photo: Spenser Sembrat
In my opinion, the best way to eat is well balanced calories and macronutrients dietincluding a substantial amount carbohydrates и proteinas well as a little useful fats additional.
But this is not the only way to eat healthily, there are other options. Very popular among them is the high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet, in which fats play a greater role as a source of energy and can equalize, even exceed the amount of carbohydrates.
When I talk about "high fat eating" in this article, I mean diets in which 35% (and more) of the daily caloric intake comes from fatty foods.
For comparison: In the classic diet, which I talked about at the beginning, the percentage of fat in the regime is between 15-30%, depending on the goal, and in the ketogenic diet fat can reach 50-60% of daily caloric intake.
And because calories and protein must remain the same, an increase in dietary fat inevitably leads to a decrease in carbohydrates. Therefore, high-fat diets are included in the column "low carb diets".
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If you are reading this article, you probably have the interest and desire to try a high-fat diet. You are wondering if it is right for you and why not just go on a ketogenic diet instead of dealing with this more moderate transition from carbohydrates to fats… I understand you and I will answer you!
Ketogenic diets have become quite popular recently. Basically relying on 2 theories:
- that with increased dietary fat intake, the burning of body fat also increases, which makes weight loss easier:
- that you can lose weight successfully only if you keep your insulin levels low. And because carbohydrates increase the insulin response, the solution is to replace their place, as the body's main source of energy, with fat.
However, the world is not black and white, but rather gray, and here, too, we must look for the golden mean, paying due attention to both the benefits and disadvantages of this diet - in terms of sports, exercise and healthy eating. :
- During the first 1 to 4 weeks of any low carb diet, the body goes through a period of adjustment and side effects are common: fatigue, irritability and decreased physical ability. These side effects disappear after the body adjusts and finally goes into a mode of ketosis.
- Also, at the beginning of the ketogenic regimen, many people experience significant suppression of hunger and easier satiety with food. This inevitably leads to fewer calories and faster weight loss during the first 1-4 weeks of it.
- However, low-carb diets are not more effective, but rather equal to medium- and high-carb diets in terms of weight loss and muscle retention, as long as they contain enough protein and overall caloric intake is sufficient, not severely limited.
- At least in professional bodybuilding, those who rely on a high-carbohydrate diet rather than a high-fat diet perform better.
- At a relatively low volume of load (light to moderate strength training), low-carbohydrate (high-fat) diet does not impair strength performance, as long as the period of adaptation has passed completely. This makes it more suitable in weight loss regimens where training is not as heavy and intense.
- On the other hand, a low-carbohydrate diet can interfere with strength performance and muscle endurance under heavier, high-intensity exercise, when the goal is to develop and increase muscle mass.
- Extreme low carb diets can prevent you from gaining weight muscle mass.
So, in general, when it comes to healthy, athletic and regularly exercising individuals, the potential benefits of a high-fat diet are not worth the risk of encountering the disadvantages that it brings with it.
However, there is a place and time for everything, including a high-fat diet, and most research (you'll find some of them below the article) shows that this diet may be especially suitable for people suffering from insulin resistance.
photo: Drew Taylor
Who is a high-fat diet suitable for?
We have said that people with insulin resistance can successfully benefit from this diet. This usually occurs with a sedentary lifestyle and obesity as a consequence. Fortunately, however, this is often a temporary condition and can be successfully overcome by improving physical activity and eating habits.
But there are also cases in which active, healthy and well-built people can also suffer from insulin resistance and benefit from a high-fat diet.
Insulin resistance usually manifests with age. Also, if there are cases of diabetes in the family, and especially in women - if they suffer from the so-called. "Polycystic ovary syndrome" or oligomenorrhea (rare menstruation).
While in the first two cases the condition can develop due to concomitant factors, such as obesity and stagnation, in women with these problems the cause is purely hormonal - higher levels of androgenic (male sex) hormones in the body. This predisposes to insulin resistance to some degree, whether they are in good shape and exercise regularly.
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A high-fat diet can benefit:
- People leading a stagnant lifestyle and suffering from obesity;
- Elderly people who have developed or shown signs of insulin resistance;
- People at risk of developing this condition, by heredity;
- For women - in the presence of "polycystic ovary syndrome" or oligomenorrhea;
But even if you do not belong to one of these groups, but just want to try this way of eating - you have this opportunity! Just gradually reduce the carbohydrates in your diet and replace their reduced amount with more useful fats! Keep track of how you feel about such a diet in the next 3-4 weeks and if things improve - then you can continue like this!
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