Twenty-five years ago, I went to university to study pharmacy. I wanted to help people restore their health. I believed that modern pharmacology (ie medication) is the best tool to treat chronic (aka long-term) conditions. But, after many years in practice instead of seeing people getting better, I have observed a rapid rise in metabolic disease, especially overweight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. This increasing level of disease is a global phenomenon but mainly affects well-developed, industrialised countries.
So-Called “Metabolic Syndrome” is a massive public health pandemic (which actually kills far more people than Covid) and affecting at over 50% of the world’s population. It comprises a cluster of conditions including obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, and altered lipid (cholesterol) profile. All these conditions are associated with type2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and some cancers
In his excellent book “Diabetes Epidemic and You” Dr. Joseph R. Kraft, MD says:
“Those with cardiovascular disease not identified with diabetes… are simply undiagnosed.”
Treatment of metabolic conditions typically starts with one prescribed medication. But soon after the doctor will add two, three, or even more drugs in an attempt to address the inevitable increase in severity and number of symptoms over time. But polypharmacy creates its own problems> The side effects of the initial medication lead to further medication being prescribed to address side effects. Rinse and repeat!
Are there other options to tackle this problem? Absolutely Yes! There is a different and far better way.
There is growing evidence that low-carbohydrate diets, including the “paleo” and “keto” diets, are beneficial in the treatment of metabolic syndrome.
It’s worth mentioning that over the years we came to believe many myths about food and lifestyle. Quite often we hear: “Eat less move more”, “eating fat will make you fat”, “calories in and calories out” or “Saturated fat will clog your arteries”. These deeply ingrained beliefs have become dogmas that mist be challenged on the basis of the evidence. Quite simply they are not true.
The reason why modern pharmacology fails to address chronic conditions is that it does not target the root cause: namely hyperinsulinemia or insulin resistance.
For decades we have ignored the fact that medicine took a completely wrong turn, falsely blaming high cholesterol as the main culprit. It’s high time to bring the latest scientific knowledge to bear and put an end to these misconceptions.
Dr. Kraft carried out more than 14000 oral glucose tolerance tests over several decades. Current, standard practice is to measure the glycaemic response (ie blood sugar) in response to a set quantity of glucose taken as a drink, over a two-hour period. This response can tell us the degree to which we can remove glucose from our blood. Kraft’s tests are different. First, they include blood glucose levels over an extended (5-hour) period and second, he also measured insulin response throughout. This is a game changer and presents a much wider diagnostic of metabolic health.
Normal glucose levels on their own do not guarantee a healthy state, because if insulin is significantly raised it indicates a prediabetic condition.
A ketogenic diet is a powerful tool in tackling metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes because it targets its main cause. Carbohydrate restriction is crucial in restoring insulin sensitivity due to its role as a master hormone.
By reducing carbohydrate intake, the body switches to a fat-based metabolism, which is also known as the ketogenic mode. This mode provides a much more balanced supply of energy and a more efficient energy metabolism than the carbohydrate-based mode which has become the norm.
The ketogenic diet also has a positive impact on gut permeability. This is important because increased intestinal permeability is one of the major drivers of inflammation in the body. The ketogenic diet, by protecting the gut barrier, has a beneficial effect on other barriers like blood-brain, alveoli of the lung and many other barriers in the body. Increased permeability of the mucosa can lead to allergies, for example, while an increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier can lead to inflammatory diseases of the nervous system resulting in neurodegeneration and epilepsy.
Put simply, metabolic syndrome is a lifestyle disease and requires lifestyle interventions. It sounds so simple but modern medicine has not embraced this simple truism. . Carbohydrate restriction and a reduction in processed foods are a perfect solution in the fight against metabolic syndrome and in reversing so called “incurable diseases”.