Day 010-2 (T, 120110) — Nutrient Ratios on Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) Diets

Don’t fear fat. Fat is your friend. Add fat until you feel satisfied. – Andreas Eenfeldt, MD

Another Low Carb Blog to Read.  Based on his comment on a recent post, I went over and explored a site called Low Carb Learning by a guy named Mark.  Learning is right: I’ve already learned stuff from what I’ve found on his blog (see below).

He’s got lots of good information and commentary.  I’ve added his site to my blogroll and I recommend you check it out.

New info to me: Fat to Protein Ratio.  In a recent post, Mark linked to a video interview of Dr Stephen Phinney*, MD, PhD, by Swedish MD Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt.**

Gleaned from this interview was a bit of information that has changed my view of Low Carb dieting in a fairly fundamental way.

You see, I always though that the idea was to lower carbs, eat a bunch of protein, and not worry about the fat since it often comes in conjunction with the protein.

(The switch from LC to SCD to Primal has occasioned a change in my attitude about the types and proportions of fat I ingest, but not quantity.)

According to Dr., Phinney, however, on a LCHF diet your calories should be coming from about 75% fat.  This is much higher than I would have guessed.

During weight loss, since your body is burning stored fat during this stage, this meshes with my earlier approach: few carbs + lots of protein + associated fat works out pretty well.  That normally comes out to be about 40-50% protein and 50-60% fat (with a smattering of carbs thrown in) as my intake for the day.

How can we take in about half our calories from protein and still hit the desired 75%-from-fat ratio?  Isn’t that a contradiction?

No so much: when you look at your total energy input you have to add both energy received from ingesting food and energy gained from metabolizing stored fat reserves.  Add these together and a 40-50% ingested protein energy ratio becomes much closer to 75% fat energy overall.

Once you hit your goal, however, and your body is naturally as lean as it’s going to get without special effort, you have to adjust to the new situation.

Since you are no longer burning internal fat reserves for energy at the same rate you were before, you will need to increase the fat proportion of your diet to compensate for the fact that your body is now relying mostly on ingested food for energy.

All in all, it’s a great interview.  Plus it’s less than 30 minutes long so it’s easy to watch in on go.


*Dr. Phinney has a history with the Atkins folks including co-authoring the New Atkins for a New You book put out in 2010.
** Here is Dr. Eenfeldt discussing ancestral eating patterns:

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