Duke University ketogenic diet researcher and physician Eric Westman has become renowned for his expertise in how high fat low carb diets can boost weight loss and help with conditions such as diabetes. He discussed his research and views with health blogger Jimmy Moore.
Since Dr. Robert Atkins authored the first version of his high fat low carb book, ketogenic weight loss plans such as the Atkins approach have attracted controversy. Based on his research and the results from his own practice, however, Dr. Westman co-authored one of the updates of the plan, "The New Atkins for a New You" with two other renowned low-carb diet experts, Dr. Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek. He feels that both consumers and other health experts don't grasp the benefits of a ketogenic diet.
When it comes to the link between heart disease and saturated fat, for example, or the association of saturated fat with high cholesterol, a low carb diet study reported in The Annals of Internal Medicine showed a reduction in heart disease risk and improvement in good cholesterol. But the long-enduring advice from organizations such as the American Heart Association as well as the nation's own food pyramid has fostered fear of fat for decades.
Dr. Westman teamed up with health blogger Jimmy Moore to craft a new book that combines research, expert insights and detailed guidelines to demystify high fat low carb ketogenic diets: "Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet."
In addition to helping dieters lose weight more easily, nutritional ketosis can help with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and hypertension. Dr. Westman is particularly enthusiastic about the therapeutic use of low carb diets for type 2 diabetes.
A new study highlights how low carb diets can even alleviate the need for medication for those with type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that obese adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus experienced better glycemic control and reduced cardiovascular risk, reported MPR News.
The researchers contrasted a very low carbohydrate, high unsaturated/low saturated fat diet (LC) with a high-unrefined carbohydrate, low fat diet (HC). While the 93 participants lost similar amounts of weight, they showed the most improvement in their cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting blood glucose on the low carb diets.
"This suggests an LC diet with low saturated fat may be an effective dietary approach for T2DM management if effects are sustained beyond 24 weeks," the authors concluded. They also instructed the participants in exercise modifications.
One of the co-authors of the study, Dr. Westman highlighted the dramatic improvements in the abstract, reported Health Impact News. He emphasized the frustration that many other doctors failed to understand the benefits of low carb diets.
"At the end of our clinic day, we go home thinking, ‘The clinical improvements are so large and obvious, why don’t other doctors understand?’ Carbohydrate restriction is easily grasped by patients: because carbohydrates in the diet raise the blood glucose, and as diabetes is defined by high blood glucose, it makes sense to lower the carbohydrate in the diet," said Dr. Westman.
The response to low carb diets is rapid. "By reducing the carbohydrate in the diet, we have been able to taper patients off as much as 150 units of insulin per day in eight days, with marked improvement in glycemic control – even normalization of glycemic parameters," added the noted physician.
In addition to diabetes and weight loss, a new study indicates that adding lean beef to the diet in place of carbohydrates such as bread and pasta may help reduce blood pressure. Researchers compared four different diets and determined that the low carb diet with added beef had the most benefits for hypertension, reported Cardiology Today.
The most successful diet contained 28 percent total fat, six percent saturated fatty acids, 27 percent protein and 153 grams of lean beef per day. "This research adds to the significant evidence, including work previously done in our lab, that supports lean beef’s role in a heart-healthy diet," said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, professor of nutrition at Penn State.