Sunday, June 11, 2017

Type 2 Diabetes, a Dietary Disease #384: The Problem with N = 1 (Spoiler: I’m keto-adapted)

Everyone agrees that achieving weight loss is a multi-factorial endeavor. Among the obstacles are cultural issues (e.g., certain staple foods); longstanding habits (e.g., eating 3 meals a day); food preference (e.g., sweet and/or starchy foods and processed foods made to “taste good”); and budget (low-nutrition carbs cost less than high-nutrient foods like protein and fat). But the biggest obstacle to weight loss is a broken metabolism. People who eat the Standard American or Western diet, described below, do it because they are hungry.
Hunger is the primary driver when you eat mostly carbs. But eating mostly carbs is an acquired habit. It’s been abetted by a decades-long campaign of government advocacy, suborned by the influence of Big Agriculture,  advertising and media hype. Should you “eat a big, healthy breakfast to start your day” even if you’re not hungry? Should you eat another meal 4 or 5 hours later, during the “lunch hour,” if you’re still not hungry? The problem is, if you do eat mostly carbs, as above, you will be hungry. In fact, you might even have to sneak in a mid-morning snack because you’re feeling a lack of energy. And the sad truth is: you will be lacking energy!
Why, because you’re eating mostly carbohydrates. Carbohydrates, especially simple sugars, and all fruits, and especially heavily processed carbs in packaged foods like cereals, begin to digest as soon as they are in contact with your mouth. Your blood sugar level peaks within an hour or two and then it crashes. And if you’re just a little insulin resistant, because you’ve been eating VERY high carb for decades, your blood insulin level will be high; thus your body cannot access its own fat for energy and your metabolism slows… until you eat again.
When I advocate to others that they try my Way of Eating (WOE), they frequently say, “I can’t give up (this or that).” I used to reply, “You don’t mean ‘can’t’; you mean ‘won’t’ or ‘aren’t willing to’.” After all, I thought, if they are health-motivated individuals, they would be willing to make the Lifestyle Changes necessary to achieve intentional weight loss. But I don’t think that any more. My thinking has evolved, to wit:
When you say you “can’t,” what you are recognizing (unconsciously) is that your metabolism is driving you to eat because it (your body) has to maintain energy balance to function. If it is denied access to the food (fat reserves) it put away, then it must slow down (reduce your metabolic rate) and TELL YOU TO EAT AGAIN. The question, then, is, how can you break this cycle? Answer: you must change what you eat. Eat in a way that avoids the vicious cycle. Eat in a way that gives your body access to its own fat storesto avoid hunger!
How do I do that? I eat Very Low Carb. Fifteen years ago I started “cold turkey” on strict “Atkins Induction” (20 grams of carbohydrates a day). I lost 60 pounds. Later I switched to Bernstein’s 6-12-12 program (30 grams of carbohydrates a day). I lost another 115. Today, I’m still down 165 pounds. Currently I’m doing full-day fasts to lose another 20+ pounds. I can do this because when I eat Very Low Carb I am KETO-ADAPTED. What’s that?
Keto-adapted means that when you eat very few carbs, both your blood glucose and your blood insulin levels will be low. Insulin is the hormone that the pancreas secretes to transport blood glucose (from carbs) to the cells. So when you eat a lot of carbs, your blood insulin level rises. If you have a touch of Insulin Resistance, you are “pre-diabetic” which means you have a slightly elevated blood sugar and your insulin level stays high.
Insulin is also a signaling hormone. When its level in the blood is low, this tells the brain to break down body fat to maintain energy balance. So, my metabolism continues to runs full tilt. I do not need to snack. I am not hungry because my body has access to another source of “food,” the body fat it put there for the purpose.
But I’m only N = 1. You’ll have to do this to replicate it. Try it for yourself and see how your body works. Human physiology is pretty awesome. It’s been working that way for millennia, til we changed what we ate.

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