The increasing popularity of LCHF diets
Research results from Helfi.nl customers
For most people, controlling overweight has been a continuous battle. The yearly resolutions around the 31st of December are often a yearly low point as well as a high point. Unfortunately, most diets do not work well in the long term. That was the reason for Helfi to start a research amongst its customers. Most of Helfi’s customers follow LCHF diets. We wanted to know whether our customers can persevere with their diets and if their diets help them to reach their goals. The most important outcomes can be seen in the infographic.
In this article we will give background information about why most diets do not work, and why you will have greater chances of success on low carb diets. We will illustrate this fact by using the research outcomes from anonymous respondents.
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Why most diets do not work
Most diets do not work because they cost a lot of willpower. They are often based on achieving a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit means that you will ingest a lower amount of calories than the ones you burn. Within these diets, there is often an emphasis on products that contain low amounts of fats, such as diet margarine, 0% fat milk products and lean meats. Sadly, most of these products will not satisfy your hunger and will simultaneously not provide enough nutrients. This strategy can lead to success in the short run. But when food and nutrient intakes are structurally lowered, the body will eventually succumb and force yourself to surrender to these feelings of hunger.
On the other hand, these traditional diets will not teach people what food intake does to their body and how their diets make them fat. Most people return to their old habits when their target weight has been reached. They presuppose that the weight will stay off when they just eat lower amounts of foods within their old pattern. This is often an illusion. The reason for this is that their old dietary patterns are what made people fat in the first place. What is more, you can always find a reason to eat an extra cookie, snack or hotdog. Without your notice, you will slowly start gaining those lost pounds again. In the end, your weight will be more than when you started dieting in the first place! And this means that you have not made any progression at all because you are further removed from reaching your goals than ever! You might even be frustrated!
Why low carb diets are becoming more and more popular
Low carb diets consist mainly of healthy fats, a lot of vegetables and modest amounts of protein, very low amounts of carbohydrates and no sugar. In the English literature, low carb diets are very often called Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diets. Within this category, you can find the Bulletproof diet (Dave Asprey), The Wild Diet (Abel James), Slow Carb (Tim Ferriss), The Primal Blueprint (Mark Sisson) and many other types of Paleo diets. While Tim Ferriss’ diet might not be technically typified as a low carb diet, it does place a major emphasis upon healthy fats. Low carb diets are becoming more and more popular. This popularity is reflected within the many Google searches that are made into “High Fat, Low Carb” (LCHF). Because of this, we will now explain why these diets have such an increasing popularity.
1. Low carb diets give off great feelings of satiety
The thought behind the increasing popularity of low carb diets is very simple. Good fats are healthy for human beings. Good fats also give long term feelings of satisfaction and suppress hunger because good fats take longer to digest. Furthermore, protein also increases satiety, and it even costs calories to digest protein. Protein also prevents the loss of muscle mass during a diet. When satiety is increased for longer periods of time, you will automatically start to eat lower amounts of foods. Another aspect of low carb diets is that avoiding sugars and fast carbohydrates prevents blood sugar fluctuations and will, therefore, prevent “binge eating”.
Most people that use low carb diets have first researched some background information about low carb diets. It is hard to make good choices when you do not know which the contents of “artificial foods” are, the carbohydrate content of rice or how many grams of protein one avocado supplies. When doing background research about different food sources, you will learn how much protein, carbohydrates, fats (macronutrients) are in different foods, but you will also learn which foods are the highest in vitamins and minerals (micronutrients). This knowledge will help you make better choices and will automatically lead you to prefer products that are natural and have a high nutritional value. This results in an improved mood and outlook on life, having more control of your weight and increased energy. These benefits will, in turn, make it easier to maintain the healthy lifestyle.
To increase results, you do not have to study all these things in detail. The basic principles are easy to learn and even easier to remember. You can use Apps like Myfitnesspal to see the nutritional content of the foods that you consume.
“It removes feelings of hunger like no other diet does”
“It is a process of automatically becoming conscious of food choices”
“I experience diet as a healthy lifestyle”
2. Low carb diets have great tasting foods
Maintaining a low carb diet can be very easy because you can cook recipes that you think taste great. Contrary to many other diets that prescribe shakes and packages of powders which will nauseate you very soon, low carb diets are various and contain many different taste options. For that reason, a low carb diet costs less amounts of willpower.
3. Low carb diets are not only used to lose weight
Many followers of a low carb diet have a different motivation than being overweight. Reasons for following a low carb diet could be skin problems, auto-immune disease, an irritated colon, digestive problems, etcetera. At Helfi these reasons are reflected in the research we did with our customers.* Of all respondents, 33% follow a low carb diet to lose weight. Nevertheless, most people follow a low carb diet to increase their daily energy levels (54%). Other goals with the low carb diet are more focus and concentration (44%), staying fit while aging (31%) and improving sleep quality (26%). The greater majority (89%) of customers is positive about their results that they have in reaching their goals.
“I do not merely want to be fit at a higher age but also want to be fit while being young”
Research shows that low carb diets are easy to maintain
Our research* also shows that low carb diets are easy to maintain in the long run. This can be seen as a logical consequence of the fact that low-carb diets cost lower amounts of willpower when compared to other diets. At this point, 63% of respondents follows a low carb diet for a year or longer. They also state that they do not feel like following a diet but feel more like following a philosophy or lifestyle. However, there are also some downsides to low carb diets. One part of the respondents thinks it takes a lot of time or effort to cook healthy meals. Especially when they are traveling, it is harder to stick to the diet or to find healthy meals. Furthermore, social events at which unhealthy snacks are served quite often might also be problematic. For these reasons, some respondents use the 80-20 rule. When you follow the principles for 80% of the time, it will not be that bad when you do not stick to them sometimes.
“I do not believe in temporary diets, but I do believe in changing your lifestyle. I eat everything, vegetables, meat, fruits and try to avoid fast carbohydrates and sugars”
“Because I enjoy my exceptions it is easier and more enjoyable to fall back on them”.
Knowledge about diets in health care is limited
What is remarkable is that only 3% of respondents of our research* bases his or her choice upon information that is supplied by their doctor or therapist. Most people investigated diets themselves, and Google was the most commonly used way to achieve that investigation. More than 50% of people turned out at one of the aforementioned low carb diets via this method. Furthermore, almost 25% of respondents has received information from friends or acquaintances. Finally, most respondents seem to be curious about this subject and read a lot of newsletters, books and listen to podcasts from important Paleo gurus. You can find a selection of great sources within our infographic.
For more information:
Eduard de Wilde
Founder, owner of Helfi.nl
Download our free e-book about the Bulletproof Lifestyle.
Most Helfi customers follow a low carb diet. We wanted to know whether they can maintain this diet long term and whether they were able to reach their goals with the low carb diet. 131 customers filled in the questionnaire. An equal amount of males and females participated. Most respondents (75%) had an age between 20 and 50 years old. 22% had an age between 50 and 70 years.
The results that are presented within the infographic are a visual display of the answers. The goal of these results is to offer insight into the motives of Helfi customers, and not to do scientific research. We have not done any statistical analysis.
The research results may be published without permission as long as they contain a reference to www.helfi.nl