Seeking a leader in trying a different way to battle obesity? You might want to nominate Sweden, which has become the first Western nation to recommend a lower-carbohydrate, higher-fat diet, reported Food Product Design on October 29.
Swedish government advisers at the Council on Health Technology Assessment based their recommendation on a review of 16,000 studies on diet and obesity. Based on their analysis of those studies, they determined that the nation would benefit most from a low-carb, high fat, ketogenic diet.
Benefits of a ketogenic diet, according to their study, include:
- improved blood sugar
- reduce body weight
- enhanced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol without adverse effects on low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
In addition, the government advisers noted that by reducing carbohydrates to 20 percent of total calories, obese individuals and those with diabetes could anticipate better blood sugar levels.
"It will be interesting to see how quickly other countries follow suit, recognizing that managing carbohydrates is the key to handling certain health conditions," said Jeff Volek, Ph.D., RD, professor and nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut and co-author of "New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great" (click for details).
He noted that the reduction in carbohydrates makes sense because so many low-fat and fat-free foods are higher in sugar.
"Lower-fat varieties of foods are often higher in sugars and carbohydrates, which is simply counter-intuitive for people who need to control metabolism-related conditions like diabetes, metabolic syndrome and insulin sensitivity, all of which are related to obesity," added Dr. Volek, whose best-selling books include "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).
So what really constitutes a low-carbohydrate diet? And now does it work? Researchers in England have noted that "the role of very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets in the long-term management of obesity is not well established." Because of that, they used a diet with 50 or less carbohydrates per day to determine the benefits when compared with a conventional low-fat diet with less than 30 percent of total calories from fat.
They emphasized that the benefits ranged from weight loss to improved insulin, confirming Dr. Volek's views. To learn more, read about neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter's recent discussion of how grains and sugar impact your body and brain by clicking here.