Low Carb and Intermittent Fasting – Where to start?
Low carb, high fat and intermittent fasting are words that are becoming commonplace and not just in naturopathic circles. The benefits of a lower carbohydrate diet are supported with bountiful science that is coming to the forefront of medicine and nutritional advice, even in ‘Western’ circles, finally. We as naturopaths have seen the benefits of these recommendations in weight loss, blood glucose control, cholesterol levels, energy, brain function and digestion to name just a few, time and time again. And it’s easy to see why when you look past the ‘hype’ - when a low carbohydrate diet is really a whole food diet full of vegetables, quality meats, fish, fruits and fats such as nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados etc. The recommendations I give daily on this healthy way of eating is not unlike what our grandmas would have simply called real food. Simple.
The low-fat era of misinterpreted science, largely thanks to one scientist Ancel Keys in the 70s has shown to be completely unfounded. You can find more information with the likes of Cardiologist Aseem Malhotra who has been instrumental in getting dietary recommendations in the U.K changed, along with their sugar tax and Professor Tim Noakes, my personal favourite nutritional modern-day hero - who has been instrumental in the low carb movement in South Africa and worldwide.
So how does one make the change to this way of life? I am passionate about nutritional advice on a lower carbohydrate diet and at the Natural Health Clinic we also offer the ’Shake It’ program for those who need a little structure to get started and their minds around ‘new’ ways of eating or to ramp things up for weight loss. This program is recognised by Health Funds such as Bupa and depending on your level of cover rebatable.
If you are ready to kick things off yourself, we’re here to help. I give structured advice, tailored to you in our consult. The starting points are often with increasing your vegetables and fats whilst decreasing your sugars and refined carbs like bread and cereals. Then decrease or cease snacking and go to three meals per day. With our ‘Western’ diet full of sugary processed carbohydrates we need to eat more often. The old analogy is that eating an excess of carbohydrates is like putting kindling on the fire, it burns quickly, i.e. as so too does your energy and need for food. With a lower carbohydrate and higher fat diet, it’s like putting a log on the fire, it will burn for hours, as does your energy with more fats and nutritionally dense foods. Clients state the improvements are profound in their blood sugar levels, sugar cravings and energy levels. Brain fog often lifts as the brain is fed more of the fuels of good fats that it needs to function efficiently.
Intermittent fasting is often the next step in my nutritional guidance program. It is by no means necessary but rather often happens with most clients naturally with this way of eating, as their hunger decreases or becomes controlled for the first time in their lives. One gets in tune with their body and eats when hungry. Different forms of fasting include 16/8 where you eat for an 8 hour window in the day (usually two larger meals) and 5:2 (2 non consecutive days of decreased calories) as made famous by BBC presenter, Doctor and researcher Michael Mosley to name only a couple. So take the guess work out of dietary changes and allow us to guide you with your Whole Food diet to health.
BHSc, Adv Dip Nat