Do you know what the biggest health problem in the world is?
In past times, infections, accidents and pandemics were major causes of death.
Today, these are rare (in western populations).
Modern medicine has made miraculous progress with antibiotics, emergency treatments, vaccines and sanitation.
However, as the mortality rate for these health problems has gone down, life expectancy has gone up.
People live longer than before.
Some like to argue that the western lifestyle diseases are caused by old age. I disagree.
We’re seeing teenagers suffering from these diseases, not just old people.
There goes that theory.
These diseases are caused by metabolic dysfunction that comes with a western lifestyle.
Which part of the lifestyle that actually leads to those diseases is uncertain.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about then I’ll give you a recap.
The Diseases of Civilization
These diseases are caused by metabolic dysfunction.
The hallmark of this dysfunction is The Metabolic Syndrome.
This “syndrome” consists of:
- Elevated Blood Pressure (Hypertension).
- Elevated Triglycerides (Hypertriglyceridemia).
- Insulin Resistance.
- Elevated Fasting Glucose.
- Lowered High Density Lipoprotein.
- Excess Fat Around The Waist (Central Obesity).
These happen to be some of the main biomarkers your doctor likes to measure and interpret.
Why? Because they matter!
The blood is a window to the function of the body. If something goes wrong in the body, it can often be detected in the blood.
With this condition, you are more likely to get heart diseases (the #1 killer), type II diabetes, obesity, fatty liver disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, some forms of cancer and various other diseases.
Even though many people may not meet the exact criteria for the metabolic syndrome, some of these risk factors are common in most people that are starting to gain weight and suffer from the modern lifestyle.
The Cause is Not Certain, but the Cure is Known
A natural way to improve these risk factors, and consequently the diseases, is known. It ain’t got nothing to do with drugs.
There have been several randomized controlled trials, published in peer-reviewed research journals, that clearly demonstrate that there is an effective dietary intervention that can (in many cases) reverse these problems.
That’s right. This method doesn’t just improve the symptoms like drugs, it actually reverses the underlying cause.
If you’ve been hanging around this blog for any amount of time, then you will know that the method I am referring to is carbohydrate restriction.
Low-Carbohydrate Diets and Disease
Restriction in carbohydrate intake can reverse the main diseases of civilization.
Instead of overloading your body with carbohydrates (glucose) that it needs to take extreme measures to dispense of, you simply give your body all the energy and essential nutrients that it needs and let it manufacture glucose on its own.
This way, your body simply produces the amount it requires for glucose-dependant tissues. Blood glucose goes down, insulin goes down, and diabetes often goes away.
Dyslipidemia: The lipids and risk factors we associate with cardiovascular disease (LDL pattern, HDL, Triglycerides, Blood Pressure) improve substantially on a low-carbohydrate diet (7, 8, 9, 10, 11).
It is notable that the low-carb diet particularly improves the Triglycerides:HDL ratio, which is the single best predictor of heart disease risk (12).
Low-carb diets improve these symptoms and risk factors. It is a scientific fact. Period.
Most of the time, they come out way ahead compared to the “heart-healthy” *cough* low-fat diets.
Again, many of these studies are randomized controlled trials, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Ask anyone with a background in health, whether these kinds of studies are good or not.
The fact is, that randomized controlled trials (where they randomize people into groups and just change one factor) are the best way to prove cause and effect in humans.
The pharmaceutical industry uses similar studies to prove the effectiveness of drugs.
These studies are the “gold standard”, it is a fact.
So according to the “gold standard” of intervention studies, low-carb diets are far better for health than the low-fat diets that are recommended by health authorities all around the world.
What do we Know?
What we do know from these high-quality scientific studies is that low-carbohydrate diets:
- Lead to weight loss.
- Change LDL pattern from small, dense LDL (bad) to large, fluffy LDL (good).
- Raise HDL cholesterol.
- Lower Triglycerides.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Lower blood sugar.
- Lower insulin levels.
- Do not require calorie restriction to be effective.
- Are as easy, or easier to follow than the diets they are compared to.
There it is… a natural cure for the diseases of civilization, the biggest health problems in the world.
It’s there, black on white.
What Does The Health Industry do?
You would think that all the scientists who are supposed to protect our well being would applaud this natural, drug-free cure.
For some reason, these studies are swept under the rugs and the same old advice keeps being repeated, again and again.
The old advice: eat a low fat diet with minimal saturated fat, eat many small meals throughout the day, restrict calories, eat vegetable oils, lean meats, fruits, veggies and whole grains.
Same story, different day.
I’ve often wondered why these studies are being ignored by so many of the “experts.”
Some explanations I’ve thought of:
- They don’t want to admit that they’ve been wrong all these years.
- They have fought so hard to disprove these findings that they would be ridiculed if they were to suddenly change their minds.
- They don’t want the solution to be that simple and effective, because then they will lose business and money.
- They want the solution to be complicated so they can justify calling themselves “experts.”
- They simply haven’t read the studies. Maybe they formed their opinion on low-carb many years ago, but these studies were published after the year 2002.
- They are evil puppets and the drug companies are pulling their strings.
Okay, that last part was a bit of a joke. But it has crossed my mind.
Nutrition Therapy can be Difficult
Now I will admit that lifestyle and dietary changes are difficult. The success rate isn’t high.
But my opinion is that a low-carb diet should be the first-line treatment for these diseases.
No, instead people are pumped full of drugs and told to eat a low-fat calorie restricted diet for the rest of their lives.
The cure is there, but it is being ignored.
This world is a scary place to live in.