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UBCO study supports low-carbohydrate high-fat diets

“Hypertension is the most common chronic disease," says one Kelowna-based family physician
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The study explores how primary care physicians and health professionals can help patients adopt dietary and lifestyle interventions to improve overall health.

Turns out we are what we eat.

A new study by the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) indicates that low-carbohydrate high-fat diets, when introduced by primary health professionals, can help improve weight loss and cardiovascular health in some patients.

The study explores how primary care physicians and health professionals can help patients adopt dietary and lifestyle interventions to improve overall health.

“LCHF diets restrict the body’s glucose to create a metabolic state called ketosis that focuses a body’s metabolism on fats as opposed to carbohydrates,” says Alex Myshak-Davis, lead author of the study.

Study participants chose from four different intake options of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to select a ratio that best matched their personal health goals.

“Hypertension is the most common chronic disease, followed by Type 2 diabetes, obesity, osteoarthritis and chronic kidney disease amongst the study group,” says Dr. Janet Evans, a Kelowna-based family physician and affiliate clinician with the Centre for Chronic Disease and Management (CCDPM) based at UBC Okanagan.

Those patients who followed the LCHF diets also showed the greatest benefits.

“Participants who followed an LCHF diet experienced weight loss and a body mass index (BMI) reduction,” says Myshak-Davis. “Those who participated in ongoing health education with the registered nurse saw a greater improvement in weight, BMI, blood pressure, diabetes control and kidney function.”

Dr. Brodie Sakakibara, assistant professor with the UBC department of occupational science and occupational therapy, was a key contributor to this study which indicates that health education delivered in a primary are setting can lead to better quality of life for patients.

The study was recently published in Family Practice.

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