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Low-carb diet beats low-fat diet for reducing inflammation in diabetes patients

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A low-carb diet is significantly better than a low-fat diet for reducing inflammation in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a new two-year study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers at Sweden's Linköping University made the conclusion after monitoring 61 diabetic patients who were placed on either on a low-carb diet or a traditional low-fat diet.

The results showed that both groups lost a similar amount of weight (about nine pounds), but the low-carb diet reduced glucose levels better than a low-fat diet. What's more, the low-carb diet dramatically reduced inflammation at the six-month mark, while no such changes were observed in the low-fat group.

“The clinical trial resulted in a similar weight loss comparing low-carbohydrate diet and low-fat diet, but only the low-carbohydrate diet had a favorable impact on inflammation in patients with type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Hand Guldbrand and Professor Fedrick H. Nystrom, who led the study.

Sugar — Not Fat — Is to Blame for Diabetes and Weight Gain

People with type 2 diabetes typically have high levels of inflammation, which fuels heart disease and other degenerative illnesses, including obesity and cancer.

The results are ground-breaking because doctors have historically prescribed a low-fat diet for type 2 diabetics, but the tide is changing as more medical experts now agree that consuming a low-carb diet rich in unprocessed saturated fat can prevent and even reverse diabetes and heart disease.

Even the American Diabetes Association (ADA) now concedes that a low-carb diet can be an effective tool in the war on diabetes. The ADA had previously slammed low-carb diets, saying they were unhealthy.

A growing number of medical experts are debunking the myth that saturated fat makes us fat and sick. They are now saying a high-carb diet — especially one high in sugar — is what causes diabetes, weight gain, and heart disease.

In March 2014, Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury, a cardiovascular epidemiologist at Cambridge University, made headlines after declaring that unprocessed saturated fat actually enhances health. According to Chowdhury, we should focus on reducing carb intake and eating more unprocessed fats if we truly want to be healthy.

“It’s not saturated fat we should worry about," Chowdhury wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine. "It’s the high-carbohydrate or sugary diet that should be the focus of dietary guidelines. If anything is driving your low-density lipoproteins in a more adverse way, it’s carbohydrates.”

Dr. Chowdhury and his Cambridge University colleagues drew their conclusions after reviewing data from 72 published studies of more than 600,000 people from 18 countries.

'Carb Restriction Is the Silver Bullet'

Chowdhury is not alone in his assessment that unprocessed saturated fat protects us against illness. Dr. Jeff Volek, author of The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living, said the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet reverses type 2 diabetes and prevents heart disease.

"Carbohydrate restriction is the proverbial ‘silver bullet’ for managing insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes," Dr. Volek told me.

Similarly, obesity expert Dr. Eric Westman underscored that a high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet not only produces rapid weight loss, but reverses type 2 diabetes and manages epilepsy and cancer.

"I tell my patients not to fear the fat," said Dr. Westman, author of A New Atkins for a New You. "Eat lots of fat. There's no problem with fat. In fact, saturated fat — the fat that we've been taught not to eat — raises your good cholesterol best of all the foods you can eat."

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