The LCHF Diet on a budget: Is it possible to eat low carb cheaply?

Today’s question on The Ask Prof Noakes Podcast is a financial one. May people have to operate within a tight budget and are finding that the LCHF Diet is quite expensive to follow. What’s the best way to go about following the Banting diet or eating low carb high fat diet and doing it within a budget?

Prof Tim Noakes: The foods that are really healthy are, as we’ve said before, eggs, liver, and sardines. Those are not expensive. Let’s look at liver. The healthiest foods are what we call ‘organ meats’ or offal. They are what humans ate first. All studies of hunter/gatherer populations show that when they caught an animal the first thing they went for was the liver, the kidneys, the intestine. They ate the lungs and the heart.

What we can learn from lions about eating a LCHF diet on a budget?

Most animals do that as well. If you watch lions you’ll see that they go straight for the abdominal contents and then they eat the meat. So meat is not what you want to be eating, it’s the organ meats that you want.

We are trying to do some studies in the Karoo where we are going to have people who are eating the typically poor diet with lots of carbohydrates and supplementing it with organ meats. I am convinced that their health will improve dramatically.

So if you want to make really healthy LCHF diet choices which are cheap, go on and eat organ meats. And learn how to cook organ meats –and I include brains and bone marrow. There is a paper out recently that says bone marrow is responsible for hormonal responses that are very healthy. Humans have been eating bone marrow since 2 million years ago.

So that is the point, you can actually make this a relatively cheap diet. There is a young doctor in Mmpumalanga who is living on R150 a week to prove that you can live on this diet. The first few weeks she actually had money left over. She ate these foods which we are talking about.

Kidneys are great for a tight budget

If you go to your local supermarket, you will find that the cheapest protein is kidneys. Kidneys are the cheapest proteins in Africa. That is because no one eats them, but they are very nutritious organs.

I helped a young man in Cape Town run the Comrades Marathon. He lost 20kg’s following the LCHF diet. I asked him if the LCHF diet had cost him a lot of money and he replied no. His budget was exactly the same. He was just eating the food that I had told him to eat.

He doesn’t focus on the meat at the restaurants. He buys the foods which are available and his costs have not increased at all. I think that this can be an expensive diet, but it doesn’t have to be. And the only expensive foods I eat is when I go out and eat dinner at a restaurant. At home we eat relatively cheaply.

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