“The dose makes the poison. You can have sugar, but is the amount of sugar that you have in your everyday life that has a cumulative effect on people’s health.”
Why does low carb work?
Dietary carbohydrates are the most significant contributor to blood glucose and insulin response. By keeping carbs low, especially sugar, you keep your blood sugar levels low, and your insulin doesn’t have to work so hard. This approach encourages fat burning, regulates cholesterol, supports a healthy liver and helps keep arteries in good shape.
Low carbohydrate diets have been shown in published clinical trials to have the following benefits:
#1 Better blood sugar control
Diabetes is a disease of carb intolerance. Diabetes is a worldwide epidemic, where the number of people with diabetes is enormous and growing. About 440,000 Singapore residents aged 18 years and above had diabetes in 2014, and the number is estimated to increase to 1,000,000 in 2050.
Although diabetes is not fatal in the short term, undiagnosed diabetes or poorly controlled diabetes can eventually lead to disabilities and diseases, compromising the quality of life of individuals and their caregivers. Carefully supervised very Low Carb diets can reverse the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes and have been shown to reduce the number and amount of medication required by Type 2 Diabetics.
In a 12 month, non-randomised, controlled study of 349 mostly obese, Type 2 diabetic adults. Carbohydrate-restricted (i.e. Low Carb) group showed significant improvements in blood glucose levels, blood glucose control, weight loss and reduction in medication. The protocol proved safe with no adverse incidents attributed to the intervention. Cholesterol, liver and inflammatory markers also showed marked improvement.
#2 Accelerated weight loss
One of the main reasons why people opt for a low-carb lifestyle is because they want to lose weight. It sounds contradictory, but a high-fat diet accelerates the rate at which fat is burnt from your body.
We are not just talking about looking thinner; you can be skinny on the outside, but fat on the inside. The most important fat to lose is those surrounding your organs. Visceral fat is the culprit that hinders proper organ function.
#3 Reversal of fatty liver
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is caused by fat accumulation in the liver, mostly seen in overweight and obese patients. If we are not consuming enough carbs, our liver will start undergoing ketosis. Ketosis is a process where your liver makes ketones as an alternative energy source.
A low-carbohydrate, high-fat, adequate protein dietary pattern changes the way our body produces energy – its fundamental principle is to get your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis where carbohydrate stores are depleted, and fat becomes the primary energy source. The name ketosis comes from the molecules that the liver starts to produce from fat to be used as fuel – ketone bodies or ketones.
In a study published in Cell in March 2018, rapid and dramatic reductions in liver fat were observed as well as improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors when obese patients were put on a low carb diet.
#4. Improved cardiovascular health
In a two-year study published in March 2010, participants were randomised to 3 dietary intervention groups – Low Fat, Mediterranean and Low Carb. All groups showed weight loss, improvement in carotid vessel wall thickness (a measure of arterial plaque), lower blood pressure and improvements in cholesterol, with the Low Carb group having better improvements in some cholesterol factors.
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