DIET AND FITNESS:

From Schizophrenia to Diabetes --7
Diseases That Low Carb Diets
Help
Cure

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March 8, 2017
By Ariadne Weinberg, Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors, Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other
members of our Editorial Board.]






The trendy diet thing to do these days is reject carbohydrates.
In fact, many people now regard carbs as evil.  Bread at a
restaurant table now causes many to recoil in disgust. In a
2014 Gallup poll, 29 percent of Americans said they were
“actively avoiding carbs.” That’s a little ambiguous, but it is
telling of the new tendency.


There are a variety of low-carb diets, including Atkins, Paleo,
South Beach Diet and Whole30. Some are more extreme than
others. The most hardcore these days in the
low-carb
ketogenic diet
. According to Dr. Eric Westman, director of the
Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University, “In a clinical
setting, a strict ketogenic diet would involve ultra-low carb
consumption, like 20 or 30 grams a day.” (It also involves
mostly fat, and a bit of protein.)


That’s nothing. Barely a whole meal of carbohydrates. Pasta
lovers would cry.


However, low-carbohydrate diets have some pretty magical
effects; not just looking hot in that swimsuit for summer
(although that too). Certain kinds of restricted carb diets have
even diminished mental illness and epilepsy.


If you’re curious about what consciously restricting your
carbohydrate intake can do for you, read on.

































1.
A Low Carb Diet Improves Your Mental Health
      

When most people think of cutting carbs, they think of being
chic and slim. But, for some folks, it can be a life-changer.

In 2009, Bryan D. Kraft from the Duke University Medical
Center in North Carolina looked at the case of a 70-year-old
woman who had had schizophrenia since she was 17.

Her symptoms included paranoia, disorganized speech, and
hallucinations. She reported seeing skeletons and hearing
voices that told her to hurt herself. Her medications were:
atenolol 100 mg daily, furosemide 20 mg daily, trazodone 100
mg qhs, sertraline 100 mg daily, timolol eye drops 1 drop each
eye bid, brimonidine eye drops 1 drop each eye bid, and
vitamin E 400 IU every other day.

Her regular diet included an egg and cheese sandwich, diet
soda, water, pimiento cheese, barbequed pork, chicken salad,
hamburger helper, mac and cheese, and potatoes.

Keeping her meds the same, doctors changed her diet to a low-
carb, ketogenic one with less than 20 grams of carbohydrates
per day: beef, chicken, turkey, ham, fish, green beans,
tomatoes, diet drinks, and water.

The results were immediate and startling.  She felt more
satiated and stopped hearing the voices soon afterwards. Over
the course of 12 months, she had no recurrence of auditory
and visual hallucinations, lost weight, and had better overall
energy.


2.
A Low Carb Diet Helps You Manage Type 2 Diabetes


Carbs are sneaky little guys. They may look like a piece of
bread, but they will convert to simple sugars. The simple
sugars, in turn, enter the bloodstream and elevate blood sugar
levels. For diabetics, this can be deadly. The job of insulin is to
tell the cells to burn off the glucose or store it.

However, Type 2 diabetics have insulin sensitivity, which means
that instead of stabilizing again, the blood sugar levels stay
high, leading to a myriad of health issues.

Luckily, this effect can be managed with a low-carbohydrate
diet.

Even if you have to be on medication, a low-carb diet will
reduce the quantity of medication you have to take.

Dr. Eric Westman, an internal medicine doctor from Duke
University, reports that by using a low-carb approach with his
diabetic patients, he was able to reduce their insulin dosage by
50%.


3.
A Low Carb Diet Lowers Blood Pressure


According to dietician Laura Schoenfeld, low-carb diets can
take down
hypertension, an issue that leads to a whole host of
other problems, including heart disease.

Changes in glucose and insulin metabolism will affect the
development and clinical course of hypertension, says
Schoenfeld.

There is a correlation between high blood sugar and
hypertension. It’s important to especially watch out for the
refined grains and sugars, the ones that appear in cookies,
cakes, bread, etc. A few treats are fine, but carbs at every meal
might account for your skyrocketing blood pressure.


4.
A Low Carb Diet Fights Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity --It
Sheds the Pounds



Obesity is a disease.  Defined as having a body mass index
above 30, nearly 50% of all Americans are considered
technically obese and a full 67% are overweight.

Metabolic syndrome describes a collection of unhealthy
conditions that tend to travel together --diabetes, heart disease
and hardening of your arteries as well as high blood pressure,
insulin dysfunction/diabetes and obesity.

Cutting back on carbs is a great way to lose weight relatively
quickly. And, of course, if you make low-carb into a lifestyle,
you’ll be able to maintain your health.

In a 2011 study,Dr. T. Ade Triffoni-Melo and researchers from
the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, observed that this tactic,
did, indeed, work.

Using severely obese women as test subjects, they compared a
low-calorie carbohydrate-restricted diet with a conventional
low-calorie diet, to see which one was better for weight loss.

A total of 19 women received a 1,200 calorie diet, about half
with carbohydrate restriction and half without. Short-term
carbohydrate reduction was more valuable than a conventional
low-calorie diet for both quick weight loss and waist
circumference reduction.


5.
A Low Carb Diet Makes You Feel Satiated and Thus Fights
Anxiety and Weight Gain



One of the reasons that scaling back your carb intake may help
your chub melt away is because you don’t have that gnawing,
anxious, desire to eat all the time. Yep, you’ll eat less and feel
fuller. Pretty magical.

According to a 2007 study by F.J. Mcleron and colleagues at
Duke University in North Carolina, eating a low-carb ketogenic
diet (one with a higher content of fat and moderate one of
protein) reduces the symptoms of hunger and other negative
side effects much more than a standard low-fat diet.

So, get munching on that avocado omelette. (Hey, that’s the
most delicious high-fat, protein-y thing I can think of.)


6.
A Low Carb Diet Fights Hypercholesterolemia --  Very High
Cholesterol



When you go for a checkup at the doctor’s, you are always
hoping that your cholesterol levels are low and that you won’t
have to cut back on your favorite foods.

But, did you know that not all cholesterol is created equal? HDL
(high density lipid protein) cholesterol is actually pretty good
for you, because it removes other harmful forms of cholesterol
from your bloodstream.

However, LDL (low-density cholesterol) cholesterol is bad for
you. If this protein is broken into small particles within the
body, it will put you at risk for heart disease.

Luckily, reducing your carbohydrate intake can help.

In 2006, Richard J. Wood from the department of medicine at
Colombia University in New York observed that men who
participated in a weight loss study and whose diets were
composed of only 10% carbohydrates greatly benefited.

Their LDL cholesterol went down significantly, lowering the
danger of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.


7.  
A Low Carb Diet Helps Cure Epilepsy


This one made me go “wow.” Epilepsy, while relatively
uncommon, affecting 1% of the population, is something that
usually has to be highly medicated and can be highly
dangerous for those who have it.

In 2008, Beth A. Zupec-Kania compiled a report looking at a
meta-analysis of 19 studies with a combined sample of 1084
pediatric patients completed by the blue cross.

On a low-carb diet 16% became seizure free, and 32% were
more than 90% cured. It’s amazing that in some cases, just
how you eat can completely or almost heal you, even without
medicine.


Remember: Not All Carbs Are Created Equal

While cutting way back on carbs is great, remember that you
should still eat some.

Not all carbs are evil. The ones you choose are important.
Bread and cookies won’t give you much nutritional value, but
sweet potatoes and bananas sure will. Make sure that when
you are choosing how to spend your carbs, you choose wisely
and decide on ones that are unprocessed and will give you
additional benefits.




























































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Low carb diets can actually help control
schizophrenia symptoms
.