“Restricting carbs allows the body to use stored fat for fuel rather than the limited (fuel) obtained from carb intake," said Dr. Volek, a dietitian and professor at the University of Connecticut.
"When body chemistry changes occur, including the liver releasing fat-burning ketones, a state of 'ketosis' has been reached and fat is burned usually at a higher rate than a person on a high-carb diet."
'Eat Fat to Get Skinny'
Volek, author of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, is encouraged by the increasing popularity of high-fat diets like the Atkins and ketogenic diets, as new scientific evidence shows that eating fat does not make you fat.
Dr. Volek explained that by drastically reducing carbs in our diet and replacing them with healthy, unprocessed fats, we boost our fat-burning capacity, eliminate nagging carb cravings, experience more stable blood sugar levels, and enjoy better mood.
"Carbohydrate restriction is the proverbial ‘silver bullet’ for managing insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes," Volek recently told me. “The medical profession continues to recommend a high-carb diet, which exacerbates the problem. It boggles the mind."
Ketogenic Diet Starves Cancer: Cancer Is a Metabolic Disease
Low-carb diets also ward off degenerative conditions such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, ADHD and Alzheimer's disease, and has been proven to be more effective than drugs at managing epilepsy.
Cancer researcher Dr. Dominic D'Agostino recently told me the ketogenic diet can prevent and treat cancer because cancer is a metabolic — not a genetic — disease. "Most cancer scientists have historically thought cancer was a genetic disease, but only 5-10% of cancer is hereditary," said Dr. D'Agostino, who has a Ph.D. in physiology and neuroscience.
When we restrict carbs, we force our bodies to burn fat as fuel, which is why a ketogenic diet has proven effective for rapid weight loss, said Dr. Volek, who has a Ph.D. in kinesiology.
Because dietary fat has a negligible impact on insulin, eating it doesn't produce surges in our blood glucose and blood insulin the way ingesting carbs does. More importantly, we don't fuel inflammation in our bodies, which causes aging and leads to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's.
And because fat is more satiating than carbs — or even protein — you don't feel deprived on a high-fat ketogenic diet the way you do on a low-fat diet. With cravings and hunger quelled, it's easier to reduce calories or even skip a meal or two without feeling jittery or lethargic.
While the idea of consuming more dietary fat may sound shocking given the low-fat diet mantra that has dominated SAD (the Standard American Diet), Dr. Volek says we actually evolved to thrive on a low-carb, high-fat diet.
"For about 98% of human history, we've been eating low-carb," said Volek, co-author of A New Atkins for a New You. "We evolved in a state of nutritional ketosis."
Dr. Volek has followed a ketogenic diet (consisting of 70% fat, 5-10% carbs, and 15-20% protein) for the past 20 years, and credits it for his excellent health. "It was nothing short of an epiphany when I changed to a ketogenic diet," he said. "I felt better, more satiated, and had more consistent energy."