On this episode of Real Meal Radio we chat about the consequences of cheating on the LCHF diet and look into food addictions and how to overcome them.
The Banting Diet is a Lifestyle
On this episode of Real Meal Radio we look at cheating and cheat days on the LCHF Diet. We’ve spoken about it at length on the podcast where many people feel that they are ‘on a diet’ and as soon as they have lost the weight they want to lose they will go back to ‘eating normal’.
It is a huge mind set change when you realise that the Banting diet is a lifestyle and not necessarily a diet.
How bad is cheating on the LCHF diet? Can you have a cheat day once a week on the Banting diet? What are the consequences of cheat days on the LCHF diet?
Professor Tim Noakes: I think it depends how sick you are, particularly when it comes to your level of insulin resistance and also your carbohydrate or sugar addictions. I think that probably sugar and carbohydrate addiction is the key.
I think one of the reasons why this diet works so well, is it takes out the addictive foods from the diet, and if you have either a sugar or a carbohydrate addiction, and you’re eating 300g of carbohydrate a day, you will always be stuck with that, that addiction, because you’re always eating more than the threshold, the addictive threshold.
Once you go down to 25g a day, in my view you go below the addictive threshold, and so you expose yourself to so little carbohydrate that it’s as if there was no carbohydrate in the diet.
The two people who I’ve helped the most and who lost 70 and 80kg each, had profound carbohydrate addiction and sugar addiction. They said what was completely liberating was, when they got down to 25g of carbohydrates they lost those addictions. But I know if they shift up to 75, 100g, they will go over the threshold and their addiction will return, and they’ll just go straight back to 160kg and170kg, as they were.
Are you addicted to carbohydrate and sugar?
That is why the traditional diets don’t work. It is because they allow you to eat the addictive foods. They don’t get your addictive food intake below this cut-off threshold. So you can stick with it for a few months, but eventually you just slip back into the old ways, because the addiction takes over.
If a person can cheat once a week and remain stable, their weight’s stable, and they don’t start searching for more carbohydrates on the other days of the week, they can cheat, because they will stay weight stable.
But, if they had a mild sugar or carbohydrate addiction and they find that on the cheat day, the next day they’re looking for carbohydrates, be very wary.
I’m like that. Sometimes I have to eat fake sugary delicatessen, and those desserts, which I absolutely hate doing, but sometimes I’m at someone’s restaurant and they’ve produced this zero carbohydrate, but very sweet food, and if I have a touch of it, the next day I’m looking for sugar. And that’s how big the addiction is, and people have to understand that.
So you really can test it. If you can eat a single square of chocolate, and not eat the whole slab, then you don’t have a sugar addiction. But if you take that slab, that one square, and you have to eat the whole slab of chocolate, you’ve got a sugar addiction and you can’t cheat, because you’re just never going to be right.
Is it possible to eat just one piece of chocolate?
So the analogy then would be to a cigarette smoker. If there was honestly a person who could take one cigarette once a week, and not go back to completely becoming a smoking addict again, then that person could smoke one cigarette a day, and be perfectly healthy. But very few people can do that. You just have to find out what works for you. What is the effect of the cheat day on your eating behaviour the next day? If it has no effect, you’re fine. If it has an effect and makes you search for carbohydrates the next day, be wary, you’re going slip back and very soon you’ll be eating a lot of carbohydrate again.