There is no better way to bring the body to the state of optimal health than with Atkins low carb way of eating. Atkins doesn't cause high blood pressure, high blood sugar or high cholesterol, it cures it. It is actually dangerous to take meds that lower these levels and do Atkins at the same time because the levels will become abnormally, dangerously low. Atkins does cause dehydration the first few months til the body acclimates but that can be controlled with fluid intake.
U.S. government guidelines were changed 35 years ago to suggest we lower our fat intake & increase our carb intake. American society followed these recommendations & lowered their fat intake by 11% & increased their carb consumption. In this same time frame obesity, diabetes, heart disease, thyroid dysfunctions are all at epidemic levels. Most of this is caused by a high carb diet NOT a low carb diet. Through their direct effects on insulin & blood sugar, refined carbohydrates, starches & sugars are the dietary cause of coronary heart disease & diabetes.
Your body requires fats & protein, you will die without them. You will die if you eat protein without fat. You do not require carbohydrates. The body can manufacture all it needs from the protein/fat combination.
A low carbohydrate diet is a high fat diet. The protein should only be a little higher than adequate. Although it is completely possible to live on a fat/protein only diet for long term (as proven by research done in a hospital setting) it becomes boring fairly quickly. Luckily many vegetables & some fruits, nuts & seeds are low in carbs and greatly expand the diet. Most long term low carbers eat as many, if not more non starchy vegetables than vegetarians.
Glucose is the bodies preferred fuel (if you want to get technical, it actually burns alcohol most efficiently, but that doesn't make it any healthier for the body than carbs), the body can convert 100% of carbs, 58% of protein & 10% of dietary fat into glucose. The body can also be fueled by fat (dietary fat & fat cells) but only in the absence of carbs. Your brain actually prefers (* reference info) to be fueled by ketones (part of the fat burning process), only the heart requires glucose, but glucose can be easily converted from excess protein if needed or dietary fat.
IF a person eats sufficient fat & protein & minimal carbs, they can become very healthy. Free of blood sugar health problems, high blood pressure, health problems associated with high cholesterol, obesity health problems. Anything less that 9 grams of carbs per hour controls insulin and is considered low carb (up to 144 grams per day).
Simple carbohydrates trigger insulin. High insulin levels unbalance other hormones. Controlling insulin levels balances out other hormones & allows the body to function properly.
The link between saturated fats and heart health is based on faulty science. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease.
Plaque build up in the arteries is more attributable to carb consumption than dietary fats, which seems to be the conclusion of the following study. Carb consumption raises triglycerides & VLDL (bad cholesterol). Fats raise the HDL (good cholesterol). High triglyceride levels & low HDL levels are an indicator of plaque & glycation - the precursors to a heart attack & heart disease.
A study from the Oxford group examining the postprandial (after-eating) effects of a low-fat vs. low-carbohydrate diet. (Roberts R et al, 2008)
Postprandial lipoproteins, you'd think, would be plentiful after ingesting a large quantity of fat, since fat must be absorbed via chylomicrons into the bloodstream. But it's carbohydrates that figure most prominently in determining the pattern and magnitude of postprandial triglycerides and lipoproteins. Much of this effect develops by way of de novo lipogenesis, the generation of new lipoproteins like VLDL after carbohydrate ingestion.
The brain gets its energy from ketone bodies when insufficient glucose is available. After blood glucose is lowered for 3 days, the brain gets 30% of its energy from ketone bodies. After 40 days, this goes up to 70% (during the initial stages the brain does not burn ketones, since they are an important substrate for lipid synthesis in the brain). In time the brain reduces its glucose requirements from 120g to 40g per day.
Ketones have been described as "magic" in their ability to increase metabolic efficiency, while decreasing production of free radicals, the damaging byproducts of normal metabolism. The heart and brain operate 25% more efficiently using ketones as a source of energy
new evidence demonstrating several amazingly positive benefits of a very low-carb, high-fat diet including in the treatment of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's disease, epilepsy and even brain cancer.
Lead researcher Dr. Theodore B. VanItallie, from the St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, believed that a "hyperketogenic" diet would serve as an excellent natural remedy for Parkinson's disease because the excess ketones in such a diet consisting almost entirely of fat would trick the body into healing itself without the use of drug therapy.
Lutz "Life without Bread" & Taubes "Good calories, Bad calories" are excellent books that dispel all the nutrition myths.