If recent headlines are anything to go by, you'll most likely drop that spoonful of sugar if you want your intake of medicine to start going down...
Last week a global campaign called "Action against Sugar"warned that sugar is possibly as toxic to the human body as tobacco and that it's the "hidden sugars" in food that are causing us to battle lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
As discussed in my previous blog, the Fat fallacy seems to have fallen and we're finally seeing through the sticky lies of what really is to blame for many people struggling to lose weight despite following what they thought to be a healthy, low fat diet.
So what is the Low Carb High Fat Diet?
The LCHF diet is based on research published by Harvard University which states that only a small fraction of cholesterol causes heart disease, and that this small part is exacerbated by a diet high in carbohydrates.
They also explain how obesity and diabetes are the result of eating too many carbohydrates, linking obesity to insulin release. (Read my blog where I explain the effects of insulin and fat storage).
A LCHF diet means you eat less carbohydrates and a higher proportion of fat - which stabilises blood sugar levels and therefore you secrete less insulin. Less insulin means you start to burn more fat for energy.
Increasing intake of fats has been shown to increase the release of a hormone in our small intestine known as Cholecycstokinin (CCK), which is responsible for stimulating the digestion of fat and protein (Little, 2011).
...Cholecycstokinin stimulates the digestion of fat and protein
Insulin levels will drop. High levels of insulin are associated with insulin resistance. Hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin in the blood) appears to be an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease. Therefore, lowering insulin levels may be beneficial. Carbohydrate restriction has been shown to significantly decrease insulin levels.
Insulin resistance will be reduced. Insulin resistance is common in individuals with metabolic syndrome and is strongly related to an abnormal lipid profile. There appears to be an association between insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. Studies indicate that carbohydrate restriction significantly lowers insulin resistance compared to a low fat diet.
Blood pressure will improve. High blood pressure is one of the strongest known risk factors for stroke and heart disease. Lowering blood pressure is therefore considered a very important step to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies indicate that LCHF diets lower blood pressure in in individuals with overweight or obesity.
You will lose weight. Scientific studies and years of experience have shown that weight loss will occur on a LCHF diet. The amount of weight loss may vary between individuals and will also depend on how aggressive you are in getting rid of sugar and carbs.
Blood sugar will improve. Studies have shown that low carbohydrate diets reduce levels of fasting glucose and glycohemoglobin. This may be beneficial, in particular if you have diabetes or prediabetes, which is quite common among individuals with the metabolic syndrome.
An important note for diabetics
Lowering (or avoiding) intake of carbohydrates will decrease your need for medication. If you continue to take the same amount of insulin pre "Low carb diet" it may result in hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). This means you will need to test your blood sugar more frequently at the start of this diet and adapt your medication. Please work with your doctor and nutritionist to ensure you adjust your medication levels safely.
Johnson, RJ, et al (2007); Potential role of sugar in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease and cardiovascular disease; American Journ of Clin Nutrition.
Little, TJ; (2011); Effects of dietary fat on appetite and energy intake in health and obesity--oral and gastrointestinal sensory contributions.; Pubmed; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21596051
Samaha, FF (MD), et al; (2003); A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity; New Eng Jour of Med