HERE’S A SUPER IMPORTANT POINT RE: THE LOW CARB SWITCH
In Nutrition & Metabolism a study was published using a low carb high protein diet. This one change (74% decrease in carbohydrate consumption) led to a spontaneous reduction in caloric intake in 93% of the test patients. This reduction averaged about 700 kcal per day of total calories consumed. You would have to run 7 miles per day to achieve the same caloric deficit. This also led to reductions in all of these inflammatory products: body fat, Lp(a), TNF-α, and CRP. The finding that a diet can lower the highly atherogenic Lp(a) is novel considering most authorities would have you believe that there is a very strong genetic component to this curse and quite difficult to lower even with drugs. That is very good news for those who have high Lp(a) because your only alternative is high-dose statin therapy. But the best news of all in this study is that by switching to low carb you automatically lose 700 kcals per day while dumping all of your inflammatory markers-that’s huge. That’s a loss of one pound of fat per week doing nothing but changing what you eat. Now the coup de grâce to your swollen body occurs the first weekend of no carbs. High insulin levels promote aldosterone secretion (and cortisol), which is responsible for sodium and water retention. Within the first three days of abolishing all carbs from your diet (limited to about 20 grams per day of fibrous carbs only) patients experience anywhere from 5-15 pounds of fluid loss.
Another study shows a definite and strong relationship between carbohydrate intake and triglyceride (TG) and HDL across multi-ethnic populations. The lowest intakes of carbohydrate in the form of sugary foods and soda led to the highest HDL and lowest TG. This is exactly what you should expect when restricting your carb intake. Remember the best TG/HDL ratio is as close to one as you can get or less than one.
BENEFITS OF LOW CARB IN A NUTSHELL
In a nutshell, whatever that actually means, a low carb lifestyle is good for you. I can tell you that it improves lipid parameters especially the TG/HDL ratio proven to be more predictive of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, promotes greater body fat loss, decreases blood pressure, leads to better resolution of metabolic syndrome, decreases serum levels of Arachidonic acid (AA) the main inflammatory “starter kit” for all of your stiffness, aches, pains, decreased blood flow and degeneration. AA produces what are called “bad” eicosanoids (through suppression of D5D a special enzyme which I will discuss another time), which are mediators for inflammatory prostaglandins and these other nasty chemicals called thromboxanes. If you get PMS in a bad way remember that PMS is mediated through bad eicosanoids. Switching to low carb also lowers fasting blood sugar (FBS) and fasting insulin levels which are proven predictors of stroke and heart attack if elevated. And it lowers Lp(a) as mentioned above. In terms of WELLNESS one of the remarkable effects is switching to low carb dramatically decreases inflammatory markers such as CRP and TNF-α. The CRP test is now standard for sceening those at risk for heart disease.
If you haven’t guessed yet it’s the “cure” for much of what ails us in western civilization. Yes, that’s right it is the “cure” for diabesity, heart disease, rotten choppers and many chronic, inflammatory, degenerative diseases-the so called diseases of affluence. Yes I know it’s not going to cure let’s say autism but there are some very curious connections with that disease and eating grains especially the gluten containing ones. Also, certain additional materials in grains appear to affect behavior including autism. I’ll discuss those in another article. But here’s a teaser: an entire type of schizophrenia is caused by gluten and can be cured by eliminating gliadins from the diet. Gliadins like gluten are prevalent in the grains such as wheat and several others.
The feds recommend, as per the USDA (and the AHA as well), that we eat 60% of our food as carbs while slathering omega 6 oils on them. Look around you. How are those recommendations working out for you? With 2/3 of the nation overweight or obese, that doesn’t come across as “good results” for a dietary program. Some of this devastation is due to high fasting insulin levels as I have demonstrated (in the book). Some of this is from advanced glycation end product (AGE) formation which are a highly destructive class of molecules formed from excessive fructose and glucose in the blood increasing your risk for chronic degenerative disease. Other problems occur from excess AA production mainly through high carb intake and consumption of omega 6 oils found in canola, peanut, soy, safflower, sunflower and corn oil. Many problems come from the toxicity of wheat itself especially wheat germ agglutinin or a combination of all of these listed above. A high carb diet is an incendiary diet. It goes hand in hand with processed food. It fuels the Three Amigos of Inflammation (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS) leading to neurodegeneration. Do you want to get well? Stop eating grains, non-fibrous starches and refined sugars. Not only that but you’ll feel much better because you will not have as much systemic inflammation and if you stick to it in 6 months you could easily drop over 50 pounds. I have done this with dozens of patients, friends and family. Each one was able to lose at least 50 pounds and never be hungry. I like to put it this way: if it makes you fat it’s bad for you, period.
I’ve said a mouthful in these two pages. In future blogs I’ll provide more detail and references to back these claims up. For now try eliminating bread since it is the most prevalent carb we eat. It’s my guess you’ll start dropping pounds just with that change alone. Not as dramatically as stopping all non-fibrous carbs but it’s still an excellent start. I think we can all agree that as a nation we must cut some carbs especially the grains and introduce more fresh fruits and veggies (FAV). No controversy there right?
 Richard J Wood et al. Effects of a carbohydrate-restricted diet on emerging plasma markers for cardiovascular disease Nutr Metab (Lond). 2006; 3: 19.( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1481590/) 08/17/2012
 Carbohydrate intake and HDL in a multiethnic. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jan;85(1):225-30.