People have been following low-carb diets for quite some time now in order to lose weight. And now a new study suggests that perhaps following a high-fat/low-carb diet, such as the Paleo diet, might lead to excess weight and adverse health conditions.
Weight loss has been associated with improved insulin resistance and perhaps a paleo-type of diet may help improve blood-glucose control. However, consuming a high-fat diet can lead to accumulation of fat in the liver, which can disrupt glucose metabolism.
More so, increasing glucose production leads to increased insulin secretion, which puts immense stress on the B-cells of your pancreas. Therefore, researchers need to seriously consider the long-term effects of such a diet and whether its beneficial role in diabetes management outweighs any potential negative consequences.
Researchers from the University of Melbourne evaluated whether feeding pre-diabetic obese mice a low carb, high fat (LCHF`) diet could be a health benefit for them.
“Low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets are becoming more popular, but there is no scientific evidence that these diets work. In fact, if you put an inactive individual on this type of diet, the chances are that person will gain weight,” said author, Professor Andrikopoulos.
The mice were divided into two groups and for the first six weeks all mice consumed a regular, standardized diet. At six weeks, researchers provided each group with either a standardized diet or a LCHF one for the following nine weeks. Researchers measured food intake, body weight, and blood glucose levels weekly. At week six of their trial diet, researchers measured fasting blood glucose levels and assessed insulin levels. At week eight, they tested glucose tolerance, as well as blood fats and cholesterol levels.
Findings revealed that weight status was similar among both groups at baseline; however, after eight weeks there was a significant increase in body weight among the LCHF group, blood fats were increased, as well as increased fat tissue compared to the standardized diet group.
Furthermore, there were no improvements in B-cell functioning in the pancreas. Glucose intolerance was worsened, blood sugar levels were increased and no improvements in insulin resistance were evident among the mice group consuming the LCHF diet.
This paleo-type diet actually made symptoms worse among the pre-diabetic mice group. In fact, it would not be recommended for those who are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes to incorporate a low-carb, high-fat diet. It is suggested though that individuals should consider adopting more healthful behaviors, such as incorporating a healthy balanced diet and engaging in more physical activity to promote weight loss. This could in turn lead to improved glucose tolerance and insulin resistance and a decreased risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
“There is a very important public health message here. You need to be very careful with fad diets, always seek professional advice for weight management and always aim for diets backed by evidence.”
Sources for Today’s Article:
Lamont, B.J., et al., “A low-carbohydrate high-fat diet increases weight gain and does not improve glucose tolerance, insulin secretion or β-cell mass in NZO mice,” Nutrition & Diabetes 2016; 6 (2): e194; doi: 10.1038/nutd.2016.2.
University of Melbourne, “Diabetes expert warns paleo diet is dangerous and increases weight gain”., Eurekalert web site February 18, 2016;
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/uom-dew021816.php, last accessed February 19, 2016.