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Beat it

High saturated fat diet helps diabetics


WT Health, News reposted from nutritional grail

Diabetes afflicts some 347 million people worldwide. The vast majority of diabetics, about 90 percent, have Type 2 diabetes. According to the WHO, "Type 2 diabetes (formerly called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset) results from the body's ineffective use of insulin…and is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity." Want to prevent or reverse Type 2 diabetes? In short, you must stabilize your insulin levels and lose excess body weight. But what type of diet best achieves these ends for most people? Let's check in with the American Diabetes Association (ADA)… The ADA doesn't recommend any particular macronutrient ratio for those battling diabetes. "A variety of dietary meal patterns," they suggest, "are likely effective in managing diabetes including Mediterranean-style, plant-based (vegan or vegetarian), low-fat and lower-carbohydrate eating patterns." To its credit, the ADA highlights a 2006 meta-analysis showing that "low-carbohydrate diets were associated with greater improvements in triglyceride and HDL cholesterol concentrations than low-fat diets." According to this study, however, low-carbohydrate diets significantly increase LDL cholesterol. There was no mention, however, as to whether they increase small-particle LDL (the truly bad type) or large-particle LDL (the benign type). But while implicitly giving a nod to higher-fat (low-carbs) diets, the ADA adamantly discourages healthy saturated fats while encouraging unhealthy polyunsaturated seed oils. Up is down and down is up, when it comes to the ADA's fat recommendations. If we are to believe the ADA, then butter is unhealthy whereas cottonseed oil is healthy. Cottonseed oil is roughly 54 percent omega-6 polyunsaturated fat, an inflammatory type of fat that prevents the assimilation of omega-3 when consumed excessively. Only very small amounts of polyunsaturated fat are necessary and the vast majority of our dietary fat should be saturated and monounsaturated. Cotton is not even a food plant and, furthermore, cottonseed contains and endogenous toxin called gossypol. Reducing gossypol content requires chemical refinement using hexane solvents, bleaching, deodorizing, and decolorizing using ferric chloride (a highly toxic, highly corrosive industrial chemical). Extracting oil from cottonseeds requires high heat and further use of hexane solvents. Recommending cottonseed oil as healthy while calling butter unhealthy seems like a monumental oversight. And yet, there it is, in plain English, on the ADA's website, alongside their many other equally astonishing recommend "healthy" fats: Corn oil Cottonseed oil Safflower oil Soybean oil Sunflower oil Soft (tub) margarine Mayonnaise Salad dressings While implicitly endorsing high-fat diets for diabetics, albeit the wrong kinds of fat, the ADA also approves low-fat diets. Until recently, there wasn't strong enough evidence to conclude that either low-fat or low-carb diets are better for most people suffering from Type 2 diabetes. The limitations of past studies included the lack of a randomized comparison groups, poor retention, and short duration of follow-up. In April 2014, however, a new study was published comparing low-fat and high-fat diets in overweight or obese individuals with Type 2 diabetes. This study was a randomized, controlled trial (RCT), the so-called gold standard of nutritional science. Participants in the low-fat (high carb) group completed the 3-month experiment eating 41 percent of calories as carbs, 21 percent protein, and 35 percent fat (of which 9 percent was saturated fat). Participants in the high-fat (low-carb) group completed the 3-month experiment eating 14 percent of calories as carbs, 24 percent protein, and 58 percent fat (of which 40 percent was saturated fat). The low-fat group was calorie restricted whereas the high-fat group had no caloric restrictions imposed upon them; they could eat as much as they wanted. The results? The high-fat/low-carb group enjoyed consistently improved glycemic control compared to the low-fat group. 44 percent of high-fat participants were able to discontinue diabetes medication compared to only 11 percent of low-fat participants. Furthermore, the high-fat group lost 5.5 kg per person versus 2.6 kg for the low-fat group. Despite high amounts of saturated fat in the high-fat diet, significant LDL increases were not observed. "These results," the researchers wrote, "suggest that in persons with diabetes, a very low carbohydrate diet has effects that are neutral and even beneficial, on average, on lipids." A limitation of this study was its relatively small sample size (34 total subjects). The researchers, however, were enthusiastic about the observed benefits of a high-fat, low-carb diet for diabetics and they recommend larger randomized controlled trials to further test the efficacy of such a diet.