If "Low-Carb Diet" was a Pill

Friday, September 30, 2011
pills In the past few months, I've heard a few people say words to the effect that if the benefits of a low-carb diet were packed into a pill, it would be the biggest money-maker of all time. Think of it: not only would it cause weight loss, but it would lower triglycerides, blood glucose, and blood pressure (assuming they are high). It would raise HDL ("good") cholesterol, and it would move LDL cholesterol particle size away from the dangerous "pattern B", to the larger, safer particle type "pattern A". This would substantially reduce the risk for both heart disease and diabetes. (The list of things low-carb diets helps is very similar to the list of symptoms for metabolic syndrome, which is a major risk factor for both of these conditions.)

Why would people so much rather take a pill than make a healthy change in their diets? Well, obviously, it would be easier. We are so surrounded by foods full of sugar and other refined carbs that not only are people very accustomed to them, but it's often difficult to find anything else to eat. These foods are also very well-marketed in campaigns backed by huge amounts of money. Broccoli, salmon, berries, flax seeds...not so much. If there was a pill that would allow people to eat sugar all day long and still be healthy, the large food companies and the drug companies would both be thrilled.

If only that large marketing effort could be directed to the type of eating that causes all those great changes. But probably not many people can get rich from recommending healthy whole foods and avoiding starches and sugars.

Photo c Paul Eekhoff

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