A “basic” scientist proffers an hypothesis and then attempts to prove it wrong. If by experiment it is unable to be proven wrong, it can then be offered as “true.” At this point it is open to other disinterested scientists to prove it “wrong.” If they fail, the hypothesis gains acceptance and eventually becomes “accepted” or “received wisdom.”
Applied science is the application of the “knowledge” discovered in basic science. The search for this “truth,” wherever it is to be found, requires an inquiring mind that is open and skeptical of all such “received wisdom.”
I am just a humble blogger, but I have noticed that the “Insulin Hypothesis” has begun to gain a degree of acceptance in the mainstream media. My doctor read Gary Taubes’ “What If It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?” in The New York Times in 2002. He tried the Very Low Carb diet recommended, lost weight, and suggested that I try it too. Within a week I was off most of my oral diabetes medications, over time achieved an A1c of 5.0%, and over a period of years lost 180 pounds. “Clinically speaking,” doctors have told me, erroneously, that I am “non-diabetic.”
Mainstream science, though, has yet to get the message. This article, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, describes a study about a different “received wisdom.” It is predicated on the premise that losing weight by eating a restricted calorie diet (800kcal/day), over a period of time, should improve insulin sensitivity; put another way: that the driver of improved insulin sensitivity is weight loss by calorie restriction.
Gabor Erdosi, on his Facebook group Lower Insulin, was skeptical. He wrote, “The general advice to improve insulin sensitivity is to lose weight. However, it doesn’t look like the proper advice when put to the test. In this study, 55% of the participants turned out to be non-responders, meaning that even after similar weight loss on an 800 kcal/d diet, and following weight maintenance, their insulin sensitivity didn’t improve much.”
Erdosi doesn’t need to explain why to his erudite readers, but, for the uninitiated, I will. It isn’t weight loss that improves insulin sensitivity; it is lower insulin that improves insulin sensitivity. The body doesn’t have to resist being besotted with insulin and so is more receptive, read, less insulin resistant. Lower blood insulin from eating Very Low Carb (VLC), and/or Fasting also permits the body to access its fat stores and lose weight easily, and also maintain weight loss without hunger. Eating an 800kcal/day “balanced” diet, with fewer carbs, does neither of these things.
When you eat a “balanced” (high carbohydrate) diet – one that includes processed carbs and simple sugars in every meal – whether you are non-diabetic, pre-diabetic or a diagnosed type 2, your body will elevate the level of insulin flowing in your blood. Insulin is both the transporter of glucose and the cellular gatekeeper. It signals cellular receptors to open to receive the glucose energy. If you have any degree of insulin resistance, the cellular gate is stuck, so your pancreas sends more insulin into your bloodstream. This begins a vicious cycle and results in resistance.
So, to improve your insulin sensitivity, you need to lower your blood insulin. If you have less insulin flowing in your blood, whether you’re non-diabetic, pre-diabetic or a diagnosed type 2, your body’s receptor cells will become more sensitive to the insulin it “sees.” And, if you have less insulin flowing in your blood, your body will also have access to energy from the food you previously ate, and stored as fat. This is the easy way to lose weight.
Thus, it’s not fewer calories or lower weight that improves insulin sensitivity. It’s lower insulin, from eating fewer carbs, that improves insulin sensitivity.
But mainstream science continues to ignore the Insulin Hypothesis because government doesn’t fund the kind of research that would test it and accept it as “true.” There are too many corrupting influences. For example, the research cited above was conducted by the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, Lausanne, Switzerland.Nestlé makes the 800kcal meal-replacement product (Modifast; Nutrition et Santé) used in the study. In U.S. markets, Nestlé sells Optifast, Boost and Carnation, among many other HIGH-CARB “health science” products. Optifast, used in the widely reported Newcastle Diet (Retrospective #380), is 46.4% carbohydrate, 32.5% protein and 20.1% fat.