For almost 500 columns I have been harping on the health benefits of adopting a Low Carb or Very Low Carb Way of Eating. I have been trying to cajole my readers into acting in their own best interests. I’ve been telling you that you will lose a lot of weight, easily and without hunger, you will normalize your blood sugar regulation, and by strictly following a low-carb diet, you will put your Type 2 diabetes in remission…and with it reduce your risk of all the co-morbidities, both Macrovascular and Microvascular. By now, I hope, you have been persuaded…
However, just in case, if you need a little more push, there’s another very good reason to eat a Very Low Carb diet:
YOU WILL SAVE A LOT OF MONEY ON FOOD AND MEDS TOO. AND I’M TALKING SERIOUS MONEY HERE.
Let’s start with medications. If you are overweight (from chronic hyperinsulinemia), you are probably on blood pressure medications. At one time I was on 3 classes of BP meds. As you lose weight and your BMI returns to “normal,” your doctor will be able, in all likelihood, to titrate you off one or two or even all three BP meds.
If you’re a diagnosed Type 2 diabetic, you may be on as many as 3 classes of oral anti-diabetic meds. I was, and within the first week of going “cold turkey” on a Very Low Carb diet (20g of carb a day), my doctor had to take me off one and reduce the other 2 meds in half twice. And a while later, he eliminated a 2nd med altogether. I still take a very inexpensive Metformin, but many very low-carbers have stopped taking that medication as well.
In addition, the new classes of diabetes meds that are still on patent are very expensive. The 20% Medicare co-pay for the SGLT-2 class, that makes your kidneys excrete glucose, is $300 for a 60-day. That’s a $1,500 prescription!
And it you’ve been following “doctor’s orders” and eating a “balanced” diet of 55% to 60% carbohydrate, the Standard American Diet (SAD for short) of processed carbs and simple sugars (as in fruit), you may already be injecting insulin in your body…so I don’t have to tell you how expensive injected insulin (and other injectables) have become recently.
Then, if you’ve been eating the SAD, you probably have “high cholesterol,” a Total Cholesterol (TC) of ≥200mg/dl and an “elevated LDL-C,” so you’re taking a statin. But it’s low HDL and high triglycerides that are the real risk to your cardiac health. My HDL doubled and my triglycerides dropped by 2/3rds on VLC, and my doctor took me off statins. Eating a Low-Carb or Very Low Carb diet will fix non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) too. It will burn visceral (abdominal) fat around and within the liver and pancreas too, returning them to “normal” function. All of these medications (7 or 8 so far) cost a passel of money, and you can save virtually all of it…while improving your health!
Saving money on food is also a huge opportunity. People say protein and fat are more expensive than carbs, but have you looked at the price of a box of cereal or a bag of chips recently? And those “foods” are not nutrient dense. In fact, they are empty but addictive calories. And they’re totally non-essential. That right. There are no essential carbs.
Proteins have certain “essential” amino acids (that your body can’t make), and fats contain certain essential fatty acids (Omega 3’s and 6’s). And without fat, there is no way to take up the essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
And fat is satiating and protein digests more slowly, so you will eat less real food when you eat just protein and fat because you’ll be less hungry. In a restaurant, I frequently order just an appetizer. That’s a big way to save money.
And then there’s fasting: the 16:8 type, where you skip one meal a day, and there’s the OMAD way, where you skip two meals every day and eat just one-meal-a-day, again because you’re not hungry. Now, that saves a lot of money.
Finally, there’s extended fasting (EF), where you fast all day, taking just water, coffee or tea. When your body is fat-adapted, it switches back and forth easily between eating VLC and fasting, while maintaining a high energy level because it has access to your body fat for fuel. When you are in this state of nutritional ketosis, you can full-day fast on alternate days, or even 2 or 3 consecutive days, all the while feeling pumped no matter what your activity level.And you feel great, because you are full of energy, but also because of all the money you saved on food and meds.