Control Carbs To Eliminate Metabolic Syndrome
New Study: A low-carb, ketogenic diet may have benefits for people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes even if they don’t lose any weight!
Researchers at The Ohio State University wanted to know what happens to obese people with metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes, when they eat low in carbohydrate or keto diet, but don’t shed any pounds.
They found that more than half of study participants no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome immediately following a four-week low-carb diet.
After four weeks, more than half of study participants no longer qualified as having metabolic syndrome.
Reverse Metabolic Syndrome To Avoid Diabetes
The new study included 16 men and women with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of factors which leads to diabetes and puts people at higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
The conditions that contribute to metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormally low ‘good’ HDL cholesterol or high triglyceride levels.
About a third of American adults have the syndrome, according to the American Heart Association.
After eating a low-carb diet, more than half the participants—five men and four women—saw their metabolic syndrome reversed even though they were fed diets that intentionally contained enough calories to keep their weight stable.
Metabolic Syndrome was reversed through low carb dieting without weight loss.
Positive Results NOT Due to Weight Loss
Previous work in the Ohio State lab and elsewhere has shown that low-carb diets can be beneficial for people with metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
However, nutrition scientists and others have debated whether that’s a product of the diet or a product of the weight loss typically seen when people reduce carbs, said the study’s senior author, Jeff Volek, a professor of human sciences at Ohio State.
“There’s no doubt that people with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes do better on low-carb diets, but they typically lose weight and one of the prevailing thoughts is that the weight loss is driving the improvements. That was clearly not the case here,” Volek said.
“Our view is that restricting carbs even without weight loss improves a host of metabolic problems. Obviously, quality of diet matters because quantity is locked down in this experiment.”
The study appeared June 20th in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight.
Three Separate Controlled Diets
Over about four months, each study participant ate three month-long controlled diets—high-carb, moderate-carb and low-carb—with a two-week break between diets. The order in which the participants ate the diets was randomly assigned.
The research team, led by research scientist Parker Hyde, ensured that the participants would not lose weight by providing them with pre-prepared meals that contained an amount of calories equal to their energy expenditure.
Participants ate prepared meals, providing adequate calories to avoid weight loss.
After eating the low-carb diet, the participants had a variety of significantly improved health measures, particularly lower triglycerides and improved cholesterol readings.
Despite the fact that the low-carb diet contained 2.5 times more saturated fat than the high-carb diet, it decreased saturated fat in the bloodstream and was associated with an increase in the size of cholesterol particles in the blood, which decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, Hyde said.
The low-carb diet decreased both the saturated fat in the bloodstream and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The researchers also report evidence of increased fat-burning efficiency after a low-carb diet and an improvement in blood sugar. They did not see statistically significant improvements in blood pressure or insulin resistance.
Even a Moderate Change Was Effective
Even after the moderate-carbohydrate diet, three participants no longer had metabolic syndrome.
Volek said that those results are likely explained by the fact that even these study diets—particularly the moderate-carb diet—represented a shift toward fewer carbs for study participants.
“Even a modest restriction is carbs is enough to reverse metabolic syndrome in some people, but others need to restrict even more,” he said.
Because of the study design, waist circumference was not factored in as a contributor to metabolic syndrome. Had the participants been permitted to lose weight, it is likely that several more would have been considered free of the condition after the low-carb diet, Volek said.
This research doesn’t address the potential long-term benefits and challenges of adopting a low-carbohydrate diet, and the researchers suggest that future long-term diet studies on people with metabolic syndrome need to include low-carb diets.
Video: Dr. OZ and Experts Demonstrate the Keto Diet
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic disorders. When a patient presents with these conditions together, the chances for future cardiovascular disease is greater than any one factor presenting alone.
For example, high blood pressure alone is a serious condition, but when a patient has high blood pressure along with high fasting glucose levels and abdominal obesity, this patient may be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
There is a greater chance this patient will have cardiovascular problems because of the combination of risk factors.
Metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition that affects about a third of adults and places them at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and diseases related to fatty buildups in artery walls.
Metabolic syndrome occurs when a person has three or more of the following measurements:
- Abdominal obesity (Waist circumference of greater than 40 inches in men, and greater than 35 inches in women)
- Triglyceride level of 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) or greater
- HDL cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL in men or less than 50 mg/dL in women
- Systolic blood pressure (top number) of 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or greater, or diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) of 85 mm Hg or greater
- Fasting glucose of 100 mg/dL or greater
The underlying causes of metabolic syndrome include overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, genetic factors and getting older.
Although metabolic syndrome is a serious condition, you can reduce your risks.
Concentrate on weight loss and increasing your physical activity. Also, work with your healthcare provider to monitor and manage blood glucose, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure.
Should You Worry About Metabolic Syndrome? (Yes!)
If you have the cluster of risk factors known for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, it’s important to be proactive.
Being diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome means you have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes when compared with individuals who do not have metabolic syndrome; and your risk increases when more components of metabolic syndrome are present.
Metabolic syndrome is also associated with a generalized metabolic disorder called insulin resistance, which prevents people from using insulin efficiently. This is why metabolic syndrome is also sometimes called insulin resistance syndrome (essentially, pre-diabetes).
People with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk for the following:
Coronary Heart Disease and Heart Attack
When the arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits called plaque, they decrease the amount of blood and oxygen reaching the heart, which can cause chest pain (angina) or a heart attack.
Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes occurs when the body can no longer make enough insulin or is unable to use insulin properly. This causes sugars to build up in the blood and increases risks for kidney failure and cardiovascular disease.
The Good News
Although these risks are significant, there is good news. Metabolic syndrome can be treated and you can reduce your risks for cardiovascular events by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a heart-healthy diet, getting adequate physical activity, and following your healthcare providers’ instructions.
Who Gets Metabolic Syndrome?
Some people are genetically prone to develop insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. Other people develop metabolic syndrome by:
- Putting on excess body fat
- Failing to get enough physical activity
Groups With The Highest Risk
Metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common in the United States. Several factors increase the likelihood of acquiring metabolic syndrome:
- Obesity/overweight: Obesity is an important potential cause of metabolic syndrome. Excessive fat in and around the abdomen is most strongly associated with metabolic syndrome. However, the reasons abdominal obesity and metabolic syndrome seem to be linked are complex and not fully understood.
- Insulin resistance: Metabolic syndrome is closely associated with a generalized metabolic disorder called insulin resistance, in which the body can’t use insulin efficiently. Some people are genetically predisposed to insulin resistance.
- Race and gender: When they have the same body mass index (BMI), Caucasians are at a greater risk for developing metabolic syndrome than African Americans are. Men are more likely than women to develop metabolic syndrome.
Fortunately, many of the factors that contribute to metabolic syndrome can be addressed through lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise, and weight loss. By making these changes, you can significantly reduce your risks.
- Thin vs Fat: Heart Disease Risk May Be EQUAL (New Study!)
- Hack: The Fastest Ways to Get Into Ketosis (Essential Tips You Must Follow)
Low Carb, Ketogenic Diet Resource Books
If you’re new-ish to the low carb, ketogenic diet, these are the two books I recommend as superb resources for accurate, easy-to-understand information on the diet and food preparation.
New York Times bestselling author and health and wellness pioneer Diane Sanfilippo brings her own experience with a ketogenic diet to Keto Quick Start, a comprehensive and easy-to-follow road map to transitioning to a keto lifestyle.
There’s a good reason keto has attracted so many followers: it’s an effective tool for fat loss as well as a way of eating with proven benefits for many health concerns, including unstable blood sugar, neurological conditions, and epilepsy, to name a few.
But getting started with keto and sticking with it can be tough. That’s where Keto Quick Start comes in. In her signature practical style, Diane makes keto doable for everyone, whether you’re completely new to very low carb eating or you’ve tried it before and want to find a better way to make it work for you.
Keeping the focus on real foods that nourish your body, she walks you through a gentle transition to keto and helps you figure out how to make it sustainable for the long term.
Keto Quick Start targets everyday real-world concerns such as what to expect in the first few weeks and how to know if you’re on the right track, how to determine if you need more carbs and how to incorporate those carbs in a healthy way, how to customize keto for your personal goals (especially weight loss), and things to be aware of if you’re concerned about a particular health issue.
Keto Quick Start has fantastic reviews!
Kyndra Holley, the master behind the wildly popular food blog Peace, Love and Low Carb, brings together food, fun, and feeling fantastic in her new cookbook, Craveable Keto: Your Low-Carb, High-Fat Road Map to Weight Loss and Wellness.
Craveable Keto will serve as your personal road map to living a healthier life, with Kyndra as your guide.
She takes you step-by-step through making healthy, low-carb versions of your favorite, most craveable dishes, such as:
- Everything Bagel Dogs
- Lasagna Zucchini Roll-Ups
- Dill Pickle Brined Fish and Chips
- Salted Caramel Nut Brittle
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites
- Green Goddess Chicken Dip
- Buffalo Chicken Flatbread
Each recipe has been perfected with Kyndra’s distinct flair for the flavorful and calls for ingredients that are low-carb, whole food-based, fresh, and easily accessible.
With Craveable Keto, you will be able to effortlessly create quick, delectable dishes that taste like you spent hours on them.
Break free from the food rut and embrace your inner master chef as you learn everything from how to stock the perfect low-carb/keto pantry to low-carb baking secrets.
Complete with more than 130 whole-food recipes and detailed meal plans and shopping lists that make cooking keto a breeze, Craveable Keto is your ultimate guide to loving your low-carb life.
Whether your goal is to lose weight loss, improve a health condition, or simply find food freedom, Kyndra will help you uncover true health, happiness, longevity, and the best possible you!
The reviews for Craveable Keto are excellent!
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