A friend who saw my blog on Facebook said, “Your diet is very restrictive.” I objected! I was being defensive, of course, but my diet is very restrictive, especially to someone who eats “without restriction” and gets away with it. And that appears to be a fairly large segment of the population. It includes everyone who is of normal weight or who is not diagnosed as a Type 2 or Pre-diabetic or with Metabolic Syndrome. And who gets that diagnosis?
Lest those who appear to be healthy take comfort from this, Dr. Dwight C. Lundell, MD, author of The Cure for Heart Disease and The Great Cholesterol Lie, on pg. 36 of Cholesterol Clarity, by Jimmy Moore with Eric C. Westman, MD, says, “Our diet is not working because 70% of us are overweight and obese, we have 29 million diabetics and 75 million pre-diabetics, and the rest of us don’t even know we’re pre-diabetic”(my emphasis).
Lundell continues, “People are realizing that what we are doing is not working, and they are looking for other ways around this. That’s where do-it-yourself healthcare and self-monitoring will become the norm.”
And do-it-yourself healthcare begins with diet. Even if you’re overweight (the 70%), it is your diet that you should address to “fix” your health. And if you are among the 30% “who don’t even know [you’re] pre-diabetic,” then it is your diet that you need to address to “fix” that. If I haven’t made myself clear yet: Everyone needs to look at their diet and change it. But how? That’s the question. The best way is “self-monitoring” of your health markers.
The markers to monitor are blood glucose (fasting & A1c), HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL particle size and type, and chronic systemic inflammation (hs C-reactive protein or hsCRP). Forget Total Cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Of course, you’ll need to see a doctor to get these tests, so ask for a copy of your labs, and LEARN YOUR MARKERS.
So, how do you fix these markers? By changing your diet. I am not talking about eating less and exercising more. A growing consensus is emerging that the dietary advice we are still getting from our government and our healthcare providers is what is causing the diabetes and obesity (“diabesity”) crisis. Of course, I knew I was a Type 2 diabetic when I changed my diet 17 years ago (in 2002). I was diagnosed in 1986. And, at my cardiologist doctor’s suggestion, I changed my diet to Atkins Induction (20g of carbs a day) and lost 60 pounds in 9 months (without hunger). I later switched to Richard K. Bernstein's 6-12-12-Plan and lost 110 pounds more. Total: 170 pounds.
But the big change from eating Very Low Carb (VLC) was in my diabetes health and my lipid (cholesterol) chemistry. The first day on VLC I had a hypo (low blood sugar; symptoms: sweating, light-headedness), so my doctor eliminated one of the oral diabetes meds he had prescribed. The next day I had another hypo, so he cut the other two diabetes meds in half, and a few days later, he cut them in half again. Eventually I eliminated one of those two, and today I take just a minimum dose of Metformin. Of course, my A1c’s dropped to the mid 5s, and a new doctor today would say I was “non-diabetic.”
Even more amazing were the changes in my lipid chemistry. My average HDL more than doubled (from of 39 to 81). My average triglycerides declined by 2/3rds from 137 to 49. Total Cholesterol remained about the same, and my LDL inched up slightly but now they are Pattern A (the large/fluffy buoyant type). My latest TC: 207; LDL: 110.
So, how do I do it? By eating a “very restrictive” diet, obviously. I’m not perfect. I cheat all the time. But I have a paradigm that I strive to follow, My target macronutrient ratios: 75% fat; 20% protein; 5% carbohydrate. Just coffee with a little heavy cream for “breakfast.” One or 2 small meals a day, spaced at least 5 hours apart; no eating less than 3 hours before bedtime; no snacks, except sometimes a small VLC snack an hour or so before dinner.
Lunch (when I eat it): kippered (smoked) herring from a can, or a can of sardines in water or olive oil. Dinner: a small portion of protein and one serving of a low carb vegetable, tossed in butter or roasted in olive oil.My cheats: a glass (or two) of red wine before supper and bread in a restaurant. At home I drink iced tea with stevia; in a restaurant, a cocktail (or two). Water would be better, of course, but my diet is not that restrictive.