By Samantha Chang
The low carb high-fat ketogenic and Paleo diets can prevent Alzheimer’s and aid weight loss, said neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter.
In his book, Grain Brain, Perlmutter said carbohydrate restriction is the key to weight loss, protecting brain health and preventing disease.
Ideally, you should eat no more than 60 to 80 grams of carbs a day, said Perlmutter, who said a high-carb diet causes blood sugar spikes, which fuel inflammation. Inflammation is what spurs most degenerative diseases, including diabetes, dementia, heart disease and cancer, he explained.
Perlmutter said even slight elevations in blood sugar have been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, citing an August 2013 report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Perlmutter says we can ward off — and in some instances reverse — Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, and ADHD by following a gluten-free, low carb, high-fat ketogenic-style diet. Sadly, the U.S. government has long advocated a high-carb, low-fat diet, suggesting that Americans eat three to six servings of grains a day — a recommendation Perlmutter says is unhealthy and misguided.
Dr. Perlmutter said the brain — and the body — needs plenty of fat to function properly. People who want to be healthy physically and mentally should consume a high-fat, low-carb ketogenic-style diet and eschew the low-fat, high-carb, grain-centric diet espoused by the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Perlmutter joins a growing number of medical experts who are sold on the health benefits of the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic and Paleo diets.
Dr. Terry Wahls, a professor at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, has successfully reversed many of the symptoms of her progressive multiple sclerosis by following a low-carb Paleo diet.
Wahls, who was diagnosed with MS in 2000, developed her own personalized Paleo diet plan called the Wahls Protocol, and has been managing her multiple sclerosis for the past seven years with her program.
“I used what I had learned from the medical literature, functional medicine, and my knowledge of the Hunter-Gatherer diet to create my food plan,” Dr. Wahls wrote in her bestseller, The Wahls Protocol.
Dr. Wahls said her MS improved dramatically, without drugs, after she switched to the Paleo diet. “The results stunned my physician, my family, and me. Within a year, I was able to walk through the hospital without a cane and even complete an 18-mile bicycle tour,” she wrote.
TV star Jack Osbourne recently made headlines after revealing he is treating his multiple sclerosis with a ketogenic-style Paleo diet. Osbourne also credits the diet for his stunning 70-pound weight loss.
Similarly, singer Chad Vaccarino of the duo A Great Big World is treating his multiple sclerosis with a low-carb, high-fat Paleo diet inspired by Dr. Wahls.
“My symptoms went away completely,” Vaccarino told ABC News. “I’m sharing my story in the hopes that it might inspire you the way Dr. Wahls’ story inspired me.”
Scientists: Ketogenic Diet Starves Cancer
The low-carb ketogenic diet has also been touted for its capacity to starve cancer.
Cancer researcher Dr. Dominic D’Agostino told me we are only as healthy as our mitochondria, which are the power sources of all our cells, so if we keep our mitochondria healthy (with a low-carb, high-fat diet), we can stall the onset of age-related chronic diseases.
D’Agostino’s research during the past four years confirmed that a ketogenic diet successfully manages even advanced cancer. This is because nearly all the healthy cells in our body have the metabolic flexibility to use fat, glucose and ketones to survive, but cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility and require large amounts of glucose and cannot survive on ketones.
So by limiting carbohydrates we can reduce glucose (and insulin) and thus restrict the primary fuel for cancer cell growth.
D’Agostino’s colleague, Dr. Thomas Seyfried, author of Cancer as a Metabolic Disease, told me the ketogenic diet beats chemotherapy for almost all cancers. Seyfried’s decades of research indicate cancer is a metabolic — not a genetic — disease. And his research shows the ketogenic diet effectively treats advanced cancer in mice.
These same anti-cancer properties have also been observed in human cancer patients and reported in published studies. Today, there are about a dozen studies that are investigating the use of the ketogenic diet to manage all kinds of cancer. Those results will determine whether the medical community will adopt metabolic therapy to treat cancer in the future.
“The ketogenic diet is a single metabolic approach to a multitude of different diseases,” said Dr. Seyfried. “The standard of care has been an abysmal failure for cancer. The ketogenic diet may one day replace the standard of care for most cancers. To those who doubt me, I say: ‘Prove me wrong.'”