Health benefits of Low carb eating has been studied and it is well documented that their effectiveness is multi-faceted. Of course, the thousands of people who have lost a lot of weight and were able to keep it off makes a low carb eating plan something of an attractive proposition, especially since it is not your typical fad diet, but an actually lifestyle change.
Harvard completed a study that explored just how impressive the results of a low carb diet can be for weight loss, in comparison to a low fat diet that people tend to rely on for all of their weight loss needs.
By now, most people are aware how excellent low carb diets can be for rapid weight loss, but do they offer any other health benefits?
Yes, they do, and that is what makes a low carbohydrate diet such an attractive option when deciding what path to follow.
Additional Health Benefits
The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition explains what other effects a low carb diet has on the human body. Medical professionals have been using it since the 20’s to help epilepsy sufferers reduce the symptoms, furthermore in some cases has rendered the use of medication unnecessary.
There have also been strides made in proving that a low carb diet can be use a therapeutic tool for a number of other conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, a number of strains of cancer, diabetes and even acne.
The point of the study was to determine whether the preconceived notions surrounding ketogenic diets have prevented doctors from relying on it as a therapeutic method.
The Mayo Clinic has also explored the other effects that are seen when on a low carb diet. While citing many of the same issues listed by the EJCN, the Mayo Clinic has added cholesterol levels and high blood pressure to our list.
There are variations on what is considered a low carb diet
Anything from 20 grams to 150 grams can be considered low carb. 150 grams will not kick start ketosis to burn fat stores that actually requires less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Dr. Judith Wylie-Rosett led a study that makes mention of The American Diabetes Association belief that a low carbohydrate, low fat diet can be used to achieve improvement in both weight and metabolism, pointing to the Mediterranean diet as evidence.
The Mediterranean Diet
This is an interesting point, because it’s well documented that the residents of countries in the Mediterranean have higher life expectancies, and while they do eat carbs, their carb intake is much lower than it would be in the United States, or the United Kingdom.
The Mayo Clinic breaks down the Mediterranean diet which hinges on eating plant based foods, nuts whole grains, and legumes. Olive oils are used in place of butter, and herbs and spices replace salt. It is more common to eat white means and leave red meat to the odd occasion, and meals are spent with family and friends and consumed over a few hours.
Here are excerpts from http://www.mayoclinic.org
Benefits of the Mediterranean diet
Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. The diet has been associated with a lower level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol that’s more likely to build up deposits in your arteries.
In fact, a meta-analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality as well as overall mortality. The Mediterranean diet is also associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
For these reasons, most if not all major scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adapt a style of eating like that of the Mediterranean diet for prevention of major chronic diseases.
Key components of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:
- Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
- Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
- Enjoying meals with family and friends
- Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
- Getting plenty of exercise
WHO has a list of life expectancies for every country and the United States average is 79, while Greece is 81, Spain is 83, and so is Italy.
There are a number of low carb diets that you can follow; you can be as strict or as lenient as you wish. Whether you are looking to lose weight, maintain muscle, or reduce your risk of heart disease.
In addition to the health benefits listed above, a low carb diet can also serve as an appetite suppressant. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explored the reasons why, concluding that the high protein diet could be an explanation as to why.
Additionally, another similar study saw that participants on a diet that was high in protein and fat, but low in carbohydrates didn’t have the same food cravings as the participants did that were on a low calorie, low fat diet. This is because greatly reducing carbs and eliminating sugars, actually helps to regulate blood sugars so that the appetite is naturally suppressed eliminating those horrid out of control food cravings.