Thursday, March 8, 2018

Type 2 Nutrition #422: “energy homeostasis at the cellular level”

A Google search for this quote, written on a Post-It, produced no results. Without the quotes, this snippet got 500k hits, many from Google Scholar. So, my search for attribution appeared to be frustrated. But I had also written down the name Raphael Sirtoli, and another Google search produced “”
I opened that hyperlink and discovered a great resource, founded by Sirtoli, aka Raphi Sirt, and Gabor Erdosi. Erdosi has a Master’s in molecular biology and Sirtoli a degree in biochemistry. Together they founded a Facebook page,, aka Lower Insulin.” It’s a rather esoteric site that is “…not really intended for the layperson. However, [it’s] excellent for the more biochemically-versed individuals….”  They say they are “expert problem solvers, with engineering brains” and invite folks to “chat with them.”
I had made the note, “It all comes down to energy homeostasis at the cellular level” because I wanted to write about it. I have written about it before, here, among other places. I have explored it primarily in the context of weight loss. Sixteen years ago, when my doctor suggested I eat Very Low Carb to lose weight, he had only a vague understanding of the mechanism, but that is why he and most people do it. Patients are content to let their doctor treat their pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, but doctors usually don’t write a scrip for weight loss.
If you’re not conversant with the physiology, this is it in a nutshell: When you consistently eat Very Low Carb (VLC), and your stored liver glycogen (from carbs) is used up, besides lowering your blood sugar, your blood insulin level also drops. This low blood insulin level signals the liver to switch from using glucose for fuel to using fat. Your liver then breaks down body fat and thus maintains energy homeostasis (at the cellular level) without slowing down your metabolism. This ONLY occurs when you have low blood INSULIN by eating VLC.
Without understanding at first the how and why, I’ve been following this principle for 16 years and have lost almost 200 pounds. I started at 375 and maintain my weight well below 200 today. It didn’t happen all at once or in exactly the same way. As circumstances required over the years (#419), the details “evolved”, starting with eating a lot and just guessing at the carbs as I ate fewer of them. Today I also incorporate full-day fasting.
As a bonus that neither my doctor nor I fully recognized or appreciated, from the get go I have been free of all my diabetes meds except Metformin, and my type 2 diabetes remains in remission. My latest A1c was 5.2%.
Another “essential” benefit of this VLC Way of Eating, besides easy weight loss and dramatic improvement in blood glucose control, is that while your body is in this state of “energy homeostasis,” you don’t eat as much because YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY. Your body is “happy” because it has all the energy it needs for whatever you want to do. You could run a marathon! Go ahead, Google it. Research exercise physiologists like Jeff Volek and others describe how you avoid “hitting the wall” as you do when you “carb load” and then your body runs out of stored liver and muscle glycogen. Everyone has enough fat (fuel) in storage to run a marathon (or 2 or 3!).
I’m just a lay bloke, long since retired from an unrelated profession. I was fat as a teenager and got fatter and fatter as I ate “a balanced diet,” as my government, my doctor (and his dietitian), and the Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs), and the American Diabetes Association, and the American Heart Association, etc, have been telling us to do for half a century: “Eating fat makes you fat.” “Eat fruits and grains.” “Eat a ‘heart-healthy,’ ‘one-size-fits-all,’ ‘mostly plant-based’ diet,” and “avoid saturated fat, cholesterol and added salt” and “eat vegetable oils instead.” We’ve been unwitting guinea pigs in the largest uncontrolled experiment in history!
And it has all gone horribly wrong. In science, when an experiment goes wrong, i.e. when the outcomes are shown to cause harm, the ethically responsible thing to do is to STOP THE EXPERIMENT. A classic example was the ACCORD trial in 2008. So, why doesn’t government stop this experiment now? Why don’t they correct the Dietary Guidelines? In the absence of that unlikely scenario, it’ll have to be up to you. Youll have to do it!

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