Saturday, April 23, 2011

From the Journal of Unnecessary Research

Today the BBC is reporting a new study performed by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where diabetic mice with kidney disease were fed a diet comprising 87% fat.  After 8 weeks, the disease reversed itself.

Diabetes UK was quoted as considering this diet "questionable" for humans to sustain.

My first reaction was that this was probably the usual Establishment skepticism over any approach to nutrition that isn't "balanced".  After all, plenty of people already sustain themselves very well, and have been doing so over extended periods of time, on very low and zero carb diets.

My second thought was that maybe it was doubtful that people totally addicted to the Standard American Diet could be persuaded to change their way of eating.  My husband regularly gets very frustrated when he turns away overweight patients for elective surgery.  You see, most of them are not willing to consider that their weight will have significant implications on their wound healing ability.  That's an important issue, since about half of his patient population has a BMI in excess of 30.   Usually, the idea of giving up sugar and grains is anathema to them.

But then I realized something else is going on.  What does a diet that gets 87% of its calories from fat even look like?

We went to and plugged in a theoretical day's menu consisting of 24 oz of steak and 4 oz of butter.  That's pretty extreme by most people's standards, and it's not for me, but it's about average for a fit zero-carber.  This would give you 2,500 calories, a respectable intake, but "only" 68% fat:

So we have a study that shows reversal of kidney disease in mice on a diet that even the most extreme of zero-carb foodists wouldn't normally attain.

So what did the study prove, exactly?

Since many experts believe we have a diabetes time bomb on our hands, I'd like to suggest that we urgently need more practical topics to be researched in the immediate future.  

I know that type 1 and type 2 diabetes are totally different, but I was rather shocked to learn that there are no studies looking at the risks, benefits and effects of very low-carbohydrate diets on blood glucose control in type 1 diabetics.

That would be a good place to start.  ASAP.  I suspect successful treatment of type 1 diabetics with low carbohydrate diets will lead to more Establishment acceptance that low carbohydrate diets are an effective, safe and beneficial approach for the treatment of type 2 diabetics as well.  And pre-diabetics, and the rest of us as well.

And that, in turn, will enable physicians to provide their patients with nutritional counselling that doesn't conform to Canada's Food Guide, without risking censure by their provincial licencing bodies.

Eventually, the dieticians responsible for putting together Canada's Food Guide will even start to accept the shortcomings of their nutritional guidelines.  We need them to change.


  1. well, maybe the second round of the study could see if the same results occur on a 60% fat diet. Perhaps they would see the same results, only over a longer period of time. Who knows?

  2. 60% fat would certainly be a lot more doable.