Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Low-carb Review Article

The other day, I came across this nice review article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It gives a thorough but accessible overview of the current state of research into carbohydrate-restricted diets, without all the fatophobic mumbo-jumbo. It points out a few "elephants in the room" that the mainstream likes to ignore. First of all, the current approach isn't working:
The persistence of an epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes suggests that new nutritional strategies are needed if the epidemic is to be overcome.
Preagricultural diets were low in carbohydrate:
In contrast to current Western diets, the traditional diets of many preagricultural peoples were relatively low in carbohydrate (1, 2). In North America, for example, the traditional diet of many First Nations peoples of Canada before European migration comprised fish, meat, wild plants, and berries. The change in lifestyle of several North American aboriginal populations occurred as recently as the late 1800s, and the numerous ensuing health problems were extensively documented (3-5). Whereas many aspects of lifestyle were altered with modernization, these researchers suspected that the health problems came from the change in nutrition—specifically, the introduction of sugar and flour.
Carbohydrate reduction leads to a normalization of appetite:
It may also be that the mere lowering of serum insulin concentrations, as is seen with LCDs, may lead to a reduction in appetite. In support of this idea, several studies have found that insulin increases food intake, that foods with high insulin responses are less satiating, and that suppression of insulin with octreotide leads to weight loss (27-29).
I can't believe it; all that fat isn't going to clog my arteries??
Several outpatient diet studies have shown reductions in CVD risk factors after an 8–12-wk LCKD, during weight loss, and during weight maintenance (21, 60-62).
The last paragraph is a zinger:
We emphasize that strategies based on carbohydrate restriction have continued to fulfill their promise in relation to weight loss and that, contrary to early concerns, they have a generally beneficial effect on most markers of CVD, even in the absence of weight loss. In combination with the intuitive and established efficacy in relation to glycemic control in diabetics, some form of LCD may be the preferred choice for weight reduction as well as for general health.

1 comment:

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