New Research: Cutting Carbs Better Than Low-Fat?

Study shows this type of woman lost more weight after 3 months on low-carbohydrate diet than traditional low-fat diet with same number of calories and the hormone that may be responsible for your weight loss – or lack of weight loss.

Lauderdale – Eating fat is bad.  No…wait…it’s carbohydrates that are evil.  One expert says one thing and then, another Doctor says something else.  Back and forth…back and forth.  Maybe that new infomercial selling the latest miracle weight loss product is the way to go?

Who knows?  In the meantime, you’re confused and not losing any weight. Well, get ready for some possible answers…and a few more questions

First, The Results Of A New Study

The June 19th, 2010 edition of The Endocrine Society reports, “[According to a new study,] Obese women with insulin resistance lose more weight after three months on a lower-carbohydrate diet than on a traditional low-fat diet with the same number of calories…” The study’s lead author, Raymond Plodkowski, MD, Chief of Endocrinology, Nutrition and Metabolism at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno wrote, “The typical diet that physicians recommend for weight loss is a low-fat diet… However, as this study shows, not all people have the same response to diets.”

According to the researchers, for this group of women, the lower carbohydrate diet is more effective, at least in the short term.  The study lasted 12 weeks and was funded by Jenny Craig.  It found that insulin resistant women on the lowest-carb diet lost 3.4 pounds more than those on the low-fat diet.  Total calories for all groups were the same.  The low-fat diet included 60% of its calories from carbs, 20% from fat, and 20% from protein.  The low-carb diet included 45% of its calories from carbs, 35% from primary unsaturated fats, and 20% from protein.

Both diets included a minimum of 2 fruits and 3 vegetable servings a day.  The use of prepared meals made the structured diets easier and more palatable for the dieter. “These data have potential widespread applications for clinicians when counseling people with insulin resistance to help improve weight loss as part of a calorie-restricted diet,” Plodkowski said. “They should at least initially lower their carbohydrate intake.”

What Is Insulin Resistance?

Since the women in the above-mentioned study were all insulin resistant – you might be wondering, “what is insulin resistance?” Insulin resistance is a condition where the body produces insulin but does not use it properly.  Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas to break down glucose in the blood so it can be used for energy.

Glucose is a form of sugar and is the body’s #1 source of energy.  After your digestive system breaks food down into glucose, glucose is then transported to different parts of your body via the bloodstream.  Glucose in the blood stream is called “blood glucose” or “blood sugar.”  After you eat, blood glucose levels rise and your pancreas secretes insulin to allow cells to absorb and use the glucose.

When people are insulin resistant, they do not respond properly to insulin.  In other words, even though the pancreas secretes insulin, it is not effective in getting the glucose from the blood into the cells.  More insulin is needed so the pancreas works harder and secretes more. Eventually, the pancreas cannot keep up with the increased demand and glucose builds up in the blood.  This is the beginning of diabetes.  It is common for diabetics to have high levels of both glucose and insulin circulating in the bloodstream.  Insulin resistance not only sets the stage for developing Type 2 Diabetes, it increases the odds of the number one killer in America: heart disease.

According to the American Diabetes Association: “People with diabetes have a higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack or stroke. These strike people with diabetes more than twice as often as people without diabetes.”

What Causes Insulin Resistance?

Very good question.  There seem to be several contributing factors.  The first factor may be genetic.  Some scientists think specific genes make certain people more susceptible to insulin resistance.  But, genes aren’t everything.  Weight and lack of physical activity also seem to play a major role.  Then, there are the types of food you eat…The more junk sugars (ice cream, candy bars, etc.) you eat, the more your little pancreas has to work to keep up with all the sugar that has been dumped into the bloodstream.  Just like everything else, there is only so much work your pancreas can do.  If the pace is too high for too long, it will basically burn out and quit.  It is important to stop this process before it gets too far.  Exercise, weight loss and proper diet can reverse many cases of insulin resistance and pre-diabetes.

According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, “The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and other large studies have shown that people with pre-diabetes can often prevent or delay diabetes if they lose a modest amount of weight by cutting fat and calorie intake and increasing physical activity; for example, walking 30 minutes a day 5 days a week.  Losing just 5 to 7 percent of body weight prevents or delays diabetes by nearly 60 percent. In the DPP, people aged 60 or older who made lifestyle changes lowered their chances of developing diabetes by 70 percent.”

With all of this information, the most important message to take away is this:  Lifestyle has a major impact on your health.  Different people react to different foods and diets in different ways, and it is important to pay attention to what you eat and figure out what is best for you.  But no matter what, regular exercise and staying away from junk food loaded with bad fats and sugar is a very good idea.  Research may not have all the answers yet, but to our knowledge, there is no study that says sitting on the couch stuffing your face with candy bars and ice cream is good for your health.

World’s Oldest Person Alive At 130?

Do you take good enough care of your body for it to last that long?

“If I knew I was going to live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself.” Those words by Eubie Blake couldn’t possibly have any more meaning than they do for Antisa Khvichava.  Authorities from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia claim this remote villager recently turned 130, making her the oldest person on earth.  She retired from picking tea and corn in 1965, when she was 85.  She said she has always been healthy and worked her whole life.  It is difficult to verify her age due to wars and the collapse of the Russian empire, but she has two soviet-era documents that attest to her age.  For all accounts, her mind is as sharp as ever, but her body has all but quit on her.  Her fingers are so deformed she can no longer knit, and she struggles to walk.  But, she refuses any help to get around when she has to.  While her mind-set and determination are admirable – but also realize how important it is to take care of the one body you are given.  You never know how long you will need it.  One has to wonder if she ate low-carbs or low-fat?  🙂

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