I've become convinced that one of the greatest assets that those of us who believe in the power of livin' la vida low-carb possess is the ever-growing litany of respectable published research that continues to pour in at breakneck speed. A young researcher from the University of Pennsylvania recently confirmed that there is "strong interest" in low-carb diets and how they relate to treating obesity and disease. This has me very excited about the future of the low-carb lifestyle because we're just getting started.
Now that the new year is here, there will be even more positive studies regarding livin' la vida low-carb to be released. All this encouraging research shows us there's no debate about the fate of low-carb in 2008. Things are looking up--WAY UP!--and we should be holding our heads high as the science finally begins catching up with the experiences those of us who have been eating this way already know.
Today I have four newly-released published studies that will encourage you as you continue to live the low-carb life. It's an amazing journey that is so much deeper and more meaningful than simple weight loss. It's about living healthier than you ever thought possible while enjoying amazing high-fat, low-carb foods that are delicious, nutritious, and will keep you satisfied. What other "diet" plan can you say THAT about? Anyone? :)
Here are those new studies for you to add to your arsenal:
Looking at female athletes, the researchers wanted to see if the amount of dietary fat intake played a role in the occurrence of foot and knee injuries sustained during training and competition. They observed 86 female runners who ran at least 20 miles a week and asked them to keep a food log for a period of one year. The study participants were asked to report any injuries they sustain over that period of time for the researchers to analyze their food intake to see if there was a contributing factor.
The results were astonishing! Those female runners who were injured were more likely to be consuming "significantly lower intakes of total fat" and calories from fat compared with the study participants who did not sustain an injury. In fact, the researchers conducted a logistic regression analysis to predict with 64 percent certainty which of the female athletes would be injured based on their dietary fat intake.
MY CONCLUSION: If a female runner wants to reduce her risk of an injury, then the best course of action is to EAT MORE FAT! Betcha didn't see that one coming!
What seems like an encouraging bit of research about a low-carb diet for controlling Type 2 diabetes over a one-year controlled study is actually anything but. All you need to do is read Regina Wilshire's take at the "Weight Of The Evidence" blog to realize this study was bogus from the start. Why? Because their idea of a "low-carb" diet is putting the study participants on (hold on to your hat) NEARLY 200 grams of carbs a day! HOLY CRAP! Are they TRYING to kill these people?!
It should come as no surprise that all the major health indicators got WORSE on this diet, including weight gain, HbA1c increases, HDL "good" cholesterol decline, sharp increases in triglycerides--all tell-tale signs that these people did NOT follow the dictates of the low-carb lifestyle. Perhaps the researchers would do themselves a lot of good if they performed this same study using a very low-carb ketogenic diet consisting of 10g carbohydrates for comparison purposes. The results of this study would be quite stark!
MY CONCLUSION: Just because research shows some supposed positive aspect of livin' la vida low-carb in a twisted interpretation of the data doesn't mean it should be celebrated. Demand better and more accurate studies to compare the REAL low-carb with the fake 200g carbohydrates one!
Like that last study, this one was also published in the same journal. But unlike the previous one, this is a legitimate body of research that bears a closer look. The lead researcher is Dr. Alex Johnstone from the Rowett Research Institute who I previously blogged about her study of low-carb diets on brain health. This time she wanted to know if changing the amount of protein and carbs in the diet would impact hunger for the study participants. Specifically, is being in a state of ketosis brought on by a high-protein, low-carb ketogenic diet more satiating and effective for weight loss than a high-protein, moderate-carb nonketogenic diet? Interesting study, huh?
She carefully observed 17 obese men over a four-week period as part of a residential trial and carefully measured out the specific food content for each of the study participants. Each of them were provided 2 high-protein diets (consisting of 30 percent of total calories) along with either a low-carb diet (consisting of 4 percent of total calories like the Atkins diet) or a moderate-carb diet (consisting of 35 percent of total carbohydrates a la The Zone). She measured their body weight daily along with ketosis. Computer analysis also measured hunger.
The results? Hunger was lower and weight loss was "significantly greater" with the low-carb diet compared with the moderate-carb diet. This all happened while the low-carb participants remained in ketosis and actually ate less food for the duration of the study. It was further proof that ketosis is indeed safe and extremely effective for both satiation and losing weight. Of course, we knew that already.
MY CONCLUSION: If you're looking for a diet composition where you are never hungry, will lose a whole lotta weight, and will feel better than you ever thought possible, then you should turn to a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb ketogenic diet. Ketosis is the key. Nuff said!
Although the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recently endorsed low-carb as equally effective for diabetics to use as part of their weight management program, similar positions have not been taken by other health advocacy groups like the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Heart Association (AHA) for example. But there hasn't been as much published research on low-carb weight loss for Type 2 diabetics--until now!
Researchers from the Oxford, England-based Center for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism wanted to compare the effects of a low-carb diet on the body weight, HbA1c levels, ketones and cholesterol levels in both diabetics and non-diabetics to see if there would be a difference over a three-month period. A total of 13 Type 2 diabetics controlling their disease with disease or metformin as well as 13 non-diabetics were placed on either a low-carb diet (with 40g or less carbohydrates daily) or a "healthy-eating diet" as prescribed by the ADA-equivalent group in the UK (basically a moderate-to-high-carb, low-fat diet).
The low-carb study participants, both diabetic and non-diabetic, experienced "greater" weight loss with no changes in HbA1c, ketone or lipid levels. While I'm encouraged by the weight change that occurred, I'm surprised there were not improvements in the HbA1c and lipid levels at all on those who followed low-carb. But it's still good new for the low-carb lifestyle.
Keep reading the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog throughout 2008 as we'll continue to share with you the latest from the research community. If you see any studies about livin' la vida low-carb that catch your eye and you want to bring them to my attention, then please e-mail me a link to the study or article about it anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Conclusion: Limit, but don't avoid carbs or fats. Instead, seek out the nutritious and yummy ones (the latter is very important for helping you stick with them). For example:
For carbs, artisan breads that use whole grains are, thankfully, much easier to find these days on store shelves. A slice toasted plain or with peanut butter or other good-fat toppings is a great mid-morning/mid-day snack. Also, I find non-sugared, whole grain organic cereals are a great substitute for those nighttime sweet/munchy cravings. These now have a steady presence on the mainstream supermarkets shelves, although the choices can be limited. Add a little cinnamon to spice them up, and to help stabilize your blood insulin levels (daily intakes of cinnamon help to decrease sweet cravings).
For fats, spread avocado on a sandwich or slice into a salad. Add some almonds or walnuts to your non-fat, organic yogurt or to your salad. And, for fish lovers, there's nothing like wild Alaskan salmon (not farmed).
I find once I get these foods into my diet, they become habit forming. The main reasons for this is because they're easy to prepare and taste so good! So try different ones and go with what works for you.
THANKS for your comments, Kathleen. I agree with you for the most part, although even "whole grains" can impact blood sugar levels in those of us who are sensitive to carbohydrates which then spike our blood sugar levels and produce insulin which leads to weight gain and health problems.
This is remedied by keeping your carbs to a minimum while raising your fat, even saturated fat, intake from what the so-called health "experts" say is "good for you." Full-fat meats, dairy, and other nutrient-dense foods will keep you happy and healthy for many years to come. THANK YOU again for your comments!
By the way, finding what works for you is a mantra I quote often. :D