Scientists say a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic-style diet is better for weight loss, diabetes and metabolic syndrome than low-fat, low-calorie diets.
The longstanding emphasis on calorie counting has failed, and we need to move beyond the “calories in, calories out” dogma if we’re serious about defeating the global tsunami of obesity and diabetes, say obesity experts.
“’Eat less, exercise more’ doesn’t work,” said Harvard professor Dr. David Ludwig, who has an MD and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.
According to Ludwig, the true cause of weight gain isn’t eating too many calories, but consuming a diet that’s rich in refined carbs. This is because our body stores fat when we experience insulin spikes, which are caused by eating too much sugar and processed grains like white bread.
“We have to forget the low-fat paradigm,” Dr. Ludwig wrote in the New York Times. “Some high-fat foods like avocado, nuts and olive oil are among the healthiest foods we could possibly eat.”
Ludwig join a growing number of medical experts who are dispelling the myth that eating fat makes you fat and calorie restriction is best for weight loss. The way to lose weight is to prevent insulin spikes, which the LCHF Atkins and ketogenic diets do, they say.
“Insulin is the granddaddy of anabolic hormones,” said Dr. Ludwig, author of the bestseller, Always Hungry?
Eating refined carbs such as a 100-calorie pack of jelly beans (which are fat-free) produces a huge insulin spike that signals your fat cells to store calories. In contrast, eating 100 calories of nuts (which are high-fat and low-carb) will produce a negligible insulin spike.
You’ll also feel fuller, longer, after eating the nuts, while the jelly beans will make your blood sugar surge and promptly crash, causing you to quickly feel hungry again.
Sugar Raises Insulin, Which Causes Inflammation
Surges in blood sugar and insulin also leads to diabetes, inflammation and metabolic syndrome. By curbing these inflammation-promoting spikes with a low-carb, high-fat diet such as Atkins or ketogenic, you can stem several diseases in one fell swoop.
An avalanche of new scientific research suggests unprocessed saturated fat is not the cause of weight gain, diabetes or heart disease, as we have long been told. The true cause of obesity, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol and diabetes is a high-carb diet, especially one high in sugar.
That’s what investigative writer Nina Teicholz said in her book, The Big Fat Surprise.
“Fat generally — and saturated fat specifically — came to be blamed for causing heart disease, obesity and cancer,” said Teicholz. “Eventually this unfounded belief became ingrained as our national dogma.”
Teicholz explained: “Saturated fat is really not bad for health. The most rigorous diet trials clearly show that a high-fat, low-carb diet is better for fighting obesity, diabetes and heart disease.”
Obesity expert Dr. Eric Westman also champions a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic-style diet for weight loss and reversing type 2 diabetes.
What fuels weight gain and disease is inflammation — which is caused by a high-carb diet — especially one high in sugar, said Dr. Westman, co-author of Keto Clarity.
The irony is that the foods we were taught are good for us — breads, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes — are the very ones that are killing us, said Westman, who has helped hundreds of people lose thousands of pounds on a LCHF diet.
Our bodies convert these foods to sugar almost instantly. Sugar raises insulin, which causes inflammation, which is the fundamental cause of heart disease.
Dr. Westman said eating a diet high in healthy fats such as olive oil, whole eggs, grass-fed beef, and pastured butter not only accelerates weight loss, but reduces inflammation.
Westman has been aware of the health benefits of unprocessed dietary fat for years and is glad there’s a growing vindication of this important macronutrient.
LCHF Diet Is Silver Bullet For Weight Loss
Registered dietitian Dr. Jeff Volek, a professor at Ohio State University, agrees.
Restricting carbs and eating more healthy fats allows the body to use stored fat for fuel rather than the limited fuel obtained from carb intake, said Volek, who has followed a ketogenic diet for the past 20 years, and credits it for his excellent health.
Volek doesn’t have a weight problem, but follows the ketogenic diet for its many health benefits, which include reduced inflammation, improved mood, and protection from diabetes and heart disease.
Volek, author of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, is encouraged by the increasing popularity of high-fat diets such as the ketogenic diet, as more people are beginning to accept that eating fat does not make you fat.
Volek explained that by drastically reducing carbs in our diet and replacing them with healthy, unprocessed fats, we boost fat-burning, eliminate nagging carb cravings, experience more stable blood sugar levels, and enjoy better mood.
“Carbohydrate restriction is the proverbial ‘silver bullet’ for managing insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes,” said Volek. “The medical profession continues to recommend a high-carb diet, which exacerbates the problem. It boggles the mind.”
Studies show the ketogenic diet is better than drugs for managing epilepsy-induced seizures, can reverse type 2 diabetes, and manage cancer, said Boston College professor Thomas Seyfried.
Seyfried’s decades of research suggests the low-carb ketogenic diet can fight cancer because cancer is a metabolic — not a genetic — disease.
The standard of care has been an abysmal failure for cancer,” said Dr. Seyfried, author of Cancer As a Metabolic Disease. “The ketogenic diet may one day replace the standard of care for most cancers.”