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Low carbohydrate diets have numerous health benefits and studies contributing to their scientific plausibility are accumulating almost daily. There are only two macronutrients reliably associated with significant modification of death risk: high glycemic carbohydrates with worse outcomes and high fibre with improved outcomes.

Nevertheless, there are problems and confusion over the best nutrients to replace dietary carbohydrates. Fat is the scientifically accepted major energy source of the traditional ketogenic diet but widespread public acceptance of a low carb/high fat diet has several obstacles to overcome.

There has been a century of demonization of “bad fat”: the high calorie content is a turn off for all those calorie counters, cholesterol concerns and the saturated fat-heart disease hypothesis remains dogma for most health care professionals, and now there is the confusion over what is good fat and bad fat. What’s needed is a simpler narrative, easier to accept that builds on rather than destroys established paradigms and low carb high fibre might just fit the bill.

The Benefits of a Low Carb, High Fiber Diet

The end result of changing the philosophy of LCHF to LCHiFi does not change the fact that most energy will still come from fat but with several advantages:

  1. Reduced total calorie intake associated with soluble fiber
  2. Reduced hunger
  3. Energy source from short chain fatty acids with anti-inflammatory cell signalling
  4. Gut health improvement and pre-biotic effects
  5. All the other remarkable benefits of fibre.

Unfortunately there has been a growing consumer popularity of high protein, although it has never been a component of a classical ketogenic diet, and for good reason as protein negates ketosis, stimulates insulin secretion, halts autophagy and while high protein intake may promote body growth and muscle building it most likely accelerates the aging process and therefore detrimental to long term health.

In order to get the vast army of nutritionists, doctors and dieticians on board without alienating them, we must improve established dogma and refine existing nutritional recommendations. It’s difficult to admit you were wrong recommending carbohydrates as a major food source and there is already growing discussion around good carbs and bad carbs. Fibres are the good carbohydrates and the energy source of fibres are short chain fatty acids -- this is compatible with ketogenesis. In fact, most plant eating animals are ketogenic as were our simian ancestors as refined carbs are exceedingly rare in nature and short chain fatty acids were their primary energy source produced by intestinal fermentation of celluloses and other fibres.