Is High-Carb, Low-Fat Vegan Diet Right for You?

August 20, 2015


I have noticed a high increase with the use of #highcarb #lowfat on many vegan social media outlets. Clients also come to me with misunderstandings of fat, often scared of weight gain. What many people don’t know is fat has important roles in the body, especially for women!

The promotion of a low-fat diet is nothing new but as a vegan nutritionist, I feel it’s my duty to promote its importance in the body. Keep in mind that a low-fat diet may work for your friend but not for you. Here are three important signs  your body is trying to tell you to add more plant-based fat to your diet:


1. Missed period, hot flashes

Hormone is our dearest frenemy.  Our frenemy, Hormone, has a group of mean girls, Estrogen and Progestrone. Estrogen and Progestrone (and many others such as cortisol) are made from cholesterol. Yes, our liver produces cholesterol all on its own. However, dependent on many factors (genetics, environmental) lack of consumption of cholesterol can potentially lower the production of Estrogen and Progesterone and may cause issues such infertility, hot flashes, or amenorrhea (missed period).

Solution: I advise to seek medical help from a doctor and work with your nutritionist to help with the above issues as there maybe more factors involved.

2. Energy crash.

There is a lot that play into an energy crash, like hormones, but there is nothing like a sugar crash after a heavy carb loaded meal. The crash is significant after a meal,  you feel lethargic and not only want, but feel the need to lie down.

Solution: Food combining of carbs and healthy fat provide energy to reduce blood sugar spikes. It takes longer for the body to digest fat. The pairing of carbs and fat allows you to eat carbs without having your sugar spike followed by a sugar crash afterwards. Also try eating in moderation. Remember it takes A LOT of energy for your body to digest that big plate of spaghetti. Eat until satisfied. A great method is hara hachi bu (a Japanese saying to eat until 80% full) then you can save the rest for later.

3. Decreased micronutrient absorption

This is a bit harder  to tell without accurate testing, but your body does show signs. Vitamin D deficiency is related to your energy levels, papules (little bumps) on the back of your arms can signify a Vitamin A deficiency or omega-3’s deficiency.

Solution: As we intake high levels of fat soluble vitamins such as: A, D, E, and K from our planet-based diet, we want to maximize their absorption. We do this by consuming foods rich in A, D, E and K along with healthy fat to support their absorption. Also great source of omega-3’s (specifically DHA and EPA) is green algae which can be provided through supplementation or consuming seaweed as well.

So is high carb, low fat right for you? The answer: maybe, maybe not. Nutrition should be based on you. Nutrition is something we try to create as a one-size-fits-all but the truth is, it’s individualized.

So go ahead and make some guacamole tonight, your body deserves it.

Please, share with me your favorite plant-based, fat ingredients! Avocados are mine and dark chocolate and tahini and coconut oil and…

In Health,



Also by Katherine: What I Really Eat in a Day: Food Diary of a Vegan Nutritionist

Related: Alternative Ways to Get Healthy Fats

How to Deal with Appetite Changes Caused by Stress

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Originally from a meat-loving state and dairy-heavy culture, Katherine is here to make living a vegan lifestyle simple, practical and sustainable. Katherine's topics include: hormone regulation, women's health, nutrition advice, tips and tricks to help every vegan be their best. As a traveler looking for her next journey, you can also find some great traveling advice.


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