I was chatting with an older friend recently when he said, “Your blog is primarily for Type 2 diabetics, right?” I fumbled a bit and said, “Yes, but…it’s also for pre-diabetics and people who are overweight and likely to have Metabolic Syndrome, including low HDL, high triglycerides, and small-dense, not large-buoyant LDL particles.”
I saw his eyes glaze over, so I quickly added, “Some people have a genetic predisposition to a disregulation of fat metabolism called Insulin Resistance (IR).” I said, “Losing weight for some people was not just about eating less (of a balanced diet) and exercising more.” At this point, the man, who is quite thin, replied that that was how he lost weight. I had now lost him on both points. He was clearly looking to change the subject, and I don’t blame him.
I have been a Type 2 diabetic since 1986, and for the first 16 years my doctor told me to lose weight and treated me with medications. Over the years, he increased the doses until eventually I was maxed out on two and starting a 3rd. This was considered “normal” because, according to medical orthodoxy, Type 2 diabetes is a “progressive” disease. He also told me how to lose weight; “Eat a calorie-restricted, balanced diet and exercise more,” he said.
This orthodox “prescription” didn’t work for me. Over the years I got fatter and sicker, until in July 2002 my doctor read Gary Taubes’s seminal New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story, “What If It's All Been A Big Fat Lie?” He tried the very-low carb diet (Atkins Induction, just 20g of carbs a day), and then suggested I try it, to lose weight.
What happened, instead, was that on Day 1 I got a hypo. So, I called my doctor, and he took me off the 3rd med. The next day I had another hypo, so I called him again, and he told me to reduce the other two meds by half. Then, a few days later, he had me reduce them by half again. Later, I eliminated one, and today I just take Metformin.
So, the immediate effect of eating a very low carb diet was that, after 16 years of FBGs in the 150s on 3 meds, my blood sugar had returned to normal on a minimum dose of Metformin. I also lost a lot of weight (eventually, over 180 pounds), and my blood pressure was much better controlled (from 130/90 to 110/70) on fewer meds.
In addition, my HDL cholesterol more than doubled from 39 to 81, and my triglycerides were reduced by almost two-thirds (from 137 to 49), and the LDL particles changed from Pattern B (small-dense) to Pattern A (large-buoyant). Finally, my hsCRP test, a marker for systemic inflammation, decreased from 6.4 to a low of 0.1.
So, is this blog just about or for Type 2 diabetics? I think not. This blog is about HEALTHY EATING, for everyone.
It is for eating whole, real foods, not processed and manufactured foods. Dr. Kurt Harris, an early thought leader who developed the Archevore Diet, once described it as avoiding “the Neolithic agents of disease – wheat, excess fructose, and excess linoleic acid” (in vegetable oils). Harris said, “It is becoming clear now that many of the diseases afflicting humanity are not a natural part of the aging process, but are side effects of the technology and other powerful cultural changes in the way we eat and live that have occurred since the dawn of agriculture roughly 10,000 years ago.”
Harris’s manifesto: “I believe we can make sense of many of the diseases prevalent now and relate them to some simple but profound changes that have occurred with the introduction of agriculture and the more recent industrialization of our foodways. These changes are related to how the food environment, including its availability, interacts with the metabolic environment of our bodies. The diseases of civilization are largely related to the abandonment of the metabolic conditions we evolved under.”
Gary Taubes and Dr. Harris, and my doctor who introduced me to Very Low Carb, are in my pantheon of heroes.So, it’s true, I think: most of my readers are Type 2 diabetics or Pre-diabetics (Metabolic Syndromers), or just IR (Insulin resistant and thus carbohydrate intolerant) and overweight or obese. Today, however, that’s the majority of the U.S, population. For us – that’s nearly EVERYONE –Very Low Carb is the best way avoid the Diseases of Modern Civilization…including “age-related” (DIET RELATED!) mild cognitive impairment (pre-Alzheimer’s).