LCHF treats should be that – some­thing rare for a spe­cial oc­ca­sion. Un­for­tu­nately some peo­ple are us­ing them as a sub­sti­tute for real food – and it’s dam­ag­ing their health in the process.


Too many treats will set you up for fail­ure

Isn’t the low-carb, healthy fat lifestyle amaz­ing? You can eat fat, down cof­fee with cream, eat steak and ribs, as well as ba­con, nuts, but­ter, an­i­mal fats, dark choco­late, muffins, wine, LCHF bread and lit­er­ally have your cake and eat it! There’s no other weight loss pro­gramme like it. We’re never hun­gry, we eat all the de­li­cious things we love – and still get healthy and lose weight!

Could there be a caveat in all this how­ever? I think so.

When the ‘move­ment’ first be­gan in this coun­try it was pretty fo­cused, con­cen­trat­ing on real food, made in the kitchen from scratch by you (not bought), and it was all about meat, veg­eta­bles, healthy fats and good, hon­est food. Un­for­tu­nately it wasn’t long be­fore peo­ple be­gan to look for ways to morph it into some­thing that still in­cluded treats and baked goods so that they wouldn’t feel de­prived of the good­ies they had in their pre-LCHF days. A lit­tle of any­thing now and then is fine but now we’re see­ing peo­ple liv­ing on daily treats and bakes. Be­cause they are tech­ni­cally LCHF, they feel this is okay. It’s not. Weight loss stalls, in­flam­ma­tory mark­ers go up, and our nu­tri­tional sta­tus goes down.

Ev­ery time we put some­thing into our mouths it’s go­ing to work for us or against us. If you live an al­most ‘per­fect’ life when it comes to what you eat then hav­ing the odd piece of LCHF cake or slice of LCHF bread re­ally won’t have much ef­fect ei­ther way and is a rather nice lit­tle treat. That’s what it should be – a very oc­ca­sional treat. Daily treat­ing is not LCHF and baked goods will take the place of healthy meat and veg­eta­bles that nour­ish us. From a nu­tri­tional stand­point, as much as pos­si­ble of what you eat needs to be burst­ing with nu­tri­ents from veg­eta­bles, healthy fats and pas­ture-reared an­i­mal pro­tein. If you are fol­low­ing this lifestyle prop­erly this will fill you up and you won’t even de­sire treats.

Ideally the treat men­tal­ity should be bro­ken pretty soon af­ter go­ing onto an LCHF pro­gramme any­way. For­get the pud­dings, the bis­cuits, cakes, breads, ce­real sub­sti­tutes, and pan­cakes. Mug cakes and ce­real-type re­place­ment break­fasts (even if they are tech­ni­cally low carb, which they usu­ally aren’t) take us away from the real food core of this lifestyle. This type of smash-and-grab food should be re­served for once-in-awhile emer­gen­cies, when there’s

just no time for that egg-and­ba­con break­fast you had planned or there’s a cri­sis and you have to eat some­thing be­fore dash­ing out.

Nut and seed f lours

My gripe is with the ex­ces­sive use of al­ter­na­tive flours we use – though it is true that any flour is bet­ter than wheat flour. Nut and seed flours on a daily ba­sis, or too many nuts and seeds, cre­ate an omega-6 to omega-3 im­bal­ance that, in turn, causes the body to be­come in­flamed and of­ten causes weight gain into the bar­gain. While omega-6 fatty acids, like omega-3 fatty acids, are es­sen­tial fatty acids, we are tempted to have far too many sources of omega-6 fatty acids in our diet – most of which come from nuts and seeds and, if you know no bet­ter, seed oils. The body needs a del­i­cate bal­ance of a 1:1 or 1:2 ra­tio of omega-6 to omega-3 but the ra­tio for most peo­ple is some­where from 20:1 right up to 50:1. This cre­ates a very in­flamed body and dys­reg­u­lates every­thing from lipid pro­files to im­mu­nity.

Added to this is the prob­lem that ready-ground nut and seed flours (es­pe­cially seed flours) ox­i­dise within a few min­utes of grind­ing, which makes them even more in­flam­ma­tory. We see peo­ple mak­ing seed and nut ver­sions of break­fast ce­real as it’s dif­fi­cult to break the ‘ce­real men­tal­ity’ but you need healthy an­i­mal pro­tein and fat with veg­eta­bles – not just nuts and seeds ground up with a blob of yo­ghurt. I can’t stress enough the im­por­tance of eat­ing a proper meal. Sub­sti­tut­ing one form of ce­real for an­other, although ‘health­ier’ in the sense that there are no added su­gars, won’t nour­ish the body, and too many seeds and nuts could lead to nu­tri­ent de­ple­tion.

Fi­bre is ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial in fairly large amounts but too much from seed flours not only up­sets the omega-6 to omega-3 ra­tio and in­flames the body, it also binds an aw­ful lot of your nu­tri­ents too! If the nuts and seeds are not ac­ti­vated, they con­tain large amounts of antin­u­tri­ents that ‘steal’ our own nu­tri­ents.


1 A cup of al­mond flour is made from a lot of al­monds. Have you ever counted them be­fore putting them into a cof­fee grinder? You could end up eat­ing a cup­cake with many more than you would usu­ally eat in a sit­ting.

2 Al­mond flour, es­pe­cially, is very high in in­flam­ma­tory polyun­sat­u­rated fatty acids (PUFAs) – around 20% in fact – which:

• slow down your metabolism

• im­pair the ac­tion of cer­tain di­ges­tive en­zymes

• slow thy­roid func­tion

• in­hibit detox­i­fi­ca­tion en­zymes

• de­plete an­tiox­i­dants in the body

• in­hibit pro­duc­tion of pro­ges­terone and an­dro­gens while ac­ti­vat­ing pro­duc­tion of oe­stro­gen, caus­ing weight gain, PMS, hor­monal acne and gen­eral may­hem.

While PUFAs aren’t ‘evil’ in tiny amounts, when eaten on a reg­u­lar ba­sis they are. This ap­plies to all seed and nut flours, though less so to ma­cadamia flour. PUFAs are also not very heat sta­ble and they ox­i­dise (think ‘rust’) quickly. That’s why it’s a good idea to buy fresh nuts and seeds and grind them your­self.

Nuts and seeds are high in en­zyme in­hibitors. They cre­ate di­ges­tive prob­lems be­cause they pre­vent our en­zymes from ful­fill­ing their pur­pose. The health­i­est way to eat nuts or seeds is to soak them first, then de­hy­drate them to de­stroy most of the en­zyme in­hibitors. This process is called ac­ti­va­tion. Phytic acid is one such antin­u­tri­ent, which is found in vary­ing amounts in all nuts and seeds, and al­monds have rel­a­tively high lev­els if they are not ac­ti­vated.

There­fore limit your in­take of any kind of nut or seed.

What about co­conut f lour?

This is a much health­ier form of nut flour. The fat present is saturated, not PUFA, which is a huge dif­fer­ence as this is sta­ble fat that’s safe to heat and non­toxic to the body. You should not overdo co­conut flour ei­ther as even this is not a sta­ple food, it’s just a sub­sti­tute flour for bak­ing and cook­ing.

I am hor­ri­fied at what passes as ‘Bant­ing friendly’ and other low-carb as­so­ciated fare; 98% of it is not low carb at all, and con­tains seed oils, chem­i­cals, sev­eral types of sugar, and every­thing from gluti­nous grains right up to wheat. Don’t be mis­led: learn to read la­bels and, bet­ter still, make your own food from scratch, from whole, real in­gre­di­ents. Save treats for re­ally spe­cial oc­ca­sions – and once a week is not a spe­cial oc­ca­sion! On the other hand, ‘treat­ing’ your­self to re­ally fresh sal­ads, veg­eta­bles, grass-fed meat and health fats is al­lowed at ev­ery sin­gle meal!

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