This handout is designed to give you some basic information on how to lower your risk of lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, endogenous depression etc. using a low carb, high (healthy) fat diet. The information provided below is based on the latest research in an area where trying to weed through the marketing myths and differing opinions is extremely hard, confusing and tiring. This information comes from a few very smart people with a far better understanding that what we do have, so if you would like to educate yourself further, please ask and we will forward to you on their contact information. It is a work in progress as the science and research is forever changing and expanding.

Where do i start?

If you have a strong family history of lifestyle diseases, or your tummy hits the wall before your nose, it’s probably best to go to your GP and get some basic tests done to get a baseline. These may include:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Weight
  • Bloods
  • Full blood count
  • blood glucose
  • Glucose tolerance
  • Insulin Response test
  • Triglycerides o cholesterol (HDL & LDLs) § LDLs divided further into Pattern A & B
  • any others your medical history or GP may feel is warranted 

Be warned that some of these tests may not be fully covered by Medicare. Having these tests will help rule out serious health issues at the start, or at very least will help you know if you are heading in a very unhealthy direction.

Do a one week food (including drinks) diary, and be honest. Learn to read a food label and know what the information means. Understand that gone are the days where we are overwhelmingly concerned with counting!

Some Basics

You may not have diabetes or another lifestyle disease like cardiovascular disease, but you may have Metabolic Syndrome which basically means you are on a very slippery slope. Metabolic Syndrome is a group of symptoms characterised by

  • excessive abdominal weight (the bad area to have fat stored)
  • fasting blood glucose > 5.6mmol
  • blood pressure higher than 135/85mmHg
  • triglycerides > 1.5mmol/L
  • HDL cholesterol < 1mmol/L.
  • You may also start to develop skin tags and darker skin pigmentation in certain areas or alopecia (hair loss).

Metabolic syndrome can explain why we gain weight as we grow older but don’t change our diet or activity levels. If you have 3 of the 5 symptoms, then you can be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.

Carbs are either glucose or fructose, or a combination of both, such as is sugar. Fructose will make you sick. Avoid high fructose corn syrup at all cost. Be careful as fructose will be called many different names on food labelling. If you have trouble pronouncing names in the ingredients, then it’s probably a good idea not to eat it. Glucose can be used by most of the body, but fructose is pretty well dealt with by the liver. The liver can only deal with a small amount before it starts to convert it to fat, leading to fatty liver, diabetes and heart disease. Yes, fructose is found in fruit sugar, but limit this intake to seasonal fruit. If it’s not in season and you see it sitting up nice and pretty in the grocery section of the supermarket, question it. Don’t ever drink your fruit. Watch how much fruit is placed into your next fruit smoothie. Would you eat this much fruit in one sitting normally? Carbs release an insulin response to get glucose out of the blood and into storage (the liver, muscle and then fat will receive the left overs). The liver and muscle have only so much storage; once that storage is full, it must go into fat. Insulin resistance starts to occur because of pancreatic burnout i.e. years of high carb intake slowly burns out the pancreas. The result is high blood glucose levels and the need to try and release more insulin to counteract this. On a high good fat diet and protein diet, there is less of an insulin release required to keep blood glucose levels normal.

Fats that circulate around the body and end up on our bellies are called triglycerides. High levels are strongly linked to heart disease. Cholesterol is important for survival (75% is made by our body for cell health, hormones, bile and Vitamin D).

  • HDL is known as the good one, LDL is known as the bad one. This is too simplistic. LDL’s have 2 parts – a good and a not so good.
  • It has been thought that saturated fats, that is, animal fats, are harmful as they increase our cholesterol. They DO increase our cholesterol count but it’s the good part of the LDL that they increase; it’s the carbs that increase the bad part of the LDL.  They also increase the good HDLs which help remove the LDLs.

Saturated fats – there is NO evidence that says saturated fats are associated with any deleterious outcomes. There is NO evidence in the past 10 years that saturated fats will increase cardiovascular disease mortality. After all, breast milk contains 60% saturated fat. This is also an important source of fat soluble vitamins.

Mono-unsaturated fats are oils like extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). It is high in Omega 9s which help increase our good cholesterol (HDLs).

Poly-unsaturated fats include Omega 3s and 6s. Omega 3 are found in cold water rich and grass-fed animals.

Omega 6 are found in seed oils like canola, grapeseed, sunflower, palm, corn, avocado and rice bran. These have a higher ratio of Omega 6s compared to 3s.

This is important as

  • Omega 6s increase inflammation
  • Omega 3s reduce inflammation. Ideally, we want a diet higher in Omega 3 and lower in Omega 6s.

Processed food raises the danger of food caused illness. Processed meat may increase heart disease risk in a way unprocessed meat does not.

Salt is important for health at a good level. Too much or too low increases cardiovascular disease risk. Choose pink salt, ad add a fair dose of iodised salt to the container. Aim for 4-6gm per day.

Chocolate is a great pleasure and you can enjoy 2 squares of 80% dark chocolate daily.

Alcohol is fine in moderation but confine yourself to 2 units of red wine daily (more than that causes inflammation) or vodka and gin with soda.

Fasting has very strong evidence that it is healthy for the body. Choose what type suits your lifestyle – 16/8 with eating the low carb, healthy fat diet in an 8-hour block over a 24-hour period, or intermittent, or 5/2, with 5 days LCHF eating and 2 non-consecutive days fasting.

You can of course break out … your only human! Don’t beat yourself about, just enjoy that chocolate cake. Jill McGregor allows her clients one meal a week of having some so called ‘pleasure’ foods. Don’t pig out though!

So, what do we need to do? We need to change our diet from what the national food guidelines (the food pyramid) suggest. These national guidelines are industry based and do not have the evidence to back them up.

To help keep things simple, follow these food rules. These are based on my reading from Michael Pollan, Dr Paul Mason and a few from myself.

  • “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” – Michael Pollan
  • invert the current healthy food pyramid
  • Choose vegetables over fruit
  • Fruit 1- 2 per day, look for seasonal fruit especially blue berries and straw berries  (low carb content)
  • Eat fish, even canned fish, at least 3 times per week
  • Eat healthy fats, proteins and vegetables predominately
  • Choose complex carbohydrates, like sour dough breads but limit it to 50 gm a day which is 2 slices of bread. Avoid starchy vegetables e.g. white potatoes, pasta, rice.
  • Enjoy dairy!
  • Try making and taking your own sauerkraut, so that it contains living bacteria.

If you are on medication or have health problems, please ensure you get the okay from your GP or specialist to ensure you are safe and not at risk of developing health problems like ketoacidosis. If you want more information, look up ,