It is traditionally well known being overweight may have negative effects on human health, from increasing incidence of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and hearth problems, to an increase risk of dementia and cancer.
But interestingly, in the last decade, we have seen reports in medical literature that being overweight may not be as bad as we thought. For example, we already know 20 % of obese folks (more then 20% of their normal weight) enjoy good health contrarily to what we initially thought. More recently, new studies have even suggested that being overweight may actually protect one’s health; which brings in a theory known as the “obesity paradox”.
In the case of one specific study, it was demonstrated being overweight or obese actually does protect against the occurrence of cardiovascular events!!!
Even more interesting, according to a meta-study of 36 studies that looked into the evolution of patients with coronary artery diseases, it was discovered patients with a LOW BMI had an increase risk of hearth attack and cardiovascular mortality, up to 1.8 to 2.7 times the folks with a normal BMI...
But where this review comes in with an amazing discovery is when they observed patients with the LOWEST cardiovascular mortality were those who were OVERWEIGHT: the ones with a BMI between 25-30. But, and read this carefully, patients who were obese (with a BMI of 30-35), had a 27% lower risk of all-cause mortality compare to those with a normal BMI.
One possible explanation is the obese and overweight patient’s population has higher metabolic reserve (more energy reserve…), which might act as protective in the case of hearth problems. Another explanation is, and it is not the least, the “genetic predisposition” for cardiac disease cannot be modified in underweight folks, at least as much as it can in overweight individuals!!!
Another study showed BODY COMPOSITION (fat and lean mass) plays a critical role in the “obesity paradox”. In this case, HIGHER BMI correlated positively with lower mortality. The researchers were especially under shock with these discoveries when they realized they corrolated nicely with ALL epidemiologic data.
So what does a Zero Carb diet has to do with all this?
Well, even if the word “diet” is usually related to “losing weight”, we now have a bunch of evidence showing someone with NO weight problem could decide to follow a modified carbohydrate diet and gain a lot of health benefits… without loosing any weight if he wants…
The big confusion, nowadays, about the Metabolic Syndrome is many people think you have to be obese to suffer from it. Wrong, very wrong. There is a big group of sufferers out there, especially in the “high blood pressure normal-weight” population, which presents a Metabolic Syndrome without knowing it. The problem being they cannot understand why they should diet, especially do a LC diet, even if you explain the said carbs is the basis of their problem. And if they do not have a diabetes problem, it is merely impossible to convince them to stop eating their beloved carbs…
But what comes up interesting for us on Zero Carb about all this, is the following: if being overweight protects from major health problems, what happen if you are on a restricted carb diet AND overweight at the same time?
Well the following evidence may answer this question and comes from a serious and recent publication about VLCD. To make things clear, in this study, they defined a VLCD diet as comprised of 20-50 g carbohydrate/day AND of blood ketones bodies over 0.5 mM, which brings in the new appellation of VLCKD (very low carb ketogenic diet). But because of individual carb tolerance (capacity to metabolize carb), this definition may vary, which, as we know by experience, brought some folks to a Zero Carb diet to get some results. So, obviously here, the conclusions of this study on VLCKD can by used for anyone on a ZC diet.
So after a lot of “blablabla” about modified-carb diets that anyone reading here on a regular basis knows, these scientists showed how there is a direct correlation between carbohydrate intake and diabetes while there is NO CORELATION with fat intake and diabetes.
It is the repeated cycles of fat accumulation in the liver (hepatic steatosis) and IN THE PANCREAS, produced from unmetabolized excess carbohydrates in the diet that is responsible for the development of diabetes. Fat in a diet, and even “excess” fat in a diet (when limiting carb) do not cause diabetes. As they say so well in this case and is demonstarted by their conclusions, “the lack of association is generally considered strong evidence for a lack of causality”.
THEN comes the “big hit” of the study: “BENEFITS OF DIETARY CARBOHYDRATE RESTRICTION DO NOT REQUIRE WEIGHT LOSS.” Even if, in today’s “general and accepted medical knowledge”, it is understood that weight loss (by any means) do improve the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, we must also accept, on the counterpart, the idea “many diabetes are not overweight and many obese do not have diabetes”.
Several and recent lines of investigation supports the idea weight loss IS NOT required for improvement of glycemic control. Well-designed experiments have demonstrated IMPROVEMENTS in glycemic control (and lipid control) where patients were maintained at constant weight. The MOST EFFECTIVE experiment to control blood sugar was done when carbohydrates were limited to 20 g/day AND THESE SCIENTISTS BELIEVE STILL LOWER LIMITATION MUST HAVE BEEN MORE EFFECTIVE.
I hope you understand we are dealing here with SEARCHES stating that going lower then 20 g carb/day is even MORE EFFECTIVE. If this cannot relate to a Zero Carb diet, I don’t know what will…
Interestingly, they also underlined there is NO better glycemic control with a LC diet + NO weight loss, THEN with a LC diet AND weight loss. As they say: “Given the difficulties that most people have losing weight, this factor alone provides an obvious advantage to low-carbohydrate diets!!!
Amusingly, they also state that if weight loss is not required for benefits, no dietary intervention is better than carbohydrate restriction for weight loss, as they usually have the clear benefit of no need for restricting food intake, as on low-fat diet. Anyway, adherence to LC diets is significantly better then on any other diet and, as you all know by experience, SUSTAINABILITY on any diet is the key to success.
So it seems one can be on a Zero Carb diet, have excess weight, and still enjoy excellent control of risk factors for many diseases. This is supported by studies showing it is the control of the blood sugar and lipid profile (especially triglycerides and less cholesterol...) that correlates with lower vascular damage.
Finally, we know that trying to control blood glucose by adding insulin has the side effect of weigh gain (as insulin is anabolic) and, when compared to the effect of restricting carbohydrates, it is also LESS effective.
How can someone accept the daily hassle of injecting himself insulin while he can simply limit his carbohydrate intake??? Especially when he knows that insulin will cause weight gain while LC will help him normalize his weight… Anyway, insulin and pills to control diabetes have side effects and health risks while limiting carb is simple, natural, cheap and… healthy!
So if someone of you on Zero Carb cannot reach his “desired weight”, don’t be sad about it.
Maybe you are in better health then anyone on Zero Carb at a desirable weight???!!!