Grant Schofield is Professor of Public Health at AUT University and director of the University’s Human Potential Centre. His speciality is understanding how people can be the best they can be, looking across disciplines including as biology, medicine, public health, and productivity management. On his blog he has an excellent review of a recent scientific paper and article on the potential benefits of high fat, low carb ketogenic diets for a range of conditions including diabetes, weight loss, cardio vascular issues, epilepsy, cancer, acne and more. Here are some extracts…
A really nice paper was just published by Paoli, Rubini, Volek and Grimaldi in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition titled “Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets”
You won’t see a better review paper for summarizing the latest in how we think carbohydrate restriction affects various aspects of metabolic health; from weight loss to neurological issues to acne (yes acne!).
A second excellent review article was also published in Nutrition Today by Volek (again!) and Phinney, the low carb gurus. This one is called “A New Look at Carbohydrate-Restricted Diets: Separating Fact From Fiction”. Again this is an excellent scientific review paper.
Here are some of the Professor Schofield’s summary points from the paper and article…
- Saturated fat levels in the blood are not associated with dietary saturated fat intake, but dietary carbohydrate intake. They show evidence from both randomized controlled trials and population data for this.
- They discuss in detail what the keto-adapted (fat adapted) state is; how this comes about, including increased beta oxidation of fat, decreased hyperinsulinemia, and a reorchestration of substrate utilization in the body, including the use of ketones to fuel brain function. It is interesting that the majority of practicing dietitians, endocrinologists, cardiologists, and public health physicians have never heard of any of this.
- They point out what is a very important and obvious set of outcomes, which are well documented in the scientific literature; that treating a patient with insulin resistance with a low fat/high carb diet is palliative and going to make the problem worse. If you are having trouble getting glucose into your cells, then reduce the glucose load stupid!
- Carbohydrate restricted diets are a legitimate and well documented approach to the treatment of a wide range of issues.
- There are common mechanisms, mostly about reducing the load of insulin the body has to deal with. This is because the body has to dispose of less dietary carbohydrate. This point is seemingly lost on most in the field of chronic disease prevention and treatment. Hyperinsulinemia is a problem in itself, reducing it helps.
- As well, there are associated mechanisms associated with high insulin. There are problems in the IGF pathway, mitochondrial function, and inflammation.
- There is now strong evidence to show that low carbohydrate diets are safe and effective treatments for several conditions, and have some likely positive effects for other conditions.
See all of Professor Schofield’s review, including a sample meal plan, at his blog: How ketogenic (low carb high fat) diets work