Dr. Richard Feinman and Dr. Jeff Volek are heroes of the low-carb lifestyle
Despite the fact that the low-carb lifestyle has been openly ridiculed, condemned, and described in every negative light possible this year by the media and health experts, a new study released on Wednesday found that the benefits of following such a plan may be better than previously thought.
Published in this week's issue of the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, the study is being heralded as a "classic light bulb moment" and a scientific breakthrough for people who believe in livin' la vida low-carb.
Dr. Richard Feinman of SUNY Downstate and Dr. Jeff Volek from the University of Connecticut were looking at the features of metabolic syndrome and discovered carbohydrate-restricted diets improve each of those factors.
Metabolic syndrome includes anything that increases the risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease, such as obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL "good" cholesterol, high blood sugar, hypertension and insulin resistance.
While conventional wisdom has always been to lower your fat intake to improve metabolic syndrome, what Dr. Feinman and Dr. Volek could not believe is the fact that a low-carb lifestyle change, which millions of Americans have used to lose weight and get healthy, is precisely what is needed to ward off each of those risk factors associated with it and the data has been right there the entire time.
"It's been staring us in the face for years," said Dr. Feinman. "Now we've connected the dots."
THIS IS AN EARTHQUAKE MOMENT IN SCIENTIFIC HISTORY!!!
Medical experts have been looking for a way to treat metabolic syndrome for many, many years and now they have their answer: it's livin' la vida low-carb.
"Make a list of the features of metabolic syndrome, then, make a list of the things that carbohydrate restriction is good at fixing. They're the same list. Somehow, we never really noticed that," Dr. Volek explained.
We're glad you did, Dr. Volek. He added that controlling insulin production is the key to treating metabolic syndrome.
"We know the cause of metabolic syndrome is often linked to disruption of insulin," Dr. Volek continued. "Thus, the key to treating metabolic syndrome is to control insulin, and carbohydrates are the major stimulus for insulin."
He's exactly right. Your body turns virtually every morsel of non-fiber carbohydrates into sugar which can create a multitude of problems for the body which become evident in the symptoms characterized by metabolic syndrome.
But the researchers didn't just stop there. Guess what kind of diet made metabolic syndrome get worse, not better?
"The most obvious factor in the obesity epidemic is the drastic increase in carbohydrate consumption in recent years and the decrease in fat consumption, so the story is consistent," Feinman remarked. "I think people have learned the value of reducing carbohydrates during the media popularization of low-carb diets, but they are still making it hard for themselves by also trying to reduce fat, when fat seems to be much less important a factor than carbohydrates.”
I couldn't have said it better myself, Dr. Feinman. Yep, you heard it right. Low-fat diets are WORSE than low-carb plans because they exascerbate metabolic syndrome rather than improving it.
These study results challenge the premise that a low-fat/low-calorie/portion control diet is the ONLY way to lose weight and get healthy. The government should use this new research to help them start properly educating the American people about the positive effects the low-carb lifestyle can have on their health.
While livin' la vida low-carb certainly helped me lose a whole lot of weight, I think I appreciate the fact that I am so much healthier now than I have ever been.
Medical "experts" will now be faced with a conundrum: do they continue recommending the same old dietary information they've been telling patients for years or do they tell them they should start restricting their carbohydrate intake for health reasons?
“I think official agencies are trying to back off from recommending high carbs and low fat across the board, so I think there are real signs of progress," Feinman noted. "The bottom line is that if you reduce carbohydrates, you can be less concerned about your fat intake, and that often makes it much easier to stick to a beneficial new diet or lifestyle change.”
As someone who has been on a low-carb lifestyle change for nearly two years, I can confidently say that I have not watched my fat intake one single time during this experience. All I have been concerned with is my total net carbs. That's it! When I tell people this, their eyebrows go way up and I know they wonder silently what I am doing to myself.
But with all research that has been published on how maintaining stable blood sugar is much more important for controlling your health than restricting your fat intake, I think I'll be sticking with low-carb for a very, very, very long time. Like forever!
One-fourth of all adult Americans currently have symptoms of metabolic syndrome which could be treated with low-carb. The only question that remains now is whether the medical community will swallow their pride and recognize this way of eating as a healthy treatment option for their patients. If they do, then there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth from those who support low-fat. GOOD!
But even more important is the fact that people will lose weight and find the lasting way to keep it off and get healthy -- FINALLY! The feeling of accomplishment that comes from being free from weight and health problems is just too amazing to describe in words. You just have to do it to know what it's like!
By the way, both Dr. Feinman and Dr. Volek will be speaking at the Nutritional & Metabolic Aspects of Carbohydrate Restriction conference coming up in Brooklyn, New York from January 20-22, 2006.
You can e-mail your thanks to Dr. Richard Feinman at email@example.com and Dr. Jeff Volek at firstname.lastname@example.org for their extraordinary work validating the low-carb lifestyle.
11-19-05 UPDATE: Dr. Jeff Volek sent me an e-mail thanking me for helping get the word out about his and Dr. Feinman's groundbreaking work:
Jimmy, that is quite a nice compliment and much appreciated. The science in the pipeline and the passionate people like yourself spreading the good word has a huge impact.
We'll keep on talking about the positive effects of livin' la vida low-carb in this forum because everyone needs to know how much this way of eating can and will change their lives for the better through weight loss and health improvements. Continue on with the great work, Dr. Volek! We'll be watching.