There have been a lot of recent stories touting the benefits of a diet low in carbohydrates, and high in fat (LCHF).
- Michigan’s Taylor Lewan going with low-carb diet for final season
- The Paleo Diet: Right For Runners?
- Paleo’s Latest Converts
- Blocking Sugar Intake May Reduce Cancer Risk or Progression in Obese and Diabetic People
These articles are supported not only by the anecdotal benefits achieved by the story subjects, but also by a growing body of research that further supports the purported benefits.
- Effects of a short-term carbohydrate-restricted diet on strength and power performance
- Meat intake and cause-specific mortality: a pooled analysis of Asian prospective cohort studies
- Effect of low-calorie versus low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in type 2 diabetes
- Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
- Treatment of diabetes and diabetic complications with a ketogenic diet
- A low-protein, high-carbohydrate diet increases de novo fatty acid synthesis from glycerol and glycerokinase content in the liver of growing rats
- Subjective satiety and other experiences of a Paleolithic diet compared to a diabetes diet in patients with type 2 diabetes
Other proponents include some high profile scientists and bloggers.
So what gives? What’s the answer?
Some of the most interesting points made by these proponents (and others) is that
- childhood obesity increased substantially and significantly after the introduction of the food pyramid (note, this is a correlation . . . no cause-effect; video games surely didn’t help the situation)
- a high(er) carbohydrate diet forces endurance athletes to rely on glucose for fuel and not fat; the latter being in much greater supply
- carbohydrates are not filling and drive hunger and caloric (over) consumption
- all calories are not created equally
I am neither a nutritional nor epidemiological researcher, but I do have an appreciation for logic and how to read research. Keep in mind, I generally learned that a low fat diet was the way to go so it’s hard for me to admit that the evidence is quite compelling, if not yet fully convincing, that a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat. Whether you agree with it or not, it is fun to read the beliefs and research in this area.
While I have dabbled with the paleo diet and I acknowledge that I’ve had some success, I’m looking forward (hopefully) to a more definitive conclusion soon!