Should I switch to a high-fat diet?

Men's Fitness - - Experts -

Ide­vel­oped type 2 di­a­betes from what I thought was a healthy high-carb diet. I ex­er­cised regularly – I’ve run 70 marathons – and avoided high-fat food. I even wrote a book called Lore Of Run­ning ad­vo­cat­ing a high-carb diet. But I was wrong. My pan­creas ba­si­cally ran out of energy and stopped pro­duc­ing in­sulin.

Now I worry when I watch the Lon­don Marathon. Most of the guys run­ning in over six hours are fat. They’re fat be­cause they ate lots of carbs (as­sum­ing they could tol­er­ate them like the lean run­ners at the front) and are in­sulin-re­sis­tant. That group would run faster, feel health­ier and live longer if they went on a high-fat diet.

Very few peo­ple metabolise carbs ef­fi­ciently – in­stead, carbs stim­u­late your ap­petite. Your energy ini­tially spikes, then it dips. Fat, on the other hand, is fill­ing and pro­vides sus­tained energy.

Lean, ath­letic peo­ple can also ben­e­fit from a high­fat diet. Af­ter the Aus­tralia cricket team lost the 2013 Ashes se­ries, they adopted this diet. The play­ers found they could con­cen­trate bet­ter and didn’t get tired. In the next Ashes se­ries, three months later, they won 5-0.

Chew­ing the fat

So how can you switch from a carb-re­liant diet to a fat-re­liant one? If you’re sig­nif­i­cantly over­weight, you need to cut out carbs and switch to good fats be­cause your body is prob­a­bly ad­dicted to sugar. It might make you feel ter­ri­ble at first but you’ll feel bet­ter in the long run.

If you feel you could lose 4-5kg it’s not es­sen­tial to cut them out com­pletely, although sug­ars (in­clud­ing honey) and pro­cessed foods are out. Aim to cut down to around 200g of carbs a day (most peo­ple av­er­age 300-400g), but pasta or pizza once a week is fine. Re­place the carbs with healthy fats from fish, macadamia nuts, av­o­cado, dairy (in­clud­ing but­ter, cheese and milk) and co­conut and olive oils.

Break­fast is key to this diet – it’s the meal where peo­ple are most likely to overindulge in carbs. In­stead, eat a high-fat English break­fast of ba­con, eggs, mush­rooms, sausages and toma­toes (but no fried bread). In gen­eral, eat lots of leafy green veg­eta­bles and avoid starchy ones such as pota­toes.

These changes might lower your ex­er­cise tol­er­ance at first. But af­ter four to five weeks it will be bet­ter than be­fore – as will your life ex­pectancy. The Real Meal Revo­lu­tion by Tim Noakes, Jonno Proud­foot and Sally-Ann Creed is pub­lished by Robin­son on 30th July, priced £ 20

A fatty full English could help make you fit and lean, as long as

you avoid the bread

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