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High fat ketogenic diets rank as 'black sheep' of nutrition despite studies

High fat diets become more popular.
High fat diets become more popular.
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Despite an increasing number of evidence favoring high fat low carb ketogenic diets as ideal for weight loss and health, they reign as the "black sheep" of the nutrition world. That's the conclusion of Dr. Mike Roussell during a Tuesday podcast.

Dr. Mike talked with podcast host Jimmy Moore, author of "21 Life Lessons From Livin' La Vida Low-Carb: How The Healthy Low-Carb Lifestyle Changed Everything I Thought I Knew," about the science behind low carb diets. He is concerned that because of the prevailing myths around these diets, many dieters who might benefit from the plans never even try them.

In particular, high fat ketogenic diets are misunderstood. Many people think of them as high protein diets. In reality, however, a high fat low carb ketogenic diet features moderate amounts of protein, higher percentages of fats and reduced amounts of carbohydrates.

As for its impact on cholesterol, minimal evidence exists that LDL targets correspond to heart disease risks. Jimmy, who also authored "Cholesterol Clarity: What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers," struggled with his own cholesterol until he saw the low-carb light.

How can you benefit from a low carb diet, and where should you start? Dr. Mike notes that you can benefit your metabolism by using a hierarchy.

The first steps: Cut or dramatically reduce foods with added sugars, followed by refined grains. Then start limiting your intake of whole grains and even fruit as you move toward a high fat, low carb ketogenic approach to boost fat-burning and shed pounds faster.

Consumers seem to have gotten the message as more of them are favoring increased amounts of protein, reported the Marketing Daily on Tuesday. More than 50 percent of adults are consciously trying to eat more protein.

In addition to weight loss, consumers view protein as a way to prevent type 2 diabetes, said Melissa Abbott, culinary insights director for The Hartman Group."They look at it for controlling blood sugar, which is really code for satiety and its connection to weight management."

Indicative of the increasing acceptance of low carb diets: Dr. Robert Atkins' weight loss plan that rolled out in the 1980s has become popular again. Dr. Atkins initially was bombarded with skepticism about the safety of the unlimited amounts of protein and fats in his diet.

Now, partly as a result of the weight loss success of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Sharon Osbourne on the Atkins diet, the low carb high fat (LCHF) diet has become mainstream. In an exclusive interview, Colette Heimowitz, VP of Nutrition & Education at Atkins Nutritionals, told me that the newest version of the Atkins diet reflects the latest research.

Author of "The New Atkins Made Easy: A Faster, Simpler Way to Shed Weight and Feel Great -- Starting Today," Colette noted that more than 80 clinical trials have studied the Atkins diet in the last few decades.

"This information has lead us to adjust certain recommendations. One thing we learned is that fiber has a minimal impact on blood sugar and is not biologically available," Colette told me.

As a result, dieters do not need to limit vegetables. Instead, they are encouraged to consume them based on the new requirement of "12 to 15 net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) that need to come in the form of vegetables. This helps the dieter meet fiber requirements without having to supplement."

In addition, dieters are advised on how much protein to consume. "We also put more emphasis on healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, seeds/nuts and their oils and butters," added Colette.