The low-carb high-fat (LCHF) ketogenic diet has soared in popularity, as medical experts tout its capacity to promote rapid weight loss and reverse type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
In an exclusive interview, Larry Diamond, a 48-year-old Texas man, revealed how he lost 110 pounds in 14 months on a ketogenic-inspired Paleo diet and re-educated himself about the health benefits of unprocessed saturated fat.
Ketogenic Diet Has Nominal Impact on Insulin
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein diet with a macronutrient ratio of roughly 65% fat, 5% carbs and 30% protein.
"When we restrict carbs, we force our bodies to burn fat as fuel, which is why a ketogenic diet is so effective for weight loss," Dr. Jeff Volek, author of the Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, told me.
Because dietary fat has a negligible impact on insulin, eating it doesn't produce surges in our blood glucose and blood insulin the way ingesting carbs does. More importantly, we don't fuel inflammation in our bodies, which causes aging and leads to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's.
And because fat is more satiating than carbs — or even protein — you don't feel deprived on a high-fat ketogenic diet the way you do on a low-fat diet. With cravings and hunger quelled, it's easier to reduce calories or even skip a meal or two without feeling jittery or lethargic.
The ketogenic diet has already been proven effective at promoting rapid weight loss, treating epilepsy, reversing type 2 diabetes, preventing heart disease, fighting cancer and curbing dementia and Alzheimer's disease. New research indicates the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet fights depression and bipolar disorder.
'Everything I Had Been Taught About Fat Was Wrong'
Larry Diamond has lost 110 pounds on the LCHF diet since May 2013. Diamond, who has a family history of obesity, diabetes and dementia, had an epiphany last year after a family health crisis.
"The wake-up call occurred a few months after me and my wife had become the caregivers for my uncle," said Larry. "My uncle had diabetes and had developed dementia. I was heartbroken for him and scared for myself. My grandmother also had diabetes and died of its complications.
My wife and I had also adopted our daughter from foster care two years previously after a very long journey to start a family. I was 47, and my daughter was two at the time. I’d be 60 when she turned 15, if I made even that.
I was motivated like never before to put everything I had into changing my health around. And I recall thinking, unlike any previous attempt, that this time there was no chance I was not going to succeed."
Diamond started reading as much as he could about LCHF diets. He was astounded that everything he had been taught about dietary fat was wrong.
"My journey into nutritional knowledge was ongoing and about to shift into high gear when I came across an interview on YouTube of Professor Tim Noakes (see video above)," said Diamond. "He was talking about someone I had never heard of, Ancel Keys, the Seven-Country study, and the lipid hypothesis.
The lipid hypothesis was something I had heard so often I took it for fact: 'The No. 1 cause of obesity and heart disease was fat consumption. I was astonished when Professor Noakes mentioned that Ancel Keys had data for 22 countries but cherry-picked only seven to support this idea. This is called confirmation bias. He choose only the countries that seemed to support his pre-determined conclusion and ignored the rest."
Diamond discovered that Keys was largely responsible for the entrenched low-fat diet dogma the government has touted for the past 40 years. During this time, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and dementia have exploded — in large part to our high-carb diet.
What I learned was, 'Don't fear fat.' This was eye-opening. When people eat grass-fed butter, coconut oil, lard, and tallow, there was very little obesity, cancer, and heart disease. All three of these have soared when these fats were drastically reduced and replaced with vegetable oils. So ‘conventional wisdom’ on fats seemed very wrong to me."
Trimmed 13 Inches Off Waist: From 48 Inches to 35
Fast-forward one year, and Diamond is down 110 pounds and has never felt better. Diamond wants to lose more weight, but for now is thrilled with the dramatic improvements in his health.
I still have some weight to lose, but I have already far exceeded my expectations. And everything is better. I am no longer hungry. I love the food I eat. I have many times the energy I ever remember having. I move with ease and I am completely pain-free and haven’t gotten sick in over six months. My daughter and wife have a happy, engaged father and husband, who is in the best physical and mental shape of his life."
Diamond credits social media for his nutrition and weight-loss education, specifically the following pioneers in the LCHF community:
- Dr. Tim Noakes, author of Real Meal Revolution
- Mark Sisson, author of the The Primal Blueprint
- Dr. Ann Childers, blogs at Life Balance Northwest
- Sam Feltham, blogs at Smash the Fat
- Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, author of Low Carb, High Fat Food Revolution
- Jimmy Moore, author of Cholesterol Clarity and Keto Clarity
- Dr. Chris Kresser, author of Your Personal Paleo Code.
You can follow Larry on Twitter @natureboyrr.