Monday, April 13, 2020

Retrospective #422: “energy balance at the cellular level”

A Google search for this quote, that I had 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, in their words, “…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 [balance] at the cellular level” because I wanted to write about it. I have written about it before, Retrospective #321, here, among other places. I have explored it primarily in the context of weight loss. Eighteen years ago, 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 clinicians usually don’t write a scrip for weight loss.
If you’re not conversant with the physiology, let me explain: When you consistently eat Very Low Carb (VLC), and glycogen stored in your liver (from carbs you ate) is used up, besides lowering your blood sugar (glucose), it will lower your blood insulin level as well. This low blood insulin level signals the liver to switch from using glucose for fuel to using body fat for fuel. Your liver then breaks down body fat and thus maintains energy balance (at the cellular level) without slowing down your metabolism. This ONLY occurs when you have a low blood INSULIN level..
Without understanding in the beginning “the how and why,” I’ve been following this principle for 18 years and have lost over 180 pounds. I started at 375 and today try to maintain my weigh below 200 pounds. It didn’t happen all at once or in exactly the same way. As circumstances required over the years (see Retrospective #419), the details “evolved.”, In the beginning I just ate way fewer carbs and just guessed how many. Today, I also use full-day fasting.
As a bonus that my doctor did not fully appreciate, from the “get go” I had to give up virtually all my diabetes meds except a low dose of Metformin, and my Type 2 diabetes has gone into remission. My A1c has been as low as 5.0%.
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 balance,” 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 from the fat on your body. You could run a marathon! Go ahead, Google it. Research how exercise physiologists like Jeff Volek and others describe how you avoid “hitting the wall” on fat 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. Some of us 2 or 3!
Hey, 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 all 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, FAILED, public health experiment in history!
It has gone horribly wrong, and 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 for Americans? Well, in the absence of that unlikely scenario, it’ll have to be up to you. Youll have to do it!

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