– Those who have diabetes who want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on medication.
-Those who have a family history of diabetes or have been told they are pre-diabetic or insulin resistant. Anyone with an “apple” body shape is probably insulin resistant.
-Those who suffer from hypoglycemia.
-The overweight and obese. This is by far the largest group who could benefit from carb restriction; they now make up over two-thirds of the population of the United States (data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001 to 2004).
-Women who are pregnant or who anticipate becoming pregnant who want to reduce their risk for gestational diabetes and lower the risk that their babies will become diabetic later in life.
– Bariatric surgery patients. Over 200,000 people a year in the United States are having gastric bypass procedures for the treatment of obesity. Patients are routinely put on a low-carb diet before the surgery to reduce fatty liver disease to help them survive the operation; afterwards, most of them are advised to avoid eating sugar and starch to prevent a painful condition called “dumping” and to avoid regaining weight.
– Those who suffer from epilepsy. Carb restriction has been shown to be effective in reducing the number and severity of epileptic seizures in both adults and children. Some children have been completely cured of the condition after two years on a strict ketogenic diet. Ongoing research indicates that an Atkins-type diet may be as effective as the more restrictive ketogenic diet and much less stressful.
– Women experiencing menopausal symptoms. Dr. Larry McCleary describes another set of problems that can be eliminated by a low-carb diet. In his book (The Brain Trust Program, Perigee, 2007), he explains that hot flashes and brain fog originate in the same way as epileptic seizures and can be cured by the elimination of sugar and starch and the addition of good, natural fats to the diet.
– Women who have fertility problems caused by polycystic ovary syndrome.
– Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia sufferers. An estimated 10 million people in the US have fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue. Dr. Paul St. Amand, an endocrinologist at UCLA, has developed a method of treating the condition with guaifenesin. He has written several top-ranked books on the subject. A low-carb diet is part of his protocol.
-Bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. Many trainers and coaches have embraced this lifestyle including: Dr. Jeff Volek, a professor at the University of Connecticut, and Adam Campbell, the fitness editor for Men’s Health Magazine, who co-authored the TNT Diet (Rodale Books; 2007); Fred Hahn, author of The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution (Broadway 2002), and Dr. Jonny Bowden, author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth (Fair Winds Press, 2007) also recommend limiting carbs.
-Those who seek to prevent or treat cancer. Low carb is being tested as a treatment for some cancers. In Good Calories, Bad Calories (Knopf, 2007), award-winning science writer, Gary Taubes, explains that cancers are dependent on sugar to grow and to spread. He warns that advanced glycation end products, called by the deliberately chosen acronym, “AGE’s,” are formed when excess sugar molecules attach to and damage proteins in the body, promoting cancer and speeding up the aging process.
-Others. Low carb diets are being used to treat acne, eczema, acid reflux, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, gout, attention deficit disorder, and many other diseases and conditions.
(C) 2009, Judy Barnes Baker