Category Archives: Low-Carb

Julianne Taylor Has a Great Post on Amylase Gene Copy Number and Predisposition to Obesity and Carbohydrate Intolerance

“Before I knew anything about the effect of diet on my health and hunger, I did notice that an hour or 2 after eating refined starch foods I suffered low blood sugar and was ravenously hungry.

Back in the day (1995) as I’ve written about previously, I discovered The Zone Diet, it was literally life changing for me.

Through following this eating plan I discovered that refined carbohydrates, particularly those from grains and sugars played havoc with my blood sugar regulation. The Zone diet reduces carbohydrates, for me it was down to around 70 – 100 grams a day, divided to around 20 – 30 grams per meal.  Vegetable and low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates are encouraged over refined grains and high GI carbs.

I’ve followed this principal for 20 years now, and found limiting carbohydrates, and adding animal protein to each meal is critical for both my well-being and appetite regulation. I’ve since found that 50 to 100 grams of carbs per day works well for me, and carbohydrate quality is important. This works out to 1 to 2 grams per kg body weight per day.I’ve often wondered why I seem to be so sensitive to carbohydrates, while others don’t suffer the dysregulated blood sugars and reactive hypoglycemia and consequent carbohydrate cravings that I do.The answer may be in my genes. I recently had a gene test to find out how many copies of the AMY1 gene I have, this a gene that codes for salivary amylase.”

Source: Your carbohydrate tolerance – is it written in your genes? AMY1 copy numbers | Julianne’s Paleo & Zone Nutrition

Hmmm: Spend $26,000 on Weight-Loss Surgery, Or Just Cut Carb Consumption?

Dr. Sarah Hallberg got some well-deserved publicity from the New York Times:

“Once a fad diet, the safety and efficacy of the low-carb diet have now been verified in more than 40 clinical trials on thousands of subjects. Given that the government projects that one in three Americans (and one in two of those of Hispanic origin) will be given a diagnosis of diabetes by 2050, it’s time to give this diet a closer look.

When someone has diabetes, he can no longer produce sufficient insulin to process glucose (sugar) in the blood. To lower glucose levels, diabetics need to increase insulin, either by taking medication that increases their own endogenous production or by injecting insulin directly. A patient with diabetes can be on four or five different medications to control blood glucose, with an annual price tag of thousands of dollars.”

Source: Before You Spend $26,000 on Weight-Loss Surgery, Do This – The New York Times

LCHF Diet Cures Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease In Women

Looks European-American to me

Looks European-American to me

European-American? I guess that’s American women who are of European descent rather than Asian, Eskimo, African, etc.

LCHF in my headline refers to low-carb, high-fat.

GERD is gastro-esophageal reflux disease, i.e., frequent or severe heartburn. GERD is the most common reason to use a proton pump inhibitor drug like Prilosec. It’s expensive. I run across patients taking it every day for years.

Dr. Michael Eades has a great post about GERD and the potential drawbacks of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs):

The scientific literature has shown long-term PPI therapy to be related to the following conditions:

Anemia
Pneumonia
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Impaired calcium absorption
Impaired magnesium absorption
Increased rate fractures, especially hip, wrist and spine
Osteopenia [thin brittle bones]
Rebound effect of extra-heavy gastric acid secretion
Heart attacks

From the recent study at hand:

“GERD symptoms and medication usage was more prevalent in European-American women, for whom the relationships between dietary carbohydrate intake, insulin resistance and GERD were most significant. Nevertheless, high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet benefited all women with regard to reducing GERD symptoms and frequency of medication use.”

Source: Dietary carbohydrate intake, insulin resistance and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a pilot study in European- and African-American obese women. – PubMed – NCBI

Pay attention and follow all the links and you may be able to see the entire journal report. You just can’t wait, right?!!

Another study showed improvement in heartburn with a low-carb diet a few years ago.

All of my diet books offer low-carb high-fat options except for the original first edition of Advanced Mediterranean Diet from 2007. In 2009, I learned that low-carb high-fat eating wasn’t dangerous. Hence, the 2nd edition.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Meet Dr. Priyanka Wali, Low-Carb Diet Advocate (interviewed by Ivor Cummins)

Dr. Wali is an internist in San Francisco. In her medical practice, she saw first-hand how standard “diabetic diets” weren’t helping her patients and many others who have carbohydrate intolerance. Welcome to the club, Dr. Wali!


PS: She’s also a good stand-up comedian,which is rare for an internist.

 

Professor Tim Noakes: A Nutrition Heretic and His Low-Carb Epiphany

Paleo-compliant low-carb meal. I almost used this for my Paleobetic Diet book cover.

Paleo-compliant low-carb meal. I almost used this for my Paleobetic Diet book cover.

“I argue that the very reason we are facing an uncontrollable global diabetes/obesity pandemic at the moment, is because we have promoted dietary guidelines that are based solely on “evidence” from associational studies without acknowledging that RCTs [randomized controlled trials] have either not supported those conclusions or might have actively disproved them.

The solution in my mind is that we need to give dietary advice to persons with diabetes, T2DM [type 2 diabetes] especially, based on our understanding of the underlying patho-physiology of the condition, not on false information provided by associational epidemiological studies that are unable to prove causation.  I suggest that we know a number of features of the abnormal biology of T2DM with absolutely certainty.”

—Tim Noakes

Source: The Low Carb Diabetic: NOAKES: DOCTORS, DIETITIANS MAKE DIABETES A THREAT TO LIFE?

It’s the Carbs, Not Saturated Fat: Food consumption and the rate of cardiovascular diseases in 42 European countries 

 

Carcinogenic?

Carcinogenic?

The idea that heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases are caused by dietary saturated fats is losing credibility. I lost faith in that theory in 2009.

Instead, cardiovascular disease is now linked to high consumption of carbohydrates, particularly those carbs that are rapidly absorbed and turned into blood sugar.

Unfortunately, the diet that reduces risk of cardiovascular disease may increase your risk of cancer. Keep reading.

If you’re a nutrition science nerd, here’s a pertinent report from researchers at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic:

“The results of our study show that high-glycaemic carbohydrates or a high overall proportion of carbohydrates in the diet are the key ecological correlates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. These findings strikingly contradict the traditional ‘saturated fat hypothesis’, but in reality, they are compatible with the evidence accumulated from observational studies that points to both high glycaemic index and high glycaemic load (the amount of consumed carbohydrates × their glycaemic index) as important triggers of CVDs. The highest glycaemic indices (GI) out of all basic food sources can be found in potatoes and cereal products, which also have one of the highest food insulin indices (FII) that betray their ability to increase insulin levels.The role of the high glycaemic index/load can be explained by the hypothesis linking CVD risk to inflammation resulting from the excessive spikes of blood glucose (‘post-prandial hyperglycaemia’). Furthermore, multiple clinical trials have demonstrated that when compared with low-carbohydrate diets, a low-fat diet increases plasma triglyceride levels and decreases total cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol, which generally indicates a higher CVD risk. Simultaneously, LDL-cholesterol decreases as well and the number of dense, small LDL particles increases at the expense of less dense, large LDL particles, which also indicates increased CVD risk. These findings are mirrored even in the present study because cereals and carbohydrates in general emerge as the strongest correlates of low cholesterol levels.

In light of these findings, the negative correlation of refined sugar with CVD risk may seem surprising, but the mean daily consumption of refined sugar in Europe is quite low (~84 g/day), when compared with potato and cereal carbohydrates (~235 g/day), and makes up only ~20% of CA energy. Refined sugar is also positively tied to many animal products such as animal fat and total fat and animal protein, and negatively to % PC CARB energy and % CA energy. Therefore, a high consumption of refined sugar is accompanied by a high consumption of animal products and lower intakes of other carbohydrates. Furthermore, the glycaemic index of refined sugar (sucrose) is rather moderate (~65).”

Source: Food consumption and the actual statistics of cardiovascular diseases: an epidemiological comparison of 42 European countries | Grasgruber | Food & Nutrition Research

Elsewhere in this long article:

“Current rates of cancer incidence in Europe are namely the exact geographical opposite of CVDs. In sharp contrast to CVDs, cancer correlates with the consumption of animal food (particularly animal fat), alcohol, a high dietary protein quality, high cholesterol levels, high health expenditure, and above average height. These contrasting patterns mirror physiological mechanisms underlying physical growth and the development of cancer and CVDs. The best example of this health paradox is again that of French men, who have the lowest rates of CVD mortality in Europe, but the highest rates of cancer incidence. In other words, cancer and CVDs appear to express two extremes of a fundamental metabolic disbalance that is related to factors such as cholesterol and IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor).”

I wish these researchers had looked at over death rates associated with various ways of eating. Perhaps that will be in a future paper.

I’d rather die of a heart attack than cancer.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Official Diabetic Diet Takes a Hit in the U.K.

DailyMail.com has a few of the details. A snippet:

More than 120,000 people signed up to a ‘low-carb’ diet plan launched by the forum diabetes.co.uk in a backlash against official advice.
More than 80,000 of those who ditched a low-fat high-carbohydrate diet found their blood glucose level drop after ten weeks.
By rejecting official guidelines and eating a diet high in protein and low in starchy food – along with ‘good saturated fats like olive and nuts – more than 80 per cent of the patients said they had lost weight.

An article at The Times says, “The results have led doctors to call for an overhaul of official dietary guidelines.”

Regular readers here won’t be surprised by these findings.

The road to this revolution is paved with scientific studies showing that dietary saturated fat has little or nothing to do with causing cardiovascular disease. I crossed that Rubicon in 2009.

If you want the benefits of low-carb eating, check out my free Paleobetic Diet. The book is even better.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: If you think carbs are bad, my books have zero digestible carbs. Unless you’re a termite.

Paleobetic Diet-FrontCover_300dpi_RGB_5.5x8.5

Increase in consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugar may have led to the health decline of the Greenland Eskimos 

Not much edible carbohydrate this time of year...

Not much edible carbohydrate this time of year…

From Dr. James Dr. DiNicolantonio:

“In conclusion, an increase in the intake of refined carbohydrate and sugar paralleled the rise in atherosclerotic disease in the Greenland Eskimos. While the total carbohydrate intake of the Greenland Eskimos was just 2–8% of total calories in 1855, this increased to around 40% of calories by 1955.5 The Greenland Eskimos studied by Bang and Dyerberg in the 1970s no longer consumed a traditional healthy Eskimo diet. Indeed, the intake of refined sugar in the Greenland Eskimos increased by almost 30-fold from 1855 (6 g/person/day or around 1½ teaspoonful of sugar) to the 1970s (164–175 g or around 40–44 teaspoonful of sugar). Moreover, the intake of refined carbohydrate increased 5–7-fold from 1855 (18 g/day from bread) to the 1970s (84–134 g/day from bread, biscuits and rye flour).

In summary, the intake of refined carbohydrate and sugar by the Greenland Eskimos increased in parallel to the rise in atherosclerotic disease. Considering that a similar event occurred in the USA and that the overconsumption of refined sugar is a principal driver of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and coronary heart disease, this most likely explains the health decline of the Greenland Eskimos.”

Source: Increase in the intake of refined carbohydrates and sugar may have led to the health decline of the Greenland Eskimos — DiNicolantonio 3 (2) — Open Heart

Moderately Low-Carb Diet Beats Calorie-Restricted “Balanced” Diet in Overweight Japanese Type 2 Diabetes

This meal is low-carb, and probably low-calorie too

This meal is both low-carb and low-calorie

A randomized controlled clinical trial found superior results in diabetes with a low-carb diet, judging from weight loss and hemoglobin A1c.

I don’t know how many carbs the typical Japanese person eats in a day. In the U.S., it’s 250-300 grams. Here’s how the study at hand was done:

“This prospective, randomized, open-label, comparative study included 66 T2DM patients with HbA1c >7.5% even after receiving repeated education programs on Calorie-Restricted Dieting (CRD). They were randomly allocated to either the 130g/day Low-Carb Diet (LCD) group (n = 33) or CRD group (n = 33). Patients received personal nutrition education of CRD or LCD for 30 min at baseline, 1, 2, 4, and 6 months. Patients of the CRD group were advised to maintain the intake of calories and balance of macronutrients (28× ideal body weight calories per day). [If I understand correctly, a 170-lb (77.2 kg) person would be recommended to eat 2160 calories/day.] Patients of the LCD group were advised to maintain the intake of 130 g/day carbohydrate without other specific restrictions. Several parameters were assessed at baseline and 6 months after each intervention. The primary endpoint was a change in HbA1c level from baseline to the end of the study.

At baseline, body mass index (BMI) and HbA1c were 26.5 and 8.3, and 26.7 kg/m2 and 8.0%, in the CRD and LCD, respectively. At the end of the study, HbA1c decreased by −0.65% in the LCD group, compared with 0.00% in the CRD group (p < 0.01). Also, the decrease in BMI in the LCD group [−0.58 kg/m2] exceeded that observed in the CRD group (p = 0.03).

Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that 6-month 130 g/day LCD reduced HbA1c and BMI in poorly controlled Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes. LCD is a potentially useful nutrition therapy for Japanese patients who cannot adhere to CRD.”

Source: A randomized controlled trial of 130 g/day low-carbohydrate diet in type 2 diabetes with poor glycemic control – Clinical Nutrition

The calorie-restricted diet did nothing for these folks in terms of glycemic  control.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: In case you’re wondering, the Paleobetic Diet reduces digestible carbs to 45-80 grams/day.

 

Dr. Jason Fung: How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes – The Quick Start Guide 

Dr. Fung is a nephrologist and huge advocate of intermittent fasting. He has an article over at DietDoctor that you may find interesting (link below). Beware: at the link you will find an accurate photo of a gangrenous foot that you may find nauseating or disturbing.

I see gangrene in the hospital once a month. It’s one of the things that keeps me motivated to help PWDs (people with diabetes) learn to conquer diabetes.

Another caveat. If you take drugs that have the potential to cause hypoglycemia, you may indeed suffer life-threatening hypoglycemia if you drastically cut back on sugar and other refined carbohydrates. You better know what you’re doing.

Dr. Fung writes:

“Once we understand type 2 diabetes, then the solution becomes pretty bloody obvious. If we have too much sugar in the body, then get rid of it. Don’t simply hide it away so we can’t see it. There are really only two ways to get rid of the excessive sugar in the body.

  1. Don’t put sugar in [nor refined starches]
  2. Burn it off

That’s it. That’s all we need to do. The best part? It’s all natural and completely free. No drugs. No surgery. No cost.”

Source: How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes – The Quick Start Guide – Diet Doctor