Low Carb Advantage

We, humans, are eating loads of carbohydrates. But, there is increasing evidence to show that low carb and energy restricted diets protect against modern day diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension etc., Calorie restriction also increases longevity.

Emerging Evidence

  • Five Lifestyle Changes Can Go a Long Way Toward Cutting the Odds of Type 2 Diabetes: A Population-based prospective cohort study that examined how combinations of lifestyle risk factors relate to the 11-year risk for incident diabetes (National Institutes of Health (NIH)–AARP Diet and Health Study) included 114 996 men and 92 483 women, aged 50 to 71 years in 1995 to 1996, without evidence of heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, with a follow-up survey in 2004 to 2006. Of these, 11 031 men (9.6%) and 6969 women (7.5%) developed new-onset diabetes. Normal weight (maintained a body mass index below 25), nonsmoking, physically active (at least 20 minutes of heart-pounding, sweat-inducing exercise three or more times per week), healthy diet [a diet with lots of fiber, little trans fat, few refined or sugary carbohydrates, and a high ratio of good (polyunsaturated) to bad (saturated) fats] and little to no drinking (two drinks or less a day for men, and one drink or less for women) were associated with least risk of developing diabetes mellitus. [Reis JP et al. Lifestyle Factors and Risk for New-Onset Diabetes. A Population-Based Cohort Study. Ann Int Med. September 6, 2011;155(5):292-299 Full Text |Report]
  • Increasing the ratio of beans to white rice, or limiting the intake of white rice by substituting beans, may lower cardiometabolic risk factors: A new study from Costa Rica, which involved monitoring the diet of almost 2,000 people in an investigation of risk factors for heart disease between 1994 and 2004, has shown that those who regularly traded a helping of white rice for one of beans experienced a 35 per cent reduction in the risk of symptoms that usually lead to diabetes. [Mattei J, Hu FB, Campos H. A higher ratio of beans to white rice is associated with lower cardiometabolic risk factors in Costa Rican adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep;94(3):869-76. Epub 2011 Aug 3. Abstract |Report]
  • Carbohydrate restriction and egg consumption help to alleviate metabolic syndrome [Report]
  • Low Carbohydrate Diet May Reverse Kidney Failure in People With Diabetes: Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have for the first time determined that a specialized high-fat, low carbohydrate diet may reverse impaired kidney function in people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. [Poplawski MM, Mastaitis JW, Isoda F, Grosjean F, Zheng F, et al. Reversal of Diabetic Nephropathy by a Ketogenic Diet. PLoS ONE 2011;6(4):e18604. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018604 Full Text | Older Study | Report | Report]
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea May Be Improved With Low-Energy Diet: A single-center, prospective, observational follow-up study has found that a very low-energy diet leads to improvements in moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea in obese men, with benefits maintained at 1 year and proportional to weight loss and baseline severity. [Full text |Report]
  • Type 2 diabetes in newly diagnosed ‘can be reversed’: A small study from Newcastle University, reported in Diabetologia, has found that an extreme eight-week diet of 600 calories a day can reverse Type 2 diabetes in people newly diagnosed with the disease. Although larger studies are needed, these findings are important. [BBC Report]
  • Low-Glycemic-Index Diet Appears to Modulate Alzheimer’s Biomarker: A 4-week diet intervention study has found that healthy cognitively intact older adults who stuck to a low-saturated-fat, low-glycemic-index diet experienced decreases in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of β-amyloid 42, a biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease risk. [Bayer-Carter JL at al. Diet Intervention and Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers in Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment. Arch Neurol. 2011;68(6):743-752. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2011.125 | Report]
  • Mediterranean Diet Cuts Metabolic Syndrome Risk: A meta analysis of the results of 50 studies comprising more than 500,000 people has shown that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome. [Abstract from Kastorini CM. The Effect of Mediterranean Diet on Metabolic Syndrome and its Components: A Meta-Analysis of 50 Studies and 534,906 Individuals. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011;57:1299-1313. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2010.09.073. | Report]
  • Higher-Protein/Low-GI Diet Best for Maintaining Weight Loss [See Larsen TM et al. Diets with High or Low Protein Content and Glycemic Index for Weight-Loss Maintenance.N Engl J Med November 25, 2010; 363:2102-2113 Abstract | Report]
  • Eating whole grains, compared to refined grain products, could lower heart disease risk A large cross sectional study among the Framingham Heart Study participants has shown that increasing whole-grain intake is associated with lower visceral adipose tissue (VAT) in adults, whereas higher intakes of refined grains are associated with higher VAT.[See Abstract AJCNReport]
  • Mediterranean diet protects against type 2 diabetes: [See Full Text Diabetes CareAbstractReport]
  • Low carbohydrate and high monounsaturated fat diets help weight loss and offer metabolic benefits: Brehm BJ,  D’Alessio DA. Weight Loss and Metabolic Benefits With Diets of Varying Fat and Carbohydrate Content: Separating the Wheat From the Chaff Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology & Metabolism Available at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/569321
  • Increasing daily intake of green leafy vegetables could significantly reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Increasing consumption of green vegetables, and not fruits, helps to reduce the risk of diabetes, a meta analysis finds See Patrice Carter et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2010;341:c4229 Full Text | Editorial]
  • Higher Fat at Breakfast May Be Healthier: University of Alabama research reveals that mice fed a meal higher in fat had normal metabolic profiles and in contrast, mice that ate a more carbohydrate-rich diet in the morning and consumed a high-fat meal at the end of the day saw increased weight gain, adiposity, glucose intolerance and other markers of the metabolic syndrome. [MS Bray, J-Y Tsai et al. Time-of-day-dependent dietary fat consumption influences multiple cardiometabolic syndrome parameters in mice. International Journal of Obesity. 30 March 2010.] doi:10.1038/ijo.2010.63 [Abstract] | UAB Report]
  • A Randomized Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet vs Orlistat Plus a Low-Fat Diet for Weight Loss: A new randomized trial comparing a low-carbohydrate diet with a low-fat diet in combination with the weight-loss drug orlistat has found that both strategies produced meaningful weight loss and the low-carb diet in addition produced significant improvements in blood pressure. William S. Yancy Jr, et al., Published in Arch Intern Med. on Jan 25, 2010 [Abstract] | Report]
  • Mediterranean Diet May Have a Protective Role Against Depression: Abstract of Sánchez-Villegas A et al., Arch Gen Psychiatry
  • Mediterranean Diet Might Delay Need for Drugs in Diabetes: Full Text in Esposito K et al., Annals Int Med, 1 Sep, 2009Medscape Article
  • Low-carbohydrate diet has similar effects as low-fat diet in diabetes: Full Text in Davis NJ et al., Diabetes Care, July, 2009
  • Low-Carb and Mediterranean Diets Better than Low-Fat for Weight Loss, Lipid Changes at 2 Years: Mediterranean and low-carbohydrate diets may be effective alternatives to low-fat diets, offering more favorable effects on lipids (with the low-carbohydrate diet) and on glycemic control (with the Mediterranean diet).
    See Shai I, Schwarzfuchs D, Henkin Y, et al. Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet. N Engl J Med. 2008;359:229-241 Full text Article
  • Caloric Restriction Delays Disease Onset and Mortality in Rhesus Monkeys 
    Abstract in Science, 10 July, 2009BBC NewsScience News
  • Against the grain: Tribals in Maharashtra are happier and healthier with their traditional, natural food: Full Text Article in Down To Earth
  • Diet And Asthma: Mediterranean Diet May Be Protective: See Report | One More Report |Abstract
  • The Mediterranean Diets: What Is So Special about the Diet of Greece? The Scientific Evidence. Simopoulos AP. J. Nutr. 2001;131:3065S-3073S. [See]
  • Paleolithic vs. modern diets – selected pathophysiological implications. Eaton SB, Eaton SB. European Journal of Nutrition 2000;39(2):67-70. [See]
  • A Paleolithic diet confers higher insulin sensitivity, lower C-reactive protein and lower blood pressure than a cereal-based diet in domestic pigs. Tommy Jönsson et al. Nutrition & Metabolism 2006;3:39. [See]
  • Biological and Clinical Potential of a Palaeolithic Diet.  Lindeberg S et al. Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine 2003;13(3):149 – 160. [See]
  • Paleolithic nutrition revisited: A twelve-year retrospective on its nature and implications.  Eaton SB. Eur J Clin Nutr 1997;51:207-216. [See]
  • The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: meat-based, yet non-atherogenic.  Cordain L et al. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002;56(Suppl 1): S42–S52. [See]
  • Evolution, Diet and Health.  Eaton SB, Eaton SB. [See]
  • Against the grain: How agriculture has hijacked civilization.Manning R. North Point Press, New York. 2004
  • Molecular mechanisms linking calorie restriction and longevity. Merry BJ. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2002 Nov;34(11):1340-1354. [See]
  • The Retardation of Aging in Mice by Dietary Restriction: Longevity, Cancer, Immunity and Lifetime Energy Intake. Weindruch R et al. J Nutrition 1986;116(4):641-654. [See]
  • A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity. Samaha FF. NEJM 2003;348(21):2074-2081. [See]
  • A Randomized Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet for Obesity. Foster GD. NEJM 348(21):2082-2090. [See] [See Full Text]
  • Effects of Low-Carbohydrate vs Low-Fat Diets on Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Risk Factors – A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nordmann AJ et al. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:285-293. [See]
  • Fasting Lipoprotein and Postprandial Triacylglycerol Responses to a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Supplemented with n-3 Fatty Acids. Volek JF et al. J Amer Coll Nutr 2000;19(3):383-391. [See]
  • Comparison of a Low-Fat Diet to a Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Weight Loss, Body Composition, and Risk Factors for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in Free-Living, Overweight Men and Women.  Meckling KA et al. J Clin Endocrin Met 89(6):2717-2723. [See]
  • A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women.  Brehm BJ et al. J Clin Endocrin Met 88(4):1617-1623. [See]
  • Health effects of vegetables and fruit: assessing mechanisms of action in human experimental studies. Lampe JW. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;70(3):475S-490S. [See]
  • Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cardiovascular disease in US adults: the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study.  Bazzano LA et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76(1):93-99. [See]
  • Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: the Women’s Health Study.  Liu S et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;72(4):922-928. [See]
  • Dietary influences on bone mass and bone metabolism: further evidence of a positive link between fruit and vegetable consumption and bone health? New SA et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71(1):142-151. [See]
  • Rely on internal cues of meal cessation to keep off obesity: Wansink B, Payne CR, Chandon P. Internal and External Cues of Meal Cessation: The French Paradox Redux? Obesity 2007;15:2920-2924. Available at http://www.obesityresearch.org/cgi/content/full/15/12/2920

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