I don’t like to put a label on my dietary advice. It is based on scientific research, not ethics, religion or a preconceived notion of what a healthy diet should be like.
But if you want to label it, call it a “Low-Carb, Real-Food” based diet (LCRF).
Let me start by explaining a bit of terminology.
A low-carbohydrate diet minimizes sugars and starches, replacing them with foods rich in protein and healthy fats.
“Real food” means choosing foods that humans had access to throughout evolution. Processed, unnatural foods with artificial chemicals are avoided.
LCRF is not a “diet.” It is a way of eating, a lifestyle change based on bulletproof scientific evidence.
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It is a way of eating that emphasizes the foods humans have evolved to eat for hundreds of thousands of years, before the agricultural and industrial revolutions.
This type of diet is proven to work better than the low-fat diet still recommended all around the world.
What Not to Eat
You should limit the following foods.
Sugar: Added sugar is addictive, fattening and a leading cause of diseases like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease (1, 2Trusted Source, three Trusted Source, 4, 5Trusted Source, six).
Grains: Avoid grains if you need to lose weight, including bread and pasta. Gluten grains (wheat, spelt, barley and rye) are the worst (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, nine Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source). Healthier grains like rice and oats are fine if you don’t need to lose weight.
Seed and vegetable oils: Soybean oil, corn oil and some others. These are processed fats with a high amount of Omega-6 fatty acids, which are harmful in excess (12Trusted Source, 13, 14Trusted Source).
Trans fats: Chemically modified fats that are extremely bad for health. Found in some processed foods (15, 16, 17Trusted Source).
Artificial sweeteners: Despite being calorie free, observational studies show a correlation with obesity and related diseases (18Trusted Source, 19, 20). If you must use sweeteners, choose Stevia.
“Diet” and “low-fat” products: Most of these “health foods” aren’t healthy at all. They tend to be highly processed and loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Agave syrup is just as bad as sugar.
Highly processed foods: Foods that are highly processed are usually low in nutrients and high in unhealthy and unnatural chemicals.
You must read ingredient lists. You’ll be surprised at the amount of “health foods” that can contain sugar, wheat and other harmful ingredients.
Healthy Foods to Eat
You should eat natural, unprocessed foods that humans are genetically adapted to eating. Research shows that such foods are great for health (21, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).
For healthy people who exercise and don’t need to lose weight, there is absolutely no proven reason to avoid tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes, or healthier non-gluten grains like oats and rice.
If you are overweight or have metabolic issues (low HDL, high LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, belly fat, etc.) you should restrict all high-carb foods (25, 26Trusted Source).
Meat: Beef, lamb, pork, chicken, etc. Humans have eaten meat for hundreds of thousands of years. Unprocessed meat is good for you, especially if the animals ate natural foods (like beef from grass-fed cows).
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