Besides tracking my own weight-loss and healthy living progress, recording low-carb recipes, and showing off my considerable vocabulary (or lexicon) on this blog, I also keep an eye on media reports about diet, nutrition and fitness.
Frequently, I am angered by the stubborn low-fat, high-carb bias of these reports, as well as their general lack of informed thoughtfulness, as was the case in yesterday’s post on the claim that saturated fat may be the cause of inflammation.
Every now and then, though, I see a story in the popular press that gives me hope. An example is Could the Atkins diet help you keep diabetes at bay? (Rachel Ellis, Mail Online, August 9, 2011).
I won’t hold you in suspense: the article’s answer to its title question is “yes, sort of.” That is, the article endorses restricting carbohydrates in order to hold off type-2 diabetes, if not the Atkins diet in itself.
Following the usual journalistic practice, Rachel Ellis focuses her piece on an individual, a UK woman named Diane Platt, who was told by doctors that she was in danger of developing type-2 diabetes within six months. Luckily, Diane put herself on a low-carb diet. As a result, she lost weight, and normalized her blood sugar levels.
The article points out that Diane’s approach was the opposite of the long-time standard advice given to diabetics, which since the 1970s was to eat a low-fat, high-carb diet to protect the heart. But the diabetes associations in the US and the UK have “quietly” changed the advice to permit carbohydrate restriction.
Ellis is careful to include caveats. We are told that “Diabetes UK stresses it is not advocating a low-carb diet for everyone — just that it may benefit some who want to lose weight.” We are also given the “carbs are necessary to fuel the body and brain” bromide by a doctor who ought to know better. (How do you explain the Inuit, doctor, or the millions of people who have voluntarily adopted very low carbohydrate diets without showing signs of brain/ body dysfunction? Take another look at your bio-chemistry textbook under the heading “ketones.”)
The last word belongs to Diane Platt, though: “Cutting down my carbohydrates has prevented me from developing diabetes and all the side-effects. . . . It has given me a new lease of life and I feel fit. I can only recommend it.”
I know how you feel, Ms. Platt. While my doctor never told me I was on the verge of becoming diabetic, with my huge stomach and family history of type-2 diabetes, it was surely just a matter of time.
Like you, I know cutting carbs has changed my life for the best.
Joe Lindley says
Enjoyed your article Jim. It’s unfortunate that the authorities who have influence over diabetics in the US and UK are so blind to how much they are out of touch with the issue of dietary carbs.
Diabetes is, after all, an intolerance to carbohydrates, and here they are trying to look so open-minded by suggesting that we might want to “permit restriction” of carbohydrates. How arrogant can they be? – they’re going to “permit” us to restrict carbohydrates. Restriction of carbohydrates should be the null hypothesis and all other forms of therapy, especially drugs, should be treated as suspect until they can do better than restriction of carbohydrates.