In the last few years, we are getting in more and more studies showing a low-carbohydrate diet (AND ESPECIALLY VERY-LOW CARB DIETS) can “CURES” many common diseases. Please note I do not say it “BRINGS UNDER CONTROL DISEASES"; I am talking here about getting rid totally of pathologies.
Of course, these studies are done with low carb diet but most of them limit carbohydrate intake to fewer than 20 g per day (VLCD). And most of these 20 g are from low-carb vegetable, which are, at the end of a meal, a few leaves of lettuce and perhaps a small branch of broccoli or cauliflower. Personally, I do not consider this as a significant source of nutrients but only a way to be more “politically correct” and make folks believe if a diet contains some vegetables, it must be a good diet…
So let’s give a look to these common diseases where a LC/VLCD/ZC approach brings in a definitive treatment:
Many repeated and well-done studies have documented a low-carb approach is an excellent choice to bring back blood glucose into normal limits, including normalizing glycated hemoglobin. We even have some reports of diabetes type-1 (with a lack of insulin) that had impressive results. Knowing all this, even the American Diabetic Association recommends a LC diet as an alternative choice to treat diabetes type 2. When well executed and followed, any diabetes on medication and insulin will be able to stop all treatment on a LC diet even in advance forms of the disease. I will not say more here about this as if you are reading this blog, you know well the effectiveness of a LC in this case.
-HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE:
We well know any food that stimulate insulin production will also cause a decrease of production of "N.O." (nitrous oxide) which is the main relaxant for blood vessels muscles. Going on a LC diet will cause insulin level to drop and "N.O." to increase, keeping the arteries dilated and blood pressure normal.
Insulin has also an effect on the kidneys and will cause a water retention, which will also increase blood pressure. And, of course, loosing weight is a powerful tool to normalize blood pressure. These effects are well know in human physiology but as says so well Gary Taubes, “for some obscure reasons”, the message just don’t go through…
Folks are told high blood pressure in a genetic defect and they have to take pills. Except that we are observing an impossible increase of 25% EACH YEAR of the number of sufferers in "westenised countries" which clearly indicate that, even if there is a genetic predisposition (hyperinsulinism), something is wrong in the lifestyle, especially the diet.
BLOOD LIPID ANIMALITY:
Many studies have documented the most powerful tool to get high triglycerides back into normal limits is 2 weeks on a LC diet. No need for pills or supplement here. As for cholesterol, it is documented CARBOHYDRATES do cause a DECREASE of HDL and an INCREASE of atherosclerotic LDL, which are the 2 main things nobody wants in his blood lipid profile. Limits carbs and you will conteract these 2 effects.
Of course, if you add to your LC diet an INCREASE in saturated fats on a daily basis, your HDL will sky-rocket and your LDL will become larger and less atherosclerotic. This was supported by many researches but probably that with the “statin lobbying” and the related annual earnings of “3 billions USD”, many have interest not to get the message out.
About 2 years ago, a laboratory technician (with his own money) decided to put some rats affected by SEVERE renal insufficiency on a LC diet. He did this because he suspected, after working on his bosses’s projects in his laboratory, he could have such results. Of course, none of the said bosses were getting subsidies for these kinds of studies because this would not bring in the possibility of producing new medications…
His results were astonishing: not only the rats showed rapid improvement in the renal insufficiency but many were cure COMPLETELY. And as we share many common physiologic pathways with rats (and especially at the kidney level), we can surely expect the same results with human.
Sadly again, we are now seeing impossible numbers of folks with renal insufficiency, especially related to diabetes. Many of them are severely limited in their daily activities especially if under hemodialysis. I get me depress knowing they could go on a ZC diet with plenty of satisfying saturated fats and adequate proteins, and regain their life…!!!
One fascinating study done a few years ago demonstrated with a group of women having had a hearth event, that changing their diet toward a LC and high saturated fat intake, greatly reduce new incidence of heart problems.
Adding this to the effect of a LC diet on diabetes, blood pressure and lipid profile (3 of the common risk factor for hearth disease), we clearly have some scientific proofs here about the positive effect of limiting carbohydrate intake.
Anyway, statistical studies have clearly demonstrated there is a DIRECT correlation between diabetes and heart problems. We cannot say the same about cholesterol…
Want it or not, obesity is a disease and surely a significant symptom of the metabolic syndrome. Of course, we know 20% of obese never develop health problems related to their excess weight but some new studies a beginning to show this might not be so true.
Anyway, and this was corroborated by many studies in the last decades, a LC diet is the best way to loose weight and MAINTAIN the weight loss, if compared to a low-fat or low-calorie diet. Anyone that does not succeed in loosing weight on a LC diet is doing something wrong and this is, sadly, happening more and more often. As one already said: do not think a LC diet is like eating everyday at an all-u-can-eat buffet. Just as this other one said: on a LC diet, “one must not substitute his carbohydrate overloaded diet for an overloaded butter diet…”.
Because carbohydrates are a powerful trigger for inflammation, they also improve a lot of diseases related to the said inflammation when restricted. From common arthritis and severe rheumatoid arthritis to fibromyalgia, some studies have reported improvements AND total remission of these diseases on LC diet. I think results could have been even better if the enrolled folks would have done the diet properly, which is the main reason for failure or/and bad results.
This disease, which is often called “diabetes type 3” have also got improvement on a LC diet. Sadly, studies have concentrated on the improvements of brain functions because of the increase of cholesterol/saturated fats in the diet (our brain contains 25 % of our total body’s cholesterol) and not the limitation of carbs.
Even the well-know pharmaceutical company PFIZER is now producing a “drink” for Alzheimer patients which contains plenty saturated coconut oil because it causes significant improvements in cognitive functions of affected patients.
But we must not forget Alzheimer is directly related to carbohydrates, as the best proof being the incidence is much higher in diabetics then in the general population. Again, here, it is the same basic pathology of “insulin resistance” (because of long period of hyperinsulinism) and so the brain gets less nourish. Do remember the role of insulin is not only to get glucose into the cells BUT ALSO protein and fats. And what do you get with a brain not well nourish? Degenerated brain diseases like Alzheimer (and also like Parkinson, Multiple Sclerosis ect.)
Sadly, this is not often reported but sufferers of eating disorders have been shown to be fully and permanently treated with a LC diet AND ESPECIALLY WITH A ZERO CARB DIET. But as anorexia-bulimia THERAPISTS do not want their patients on any diet, they do not tend to go this way. It is sad because any ZC follower will tell you: our diet is not a restrictive diet and there is no place for limitation on quantities (as it regulates itself naturally) so no need to take control over the food intake, as the “control aspect” seems to be the basic origin of these eating disorders.
Interestingly, we see times to times some reports in the medical literature about improvement of these severe psychiatric disorders when using a LC diets. I think they are not use so often as these patients are not the best subjects to follow such diets, probably because of social reasons. It is sad because the actual treatments based on strong medications are dominating the daily life of these folks. It is one thing for a newcomer to fail on LC diet , but if you suffer from schizophrenia, to get back on the train can be long and hard process.
I am deliberately avoiding other diseases that have been report to get cured with a LC diet, from acne to asthma for example, as I wanted to concentrate on these where I have read studies confirming good results.
Sadly, I think the BIGGEST obstacle to using a LC/VLCD/ZC diet to treat diseases is the fact carbohydrates are so addictive and so anchored in all our different cultural backgrounds, aside being so cheap and thus, extremely profitable for our ecenomy.
Luckily, people that have reached “the bottom of the hell” of many health problems related to carbohydrates are now giving a try to these LC diet and are seeing incredible improvements.
But as many other things in life, just like stopping to smoke, one must do it for himself and NOT only to please others.
Success has some rules and this is one of them.