A low-carb, high-fat ketogenic-style diet promotes weight loss and prevents diabetes and metabolic syndrome better than a low-fat, low-calorie diet, says Harvard professor and physician Dr. David Ludwig.
“ ‘Eat less, exercise more’ doesn’t work,” said Dr. Ludwig, who has an MD and Ph.D. from Stanford University.
The true cause of weight gain isn’t eating too many calories, but a diet that’s high in refined carbs and sugars. 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.
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 tidal wave of obesity and diabetes, said Ludwig, whom Time magazine has been dubbed the “obesity warrior.”
“We have to forget the low-fat paradigm,” said Dr. Ludwig, author of Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently.
“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 most effective way to lose weight is to prevent blood-sugar and insulin spikes, which the LCHF Atkins and ketogenic diets do, say obesity scientists. “Insulin is the granddaddy of anabolic hormones,” said Dr. Ludwig, who has done 20 years of obesity research.
Eating refined carbs such as a 100-calorie pack of jelly beans (which are fat-free) causes a massive 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 Blood Sugar, Which Fuels Inflammation
Surges in blood sugar and insulin fuel inflammation, which in turn contribute to diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. By curbing these pro-inflammatory blood-sugar spikes with a low-carb, high-fat diet, you can stem several diseases in one fell swoop and slow down cellular aging.
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 posited 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. “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 and bariatric surgeon 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, explained 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 slowly 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 The 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, and 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.”
Scientific 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 ketogenic diet is a single metabolic approach to a multitude of different diseases,” said Dr. Seyfried, author of Cancer As a Metabolic Disease.
“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.”
For tips on how to lose weight without hunger and prevent heart disease, dementia and cancer, check out Dr. David Ludwig’s book, Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently.