Yes, it’s fact that humans have eaten processed carbohydrates for the last 100 years. However, those years add up to only 1% of the time humans have existed on Earth.

If you’re not new to this blog you already know I believe that carbohydrates are the main factor for weight gain. You probably also know that carbohydrate restriction can lead to weight loss. It’s the only way you can continue to eat delicious, satiating and guilt-free meals while also trimming your love handles or chiselling that six pack.

I’ve found low-carb diets with a medium to high intake of healthy fats the best nutrition for looking good–yes–but also for performing my best at work and in competitive sports. Whether your focus is on weightloss or performance, check out my diet breakdown below.

We’ll cover:

  • The slow carb diet
  • The ketogenic diet
  • The bulletproof diet
  • Eating paleo

 

The Slow Carb Diet

Perhaps one of the easiest diet plans in the weight-loss market. It was introduced by entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss in his book The 4 Hour Body, which has thousands of successful weight loss stories. The principles are easy to follow and apply even for the biggest foodie.

The basic principles

  • Eat: lean meats, beans and vegetables.
  • Don’t eat: fruit (except tomatoes and avocados), white foods (basically: bread, pasta, potatoes) and of course sugar.
  • Don’t drink calories. This means no soda, juice or any other flavoured drink (even the low or zero calorie drinks ‘without added sugar’ should be banned). Stick with coffee, tea and water.
  • Apply 6 days a week, leaving 1 day for a cheat meal day. This day is not an excuse to binge on the forbidden items – all banned foods should be eaten in moderation.
  • Eat the same meals as much as possible. What helps most is to find your own tasty combo based on the slow carb principles and stick to it all 6 days every week.
  • What about alcohol? – Tim has noted before that 1-2 glasses of red wine once a week can actually be beneficial. More so for the moral boost.
Slow-carb-meal

Quality carbohydrates: sweet potatoes, lean meat, carrots and curry.

Should you try it?

I listed this restricted carbohydrate diet first because it was the first low-carb plan I ever tried. It did help me shape up, but I think it’s best suited for overweight people who want to slim down rather than already fit people working towards a six pack.

But that’s where the next diet comes into play…

 

The Ketogenic Diet

Ok, this might not be the holy grail of low carb diets, because it requires extra discipline. However, there is no other diet in the market that will allow you to healthily strip your % of body fat in a matter of weeks. There is nothing more effective than this diet when it comes to attaining a “beach body” or more brain power.

Another reason why I get so excited about the keto diet is that it’s been used successfully to treat epilepsy, obesity and, according to recent research, it has potential to be effective at supporting cancer treatment. I truly believe this is the diet of the future.

The basic principles

  • Increase your dietary fat intake (=healthy fats). These include: MCT oil, healthy saturated fats such as: coconut oil, olive oil, grass fed butter, ghee etc.
  • Consume no more than 50g of carbohydrate per day. That’s the size of 2 average apples. It might seem impossible to eat this few carbs, but the best approach is to just fill your plate with leafy and cruciferous vegetables, olives, avocados instead. These vegetables alone will fill up your daily carb intake.
  • Your body will start producing and using ketones as an external source of energy (in lieu of using carbohydrates). Usually people feel sluggish for the first 1-3 days, but soon enough you’ll find yourself feeling more energetic than ever.
  • No need to count calories. Just eat until you’re full. Because of the high fat intake your meals will be very satiating.
  • Re-feed carbohydrates every few weeks. But only pick quality carbohydrate sources such as 1-2 sweet potatoes, a bowl of berries, etc.

ketogenic-diet-pyramid

Should you try it?

  • For more information, check my two guides for starting and enjoying the ketogenic diet:
    FREE Ebook: “Lose Weight and Sharpen Your Mind by Eating (a lot more) Fat
  • And a more in depth ebook – “Start The Keto Diet: Lose weight without counting calories with a low-carb, high-fat approach to living” – which you can get on Amazon.

keto-grab-copynow

 

The Bulletproof Diet

The bulletproof diet is famous for its deliciously creamy bulletproof coffee. Or you might have heard of it as the coffee blended with butter.

This low carb diet plan is very similar to the previous two diets. The best bit? Unlike the ketogenic diet, on bulletproof you should re-feed your carbohydrates daily, but only with certain foods. It features a lot more banned foods than the slow carb and the ketogenic diet, which can make it more complex to eat out, but it is effective if you want to re-design your lifestyle quickly.

The basic principles

  • Replace sugar with healthy fat sources. Carbohydrates are sugars so reducing them is exactly what we’re after. Dietary fat sources recommended by this diet are the same as for the ketogenic diet: MCT oils, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, ghee etc. Most importantly, here the fats shouldn’t be heated or otherwise treated. As this simply makes it harmful (that’s the only reason why eating fat becomes bad for you). A good rule of thumb for bulletproof diet is to “cook your food” gently.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables, especially cruciferous veg and avocados. Vegetables as in any other low-carb diet should make up 70-80% of your plate.
  • Say no to: gluten, grains, legumes and other processed products ( bread, pasta etc.). Furthermore, remove processed, homogenized, and pasteurized dairy. Fruit should be consumed moderately and ideally in the evening.
  • Start your day with a cup of bulletproof butter coffee. This coffee is the perfect mix of dietary fat and caffeine that starts your low-carb day on the right note. It will satiate you until lunch and your body will burn fat as the bulletproof coffee alone still puts your body into a fasted state. Oh, and to make butter coffee you will need: 1 cup of high quality coffee blended with MCT oil (medium chain triglycerides) and grass-fed butter. It tastes like a latte!
  • Lastly, no need to count calories – just eat until satiated.
Bulleproof-coffee

Probably the most delicious latter you’ll ever have.

Now, you might ask, but V… You said we can re-feed carbohydrates everyday? That’s very true, my friend. However, be cautious that your body still needs to adapt to the constant ketogenic cycles. It is best going 20 days without re-feeding carbohydrates per se. However after initial few weeks are done you could introduce carbohydrate sources as an addition to your typical bulletproof dinner.

Should you try it?

The bulletproof diet is tricky to understand first, but once you get the main principles, the application is straightforward. At least some of the fundamentals here transfer across other diets.

What I found especially interesting was the specificity regarding certain food items being banned (e.g. nightshades – vegetables which grow at night) vs others being okay. It adds a biohacking edge to nutrition, even if the science doesn’t quite back up the claims.

 

Eating paleo

Popularised by Crossfit athletes, the paleo diet is the eating approach I default to when I’m not in a ketogenic cycle. This diet is the simplest of the four, with principles that work for elite athletes and normal people.

N.B. there’s many schools of thought on what is a true paleo diet (is rice okay? what about cheese?). Nevertheless, the basic principle is always to restrict your carbohydrates and choose healthier fuel sources.

The basic principles

  • First and foremost – restrict carbohydrate intake and focus on quality dietary fat sources and animal protein. Needless to say it’s practically impossible to pull of a vegan version of this diet.
  • Increase healthy saturated fat intake. As with bulletproof and keto, the sources include: MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed butter, lard, bacon fat etc.
  • Eat good amount of animal protein, fish, organ meat etc. Needless to say, these should be either wild caught, grass-fed, organic etc. The more primal the better!
  • Focus only on quality and high GI carbohydrate sources. For example, sweet potatoes is crack among paleo practitioners. Most important bit here is vegetables, especially the green leafy, cruciferous and natural. However, some fruit, berries can also enter the mix if needed.
  • Cut out: Processed (hydrogenated) vegetable oils (margarine, soybean oil, corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil), grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, brown rice, soy, peanuts), legumes (kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans and black eyed peas). Dairy in paleo diet has no place either (other diets, e.g. bulletproof, keto allows for quality dairy items to be consumed. Think: goats cheese)
  • Go nuts on nuts.

paleo-diet-pyramid

And that’s how you go primal.

Should you try it?

As I said in the intro, this is the easiest low-carb diet to follow, whether you’re lifestyle is hectic and full of travelling or more chilled.

Although I still prefer the ketogenic diet, paleo is my default whenever I’m not in a ketogenic cycle.

 

Conclusion

I hope you can see now that eating low-carb is not just about cutting down on carbs. Rather, you’re encouraged to replace them with simple, natural foods which your body won’t treat like sugar (the way it does carbohydrates).

This was just a quick look at the best known low-carb, high-fat diets. I encourage you to look up more information or check with your doctor to make sure any one of these diets is suitable for you. Like me, you don’t have to religiously stick with just one approach. If I’m training for a sports event or travelling a lot I will mix up my eating. Sometimes I might dip into full ketosis, sometimes I’ll just eat paleo with some carbohydrate at bay. Other times I might even borrow just the different principles and make my own low-carb, high-fat diet that fits my needs best.

If you have any questions – feel free to write: hello @ highachieverdiet.com

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