Benefits of The Low-Carbohydrate Lipolytic Diet
The scientific evidence for the benefits of a low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diet interventions is rapidly growing. Below is a list of conditions for which low-carbohydrate interventions have been documented to show benefit in human trials.
|Alzheimer’s Disease||Weight Management||Cancer|
|Sleep Disorders||Bain Fog||Diabetes (Type I and II)|
The relationship between elevated blood sugar and Alzheimer’s disease has been extensively studied. Some studies suggest that impaired glucose supply in the brain can be seen as early as 10 years prior to the development of cognitive decline . Because of this, scientists have recently started referring to Alzheimer’s disease as type III diabetes. This recent review summarizes the overlap in the molecular mechanism in Alzheimer’s and diabetes. In a 2018 longitudinal study, a significant association was established between elevated blood sugar levels and cognitive decline later in life.
In an interventional study, where Alzheimer’s patients were subjected to 3 months of carbohydrate restriction to less than 10% of energy intake, participants showed an improvement in their cognitive ability. The improvement was reversed after a month of reverting back to a regular diet.
Weight management is the most common reason people consider a low-carbohydrate diet. When compared to a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet has been demonstrated to show superior results in healthy, obese, and diabetic Individuals.
This highlights the fact that the classical conception that “a calorie is a calorie” when it comes to weight loss is not accurate.
There are a few reasons why a low-carbohydrate diet yields superior weight loss results. First, it promotes a catabolic (burning) rather than anabolic (storing) endocrine response. Second, it increases free energy loss through loss in the mitochondria and thorough urine and breath. Finally, it is much more satiating than calorie restricted diets. More information on all these processes can be found here.
The Warberg effect, which suggests that cancer cells depend on oxygen dependant glycolysis has been extensively studied for many years. It was first discovered after the discovery of increased glucose utilization of cancer cells on PET scans.
In a 2017 systematic review, it was concluded that a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet increases mean survival time and slows tumor growth. The magnitude of these benefits seems to be the greatest for cancers with the worst prognosis and fastest growth rate.
A low-carbohydrate diet can also aid in conventional cancer treatment. The diet has been shown to improve the effectively of radiation therapy, and promote post-radiation DNA repair,
Quality sleep is essential for optimal function of nearly every body system. Inadequate sleep can adversely affect both physical and mental health.
Back in 2007 a study published in the journal Epilepsia demonstrated that a low-carbohyydrate, ketogenic diet improved sleep quality in children with therapy resistant epilepsy. A year later, a study in a healthy adult population concluded that a very low-carbohydrate diet increases stage 4 deep sleep in healthy individuals.
Research on the topic has been limited in the last decade, But, a new randomized controlled, cross-over clinical trial is currently being carried out,
It is proposed that the improved sleep is due to the metabolic shift from glucose to fat metabolism.
The term “Brain fog” is commonly described as having symptoms of poor concentration and memory retention, slow thinking, difficulty focusing, a haziness in thought processes. These symptoms often become worse after a meal. Research suggests that the driver of this postprandial mental fog is glucose, while the a low-carbohydrate-lipolytic state is neuroprotective.
All the neuroprotective benefits of a low carbohydrate diet are summarized in this study. Ketone bodies, which are produced from lipids during a low-carbohydrate state, are the preferred fuel of the brain. Thus, when dietary carbohydrates are not in abundance, the brain recieves optimal fuel and functions more effectively.
Direct cognitive improvement on a Low-carbohydrate diet has been shown in rats, and long-term human studies are currently being conducted.
Adhering to a low-carbohydrate lipolytic diet can be a very effective way to sharpen your brain increase daily productivity.
Diabetes (Type I and II)
Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease where insulin producing beta cells are destroyed. Thereby, type I diabetics rely on exogenous insulin injections for glucose control. It was initially thought that the most important goal for these patients was maintaining euglycemia or normal blood sugar. However, in a fourteen-year study published in the NEJM, it was found that maintaining lower blood glucose with higher insulin administration resulted in more cardiovascular disease. This was attributed to the adverse effects of high insulin. The same results were seen in type II diabetes when the goal of achieving euglycemia with higher insulin was tested. In a follow-up paper, when Insulin was reduced with EMPA, the rate of CVD decreased. This suggests that the best therapy options for diabetic patients is carbohydrate restriction, as it requires the least insulin administration.
A 2018 large low-carbohydrate, ketogenic intervention trial yielded remarkable results in type II diabetics. After just 1 year, 262 diabetic patients showed very significant improvement in their markers of blood sugar. The results seen have not been by any pharmaceutical intervention.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in North America. Since the 1960s, fat and cholesterol have been historically demonized and held responsible for the epidemic, recent evidence suggests that we have been blaming the wrong macronutrient.
A recent systematic review in the British Journal of Medicine concluded that “there is no association or an inverse association between LDL and mortality in the elderly”. Further, In 2016 a study with 12,000 that was ended early by a pharmaceutical company because it demonstrated that cholesterol medication also had no benefit on heart health.
The biggest risk factors that have repeatedly been shown to increase heart disease are: elevated triglycerides, low high hensity lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol) values and poor blood glucose management. The ongoing pure STUDY, recently published data in the Lancet from 135,335 participants from 18 patients showing that all these risk factors improve with a low-carbohydrate diet.
While acute or short-term inflammation is a process associated with healing and damage repair, Chronic or long-term Inflammation is damaging to the body, and is linked to many diseases including IBS, autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, diabetes, cancer and much more.
Forsythe and her colleagues compared the effects of a low-carbohydrate and a low-fat diet on markers of inflammation and demonstrated that a low-carbohydrate diet significantly decreased 7 out of 14 inflammatory biomarkers. Meanwhile, a low fat diet yielded the opposite results. Similar results were documented in a more recent study with a diabetic cohort.
At least one of the ketone bodies, which a is produced on a low carbohydrate diet plays a role in chronic inflammation. The ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate blocks NLRP3 inflammasome, which is a potent driver on inflammation. This explains one, but likely not the only anti-inflammatory mechanism associated with a low carbohydrate diet.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
PCOS is another condition which is strongly associated with insulin resistance. It is a risk factor for PCOS independent of obesity. In fact, one study suggests that “all women with PCOS need to be treated for insulin resistance.” This is regardless of body weight and blood sugar levels.
Improving insulin sensitivity with a low-carbohydrate diet has been shown to be an effective at lowering testosterone, which was driven by a decrease in insulin levels, and balancing LF/FSH in women with PCOS.