Cut the carbs and en­joy the fat

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By MARYKE PENMAN

Eggs bene­dict with ba­con and creamy hol­landaise is great – just hold the bread.

AUT Uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor Grant Schofield and his team at the Hu­man Po­ten­tial Cen­tre are go­ing against the grain of tra­di­tional health prin­ci­ples by ad­vo­cat­ing a high-fat and low­car­bo­hy­drate diet.

Dr Schofield says fat is an es­sen­tial nu­tri­ent that our bod­ies want to use for en­ergy. But eat­ing lots of car­bo­hy­drates makes it harder to ac­cess.

‘‘It’s the op­po­site of what peo­ple are used to,’’ he says.

‘‘Ev­ery­one has been so caught up in the whole sug­ar­fat thing, wrongly think­ing it was the best way.

‘‘We’ve come to re­alise it’s not just a sim­ple calo­ries ar­gu­ment.’’

En­durance ath­letes in­clud­ing New Zealand Iron­man rep­re­sen­ta­tive Gra­ham Brewster are among some of the first to trial the con­tro­ver­sial diet.

Af­ter al­most a year de­vour- ing full-fat meals Mr Brewster is a con­vert.

‘‘I am one of Grant’s first guinea pigs. He sat me down and said, ‘look mate, how come you’re train­ing so much and are still fat?’.’’

Within months Mr Brewster dropped 7kg, with just 7.3 per cent body fat.

The un­con­ven­tional ap­proach was tough to get used to but Mr Brewster says it is pay­ing div­i­dends.

In July he placed fourth in his age group at the ITU World Cross Triathlon Cham­pi­onships. The diet cuts out sugar and pro­cessed car­bo­hy­drates, in­stead fo­cus­ing on meats, eggs, veg­eta­bles and as much un­pro­cessed fat as your body craves.

‘‘We are so used to car­boload­ing for en­ergy thing. It’s taken a bit of ex­per­i­ment­ing to get the right level of fuel for train­ing but I feel bet­ter.’’

Also known as a ke­to­genic diet, the con­cept stems from our an­ces­tors’ eat­ing habits.

‘‘Hu­mans have only started eat­ing the way we do be­cause of es­sen­tial means, com­ing in off the fields and pro­cess­ing stuff to feed the masses cheaply,’’ Mr Bew­ster says.

Dr Schofield says key foods do not come out of a packet.

‘‘We’re talk­ing about stuff your grandma recog­nises, food that rots.’’

Eat­ing good fats in com­bi­na­tion with low car­bo­hy­drate foods switches your body into a fat-burn­ing stage called ke­to­sis.

Mr Brewster says: ‘‘Your body can­not store fat when it’s in ke­to­sis.

‘‘If it doesn’t need it you’ll get rid of it.’’

Photo: ROBIN HODGKIN­SON

Full fat: AUT Uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor Grant Schofield is ad­vo­cat­ing a con­tro­ver­sial high-fat low-car­bo­hy­drate diet.

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