Dr. Theodore VanItallie shows a very low-carb diet does a lot of good
This USA Today story underscores yet new evidence demonstrating several amazingly positive benefits of a very low-carb, high-fat diet including in the treatment of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's disease, epilepsy and even brain cancer.
Lead researcher Dr. Theodore B. VanItallie, from the St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, believed that a "hyperketogenic" diet would serve as an excellent natural remedy for Parkinson's disease because the excess ketones in such a diet consisting almost entirely of fat would trick the body into healing itself without the use of drug therapy.
If you think the Atkins diet is restrictive having at the bare minimum a 20/40/40 ratio of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, then this ultra-low-carb diet used by Dr. VanItallie that he had his study patients on was insane because it contained -- hold on to your hats -- a 2/90/8 diet! You heard me right...NINETY PERCENT FAT!!!
Five Parkinson's disease patients followed this unorthodoxed diet plan for just four weeks and guess what? Their balance improved, their tremors and shaking ceased, their overall mood was much happier and low-carb supporters are sticking their tongues out at all those radical low-fat lunatics (like THIS ONE!) who believe fat is the great enemy in our diet today! NOT!
The study which was published last year in the journal Neurology.
The once-sacred hard-nosed belief that fat can play no role in a healthy diet is clearly out the window now. Several trials and other recent studies looking at dietary treatment of medical conditions has found that people suffering from neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease can see unbelievable improvements in their condition just from something as simple as virtually eliminating their intake of carbs and protein.
High-fat diets are suspected to benefit people with brain tumors by stalling them from growing bigger. But this isn't a new treatment option. A severe ketogenic diet has been used for nearly 90 years to treat epilepsy patients, mostly children, to reduce the number of seizures they have.
Not surprisingly, the medical community isn't so quick to embrace this "extreme" of a low-carb diet. It kinda puts all the negative comments about such mainstream diet plans as the Atkins, South Beach, Protein Power, and even the Zone diets in perspective, though, doesn't it?
If these diets are as supposedly "dangerous" and "unhealthy" because of their lack of carbohydrates at levels between 20-30 percent of caloric intake, then what are these naysayers gonna say about a diet with just 2 percent carbs?! LOL! I would have loved to have seen the look on their faces when they read about this study! :D
So why does this kind of diet help with these awful diseases? It's elementary really. The body goes from metabolizing sugar to a much better fuel source -- ketone bodies. In the process of gluconeogenesis, as we have discussed several times previously at this blog, the body makes its own carbs or glucose to use as fuel from the fat and protein that is consumed.
The health "experts" in the story believe a ketogenic diet is unfeasible for people because they can't stick to it. Try telling that to THIS GUY who is eating the ultimate ketogenic diet -- ZERO CARBS!
And, of course, a dietician in the story is so concerned about all that fat causing heart-related health issues and that eating so much fat is so unhealthy and undesirable for people to stick with. So I suppose this dietician would prefer these patients gorge themselves on a 55/25/20 known as the Standard American Diet (SAD). Riiiiight! All those carbs can't possibly do any harm to the health of those people. Ha!
What about just putting these patients on the Atkins diet to see how they would react? Dr. VanItallie actually said the Atkins diet does not produce ENOUGH ketone bodies to adequately treat the diseases. Did you hear that media and health "experts?" THE ATKINS DIET DIDN'T MAKE ENOUGH KETONES BECAUSE IT ALLOWS TOO MANY CARBS! ROTFL! All this business about the Atkins diet being NO carbs and you have to have carbs to survive mumbo jumbo yadda yadda yadda crap has been exposed for all the world to see now.
Enough of the propaganda about livin' la vida low-carb, it's time to take a serious look at some of these therapeutic aspects of this amazing dietary approach. In a non-diabetic person, excessive ketone levels are perfectly harmless and even beneficial in a lot of ways.
Lab studies have found ketone bodies preserve organs during blood loss and creates neurological changes in mice regarding Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Lou Gehrig's disease. Studies are still ongoing and it will be exciting to see the results as they continue proving yet again how the low-carb lifestyle has been given a premature bad rap. Scientific research is once again leading the revival of low-carb living and will continue to do so in the years to come.
Regarding brain tumors, it seems the cells in these tumors are starved of blood sugar on a ketogenic diet and can't use ketone bodies for energy. What that means is the growth of these tumors stops and the ketone bodies actually provide nourishment for the health cells in the brain. How cool is that?!
Next up for Dr. VanItallie is yet another new Parkinson's disease study that takes the best elements of the 90 percent fat diet and mixes it with a modified version of the Atkins diet. The same five Parkinson's disease patients who participated in last year's study have been asked again to participate in this new upcoming study. We'll let you know when details of the study are released to the public.
You can e-mail Dr. Theodore VanItallie to thank him for sharing his study on low-carb at firstname.lastname@example.org.