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A high-carbohydrate diet is a fattening high-insulin diet

A high-carbohydrate diet is a fattening high-insulin diet
A high-fat, high-protein meal of hangar steak, butter-based sauce and vegetables. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I second Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz. ("U.S. News is wrong about what constitutes the best diet," Opinion, Jan. 28)

While the Mediterranean and DASH diets may outwardly seem healthful as they emphasize the intake of lots of fruits and vegetables, they also are relatively high in carbohydrates. And high-carbohydrate diets are necessarily high-insulin diets.

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Whether the carbohydrates come from whole-grain quinoa or candy bars, they ultimately are broken down into sugar in the body, which must be neutralized by insulin. So, the more carbohydrate in the diet, the more insulin is required to keep blood sugar in check.

Modern diets, rich in carbohydrates, require the release of high levels of insulin, which ultimately leads to pancreatic fatigue and death of insulin-producing cells. In a world where pre-diabetes and diabetes are approaching epidemic proportions, recommending a relatively high-carbohydrate diet may not be prudent.

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By comparison, a vegetable-rich reduced-carbohydrate diet can supply all of the necessary micronutrients and vitamins while drastically reducing the body's demand for insulin. This helps prevent and sometimes even reverse diabetes.

Nannette Y. Yount, San Juan Capistrano

The writer has a doctorate in nutritional sciences.

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To the editor: Taubes' and Teicholz's fixation with discrediting evidence-based healthful dietary patterns such as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and Mediterranean diets is misguided. These dietary patterns have been shown to protect against heart disease, diabetes and many cancers, including those of the colon, prostate, stomach and liver.

If total fat increases significantly while calorie intake is controlled to prevent weight gain, nutrient needs will not be met. Furthermore, diets higher in total fat also are higher in saturated fat, which raises cholesterol levels.

Thus, increasing fat intake excessively will make it hard to meet the recommended nutrient targets for health, well-being and disease prevention.

Geeta Sikand, Irvine

The writer, a registered dietitian, is the director of nutrition at the UC Irvine Preventive Cardiology Program.

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To the editor: Although the authors did not explicitly state that the best way to better health is to eat more protein (and therefore meat), that was my takeaway from the article.

The problem is that unless one is advocating for plant-based protein, the planet cannot physically feed 7 billion humans protein that comes from dead animals. Ketogenic diets may indeed work, but the protein needs to come from non-animal sources; otherwise, we'll be living in a complete wasteland.

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Karen Weston, Palmdale

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook

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