In this letter to the Irish Examiner Dr. Garry Lee explains his findings on weight loss diets. We hope you find it interesting.
I’ve been studying this area intensively for at least two years.
I’m a retired doctor and have the time to do so in a degree of detail which no working doctor could do. The world population is getting fatter and there is huge increase in diabetes etc which is going to make the health services unaffordable for one country after another.
There’s a huge amount written about obesity and a lot of research devoted to it but the science is there and is being ignored.
What does the science tell us? It tells us things that are quite non-intuitive:
1. Exercise is pretty poor for weight loss despite all the Operation Transformation stuff. I’ve cycled a huge amount for 30+ years and it alone failed to keep me thin.
2. Even though fat has twice the calories per gram of protein or carbohydrates, those who eat the most fat are the thinnest (a robust finding of the famous Framingham study). That is because they eat less carbs and because fat and protein are satiating.
3. Sugar and refined starch (carbs) are probably the main bad boy in the obesity epidemic . The advice to cut fat and eat more carbs had the exact opposite effect of what theoretically was supposed to happen. The linking of fat to abnormal cholesterol profiles in the blood has not stood up well under scientific scrutiny and in fact it is the sugar/carbs which are driving it.
4 There is a collection of symptoms and signs called the Metabolic Syndrome which includes a big belly, fatty liver, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, gastric reflux, sleep apnoea and lipid disturbances promoting heart disease. All of these are reversed by a low carb’ / high fat diet. This dietary approach is no more a fad than farting is.
Some will say that some populations have always eaten a high proportion of carbs, like China or Japan. They did but the total load of carbs wasn’t huge and these people were working it off. Many don’t.
If you have familial obesity or diabetes etc, it’s likely that you are one of the 70% of the population who have what is called Insulin Resistance and in this case you will always be hungry if you eat a high carb diet and will get fat.
If you cut the carbs you will be satisfied and the weight usually falls off.
I lost 40lb, without being hungry, doing this and maintained it. There are at least 23 comparative trials of low carb’ vs other diets, all of which show it is best. It’s not only best for weight loss but best for diabetics (under medical supervision), for cardiac risk factors and for mood disorders,
Dr Garry Lee