I sat down to write a post regarding the benefits and drawbacks of LCHF (Low Carb/High Fat), and to break it down to make it easy to follow and digest (pun completely intended,) but in my research I remembered an article I had read a little while back that did such an amazing job of explaining it, giving examples, and ideas, that I saw no reason to do anything other than link to that article and a few other resources for you to read up on. This is a diet that is most often recommended for those with diabetes or epilepsy (or other neurological issues), and occasionally for autism spectrum disorders, but has proven to have great health benefits for those looking to lose weight that struggle with other methods.
How-to’s and Beginner Information
DietDoctor’s amazing post on LCHF and how to get started
Joseph Arcita’s guide to Ketosis
Have concerns? This should address most of them
More Advanced Reading, Most for Athletes
LCHF for Athletes
Targeted Ketogenic Diet/Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
Alan Aragon’s recap of his debate with a proponent of low-carb diets for athletes
I suppose I should put my two cents in here. I, myself, will occasionally do a short term very low carb diet depending on where I am in my training cycle. I often will suggest that my clients with weight loss as a primary concern do some research and consider this as a viable option to help them achieve their goal. I do believe that it is one of the best options for people who struggle to shed weight on other “diets.” I have followed a very low carb diet (my normal diet is low carb but not as low as the Ketogenic/Atkins style diets recommend) during my race season and found that, while my performance doesn’t seem to suffer significantly, I do tend to lack… something… in the way I ride. I believe that most amateur athletes, once they’ve become fat adapted, can find great success in using a targeted ketogenic diet to maintain their performance while still having the benefits of greater insulin sensitivity and less fatigue in fasted states, especially if those athletes struggle with excess body fat.
Ultimately, as I’ve stated before, there is no magic bullet. Physiologically, this diet is a viable way to lose weight, but it will only work if it fits into your lifestyle.