormone insulin, which removes glucose from your blood stream.  One of the ways in which insulin lowers blood sugar is to covert the sugar into fat cells.  

If you have high levels of insulin, your body will be very good at storing fat and will not be able to burn fat.  The result is that very soon after you eat, you feel hungry again.

Over time, if your insulin levels remain high, you will develop insulin resistance which may in turn lead to diabetes and other serious health problems.

If you reduce your carbohydrate intake your blood glucose will be lower and more stable, and your body will  produce less insulin. This allows your body to release of fat from your fat stores and you become more efficient at burning fat for energy. This usually leads to a loss in body fat which if you are overweight, is often particularly noticeable around your belly.

By eating fewer carbohydrates and more fat, you will lower your insulin, stabilise your blood sugar and feel less hungry.  Most people following a LCHF diet find that although they are not intentionally restricting their food intake, they eat less, simply because they feel less hungry.  There is no need to count calories; just listen to your body and eat when you are hungry and don't eat when you feel full.

Restore your health

Having a high insulin level (hyperinsulinaemia) is associated with a wide range of serious health conditions, illustrated here in a diagram by Catherine Crofts (PhD student at the University of Auckland)

There is strong scientific evidence that a LCHF diet is effective for treating:

  • Diabetes and pre-diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight & Obesity
  • High triglycerides
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Epilepsy

It is also recommended for :

  • Neuro-protection (dementia, Parkinson's, autism, ADHD)
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Acne
  • Cancer
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia

In addition to the conditions listed above, people who enjoy a LCHF lifestyle commonly experience the following benefits:

  • Less hunger & fewer cravings
  • Improved energy & alertness
  • More stable mood
  • Improved sleep
  • Fewer digestive problems
  • Fewer aches & pains
  • Healthier skin, hair & nails

To find out more about whether LCHF is right for you, contact:

Helen Chauhan, Nutritionist & Health Coach

Iris Family Medicine

1486 High Street

Glen Iris 3146

Tel 9509 2144