Monday, March 14, 2016

Why Is A Low Carb Diet Good for You

Why Is A Low Carb Diet Good for You? Well saturated fat story has been very prevalent in the media lately because it's really been the cornerstone of our dietary guidelines in the sense that we've advocated for lowering saturated fat and been telling people for almost four decades now to reduce the saturated fat in their diet with the intention to reduce risk for obesity and diabetes and heart disease. However recent evidence has clearly indicated that there is no association between dietary saturated fat and risk for heart disease or diabetes and so we're rethinking this whole paradigm around saturated fat and we've done some of the seminal work in our laboratory that has linked the effects of saturated fat to the amount of carbohydrate in your diet. And what's really important understand is it's not so much the dietary saturated fat that we need to be concerned with, it's whether or not you're accumulating saturated fat in your body and your membranes in your arteries because if you do, that is associated with risk for heart disease, and it turns out dietary saturated fat has little to do with how much saturated fat we store it's actually the carbohydrate in our diet that's contributing to synthesis of saturated.

Low Carb Diet

Fat in the body as well as storage in an accumulation of saturated fat. So if you over consumed carbs then you put your body into a metabolic state where you're more likely to store the saturated fat so it's really a story more about carbohydrates than it is about saturated fat in the diet.

Hunger is often a result of decreased energy supply to the brain and the brain is a very energetically expensive organ. It burns about 600 K cals per day just being a brain and that's primarily comes from glucose, or sugar, and if the brain has any interruption in that supply of sugar to the brain it signals you to want to eat, in particular eat carbohydrates and sugar, and so when people go on a low-calorie low-fat diet they often don't have enough carbohydrate coming in the diet to feed their brain. And that's why they that low-fat low-calorie diets tend to fail long term despite even heroic amounts of willpower. An alternative approach is if you restrict calories but also restrict carbohydrate. 

The brain can adapt to using molecules called ketones which accumulate on a low-carbohydrate low-calorie diet and in that case you can restrict calories but the brain is actually well fed because ketones are circulating at a very stable and sustainable level to feed the brain so for many people restricting calories is better achieved by restricting carbohydrates rather than restricting fat because it feeds the brain. The term I prefer to use is a well formulated low-carbohydrate diet as opposed to in practice what amounts to a casual approach to restricting carbohydrates and I mean by that is requires more than just simply limiting potatoes and sugar in your diet and other starches. Actually you need to understand how to manipulate the fat quality the protein level in the diet as well as paying attention to minerals and vitamins in terms of optimizing those nutrients as well. And so whole science behind how to go about formulating a low-carbohydrate diet so that it optimizes health and most important that it's sustainable long-term.

 The main adaptation to a low-carbohydrate diet is that your body switches from relying on carbohydrates for fuel you to using fat for fuel and that has a lot of advantages associated with it- you sort of relieved yourself from this dependency carbohydrate and instead train your cells in your body to use your own body fat for fuel and also burn fat that you're eating, and this cellular switch to fat for fuel makes it easier to lose weight, makes it easier to manage many chronic health conditions like pre diabetes and diabetes and perhaps even heart disease and cancer as well but fundamentally thats whats happening yourselves or switching their fuel source over from carbs to fat. Forty years we've been telling athletes that you need to consume high carbohydrate diets and carbohydrate load before events in order to optimize performance and interesting they were rethinking that entire paradigm now too because of a wide range of athletes are switching from high carbohydrate diet essentially abandoning the carbohydrate loading approach and instead it adapting very low-carbohydrate high-fat moderate protein diet and these athletes are not just finishing races, in many cases they're actually winning and in some cases setting course records so in some ways we're almost rewriting textbooks in terms of what we're learning about your metabolism and high-level athletes and what their capabilities can be if they adapt to a low-carbohydrate diet.

For individuals interested in adopting a low-carbohydrate lifestyle, there there is wide variability between people and how they respond to a low-carbohydrate diet and what level of carbohydrate restriction would be appropriate for them but a good place to start is to actually measure your ketone levels which is possible but at this point in time with with a finger stick and using a typical glucometer that is adapted to measuring ketones instead of glucose and so you have an immediate resolved if you will in terms of how your body is responding to the current level of carbohydrate you're consuming on average for most people to be in a state of ketosis requires consuming less than approximately 50 grams per day but if you're relatively healthy and exercising that number may be closer to 70 or 80 grams per day if you happen to be a type 2 diabetic or someone who's profoundly insulin resistance that number may be lower it thirty five or even thirty grams per day so there's no real way to know unless you actually measure the result and that gives you some feedback in order to adjust your carbohydrate intake so it turns out that type 2 diabetics who are the most carbohydrate intolerant respond the most favorably to a low, well formulated ketogenic diet and it doesn't just prevent the disease, in many existing type 2 diabetics you can put their disease into remission. I don't like to use the term cure because of that you may not have cured their insulin resistance but by measuring any signs or symptoms of diabetes they would essentially not have the disease so it's a very very powerful tool for managing and even reversing type 2 diabetes.

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