I just finished reading a commentary in the journal Preventive Medicine; Heart disease: The forgotten pandemic. In this paper the authors discuss the fact that the number of Americans dying of heart disease has been steadily climbing while the number with high cholesterol has been gradually falling. Despite the widespread utilization of cholesterol-lowering statins in Europe, there has been no accompanying decline in coronary heart disease deaths
I believe the hyper focus on cholesterol has been a serious mistake. According to THIS paper published in the January 2021 issue of JAMA Cardiology, diabetes, and insulin resistance, in addition to hypertension, obesity, and smoking, appeared to be the strongest risk factors for premature onset of coronary heart disease in woman.
I admit that I have a personal bias in favor of a low/lower carbohydrate diet. That said, my bias is not without an ever-growing body of evidence. This 2014 paper, The low-carbohydrate diet and cardiovascular risk factors: Evidence from epidemiologic studies concludes, “Recent randomized controlled trials document that low-carbohydrate diets not only decrease body weight but also improve cardiovascular risk factors. In light of this evidence from randomized controlled trials, dietary guidelines should be re-visited advocating a healthy low carbohydrate dietary pattern as an alternative dietary strategy for the prevention of obesity and cardiovascular disease risk factors.”
The Potential Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet: A Narrative Review, discusses the potential benefits of a low carb (ketogenic) diet for a wide rage of issues.
This 2020 paper, Effect of the ketogenic diet on glycemic control, insulin resistance, and lipid metabolism in patients with Type 2 Diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis concludes that a ketogenic diet “not only has a therapeutic effect on glycemic and lipid control among patients with T2DM but also significantly contributes to their weight loss.”
Do you know anyone with polycystic ovary syndrome? Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in women during reproductive age. This relatively small 2020 trial, Effects of a ketogenic diet in overweight women with polycystic ovary syndrome showed promising results with a ketogenic diet for woman suffering with PCOS.
While we’re at it, check out this September 2021 paper, Impact of overlapping risks of type 2 diabetes and obesity on coronavirus disease severity in the United States. It concludes, “COVID-19 patients who were both type-2 diabetics and obese had a significantly higher risk of post-diagnosis hospitalization and severe disease development. These findings suggest that efforts to manage diabetes and weight may reduce the severity of COVID-19.”
I don’t think that a low carb or ketogenic diet is right for everyone. If you are doing well with your current diet I salute and support you! If you are struggling, you may want to look into a well formulated low carb or ketogenic diet.
I really like charts, statistics, and graphs. Of course, they can be deceiving. Remember, correlation does not equal causation as you check out these Spurious Correlations.
Thanks for reading!
Dr Jim McDaniel