The World Health Organization (WHO) is marking its annual World Health Day (April 7th), which celebrates the organization’s founding in 1948 by issuing a call to action on diabetes.
In its first Global Report on Diabetes, the WHO emphasizes how important it is to step up the prevention and treatment of the disease, based on some depressing statistics. The report found that the number of people living with diabetes is growing all over the world.
- In 2014, 422 million adults (8.5% of the population) had diabetes, compared to 108 million (4.7%) in 1980.
- Overweight and obesity are driving this dramatic increase in diabetes. In 2014, more than one in three adults over 18 were overweight and more than one in 10 were obese.
- Complications of diabetes lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, and kidney failure and lower limp amputation.
- Diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012, and higher-than-optimal blood sugar caused in additional 2.2 millions deaths by increasing the risks of cardiovascular and other diseases. And many of these deaths (43%) occurred prematurely, before the age of 70.
The WHO suggests the need to promote healthy lifestyles, patient education and regular screening for early detection and treatment of complications (so that healthy lifestyle changes can begin right away).
I feel like the Atkins Diet has been a part of this call to action on diabetes for years, and an increasing volume of peer-reviewed independent research continues to make a compelling argument for the adoption of low-carbohydrate eating plans, such as the Atkins Diet, to help prevent and control diabetes.
When it comes to addressing this global epidemic, the solution is often simple: changing the way we eat. The bottom line? Some of the top health benefits (beyond just weight loss) for reducing your carb intake include:
- Appetite control—Diets with adequate protein, healthy fats, and high-fiber carbs help you feel full for longer, and less likely to give in to unhealthy cravings.
- Better weight loss—Studies have consistently shown a low-carb approach can produce faster, more efficient fat burning and weight loss than low-fat alternatives, especially in the critical first few months when rapid results boost motivation.
- Targets the “bad” fat—Low-carb eating helps reduce fat around the organs—one of the key factors in metabolic disorders leading to heart disease and type-2 diabetes;
- Reduces triglycerides—Blood triglycerides (fat molecules) are a known risk factor for heart disease and cutting carbs reduces them significantly.
- Increases levels of HDL “good” (cholesterol’)—A low-carb lifestyle increases high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which carry cholesterol to the liver for excretion. Heart disease is less likely with higher levels of HDL.
- Lower blood sugar and insulin levels—When broken down through digestion, carbohydrates boost the body’s blood sugar levels, prompting the release of insulin. In many people, the body finds it hard to break down these sugars—cutting carb consumption is a simple solution.
- Reduce blood pressure—High blood pressure puts people at risk for many diseases including stroke, heart disease and kidney failure. Low-carb eating helps reduce blood pressure—and the associated risks.
- Reduce risk of metabolic syndrome—Metabolic syndrome is caused by a combination of abdominal fat, high blood pressure, raised blood sugar, high triglycerides and low HDL levels. It boosts the risk for diabetes and heart disease. Low-carb diets reverse these symptoms.