Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Research Showing There's No Debate About The Fate Of Low-Carb In 2008

I've become convinced that one of the greatest assets that those of us who believe in the power of livin' la vida low-carb possess is the ever-growing litany of respectable published research that continues to pour in at breakneck speed. A young researcher from the University of Pennsylvania recently confirmed that there is "strong interest" in low-carb diets and how they relate to treating obesity and disease. This has me very excited about the future of the low-carb lifestyle because we're just getting started.

Now that the new year is here, there will be even more positive studies regarding livin' la vida low-carb to be released. All this encouraging research shows us there's no debate about the fate of low-carb in 2008. Things are looking up--WAY UP!--and we should be holding our heads high as the science finally begins catching up with the experiences those of us who have been eating this way already know.

Today I have four newly-released published studies that will encourage you as you continue to live the low-carb life. It's an amazing journey that is so much deeper and more meaningful than simple weight loss. It's about living healthier than you ever thought possible while enjoying amazing high-fat, low-carb foods that are delicious, nutritious, and will keep you satisfied. What other "diet" plan can you say THAT about? Anyone? :)

Here are those new studies for you to add to your arsenal:

1. Fat intake and injury in female runners
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Published January 3, 2008

Looking at female athletes, the researchers wanted to see if the amount of dietary fat intake played a role in the occurrence of foot and knee injuries sustained during training and competition. They observed 86 female runners who ran at least 20 miles a week and asked them to keep a food log for a period of one year. The study participants were asked to report any injuries they sustain over that period of time for the researchers to analyze their food intake to see if there was a contributing factor.

The results were astonishing! Those female runners who were injured were more likely to be consuming "significantly lower intakes of total fat" and calories from fat compared with the study participants who did not sustain an injury. In fact, the researchers conducted a logistic regression analysis to predict with 64 percent certainty which of the female athletes would be injured based on their dietary fat intake.

MY CONCLUSION: If a female runner wants to reduce her risk of an injury, then the best course of action is to EAT MORE FAT! Betcha didn't see that one coming!

2. The Canadian Trial of Carbohydrates in Diabetes (CCD), a 1-y controlled trial of low-glycemic-index dietary carbohydrate in type 2 diabetes: no effect on glycated hemoglobin but reduction in C-reactive protein
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Published January 2008

What seems like an encouraging bit of research about a low-carb diet for controlling Type 2 diabetes over a one-year controlled study is actually anything but. All you need to do is read Regina Wilshire's take at the "Weight Of The Evidence" blog to realize this study was bogus from the start. Why? Because their idea of a "low-carb" diet is putting the study participants on (hold on to your hat) NEARLY 200 grams of carbs a day! HOLY CRAP! Are they TRYING to kill these people?!

It should come as no surprise that all the major health indicators got WORSE on this diet, including weight gain, HbA1c increases, HDL "good" cholesterol decline, sharp increases in triglycerides--all tell-tale signs that these people did NOT follow the dictates of the low-carb lifestyle. Perhaps the researchers would do themselves a lot of good if they performed this same study using a very low-carb ketogenic diet consisting of 10g carbohydrates for comparison purposes. The results of this study would be quite stark!

MY CONCLUSION: Just because research shows some supposed positive aspect of livin' la vida low-carb in a twisted interpretation of the data doesn't mean it should be celebrated. Demand better and more accurate studies to compare the REAL low-carb with the fake 200g carbohydrates one!

3. Effects of a high-protein ketogenic diet on hunger, appetite, and weight loss in obese men feeding ad libitum
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Published January 2008

Like that last study, this one was also published in the same journal. But unlike the previous one, this is a legitimate body of research that bears a closer look. The lead researcher is Dr. Alex Johnstone from the Rowett Research Institute who I previously blogged about her study of low-carb diets on brain health. This time she wanted to know if changing the amount of protein and carbs in the diet would impact hunger for the study participants. Specifically, is being in a state of ketosis brought on by a high-protein, low-carb ketogenic diet more satiating and effective for weight loss than a high-protein, moderate-carb nonketogenic diet? Interesting study, huh?

She carefully observed 17 obese men over a four-week period as part of a residential trial and carefully measured out the specific food content for each of the study participants. Each of them were provided 2 high-protein diets (consisting of 30 percent of total calories) along with either a low-carb diet (consisting of 4 percent of total calories like the Atkins diet) or a moderate-carb diet (consisting of 35 percent of total carbohydrates a la The Zone). She measured their body weight daily along with ketosis. Computer analysis also measured hunger.

The results? Hunger was lower and weight loss was "significantly greater" with the low-carb diet compared with the moderate-carb diet. This all happened while the low-carb participants remained in ketosis and actually ate less food for the duration of the study. It was further proof that ketosis is indeed safe and extremely effective for both satiation and losing weight. Of course, we knew that already.

MY CONCLUSION: If you're looking for a diet composition where you are never hungry, will lose a whole lotta weight, and will feel better than you ever thought possible, then you should turn to a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb ketogenic diet. Ketosis is the key. Nuff said!

4. A low-carbohydrate diet is more effective in reducing body weight than healthy eating in both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects
Diabetic Medicine
Published December 2007

Although the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recently endorsed low-carb as equally effective for diabetics to use as part of their weight management program, similar positions have not been taken by other health advocacy groups like the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Heart Association (AHA) for example. But there hasn't been as much published research on low-carb weight loss for Type 2 diabetics--until now!

Researchers from the Oxford, England-based Center for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism wanted to compare the effects of a low-carb diet on the body weight, HbA1c levels, ketones and cholesterol levels in both diabetics and non-diabetics to see if there would be a difference over a three-month period. A total of 13 Type 2 diabetics controlling their disease with disease or metformin as well as 13 non-diabetics were placed on either a low-carb diet (with 40g or less carbohydrates daily) or a "healthy-eating diet" as prescribed by the ADA-equivalent group in the UK (basically a moderate-to-high-carb, low-fat diet).

The low-carb study participants, both diabetic and non-diabetic, experienced "greater" weight loss with no changes in HbA1c, ketone or lipid levels. While I'm encouraged by the weight change that occurred, I'm surprised there were not improvements in the HbA1c and lipid levels at all on those who followed low-carb. But it's still good new for the low-carb lifestyle.

MY CONCLUSION: Whether you have diabetes or not, livin' la vida low-carb is an "equally effective" way to lose weight and get healthy. Are you hearing this AMA and AHA as well as the low-fat bureaucrats in the FDA and USDA? If low-carb and low-fat are equal, then why not recommend them side-by-side as the ADA began doing this year, hmmmm?

Keep reading the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog throughout 2008 as we'll continue to share with you the latest from the research community. If you see any studies about livin' la vida low-carb that catch your eye and you want to bring them to my attention, then please e-mail me a link to the study or article about it anytime at

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Blogger HunBun said...

I'm surprised too at the lack of improvements in the HbA1c husband's A1c was at or above 9 with 3 oral meds shortly before we started eating LC...within a month or two his levels were near normal! He is now on one of the meds and another one at about 1/4 the dose. He does sort of use the diabetes as an excuse to not go full-on LC - I just think it's a carb addiction that he's unwilling to try and break!

1/08/2008 9:12 PM  
Blogger Regina Wilshire said...

The low-carb study participants, both diabetic and non-diabetic, experienced "greater" weight loss with no changes in HbA1c, ketone or lipid levels.

I haven't seen the full-text, but if there was no difference between the groups for ketones, odds are the "low carb" group wasn't eating as low as the abstract implies.

1/09/2008 9:14 AM  
Blogger Dustbag said...

Gotta love the title of the last study, pitting low-carb vs. "healthy eating". It's my favorite game to play when arguing with low-fat pundits... "define healthy". Then I let my cholestorol results, blood pressure, body fat percent, etc. speak for themselves.

1/09/2008 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that there's lots of new research both pro and anti low carb. The trend that seems clearer to me is that food produced in factories makes us sick: sugar, flour, corn syrup (diabetes), bacon and sausage (cancer), hydrogenated oils (heart disease.) Which sorta stands to reason since there probably weren't that many factories around in the good ole Paleo days when our bodies were designed. It also helps explain why traditional diets both high and low carb ones are pretty healthy but when the folks move to the city they get our diseases.

1/09/2008 11:32 AM  

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