Colette's Blog

January 23, 2014

I just received an update on some of the latest low-carb research showing the beneficial effects of a low-carb diet like Atkins on a variety of health factors. It’s always amazing to me when something as simple as changing the way you eat can have such a positive impact on your health.

Atkins and Epilepsy

In an overview published in Epilepsy and Behavior, a modified Atkins diet was analyzed as a treatment of children and adults with epilepsy. After 10 years of continued use, 423 children and adults reported in 31 studies that a modified Atkins diet helped reduce seizures by 50 percent for almost half the participants. It is predicted that a modified Atkins diet will be used primarily for adults and adolescents, and that children who were prescribed a formula-only or ketogenic (high-fat) diet will be transitioned to it. It may also be used as a first-line therapy for some forms of epilepsy in regions of the world with limited resources.

Successful Weight Loss and Maintenance with Atkins Mediterranean Style

In a study published in the journal Nutrients, researchers hypothesized that an Atkins-style Mediterranean diet (lower carb, higher fat, with the Mediterranean emphasis on olive oil, fish, fresh vegetables, and some fruits and whole grains) may lead to successful weight loss and long-term weight maintenance. The results? The majority of the subjects showed significant weight loss, with no weight regain. The researchers proposed that this protocol was successful because of the higher protein intake of the Atkins-style Mediterranean diet.The traditional Mediterranean diet also helped participants to continue to maintain their weight loss. In addition, participants experienced decreases in total cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose levels.

Atkins and Type-2 Diabetes

While a calorie-restricted diet is widely used to help patients with type-2 diabetes reduce body weight and insulin resistance, many patients are unable to comply with calorie restriction for an extended period of time. The purpose of this study published in the journal of Internal Medicine was to examine the effects of a non-calorie-restricted low-carb diet in Japanese patients with type-2 diabetes unable to stick with a calorie-restricted diet. The patients were randomly assigned to either a conventional calorie-restricted diet or a low-carb diet. At the end of six months, the patients on the low-carb diet experienced improvements in their glucose levels, metabolic profiles and triglyceride levels, showing that a low-carb diet is effective in helping patients with type-2 diabetes improve their health and weight loss goals.

Roundup for Notable Research in 2012/2013:• Low-carb diets show improvements in biomarkers for inflammation and cholesterol levels (Ruth 2013).
• Low-carb diets do not pose any risk to kidney health (Tirosh 2013)
• Carbohydrate restricted diet could be a sustainable lifestyle especially for individuals at risk for metabolic syndrome. (Ballard & Volek 2013)
• Ketogenic (Modified Atkins) Diet has been used as an effective treatment for epilepsy in both children and adults. (Kossoff 2013)
• A diet high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat may increase the risk of dementia in older individuals. (Roberts 2012)
• High total carbohydrate intake associated with reoccurrence and mortality in Stage III colon cancer patients (Meyerhardt 2012)
• Low-carb diet is effective in improving blood sugar and triglyceride levels in Type 2 Diabetes patients who could not adhere to calorie-restricted diet. (Yamada 2014, Japan)
• A review of the scientific literature concluded VLCKD (Very Low Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet) may be an alternative tool against obesity in individuals with diseases of carbohydrate intolerance. (Bueno 2013, Brazil)
• Another review of the literature concluded low-carb diets are as effective as low-GI, Mediterranean and high-protein diets in improving cardiovascular risk in diabetic patients (Ajala 2013, UK)
• Ketogenic diet has beneficial effects in lowering blood sugar levels in obese diabetic subjects. (Hussain 2012, Kuwait)

Interestingly, Sweden has become the first western nation to recommend a higher-fat, lower-carbohydrate diet – in alignment with the Atkins approach to eating – as part of an effort to reduce the national prevalence of obesity and diabetes, and to improve markers of heart health. (September 2013)

So the next time a health professional tells you the Atkins Diet does not have enough science behind it, you can look at them cross eyed with tilted head and wonder where they have been for the last decade!

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