(NaturalNews) Recent research has scientists concerned that popular dietary recommendations for weight loss may be placing individuals at an increased risk for diabetes-related conditions.
A team from the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children's Hospital investigated the impacts of the dietary choices of 21 individuals, for three months. The study's participants were required to drop 10 to 15 percent of their body weight prior to the study, and have their new weight stabilized. For each of the three months, the study's participants were placed on a different diet. One was low fat, while the others were low glycemic and low carbohydrate, respectively. Each of the diets, despite their preference of calorie sources, provided the necessary 10 to 35 percent of their intake from protein, as is considered healthy.
Less pain, more gain
The low carbohydrate diet made the largest impact on bodily metabolism rates, but it also came with a significant drawback. The diet also resulted in raised cortisol levels, which have been linked to both lost sensitivity to insulin, and cardiovascular disease. Low fat diets, which are often recommended by the American Heart Association, resulted in insulin resistance and a lower energy use. The best response came from when the participants were placed on the low glycemic diet, which doesn't eliminate whole classes of nutrients, and as a result, both put less of a strain on the body, and is more easily adapted to individual lifestyles.
Mechanism of change ...or a barrier to progress?
Where a food is placed on the glycemic index is an indicator of how rapidly the food can be metabolized into blood glucose. Foods that are made up of simple carbohydrates and sugars are converted more quickly, and can cause blood sugar to spike. High blood sugar is often associated with diabetes. However, in diabetes, the problem is an inability to remove sugar from the blood that is more chronic. High blood sugar brought on by high glycemic foods is conversely followed by a blood sugar crash, much in the same way the absence of the extreme highs of a drug addiction can pave the way for harsh withdrawals.
Unfortunately, in contemporary culture, the consumption of high glycemic foods tends to be a long-term, dietary style rather than a single poor food choice. The habit, much like drug addiction, is self-reinforcing. When an individual's blood sugar drops, hypoglycemia - low blood sugar - typically results in agitation, headaches, anxiety, confusion and urgent demands from the body to rectify the sugar loss. Because the body is experiencing an acute threat, it responds as if it's being attacked, releasing elevated levels of ephedrine, a hormone commonly referred to as adrenaline. To reverse these symptoms, the individual again raises their blood sugar, starting the cycle over again. This pattern puts an incredible amount of strain on the body.
Diets that are high in simple carbohydrates increase both blood sugar and blood fat levels, and may reduce the amount of good HDL cholesterol that is circulating in the body. Glycemic "load" is a measurement of the glycemic impact and the total amount of carbohydrates in the food. Complex carbohydrates still contribute to the blood sugar, but the changes in blood sugar levels that result are very gradual, and aren't associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
About the author: Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general.