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Weight loss researcher explains benefits of high fat low carb ketogenic diets

Should you buy diet soda to lose weight - or does the popular LCHF diet work without those artificial sweeteners?
Should you buy diet soda to lose weight - or does the popular LCHF diet work without those artificial sweeteners?
Photo by Joe Raedle

Have you wondered whether a low-carb diet plan might work for you? One of the most noted experts in the field, Jeff Volek, explained the benefits of high fat low carb (LCHF) ketogenic diets as part of the IHMC Evening Lecture Series Thursday, according to the Ocala Star Banner.

Volek is the co-author of "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable" (click for details) and "New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great."

The title of his talk: "The Many Facets of Keto-Adapation: Health, Performance and Beyond." A professor and researcher at the University of Connecticut, Volek dismisses the saying: "You are what you eat." Instead, he says, we should recognize that "you are what you store from what you eat."

Translation: If you are eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is high in bread and pasta, you're storing fat rather than burning it. How do you accelerate and turn on your body's fat-burning abilities? Eat more fats and moderate amounts of protein, says Volek.

"Restricting carbs can increase fat burning, in some cases, more than exercise," Volek said.

And when it comes to exercise, he's also studied the impact on athletes of high fat low carb diets. They too can benefit from keto weight loss plans by learning to balance their intake of fat, protein and carbs, says Volek, who also co-authored "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance."

Volek cited studies with diabetic patients and world-class athletes on “ketogenic diets high in fats” to bolster his claims of the benefits of restricting carbs.

Restricting carbs allows (the body) to use stored fat for fuel rather than the limited (fuel) obtained from carb intake. When body chemistry changes occur, including the liver releasing fat-burning ketones, a state of “ketosis” has been reached and fat is burned usually at a higher rate than a person on a high-carb diet.

We’ve been condemning fats in the diet for decades.

And rather than condemn, says Volek, it's time to embrace cheese, meat, eggs and nuts. He recommends the use of blood tests to determine the correct balance of fats.

Volek also discussed the use of LCHF ketogenic diets for diabetes. “There’s an epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. We now have about 10 percent of the population that has type 2 diabetes and (each patient) spends about $8,000 annually related to the disorder, or about $200 billion overall,” he noted.

And yet: “(The medical profession) continues to recommend a high-carb diet, which exacerbates the problem. It boggles the mind,” stated Volek.

Note: For a fascinating look at what many consider the origins of the LCHF ketogenic diet, read "Letter on Corpulence" (click for more information). We also highly recommend Gary Taubes' "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It."

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