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Study: Low-Carb Diets Better Than Drugs for Diabetes

Experts say low-carb diets are better than drugs for diabetes.
Experts say low-carb diets are better than drugs for diabetes.

Low-carb diets are better than drugs for treating diabetes, according to a group of renowned obesity experts.

Scientists said low-carb diets like the ketogenic, Atkins, and Paleo are effective at reducing high blood sugar without the unseemly side effects of drugs, according to a report in the medical journal Nutrition.

A panel of 24 obesity experts, including Dr. Eric Westman, director of the Duke University Obesity Clinic, nutrition/psychiatry expert Dr. Ann Childers, and Dr. Jeff Volek, a professor at the University of Connecticut, drew their conclusions after analyzing data from a cross-section of studies.

Interestingly, the panel said a low-carb diet could help diabetics even if they don’t lose weight. This is surprising since people with diabetes who are overweight are always advised to lose weight.

“The benefits of carbohydrate restriction in diabetes are immediate and well-documented,” wrote Dr. Westman, author of New Atkins for a New You.

“Dietary carbohydrate restriction reliably reduces high blood glucose, does not require weight loss (although is still best for weight loss) and leads to the reduction or elimination of medication, and has never shown side effects comparable to those seen in many drugs.”

Dr. Jeff Volek, a registered dietitian, agrees. By reducing carbs and replacing them with unprocessed saturated fats, you can enjoy more stable blood sugar and prevent diabetes, said Volek.

“Carbohydrate restriction is the proverbial ‘silver bullet’ for managing insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes,” said Volek, author of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living

Because dietary fat has a negligible impact on insulin, eating it doesn’t produce surges in our blood glucose and blood insulin the way ingesting carbs does, he said. Reducing blood-sugar spikes is critical for diabetics.

The health benefits of low-carb, high-fat diets like the Paleo, ketogenic and Atkins plan extend beyond diabetes treatment. In addition to promoting rapid weight loss, LCHF diets like the ketogenic plan have been shown to manage advanced metastatic cancer.

Renowned cancer scientist Dr. Thomas Seyfried of Boston College said a ketogenic diet beats chemotherapy for almost all cancers because cancer is a metabolic disease.

A new study published in Epilepsy Today confirmed the efficacy of the ketogenic diet for preventing and reducing epilepsy-induced seizures among children.

Similarly, Time magazine — which has previously advocated calorie-counting for weight loss — conceded that low-carb, high-fat diets like the Paleo, ketogenic and Atkins diets are better for weight loss than low-fat, low-calorie diets.

Dr. David Ludwig, a nutrition professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, said low-fat diets that emphasize calorie quantity over calorie quality have proven a dismal failure for long-term weight loss.

“Low-carb diets outperform a low-fat diet every time, and that wouldn’t be true if calories were the only measure that mattered,” said Ludwig.

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