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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Men's Health and Type II Diabetes

Men's Health on The Cure for Diabetes

This article was posted on The Performance Menu Forum run by Robb Wolf and Greg Everett. Even Men's Health is starting to get it, or maybe they're just publishing what sells. Regardless, this five-page article has some very excellent information regarding why a low-carb diet is healthier than a low-fat diet.

A few excerpts that stood out when I read it:

Even with all the accumulating evidence, there's no doubt that the high fat content of low-carbohydrate diets is worrisome for many people. And this may be why more physicians don't advocate the approach, even though many follow it themselves: A University of Pennsylvania study reports that doctors prescribe a low-fat diet to their patients 67 percent of the time, yet when it comes to their own diet, they more often go low-carbohydrate.

When it comes down to it, doctors are following a much healthier diet than what they are prescribing to their patients. One reason is that people are so indoctrinated with thinking that fat is bad for them that it can be futile to push a low-carb diet. And even when people believe that low-carb is healthier, getting them to give up their beloved pasta, bread, and chocolate can be impossible. Giving up unhealthy foods is far more uncomfortable than being overweight and unhealthy.

"We're not saying it's okay for people with diabetes to eat lots of sweets," says Franz. "But they deserve the right to eat all types of carbohydrates, just like any other person."

"The right"? People have the right to put whatever they want in their bodies. People have the right to drink antifreeze if they want to. It doesn't mean they should exercise that right very often. The Diabetic Food Pyramid is a carb-heavy, starchy and sugary mess. It proposes a diet that is at odds with the biochemical workings of the body, especially that of a diabetic.

Wrong, says Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut. "Our research indicates that replacing carbohydrates with saturated fat has a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health," he explains. "A low-carbohydrate diet decreases the body's production of saturated fat and increases its ability to burn the incoming dietary fat." In fact, says Volek, more than a dozen peer-reviewed studies published since 2003 show that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet is more effective at reducing overall heart-disease risk than a high-carb, low-fat regimen. And, just like the diet that Dr. Vernon prescribes, each of these meal plans ranged from 50 percent to 70 percent of total calories from fat.

WHAT?! They're even talking good about saturated fat? Hell hath frozen over. Saturated fats from grassfed animals and coconut and palm oils are every bit as good for you as olive oil, all of which are many times better for you than polyunsaturated fats with their immunosuppressing characteristics. But it's rare to see a mainstream publication take that side. Next thing you know they'll be talking about how cholesterol isn't the killer it's made out to be.

The tide is turning. One day people will look back and see humor that fat in general and saturated fat in particular were considered health demons while bread and pasta were looked upon as a health panacea. The work of Drs. Atkins, Eades (Michael and Mary), and Sears, along with many, many others will one day be appreciated for setting human nutrition back onto the pathway that our genes have determined for us.