A panel of 24 respected medical experts say a low-carb diet should be the first line of defense for treating diabetes, according to a report published in the medical journal Nutrition.
Scientists said low-carb diets such as the Paleo, ketogenic and Atkins plans can even eliminate the need for diabetes drugs because they work immediately to reduce high blood sugar.
The study co-authors included Dr. Eric Westman, director of the Duke University Obesity Clinic, Dr. Jeff Volek, a professor at Ohio State University, cancer researcher Dr. Eugene Fine, and Dr. Ann Childers, a specialist in pediatric psychiatry and nutrition.
Low-Carb Diets Stem Blood Sugar Spikes Without Side Effects
After analyzing data from a cross-section of studies, these experts concluded a low-carb diet is the best treatment for diabetes because it has proven effective in reducing pro-inflammatory blood-sugar spikes without the unpleasant side effects most drugs have.
Surprisingly, the researchers said a low-carb diet was beneficial for diabetics even if they don't lose weight.
"The benefits of carbohydrate restriction in diabetes are immediate and well-documented," wrote Dr. Westman.
"Dietary carbohydrate restriction reliably reduces high blood glucose, does not require weight loss (although is still best for weight loss) and leads to the reduction or elimination of medication, and has never shown side effects comparable to those seen in many drugs."
Dr. Jeff Volek, a registered dietitian and co-author of the study, agrees. By drastically reducing carbs and replacing them with unprocessed fats, you can experience stable blood sugar and prevent degenerative illnesses like heart disease and diabetes, Volek told me in an exclusive interview.
"Carbohydrate restriction is the proverbial ‘silver bullet’ for managing insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes," said Volek.
Because dietary fat has a negligible impact on insulin, eating it doesn't produce surges in our blood glucose and blood insulin the way ingesting carbs does, he said. Reducing blood-sugar spikes is critical for diabetics.
Low-Carb Diets Aid Weight Loss, Epilepsy and Cancer
The health benefits of low-carb, high-fat diets such as the Paleo, ketogenic and Atkins diets extend beyond diabetes management. In addition to promoting weight loss, LCHF diets like the ketogenic plan have been shown to manage advanced metastatic cancer.
"The ketogenic diet shows promise as a way to manage some cancers," study co-author Dr. Fine told me.
Fine, a professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, echoed the sentiments of renowned cancer scientist Dr. Thomas Seyfried, whose decades of research suggest a ketogenic diet beats chemotherapy for almost all cancers.
A new study published in Epilepsy Today confirmed the efficacy of the ketogenic diet for preventing and reducing epilepsy-induced seizures among children.
Similarly, Time magazine — which has long embraced calorie-counting as the holy grail for weight loss — conceded that low-carb, high-fat diets like the Paleo, ketogenic or Atkins diets are better for weight loss than counting calories.
Dr. David Ludwig, a nutrition professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, said low-fat diets that emphasize calorie quantity over calorie quality have proven a dismal failure for long-term weight loss.
“Low-carb diets outperform a low-fat diet every time, and that wouldn’t be true if calories were the only measure that mattered,” said Ludwig, author of Always Hungry?: Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently.