Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Retrospective #326: Are you hungry in the morning?

Seriously. Your mileage may vary (YMMV), but I’m not hungry in the morning. That’s an adaptation my hormones have made since I began eating Very Low Carb (VLC) in 2002. It’s evidence that I’m in ketosis after a very low carb supper and an overnight fast, and taking Metformin with supper to suppress unwanted gluconeogenesis. That’s where the liver makes glucose from stored amino acids. Net result: my blood sugar is stable, and I’m not hungry.
So, I don’t eat breakfast anymore. That’s a big change for me. From the start in 2002, when I lost 60 pounds in 9 months eating Very Low Carb (Atkins INDUCTION: 20 grams of carbs a day), I have eaten a breakfast of just eggs, bacon and coffee. A few years later, after gaining back a little weight and reading Dr. Richard K. Bernstein’s “Diabetes Diet,” I lost 110+ more on Bernstein’s 30 grams of carbs a day (6 +12 +12 = 30), for breakfast, lunch and supper.
Since then, however, some of my 170 lb weight loss has crept back, and eating VLC doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. My metabolism has adjusted and refuses to move from my “set point.” So, in January I added an additional weapon to my arsenal: Intermittent Fasting (IF). It’s a “fad,” you say? No, not really. It’s good science and grounded in ancestral/evolutionary precepts. It’s only in modern times that eating 3 meals a day is the norm. And even today, many Europeans eat a very light breakfast. Americans are the exception to the rule, and look at where it’s got us.
My approach employs 5 simple rules that Andreas Eenfeldt, “The Diet Doctor,” described in a January 2016 video: 1) Follow strictly a low carb diet, 2) Eat only when hungry, 3) Sleep 7-8 hours a night, 4) weigh yourself daily, and 5) intermittent fasting. The two IF methods Dr. Eenfeldt “prescribes” are 5:2 and 16:8. I chose 16:8, seven days a week!   I skip breakfast because I’m not hungry. I sometimes even skip lunch. I’m honestly still not hungry.
I’m doing this to lose weight, to “break the plateau” and reset my “set point,” and it’s working. After losing 20 pounds by just eating strictly VLC (addressing the “compliance issue”), I stalled. That’s when I started IF (skipping breakfast) and “eating only when hungry.” I quickly (in 5 weeks) lost another 10 pounds. Then I stalled again. Hmmm, I wondered. Did my metabolism make another adjustment, or did I sub-consciously sabotage myself by eating when I wasn’t hungry, or even eating too much fat, instead of letting my body break down stored fat for energy?
The answer, Eenfeldt says, is to mix it up a little. Instead of an 18 hour fast, go to a 23½ hour fast, from supper one day to supper the next. Just taking water and maybe bone broth and supplements. (I take 2g fish oil a day, and other supplements. I take 8 oz water and my morning supplements at the “breakfast” table with my wife, and other supplements, including my Metformin, at supper. And mixing it up seems to be working. I’m losing weight again.
I am now totally off coffee at breakfast. I know it’s a good antioxidant, but I’ve never liked it black or bulletproof, and I am now abstaining from heavy cream abd all sweeteners at breakfast, artificial or otherwise. Before, I used pure stevia powder (w/o maltodextrin added as a bulking agent), but I do not want to stimulate an insulin response from the sweetener, even if it is calorie-free. My object is to lower my serum INSULIN, not just my serum glucose. It is INSULIN levels that 1) contributes to insulin resistance and 2) blocks body-fat breakdown (lipolysis) for energy.
We used to think of insulin primarily as the glucose transporter hormone – which it is – but it is much more than that. Insulin is also the body’s fat STORAGE hormone. And, if you have Insulin Resistance (pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes) and you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to severely restrict dietary carbohydrates to lower serum INSULIN. When the level of insulin in your blood drops (when it’s not needed transport glucose), it signals the body (your liver actually) to break down stored fat (triglycerides) into free fatty acids and ketones, for energy. Now that you understand the physiology, you know how to “eat right,” lose weight and be healthy: EAT VERY LOW CARB!

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