High Carb Low Fat Vegan Diet: All You Need to Know

by Alena
Jun 19, 2016
top view of 11 bright bowls with different grains and beans on a marble surface

If you’ve been looking up anything regarding the vegan diet over the past year, you’ve probably come across the term high carb low fat vegan or HCLF vegan. It seems like this is a new trend going around the internet, people eating tons of bananas and potatoes, riding their bikes, soaking in the sun, being lean and energetic.

But is this really just a new trend without any good foundation? Or is it actually the real basis of a healthy plant-based diet?

After having been a vegan for over 5 years now (back when everyone on YouTube either ate vegan junk food or a fully raw diet), we thought it’s time to write up a good overview of this way of eating and living. Let’s see what high carb veganism is all about.

Vegan vs High Carb Low Fat Vegan 

Simply put, vegan foods come from plants instead of animals. If one is solely interested in following a vegan diet for ethical or environmental reasons, they can basically eat the Standard American Diet – only made with vegan foods.

There’s vegan burgers dripping of oil, vegan cheese made with 20 different artificial substances, vegan muffins with a ton of refined ingredients, and of course soda.

This step and dietary change gives you quite a few advantages of course – from not causing any harm to animals, to saving the rainforest, having a smaller carbon footprint, and cutting out cholesterol, most saturated fat, and animal protein that’s been linked to causing cancer.

But then, there’s this next step that many people want to take in order to take good care of their bodies too. And, luckily, they do this by adopting a high carb vegan diet. This means, that the majority of their calories (usually 70-80%) come from carbohydrates, such as starches and fruit.

People eating this way usually eat a lot of either fruit and/or grains and root vegetables, which means bread, potatoes, pasta, banana smoothies or ice cream, rice, and much more. At the same time, they cut out most or all of the free oils and eat limited amounts of nuts, seeds, and avocados.

This greatly reduces the amount of processed food one can still eat, but of course, there’s the possibility of eating refined white or brown sugar, syrups, sugary cereal, and sugary fruit sorbets – all of which are sub-optimal for our health.

So when we look at a vegan diet, we can see that the majority of whole, natural, plant-based foods are already high in carbohydrates:

Different food groups laid out in a whole food vegan food pyramid

Animal-based foods, such as meat, fish, dairy, and eggs, are almost completely devoid of carbohydrates (with the exception of some lactose, milk sugar, found in dairy). What’s more, they are devoid of fiber, many essential vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants.

Instead, they consist of anti-nutrients such as cholesterol, saturated fat, animal protein, toxins, and much more that is detrimental to our health.

So the more whole vegan foods we eat, the higher in good carbohydrates our diet will be. There’s no more effort required to keep the fats very low, apart from eating a limited amount of nuts and seeds.

Let’s Talk Macros

With the latest diet craze around low carb diets going around, we feel like we need to emphasize this point again. There are of course 3 macronutrients, namely carbohydrates, protein, and fat – all of which are found in every single whole plant-based food. And we do need all of these nutrients in different amounts.

1. Carbs

Glucose, which is most readily obtained from carbs, is the body’s preferred and the brain’s only energy source. It should, therefore, predominate our diet, which is what most national and international health organizations also suggest.

When we eat fewer carbs than we need, we get crazy cravings for calorically dense food, we get tired or hangry… and if you deprive yourself of this nutrient for a few days, your body will go into ketosis, which is an ill state to be in.

It’s also associated with loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, and hypotension (lower blood pressure). This metabolic state of a starving person is simulated when eating a low carb, high fat diet and tells the body it has some kind of serious illness.

And since no health organization would recommend eating over 30% of your calories from protein or fat, this shouldn’t even be an option.

2. Protein

Regarding the second macronutrient: It’s almost impossible to not get enough protein, even when you eat a vegan diet. The WHO and US National Academies Institute of Medicine recommend that around 10% of our daily calories should be coming from protein – and that’s just because they wanted to double the 5% requirement to be healthy, just to make sure.

Most people in the Western world are literally obsessed with protein, thinking it’s the single most important nutrient and that one needs to eat a lot of animal products in order to be lean, muscular, and healthy – when in fact, most of us eat way too much protein, which not only causes weight gain and extra body fat, but also stresses your kidneys and leaches important bone minerals. What’s worse: animal protein always comes with a huge load of saturated fat and cholesterol.

3. Fat

And lastly, people surely don’t suffer from a fat deficiency – quite the opposite. When eating over 20% of your daily calories from fat, you risk severe diseases. Fat slows down our blood flow and keeps the sugar from entering the cells by blocking it, so the nutrients cannot be properly assimilated.

Because insulin is keeping to be produced in this scenario, it can exhaust the pancreas and actually cause type 2 diabetes. It’s not the sugar in the blood!

Another very common disease (actually the number one killer in the Western world) can be prevented and even reversed by eating a low fat vegan diet. The number one risk factor for developing heart disease is dietary cholesterol, followed by high blood pressure, excess weight, and diabetes. All of these are easily avoided by eating a low fat vegan diet and engaging in moderate movement.

woman with white shirt holding two bean burritos filled with avocado and tomato

Health Benefits of a Low Fat, Whole Food Vegan Diet

Every year the CDC (Center for Disease Control) creates a list documenting the leading causes of death in the United States. For many years now, the number one killer has been heart disease, followed by cancer, respiratory problems, strokes, accidents, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

Though these diseases seem unrelated, these all fall under the banner of lifestyle diseases– meaning that they can be prevented by making healthier choices in our lives.

This is why most plant-based doctors recommend eating a low fat vegan diet for the prevention and reversal of most chronic diseases. Yes, it can even cure these diseases. And it makes a lot of sense since it’s the traditional diet most peoples in human history have survived successfully, even thrived on. Even today, those who follow a traditional high carbohydrate Japanese diet are amongst the healthiest and longest-lived people in the world.

Research demonstrates that the most protective factor against heart disease is fiber, which is only found in plant foods. The factor most correlated with heart disease is cholesterol, which is only found in animal foods.

A single meal of animal products can paralyze our arteries, cutting their ability to function properly. Each meal featuring animal foods leads to temporary inflammation, but if every meal contains animal foods we face chronic inflammation which can damage our cardiovascular system, but also our lungs and brains.

Even after just two weeks of plant-based eating, breast cancer and prostate cancer cell growth rates decrease rapidly.

It seems like we can actually reprogram cancer cell death by improving our diet. Vegan blood can suppress cancer 80% better than that of a meat-eater.

What’s more, Alzheimer’s disease, which affects 4 million Americans each year can be helped by reducing meat intake. Research shows that meat eaters have 2-3 times the risk of Alzheimer’s than those eating a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Eating a lot of fiber has also been shown to help with constipation and diarrhea, as well as autoimmune diseases. By keeping the fat very low, people can also heal their acne or candida. The high amounts of carbohydrates help with chronic fatigue and balance out hormones.

The benefits are endless when we start eating a diet that’s made of the foods our bodies are designed to eat – which is luckily acknowledged by bigger research who wants more physicians and dietitians to learn about this topic too.

white bowl with roasted sweet potatoes, lima beans, rocket, sliced bell peppers and onion next to a vegan mustard dressing

What to Eat on a High Carb Vegan Diet

When eating a high carb low fat vegan diet, the basis of your meal should always be either starch or fruit, depending on your preferences. While human beings thrive on starches like whole grains or potatoes, some of us like more fruit in our diet – especially when it’s summertime.

Generally, you should fill your plate about half with food like:

  • Rice, oats, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, millet
  • Spelt, whole-grain pasta or bread
  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips
  • Pumpkin, winter squashes
  • Any kind of beans, peas, lentils

Your main calorie source may also be fruit like apples, oranges, bananas, stone fruit, berries, melons, grapes, pineapples, etc. Even if you choose to eat a lot of potatoes and rice, you can add as much fruit as you like to your meals.

But let’s not forget about all of the healthy and beneficial colorful raw or cooked vegetables that you should add to your starches or fruit. They contain a lot of water, minerals, and fiber, which also reduces the calorie density of your meals. Examples of vegetables are:

  • Lettuce, spinach, cabbage, collards, kale, chard
  • Asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots
  • Cauliflower, corn, eggplant, mushrooms, onions
  • Green peas, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini

Topping your food with some natural sweetener is also an option, though they should be used sparingly of course, since they are processed. Salt (along with any other herb) is another way to spice your food and make it as tasty as possible – though some high carb vegans try to limit their sodium intake to 1,000 mg per day.

But what about other healthy and whole plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds, avocadoes, tofu, or olives? They can be eaten in moderation, meaning less than 15-20% of your calories should come from these sources.

high carb low fat vegan food plate

Everyone has slightly different needs and preferences, so play around with different amounts in order to find what works best for you. Oil, of course, needs to be cut out completely for health reasons or at least greatly reduced to a minimum amount.

Then, there are foods that should not be eaten on a high carb vegan diet. These are:

  • Meat, poultry, fish, seafood
  • Honey, gelatin, eggs, mayonnaise
  • Milk from animal sources or milk products like cheese
  • Margarine, oil (including olive, canola, or coconut)
  • Chocolate bars, chips, doughnuts, candy

High Carb Meal Examples

Putting all of this together we have a ton of delicious, colorful, convenient, and healthy options to make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Though these lists may make some people think that there’s barely any food left to eat, check out these great meal options:

Raw or Cooked?

Within the high carb vegan movement, there have been different variations of this diet. While the presented information in this article was based on the bulk of research as well as a reasonable and convenient low fat whole food plant-based diet, we wanted to explain other forms of this way of eating too.

With his book “The 80/10/10 diet”, Douglas Graham introduced a low fat raw vegan diet for good health and outstanding athletic performance. The title of his book stands for 80% of daily calories from carbohydrates, 10% from protein and 10% from fat.

While most of his claims are either not scientifically proven or taken out of context (the original results came from a high carb cooked vegan diet), some people follow his principles – and do so successfully.

Graham suggests that humans are frugivores, meaning we should eat a fruit-based raw vegan diet with some leafy greens and nuts or seeds. It goes without saying that this way of eating is not achievable or desirable for the majority of people who don’t live in the tropics.

The constant requirement for high quality, ripe, high caloric fruits like bananas, mangoes, dates, and pineapple is incredibly inconvenient and unsociable, expensive, and not exactly environmentally friendly.

It’s also increasingly difficult to meet one’s nutritional requirements if we cut out more and more possible food choices. The scientifically proven health benefits of whole grains and legumes are absolutely overwhelming and should encourage everyone to include these foods in their diet.

There’s also the possibility of having high triglycerides (blood lipid) when eating a huge amount of fruit like it’s recommended here (ranging around 2,000-3,000 calories). What’s more, simple sugars aren’t as satiating as starch, so you feel like constant grazing, taking in huge amounts of calories because you’re almost never satisfied.

woman in white apron mixing spiralized raw vegetables in a large bowl with a fork and a spoon

Best of Both Worlds?

A lot of people in the online community (mainly YouTube and Instagram) used to follow these principles that Graham suggested. The proof is in the pudding though: while those who stuck with it got great results in the beginning, 99% of the former high carb vegan followers have resumed to eating (at least some) cooked food again.

And that makes perfect sense since cooked food is a lot easier digestible, higher in calories and better in nutrient absorption. It’s also available everywhere we go, and it’s the food we evolved on (meaning starches), the food that made our brains grow larger.

The next diet regime that came up after people had been leaving the fully raw 80/10/10 diet, was something that was coined “Raw Till 4” or even “Raw Till Noon”. While most of these people were still certain that raw foods would be a lot more beneficial than any cooked food, they tried to keep their diet as raw as possible for most hours of the day – either until lunch or until dinner.

So apart from eating a 100% fruit-based breakfast, and sometimes also lunch, they cooked up some rice or potatoes with vegetables for dinner. This way of eating is still practiced by many people and a more reasonable approach to a high carb diet, though there’s no data that suggests a high raw diet is superior to a healthy cooked diet, like the one described above.

Other Lifestyle Factors

These variations of high carb vegan diets often come with a lot of other lifestyle suggestions – or rather rules that one should follow in order to reap all the benefits. Some of them have more of a scientific basis than others, which are mainly anecdotal evidence and work well for some people. Here are the most common ones!

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1. Sleep

We all need rest of course. It’s an important process during which our bodies can heal, recover, digest, and calm down. Adults need around 8 hours usually, but the advice of high carb people goes a little beyond that – they suggest around 9-10 hours of sleep, which we should get from 9-10 pm until around 7 am.

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2. Hydration

Drinking enough water is important for good health too. While many studies claim we should be drinking 1.5 liters a day or 8 glasses (8oz), high carb vegans like to drink around 2.5-3 liters per day (even though they typically eat more water-rich food too). This should come down to peeing very clear urine around 8-10 times a day while drinking a liter of water immediately after waking and making it a consistent habit throughout the day.

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3. Exercise

With all of this sugar running through our veins, there’s an increased drive to move around. High carb eaters are often seen running or riding their bike around for many hours during the week. They usually work out daily, sometimes every 2 days. Other preferred methods of exercising are rebounding, yoga, MMA, or walking.

Exercise​ or regular movement is an important part of every healthy lifestyle. While not everyone needs to run or bike 2 hours every day, there’s oftentimes room for improvement regarding the quality and quantity of exercise we engage in.

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4. Calories

Though experts disagree slightly when it comes to this topic, most suggest around 1,800 – 2,000 calories a day for adult women, and 2,500 calories for men. Not so most of the high carbers! They stress the idea of most people not eating enough and having to eat at least 2,500 – 3,000 calories per day, eating up to 6,000 calories when being very active.

This is one of the reasons many people gain weight on this lifestyle initially (by eating more than they need), even though they would only need to listen to their own hunger and fullness. Eating such a huge amount of calories is often only possible when choosing refined products, such as fruit juices, refined (coconut) sugar, and refined flour products as well as lots of dried fruit.

This is NOT what doctors or nutritionists suggest, even those who want their patients to follow a high carb vegan diet.

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5. Sunlight

Yes, it’s important to produce serotonin in the brain and vitamin D on the skin, but don’t overdo it and risk skin burning or skin cancer. We usually need 30 minutes a day in order to produce enough vitamin D and serotonin.

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6. Attitude

While this isn’t nutrition-related, it’s often spoken about in the high carb community. Many believe that it’s crucial to keep a positive attitude or mindset, to be grateful and have a good perspective. Although they don’t just eat vegan for the animals and the planet, but also for their own health benefits, they stress that one’s ego shouldn’t get into the way of things and that this is about a bigger issue than one single person.

Although one might disagree, regarding much of the drama that’s going around and people arguing back and forth on these topics, it’s oftentimes a value that can be found amongst many high carb vegans.

Blonde woman in white shirt holding a glass of juice and drinking out of a jar

Bottom Line

A whole food plant-based diet is automatically rather high in carbohydrates since most plant foods are naturally carb-heavy – which is a good thing. The bulk of medical research stands behind this way of eating and great results have been achieved by following this diet.

You can make it as easy or as hard as you want it to be: there are many ways of eating a high carb diet and we should always be open to trying new foods or variations. If you’re new to a vegan diet, then don’t stress about the details too much in the beginning. And if you’re not getting the results you want, then ask yourself whether you have cut out all processed food.

The lifestyle advice is controversial and doesn’t need to be followed by everyone. You can always start at a lower level (of sleep, exercise, calories, or hydration) and find out whether this brings you positive results.

Have you been eating a high carb vegan diet before? What has been your experience and are you still doing it? Let us know in the comments below.

Alena enjoying a bowl of fresh plant-based food and coffe in a restaurant
Alena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.
dark grey spotted bowl with a variety of vegetables next to small bottle of green smoothie isolated on light background

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125 thoughts on “High Carb Low Fat Vegan Diet: All You Need to Know”

  1. I’m starting to investigate the vegan way of eating. For the 1st time i have a doctor that believes food can cure. All my life i have eater like my mother lots of animal protein, i just didn’t know it was that bad. I’m 64 & a border line dietibetic. My kidneys functions at 60%, i have some bone disease & my cholesterol is way over the top. Help i need menus
    vegan menus

    • Hi Ramona,
      glad you’ve found your way over to us and to plant-based eating in general. And how wonderful that you have such a great doctor :)
      We’d love to help you start out! How about joining our free course here: https://nutriciously.com/course/ It includes a 3 day meal plan with recipes.
      Feel free to email us with any questions!
      Best wishes x

  2. Hi Alena,
    I just started a week ago on a HCLF diet and I lost 6lbs in the first week. I hope it continues. My wife has joined me after seeing my results in the first week. This diet makes so much sense, We did the vegan thing before, but with not much success because we ate bad vegan foods. We are pump-up that this will work for us.

    Great article! We will keep you posted. Thanks.

    • Yay, so happy for you! Hope your results keep showing up and motivate you to continue.
      We’ve been eating a whole foods, lower fat vegan diet for a couple of years already and it keeps getting better :)

  3. Hi, I’ve been following this HCLF vegan diet for about two months now and I’ve gained about ten pounds. I assumed it was because my body was getting use to this abundance of food, but the scale keeps increasing. I did have an eight month period of restriction and I thought that was also the reason. But lately I’m starting to doubt this lifestyle works. I am eating a little over my BMR and that scares me because my weight keeps going up. Do you think this is only temporary and if so, how long till I reach a healthy weight again?

    • Hi Helen,
      thanks for stopping by. It’s hard for me to give you a clear answer to all of this because I don’t know enough about your situation but here are some clues…
      1. Are you eating whole plant-based foods? Brown rice and potatoes instead of bread and pasta etc?
      2. Do you add a good amount of veggies to your meals, like 1/3 or more of your plate?
      3. Do you come from a low carb diet and were your glycogen stores depleted perhaps?
      Eating only a little over your BMR seems like not enough food as you’ll surely move around throughout the day. The official recommendation for a sedentary female is 1800-2000 calories. I think my own BMR is something like 1300 and when I lost weight on a WFPB low-fat diet, I ate around 1800 each day while not really working out much at all.
      Feel free to email us with more specifics, like what you were eating before and what exactly you’re eating now, etc – then I could give you better insight.
      Best wishes,

      PS: Look into the concept of calorie density! Following this principle makes it pretty much impossible to not be lean.

    • Hey Gina,
      both of these concepts don’t tell me much to be honest – I’m not sure they are scientifically backed. What I do know is that large studies show us all of the time that people following plant-based diets have lower BMIs and lower risk of chronic disease. That they live longer and healthier, in a way :)
      Why not get in touch with a plant-based RD to see what they suggest you do?
      Best wishes,

  4. August of 2017 was when I finally decided to change my lifestyle. I began to exercise regularly, hydrate and eat a vegan diet. Since that time I have lost 55 pounds and feel absolutely great. I was a little concerned about the amount of carbs I consume in a day’s time, but after a little more research understood that a vegan diet is inherently high in carbs. My high blood pressure is under control and all the aches and pains I experienced before adopting this lifestyle are gone. I a 66 years old but have the energy of someone in their 40’s. Although I never had issues with my skin, people comment all the time about my complexion being glowing.
    Your article enlightened me even more and has further convinced me that I made the right decision to change my eating habits to a vegan diet.

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Dorothy! All that sounds amazing and I am super happy for you. Hope I will be as energetic in my 60’s and glowing – just like you.
      Glad to know that you like our article.
      Warm wishes,

  5. Thanks for the great article. I recently started eating a high carb, low fat (mostly vegan) diet and I’m kicking myself for not doing this earlier. I feel fantastic and my body composition is rapidly improving. In retrospect, it seems painfully obvious that our bodies were designed to eat this way.

    • Yay, so happy for you! Thanks for sharing and keep at it. Will only be getting better and don’t be afraid to adjust over time, try adding new foods and so on.

  6. Thank you for your time and effort to try to help people become healthy and happy.
    Is a banana a herb, botanically speaking? . I read the comments and there seems to be a few people confused about Dr John Atkins. Unfortunately he was hit by a car whilst jogging;he was wearing ear phones at the time, please encourage people to listen out for traffic, ie, no earphones whislt jogging or running or even walking. Isn’t being thankful for food to eat a good place to start?, I feel it changes ones perception when eating that food,ie, more joy, maybe digest that food better because of the peace it is appreciated with.hope this helps.

  7. Hi my name is Christine and I recently discovered the HCLF vegan community. In the past I have eaten a high carb low fat diet before for about a couple years and I gained so much weight. This is probably due to the fact that I am insulin resistant. I am a pretty small person and ate around 1,500 calories a day. It was only when I switched to a low carb high fat diet and lowered my calories to 1,000 that I lost all the weight. Even so, I was never really satisfied because carbs are my life!!! I really want this lifestyle to work for me but every time I try the weight comes back faster than it is lost. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    • For Christine who posted July 5 2018

      If your are insulin resistant, 2 tbsp organic raw apple cider vinegar taken an hour before each meal and intermittent fasting. There is a lot of information out there on this program but it is usually presented with the Keto diet which is too hard to do with a vegan diet. YES, you can loose the weight doing a vegan diet, just watch your salt intake, nuts should be kept at a minimum ( have 1/2 avocado a day and 7 nuts only on the weight loss part) . It takes a bit of fiddling until you start to see the results. Be patient…it is new. Ready my submission below yours about ketosis. I wish you the best of success Christine. Love & Light To You.

  8. You present a ketosis state as being unhealthy and also state it causes fatigue. No it doesn’t Starvation from lack of nutrition will cause fatigue and is unhealthy and as far as nausea is concerned….when the body is adjusting to a new regime….yes, you could have nausea or indigestion.

    When you always have insulin in your blood stream, you will not loose fat…period. Until you burn all the stores of glucose in your bloodstream, your body can not switch over to burning stores of fat on your body. A high carb ‘healthy’ diet with an intake of calories that isn’t over what a individual person’s body is able to digest and burn depending on (with or without daily exercise) along with ‘intermittent fasting’ will a person loose body fat. Yes, eat your required calories of good nutritional vegan food within a specific window (EX: 16 hrs fast…8 hr eating window, 20 hrs fast with 4 hr eating window with the last being OMAD, one meal a day) and your results will be amazing. Ketosis isn’t unhealthy, starving yourself is, which also brings you into ketosis. Intermittent fasting is not a fad…it is a lifestyle just like veganism.

  9. Hi! I’ve been eating a whole food plant based diet for a while now (around 15 months) but I have recently gone from around 60% carbs and 20% 20%, to a more high carb low fat diet (around 80% / 10% / 10%). I feel good, and I think that this is something that I can really stick to in my everyday life, because the changes from the way I was eating before hasn’t been difficult at all. All I’m doing different is eating a little bit less avocado, coconut milk and peanut butter then I used to. The only problem is that I do enjoy the occasional restaurant pizza, go to dinner parties or eat cake (vegan of course), so I’m just wondering if I can still do this without gaining a lot of weight really quick. I know that if you’re eating keto (animal based) you will gain weight really quickly if you eat a lot of carbs over a short amount of time. Does this count for HCLF as well? Can I go to a festival and eat whatever vegan food for a week and not gain more weight then I would if I was eating a whole food plant based diet with more fats than I do now? I’m not very concerned about gaining or loosing weight, but HCLF makes me feel good, but I’m not sure it’s worth it if it’ll make me gain and loose weight everytime I go out/goes on vacation (exaggeration).

  10. You said “its not the sugar in your blood” in regards to the development of type 2 diabetes.
    That is misinformation and dangerously reductive.

    Firstly once glycogen reserves are full. Easy to do this on a high carb diet, unless one runs a daily marathon. The excess “sugar” in the blood is converted within the liver into FAT. The type of fat that develops over the pancreas and liver. This accumulation of fat is directly linked to glucose control and insulin production, and guess what, is a major factor in type 2.

    Excess carb consumption, any carbs, but especially refined ones correlate perfectly with obesity rates. Historically high fat consuming countries such as the USA, before the introduction of high sugar diets had lower radically rates of type 2 diabetes.

    Fat slows the damage of a high blood glucose spike, even in non diabetics. These spikes cause inflammatory responses, you I’m sure know this isn’t healthy. You mention being “hangry”, yes we need carbohydrates, slow acting, full grain whole ones. But it’s very very easy to eat too many in one sitting.

    There are also 25x more glucose(sugar) receptors in cancer cells than in normal human cells, so again advocating glucose over fats, as in this article is just plain wrong. Eat mountains if greens yes, but carb heavy diet plans are not good for your average person, who doesn’t run them off after every bite.

    Yes many fats are bad, like trans fats. Interestingly cooking sunflower and corn oil at high frying temperatures produces more (very high) measured carcinogens compared to most animal fats. Unfortunately these vegetable oils, due to being cheap, are used in many vegan pre packed treats, which are almost always stuffed full of refined sugars. Double bad! Obviously.

    Please don’t point me in the direction of Dr McGregor, McDougall, Bernard ect. They have a clear agenda, which I have no problem with (apart from flogging trashy hugely overpriced dried noodles, see McDougalls food range, where the Dr also sells instant oats, which have an obscene 40%added refined sugar) This “Dr” treo put their own ideas before scientific breakthroughs and rarely will correct themselves when disproved. Which is the opposite of the the fundamental ideology of medicine/science, based on discovery and adaptive learning. Which is why there is a touch of the snake oil salesman to all of them..why wouldn’t they embrace discovery?

    I don’t want you to feel this is a criticism of your work. You are clearly a great writer. Also I am just another person, saying I am right and you are wrong. But I feel it is important as others have mentioned, to not advocate diet plans and for ill people, which in reality could go on to damage them further, ie with your quote at the start of this message.

  11. A lot of comments here from users of the HCLF diet. Many saying they have gained weight. Hmmm. How strange. I remember decades ago when “low fat” branded foods were all the rage. There was a giant spike in obesity, from then till now. Could it possibly be that CARBS make one FATTER, without a calorific deficit which is very hard to maintain evidently.

  12. Hi I am only 15 and I have been vegetarian for over a year now I came to the decision after my own research. But after I watched the “What The Health” documentary I want to go vegan. I was wondering if you think it is a good idea at my age. Also I was wondering if tofu was a healthy food to eat on this lifestyle?

  13. Hello!!
    I really enjoyed reading this article, as I am researching about vegan fat benefits.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and taking the time to educate your readers.
    Really great work!
    Kind regards,

  14. 60 year old male,
    Vegan for 20+ years. First 5 years never even heard of the term “Vegan”. Initially lost 25lbs over a year but gained most of it back due to High Carb/Low Fat.

    Last year began a vegan ketogenic lifestyle with low to zero net carbs, higher saturated fats and moderate protein as well as One Meal a Day, no snacking. 10 min. Daily Aerobic & 8hrs deep sleep.

    Since then I’ve lost 40lbs and have more energy and less joint pain than in the past 10 years. I was pre-diabetic with lower back and foot pains.
    No more. I’ve also regained cognative clarity and reflex accuracy and speed.

    The adaptation to ketosis took about 2 weeks. I highly recommend Dr. Berg on YouTube.

  15. I loved this article, it was really helpful for me. Thanks for posting it. I am following your tips with some other awesome diet plan that helped me lose a lot of weight.

  16. I love your site. I have been a low-fat, high carb. vegan for 35 years. Many of the proponents are off-putting, but you make it inviting.

    • thanks so much for these words, they mean a lot! How did you come across this way of eating 35 years ago? Was it Dr McDougall? :)

  17. hi, im janice and i started my hclf vegan journey about two years ago. Prior to that, I was not restricting my calories or anything like that. I just wanted a healthier lifestyle and to lose a couple stubborn pounds. However since going hclf, ive gained ten pounds… Im doing everything right, eating all the good whole foods like brown rice, fruit, vegetables. But the pounds keep coming. Could it be that maybe my body just cant tolerate a large amount of carbs? Every time I eat a large amount of carbs in a day I get really bloated and it definitely isnt the best feeling in the world. I dont want to stop being hclf vegan, but it seems like its the only way to get my health back. Any tips? Advice?

    • Hey Janice,
      thanks for getting in touch! We advocate for a whole food plant-based diet which often turns out to be relatively “high carb” when comparing to the official term used by nutrition experts (everything over 65% is high carb according to them, if I remember correctly). This healthy vegan diet should include all plant-based food groups, especially veggies and legumes on top of the whole grains and fruit. It could simply be the case that your meals are too high in calorie density while lacking some essential nutrients. Have you ever tracked your food? Here’s our in-depth article on meeting all nutrients on a vegan diet incl. a free download: https://nutriciously.com/vegan-food-pyramid/
      In terms of your digestive problems, it’s possible that you increased your fiber too quickly or have a problem with certain carbs like oligosaccharides, yes. Do you chew your food properly? Are you often stressed or do you overeat or undereat? All of these things can cause bloating. Are you intolerant to any specific foods perhaps? Digestion is a huge topic in and of itself, I couldn’t possibly give you the right tip for yours in a blog comment :)
      I suggest you check out the work of Dr Angie Sadeghi or Dahila & James Marin (RDs) who talk a lot about digestion!
      Best wishes,


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