An intermittent, low-carbohydrate diet was superior to a standard, daily calorie-restricted diet for reducing weight and lowering blood levels of insulin, a cancer-promoting hormone, according to recent findings.
Researchers at Genesis Prevention Center at University Hospital in South Manchester, England, found that restricting carbohydrates two days per week may be a better dietary approach than a standard, daily calorie-restricted diet for preventing breast cancer and other diseases, but they said further study is needed.
“Weight loss and reduced insulin levels are required for breast cancer prevention, but [these levels] are difficult to achieve and maintain with conventional dietary approaches,” said Michelle Harvie, Ph.D., SRD, a research dietician at the Genesis Prevention Center, who presented the findings at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Harvie and her colleagues randomly assigned patients to one of the following diets: a calorie-restricted, low-carbohydrate diet for two days per week; an “ad lib” low-carbohydrate diet in which patients were permitted to eat unlimited protein and healthy fats, such as lean meats, olives and nuts, also for two days per week; and a standard, calorie-restricted daily Mediterranean diet for seven days per week.
Data revealed that both intermittent, low-carbohydrate diets were superior to the standard, daily Mediterranean diet in reducing weight, body fat and insulin resistance. Mean reduction in weight and body fat was roughly 4 kilograms (about 9 pounds) with the intermittent approaches compared with 2.4 kilograms (about 5 pounds) with the standard dietary approach. Insulin resistance reduced by 22 percent with the restricted low-carbohydrate diet and by 14 percent with the “ad lib” low-carbohydrate diet compared with 4 percent with the standard Mediterranean diet.
“It is interesting that the diet that only restricts carbohydrates but allows protein and fats is as effective as the calorie-restricted, low-carbohydrate diet,” Harvie said.
Health-e-Solutions comment: Calorie-restricted diets have been shown to be very effective with type 2 diabetes, however, it is not sustainable long term. The diabetic-alkaline lifestyle is sustainable. We believe, as Harvie’s findings confirm, that a diet that restricts carbohydrates with even a modest glycemic load is the best approach to managing diabetes (type 1 and type 2), and improving general health.
It is interesting to note the cancer link to high levels of insulin in the blood. This is important for insulin-dependent diabetics to be mindful of when they are eating diets high in carbohydrates, injecting high doses of insulin and building up insulin resistance.