Most diets advocate; to lose weight you reduce calories and you will, but, only for a limited time. Reducing calories, drops your nutrients. Your metabolism slows to match the lower incoming calorie and nutrient level.
Your body chooses where to distribute the reduced available nutrients. Your brain gets priority. Your hair, skin and nails can probably function without the best nutrition for a while. These areas gradually lose their sparkle and energy. However, alarm bells will be going off in your brain with a strong message to upload more nutrients. This can make you hungry, tired and grumpy. Weight loss slows down and to maintain weight loss, requires further calorie reduction.
Few people can withstand this, eventually succumbing to their body’s demands for more food.
During WW II, the US Government commissioned a starvation study. The Minnesota Starvation Experiment. 36 male volunteers spent 6 months on 1600 calories per day. They ate mainly potatoes, turnips, bread and macaroni. A high carbohydrate diet.
They became depressed, lost concentration, became preoccupied with food and very distressed. Some ended up hospitalized, yet most weight loss programs use this type of approach to diet.
There is a better way. In the 1970’s, 2 researchers, Blackburn and Bistrian at Harvard Medical School developed a “protein-sparing modified fast” to treat obesity: 650 to 800 calories a day of nothing but fish and meat. Effectively no carbohydrates, making it a low-calorie keto diet. One publication highlighted the average weight loss of 700 people was nearly fifty pounds in four months. The patients felt little hunger. “They loved it,” Bistrian said. “It was an extraordinarily safe way to lose weight.” Sadly they stopped, because they mistakenly thought that low carbohydrate levels were unhealthy.
The difference between these diets is the carbohydrates. High carbohydrate diets with low calories, force your body into starvation mode because the resulting high insulin level prevents the body from accessing fat reserves. But if you become fat adapted, eating higher fats and very low carbohydrates, the body can use stored body fat to replace missing calories.
A successful way to get fat adapted is to severely reduce carbohydrates in your diet. Replacing most carbohydrates with good fats. Carbohydrates are not essential because your liver will make glucose from fat if needed.
I have eaten this way for 3 years. No weighing food or counting calories. I seldom feel hungry. Do I need carbs for exercise and energy? No way. I run, swim, use the gym, or kayak with no shortage of energy. Fat adapted people claim increased energy. My weight is down 11 kgs and blood pressure is back to normal.
Reducing calories does reduce weight, but unless done right, is unlikely to be sustainable.
Seek professional medical advice before any changes, particularly if you are on medication or have any underlying health problems.
Perhaps you are being controlled more than you realize. Ed Yong wrote a fascinating book called “I contain multitudes” in which he highlights the recent research linking your microbiome to many health conditions. Apparently, we are made up of a huge number of organisms that work for us or against us depending on how we treat them. Scientists are focusing heavily on the organisms in your gut (your microbiome), but they are in many other parts of the body as well. I have heard it suggested that your microbiome makes up more than 60% of you.
Mary Ruddick a well-respected nutritionist, says that if you have cravings, this is really the craving of your microbiome that is demanding the type of food it wants. If you have sugar cravings, then your microbiome has a higher level of the bad guys.
Your microbiome is much more important than you may realize. It makes your feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, it makes vitamins, it breaks down food and much of the goodness we get from food is a result of it being consumed first by the bacteria in your microbiome. It produces B vitamins for us and can affect whether some of our genes are activated (expressed) or not. 70% of your nervous system is based in your gut lining.
There is a belief that the microbiome must be diverse to be healthy, however testing of some very healthy traditional native groups has shown that you can have low diversity and still be very healthy. Apparently, it is the quality of bacteria in your microbiome and the integrity of your gut lining that matters, whether it is diverse or not, not so much.
How do you know if your microbiome is healthy or not? One clue is whether you are craving sugars and starches. The bad bacteria in your gut including those that can cause overgrowth, thrive on sugars and starches and they will influence your brain to crave them, to ensure that they get the food they want. Your good bacteria can also eat sugars and starches but prefer fats and protein. This suits your body perfectly because your cells also thrive on fats and protein.
If you need to clean up your microbiome, you can use food to do this by starving out the bad bacteria. So, a diet with no sugars or starches is required. However, these bacteria can live for quite a long time, some for over 3 months. If you starve them out for many weeks, but then have a cheat day before they have died off, you will refresh them and you will have to start the whole process all over again. So that slice of pizza or spoonful of dessert at the girl’s night out might be enough to derail your whole campaign. Only 100% adherence to the program will work. This makes it very hard for people to do. In the GAPS diet book, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride suggests that 16 months was the minimum required time for full effective treatment.
How will you know that you have eliminated the bad bacteria? Amongst other benefits, the cravings will be gone, you will wake up refreshed in the morning raring to go and you will feel very calm.
Unfortunately, antibiotics can and usually will damage your microbiome, so if you have taken a dose of these in recent months, you may be having to rebuild your good bacteria as well. Some ways to help with this are:
– Minimize plant foods with oxalate toxins and lectins such as beans and spinach.
– Don’t overdo the fiber and limit grains. Fiber is less important than is commonly believed.
– Eat more animal fats and limit omega-6 seed oils (vegetable oils)
– Get your proteins from a range of animal foods and minimize plant proteins. –
– Remember that vitamins A, E, D and K2 come from animal fats.
– Avoid soy-based food and tofu- Get outside in the mornings to get more vitamin D and to assist with melatonin production.
– Get the sugars and starches out of your diet to stop feeding overgrowth.
Intermittent fasting with a non-eating window of at least 18 hours can help with microbiome and gut lining repair as it provides an opportunity for your gut to rest and rehabilitate between the sequences of food arriving. It also promotes autophagy where the body can replace proteins, replace damaged cells and run a general maintenance program. An easy way to do this is to finish dinner by about 6pm and then only consume water, coffee, or tea until noon the next day.
For more information about the suggested lifestyle changes and “Taking back your health” with diet as medicine, take a look at my blog page, www.takebackyrhealth.com There you will find a link to my book on Amazon.
Research that compares historical dietary protein levels with typical levels today, commonly finds that early hunter gatherer humans ate a lot more protein. Analysis of the ratios of nitrogen and carbon in ancient bones can reveal details of protein sources in their diet.
Early explorers and people studying native diets have documented these higher levels. For example, the Inuit in Northern Canada, lived primarily on seal, caribou and fish accompanied by lots of fat and very little carbohydrate and their protein level was medium to high. The Red Indians on the American plains ate a high protein meat and organ diet from herbivores such as deer and bison, with very little of the animal not used in some way. Early explorers commented on how very fit and healthy these people were. They had none of the metabolic diseases that are common now and apart from a higher infant mortality, their life expectancy was very similar to humans today.
Hunter gatherers typically ate about 30% protein and body builders can sometimes get up to 40% protein but to do this they consume special pea or whey protein powder supplements for muscle building. It takes a strong focus on building up the protein in the diet to do this. Even a steak only contains 16-21% protein, you would need to eat a lot of steak and you would struggle to eat that much. Even a whole egg only contains 6 grams of protein.
There is a known condition that afflicted some early Arctic explorers called “rabbit starvation”, which could occur during periods of poor hunting, when some explorers ate mostly rabbits because they were available. Rabbits have very very little fat, and this lack of fat caused sickness due to excess production of ammonia. The same issue plagued Vilhjalmur Stefansson during the first few weeks of his year-long 1928 demonstration of survival on an all-meat diet, because the initial diet provided by the hospital, failed to include sufficient fat. It seems that there is an upper limit to protein for humans which is around 40% of your calories. Levels above this can overwhelm the liver’s ability to convert nitrogen from protein into urea, causing ammonia levels to increase leading to stress in the body. Vilhjalmur Stefansson is quoted as saying that rabbit starvation in the arctic could kill a person more quickly than eating nothing.
This suggests that about 40% of calories as protein, is a hard upper limit for humans. However, 40% is very difficult to get to because the protein is buried in food with fats, carbohydrates and vitamins, so you get the other stuff as well. Not only that, but your protein thermostat turns off your appetite as your protein consumption rises, making it harder and harder to continue eating.
What about the bottom end of the protein scale? The official recommended daily allowance (RDA) is about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, however, I understand this is an absolute minimum. Going below this could mean that many of your body maintenance functions are not happening as they should. Things like cell replacement, muscle repair, bone growth, hair growth, joint repair, etc. If you experience brittle hair and nails or wounds take a long time to repair, then maybe your protein level is too low. Your body has no way to store protein so you need to get it every day, maybe every meal and eating more on one day will not carry forward.
I have seen it suggested that the majority of older people in USA are only getting about 12% of their calories as protein. One of the biggest issues with this is that their body will try to get the protein it needs for maintenance by taking it from other parts of their body such as from their muscles, bones and connecting tissue. The result, a loss of muscle mass and a reduction in strength. Many older people die after struggling to recover after a fall, and falls are much more common when strength declines. Keeping strength and muscle mass up should be a key objective for ageing people.
A very poor diet with consistent low protein can lead to a result where only about 5% protein becomes the normal dietary level. To deal with this the body will reduce critical maintenance and the person becomes a “lightweight” version of what they could be. Small muscles, thin bones, lightweight organs, lower level of immunity etc. Valter Longo, a gerontology researcher experimented on mice and discovered that a reduced calorie diet increased their lifespan. Some people are betting, with their lives on this, seeking a longer lifespan by reducing calories, however, this has never been proven in people and we are much more likely to have serious falls than laboratory mice are. If you chose to reduce calories, make sure that it is not the protein that you reduce.
Without sufficient protein, a person gets weaker and weaker, gradually losing the ability to live fully. They struggle to get into and out of a car. Struggle to climb stairs. If they are driving, they may not be able to brake hard enough in an emergency. They may not be able to get out of a lounge chair without help. They cannot shower themselves without support. They tire quickly doing simple tasks. Eventually their heart loses the ability to keep them alive.
I hear that some women choose to avoid protein in order to ensure that they don’t develop “ugly” muscles. Be reassured that this is impossible from just eating a medium protein level diet as recommended here.
Personally, even at 70, I like to be strong enough to be able to do what is wanted without a struggle. Lifting heavy groceries, hitching the trailer onto the car, climbing stairs, digging the garden, carrying loads when required. A regular resistance exercise regime will help and it can be very satisfying.
Older people also don’t absorb protein efficiently, so if you are a bit older, I suggest you try to keep your protein intake to a minimum of about 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. For a 70 kg man this means 105 grams of protein each day. To do this make sure you are eating plenty of meat, eggs and fish. Beans contain protein, but soy beans, grains including wheat and legumes can contain protease inhibitors and these can prevent the breakdown of dietary proteins into their amino acids, thus preventing you getting access to some of the protein you eat. This means that reducing the level of these in your diet may also help, particularly avoiding refined wheat flour. Are you in danger of overloading your kidneys? Apparently not unless you already have kidney disease, because it is almost impossible to drive protein levels to the very high levels required.
It is interesting to note that one way a farmer can fatten animals is to reduce the protein level in their feed. This causes the animals to eat more in order to satisfy their protein thermostat. Perhaps a higher level in a human diet will make you feel full sooner, reducing the calories you eat regularly.
During pregnancy a woman needs protein with the Mayo Clinic recommending 71 grams per day, although surely this will vary due to different activity levels and different size women. UCSF Health suggests a minimum level of 60 grams per day or 20-25% of your calories from protein. With a baby growing and most of their growth requiring protein, best not to skimp on this.
For a very readable guide to losing weight, diet and maintaining your health, take a look at my book linked to the blog at www.takebackyrhealth.com. Regards George Elder
Hi everyone. I just finished listening to the amazing Mary Ruddick talking about how to protect yourself from the more serious impacts of viruses including COVID19. What an amazing person she is. She is my new health idol and I have now listened, almost spellbound, to about 5 of her videos and podcasts.
So about viruses. I have always wondered why they would kill their host as this seems to limit their options to proliferate. But what if they preferred to remain a mild chronic nuisance to the host, but if the host is not very strong, they end up killing them. A living host would help them survive for a long time and to spread to many people. This model seems to fit past epidemics where many people had limited symptoms, but some small numbers were killed.
With this in mind, maybe the best thing you can do to minimize COVID19 risk, is to make your body as inhospitable to a virus as possible, which will mean it will struggle to survive and your risk is hugely reduced. The most important element seems to be your overall metabolic health.
Those who are less metabolically healthy with underlying diseases such as Type-2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, insulin resistance, etc are an easier target for a virus. This is because these conditions can drive up the whole body inflammation level, which if left untreated can mask the signals telling the immune system that a virus has arrived. This unfortunately gives the virus more time to proliferate within you, before your body begins to fight back and therefore severely weakens your immune system response.
A way to tell if this applies to you is to measure your waist circumference. Then compare it to your height. If your waist measurement is more than 1/2 your height measurement, then there is a high chance you are metabolically unhealthy.
Can you change this? Surprisingly YES you can. A diet that dramatically reduces carbohydrates, and removes sugars and seed oils can begin to improve your metabolic health in as little as three weeks. A Keto or Paleo diet can help with this as can getting enough vitamin D through daily sunshine exposure. I have read of people on supplementary insulin getting off this treatment within days of such a diet change.
You can also help reduce chronic inflammation by reducing your underlying stress level and therefore your level of cortisol. Perhaps the easiest way is to improve your sleep by getting more sleep prior to midnight, and waking, after at least 8 hours, at a set time every day and getting out into the sunshine. Harder in winter of course.
Another thing that may help is to focus on reducing the food that a virus can use to nourish itself. A high level of the amino acid, arginine in your body can stimulate a virus and accelerate its growth. Foods high in arginine generally come from plants and include beans, wheat grains, nuts, peanuts, chocolate, tofu, garlic, peanut butter and ginseng.
Within your body there is an arginine / lysine balance which you can influence by increasing the level of lysine containing foods. Foods high in lysine mostly come from animal sources and can suppress viruses, so include lots of red meat, pork, eggs, chicken, sardines, lamb, brewers yeast, mung bean sprouts and spirulina. Dairy products can be good source of lysine. If you are using lots of nut flours for baking, then maybe you need to eat these items with lots of dairy such as cheese or cream without sugar to keep the lysine balance high.
Mary has suggested that there is some food that will suppress viruses by blocking the ability for a virus to attach to a cell in your body. She suggests that for this you can eat shiitake mushrooms which are relatively low cost and loaded with beta-glucans, very capable of this blocking. Finally make sure you are getting enough zinc in your diet. This can come from oysters, beef, egg yolks, liver, dairy, lamb, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and shiitake mushrooms. Apparently zinc will attract viruses and transport them out of your body.
For more information about my own health journey, plus advice for living Keto, go to www.takebackyrhealth.com, or buy my book which is linked there.
You have a problem. Type-2 diabetes is a silent killer and is wreaking havoc on your body. Along the way it will damage your body in ways that are often not reversible and, in the end, will trigger other conditions that could become lethal. What can you do about this?
There are many conditions within your body where a balance is maintained by hormones whose role is to maintain homeostasis (balance). Examples include the arginine / lysine balance, the cortisol / melatonin sleeping hormone balance, the Omega-3 / Omega-6 Polyunsaturated fat balance and your problem is the glucose / insulin balance. In your case the balance has become too heavy on the glucose end and too light on the insulin end. This is usually the result of your pancreas struggling to produce enough insulin to balance the level of dietary glucose arriving into your blood.
You have probably been heading for this failure, for many years as you became gradually more and more insulin resistant and therefor required higher and even higher levels of insulin from your pancreas, to control the incoming glucose. Your HbA1c level will have been rising and your pancreas ramped up its insulin production, but over time it lost the ability to produce the level that was asked of it. Because your body can only tolerate a maximum of 1 teaspoon of sugar in the blood at any time, whenever you ate confectionary, starches, sweet food or carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, potatoes, beer, cola, bagels, oats, and cereals you pushed up the glucose level in your blood. This pushed up insulin even higher to force the storage of glucose into muscles, liver and adipose fat in order to try and bring this blood glucose level down to non-toxic levels.
There are 2 ways to address a balance problem, either you put more weight on the light end or you take some weight off the heavy end. A doctor may chose to try and reduce your weight of glucose by prescribing a drug like Metformin which inhibits your liver from making glucose, or may choose to put more weight on the light end of the balance by prescribing external insulin. Often the doctor will take a path that minimizes changes to your lifestyle. My understanding is that doctors are often concerned that patients will not adhere to lifestyle changes, so a prescription which alters that balance is possibly a simpler and more sure option.
Changes to your insulin / glucose balance are very serious for your body and getting this wrong can have serious consequences for your health. My father had a pancreas failure when I was only 12 which caused him to act very irrationally at times. His last day as a school teacher was the day he took an irrational “turn” and wouldn’t let the children in his class go home, much to the consternation of all the parents. Sadly, he died of complications from this problem some weeks later.
One of the problems with taking external insulin to restore the balance is that it can maintain a continuously high insulin level in your body which is very unhealthy. This approach also fails to improve your metabolic health which ultimately increases your risk of a more serious COVID19 reaction. The high insulin level can damage many of your organs, your eyes, and can ultimately lead to obesity, heart disease, blindness and even to limb amputation. Many people on external insulin gain unwanted weight.
An alternative approach to addressing this balance is a lifestyle change. This requires a high degree of commitment to ensure success, because failure to stick to the guidelines may mean sickness and a return to external insulin. By a lifestyle change, I mean that we regain the needed balance by significantly reducing the incoming dietary glucose level in food, so that a much smaller level of insulin is needed to manage it. In some cases, this will result in a significant reduction in medication, while in other cases there may be sufficient insulin production capability left in the pancreas for you to get off medication completely. In some cases, the reduction in medication can begin within a few days.
Adding more exercise can also assist as it burns up glucose from muscles which is then replaced by pulling glucose from your blood.
Don’t for a minute think that this type of change is a pipe dream. Doctors all over the world who have begun to understand low carb nutrition are achieving this type of change for their patients. Dr. David Unwin in UK is famous for this approach having been awarded 2016 Innovator of the Year by the UK NHS. In New Zealand Dr. Glen Davies of Taupo has now put 100 patients into remission and in the USA, Virta Health (www.virtahealth.com) is treating Type-2 diabetes patients virtually and putting many into remission all over North America.
If a lifestyle change with reduced medication seems right for you, then the first step is to discuss this with your doctor. As indicated previously, this is a serious change and you will need support particularly over the first 2 weeks as the changes to your diet start to impact your hormones. Should you find that your doctor is not willing to support you, then you may seriously want to look for an alternative doctor, because remaining on high levels of insulin has a particularly nasty outcome for many people and your doctor should not be making this type of life choice for you. Some doctors have not kept up to date with the changes in treatment for Type-2 diabetes and you need to be able to evaluate these better treatment options.
For more information about the suggested lifestyle change and “Taking back your health” with diet as medicine, take a look at my blog page, www.takebackyrhealth.com. You will find there a link to my book on Amazon.
Whatever your decision, good luck with the outcome. Kind Regards George Elder.
In these days of COVID-19 we hear that people with poor metabolic health usually suffer a much worse outcome from getting infected with the virus. In 99% of the deaths in Italy from COVID-19, poor metabolic health was identified. Prateek Lohia, MD, MHA, assistant professor of internal medicine at Wayne State University, said. “Patients with metabolic syndrome had a 40% increase in all-cause mortality, 68% increase in the need for critical care services and a 90% increase in the need for mechanical ventilation compared to the patients without metabolic syndrome.”
But what is poor metabolic health? If we look at crowd photos from the 1950’s and 1960’s, we are fascinated at the number of slim people. It can often be difficult to spot a person in the crowd who looks fat. The people look positively skinny in comparison with crowd photos taken these days. In most cases, that difference is metabolic syndrome, or poor metabolic health.
When a person has metabolic syndrome, a major indicator is excess fat around their middle. They might be called apple shaped, sometimes referred to in males, as having a beer belly. Often the major indication is a belly that hangs over the belt. The excess fat accumulated around the center of a body is adipose fat, and it packs all around the body’s critical organs such as the heart, pancreas, stomach, liver etc. It can make bending over to tie shoelaces difficult, and can compress the lungs requiring more effort for breathing. To know if this is a concern for you, just take your waist measurement in the morning and compare it with your height. The waist measurement should be less than half your height measurement. Not all people who have poor metabolic health are apple shaped. Some can be very thin and we refer to these people as TOFI’s. Thin outside, fat inside. They can still have excess adipose fat around their organs impacting their health.
What has happened to these people? When their body has too much energy usually from eating excess carbohydrates, it could become toxic in the blood, so it has to go somewhere else. Their body converts this energy into a storable form and deposits it in the central area. This can be stored in the liver which can result in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which over time, expands the liver putting more bulk into the central area and can eventually lead to cirrhosis or permanent scarring damage to the liver. Sometimes this excess energy is converted into Triglycerides (fat) and stored in the central area, increasing adipose fat around the organs, and pushing out the belly. A major driver for this, is eating food that has too high energy but a low level of nutrients. It is common to think this is a result of a person just over eating, but it often comes from their body reacting to the type of food they are eating and continuing to send “hungry” messages. So, the wrong food can make you feel hungry, even if you have just eaten. For example, many processed foods and sweetened beverages are full of calories, have almost zero protein, but zero nutrition. If these are dominant in your diet, your body will keep you feeling hungry until you have satisfied your protein or nutrition requirements.
What are the health impacts of this condition? This central adipose fat releases hormones such as leptin, some cytokines and others, to such an extent that it is now considered a major endocrine organ influencing a number of internal processes. These can help drive up obesity which is now known to increase cancer risk. The high glucose levels driving metabolic syndrome also increase insulin levels ultimately creating insulin resistance and this drives a wide range of diseases. Some examples of these diseases are Type 2 diabetes, PCOS, macular degeneration, kidney disease, liver diseases, heart disease, obesity and many other diseases that are only just being recognized as caused by insulin resistance. Why is a person with metabolic syndrome more susceptible to a poor COVID-19 outcome? It seems that their immune system is compromised, that nutrition levels are lower, that these people have a delayed response by the immune system. Chronic inflammation seems to be a factor, as it is common in obese people. It seems that COVID-19 can create an excessive inflammatory response called a cytokine storm. This can cause severe lung damage and multi organ failure.
Is there anything that can be done? Yes, there is and you can get results quite quickly. The really good news is that when you focus on this problem, the body seems to reduce the worst adipose fat level first. In just one week with a significantly reduced dietary glucose level, research has found that liver function can recover by as much as 30%. In just three weeks, the adipose tissue can begin to shrink and health markers can begin to improve. For many people, the route to improved health involves heavily reducing dietary carbohydrates which lowers insulin, reduces sugars in the blood and switches the body to consume stored fat. When this is done, the first fat store that is targeted is the central area adipose fat. Great news.
A paleo diet can help and even a vegan diet may help. Grains, sugar sweetened drinks, HFCS, starchy vegetables and sugar must be eliminated. This means no corn, rice, potatoes, parsnips, almost no fruit and no flour or corn-based products like pasta, cereals, bread, pretzels, cakes buns etc. So very difficult but not impossible for a vegan to still get all their required nutrition. A keto or low carbohydrate style diet is my easy way to do this because it mostly eliminates any feeling of hunger. Increase the level of meat, eggs, dairy, and eat lots of green vegetables every day. You are replacing most carbohydrates with additional protein, and fat. If the overall calories are kept just a little under daily requirements, then the body will begin to use stored fat to make up the energy shortfall. Intermittent fasting can also help.
Wow! What a fascinating revelation on what I eat and why I have dietary issues. A great summary of many complex nutritional issues and better still, provides references to research plus a way forward. It will be a challenge for me to be disciplined to apply the lessons learnt from this book but by taking it in stages, I am sure I will become more healthy. What a valuable find and so cheap buy! Unbelievably valuable.
If you decide that keto / low carb choice is for you, then I offer the following tips. Prepare to find your refrigerator full and your pantry with less in it, because you are eating real food.
First, what carbohydrate level should you be aiming to eat? There seems to be a magic number of grams of carbohydrates for each individual. If you are below this number you will most likely be losing weight. As the level of carbs rises your weight loss will slow. When you reach your magic number weight loss will stop and if you eat more carbs per day than the magic number, you will put on weight. So a good plan is to start with 20 grams or less carbohydrates per day and after you have fully fat adapted (maybe 3-4 weeks) add a few grams back each week, to manage your weight loss to stop losing weight when you get to your goal weight. Keep the carbohydrate level low if you have heaps to lose, but don’t get bored by the lack of food diversity. Add those carbs back gradually, but drop back if you start to put weight back on.
Make sure you eat plenty of good fat so that you are not feeling hungry. The aim is not to eat less calories, or you may kick your body into starvation mode and your metabolism will slow. So keep up your calories, ensure you are eating plenty of fat, but do not snack between meals. Remember your goal is to keep insulin levels low. Eating the required level of fat is quite difficult at first as it goes against all past conditioning.
However if you are trying to lose body fat, you should still eat plenty but not overdo the fat, allow for some of your calories to come from body fat daily. This is done by eating slightly less that you need and once fat adapted, the body will burn body fat to make up the difference once insulin is low. In my case I never had excess butter or bulletproof coffee as I never felt the need, and the extra fat just gradually melted away. Awesome. Remember that the Keto diet is very good at enabling you to eat less without getting hungry.
Plan your meals because there is generally more preparation required due to less off the shelf items available. An easy way to plan meals is to cook larger meals each dinner time and refrigerate the excess for the next days breakfast or lunch. This helps, as you are adjusting to a higher level of home cooked food. If on removing it from the refrigerator you can see it has set (like fat sets when cold) then this is a sign you are getting plenty of fat.
When you realise one day that you completely missed a meal without noticing, then you are ready to think about eating windows and 16:8 fasting. Maybe dropping breakfast and only having two meals per day.
Keeping hydration up is critical and you may need to supplement salt, magnesium and possibly potassium as the reduction in carbohydrates increases the water loss and with this you will also lose those essential minerals. Leg cramps can be a signal that you need more sodium. Drinking a huge glass of water as soon as I get out of bed each morning works for me.
Go easy on the exercise for the first 2-3 weeks as your body adapts particularly if you are not used to regular exercise, give yourself a good 6 weeks of adaption before starting. By then you may find that it is all much easier and you are chomping at the bit to start.
The early changes in your gut can result in mild constipation, so keep hydration up and if you are concerned, taking some psyllium husk in water (teaspoon in a glass) may help the transition. This can also be an indication of insufficient fat in the diet, so add more butter to the vegetables and olive oil to the salads. I expect you have already stopped trimming the fat off meat and are buying the cheapest and fattiest mince (hamburger). In my experience your body will soon settle down to a new regular.
If you slip up and have too many carbs, just double down and it will come right, but can take 2-3 days in the early stages. If you need something sweet, try eating one square of chocolate with above 70% cocoa solids. Check out my cracker recipe at the end of the book. These can be great when you have a craving or when you need a quick lunch.
When I want a real treat I take 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries, cover with cream and leave a few minutes for the cream to freeze. Then eat with a spoon. Yum. Like ice cream but without the sugar.
For traveling food, I suggest some boiled eggs in the shell, cheese, salami slices, ham slices, canned tuna or sardines, some nuts, cold sausages and some of my crackers. Green salad with some vinegar and olive oil dressing is a good option.
Have you heard of Insulin resistance? It is a condition where excess insulin gradually eats away at your body without showing much in the way of symptoms until one day your pancreas gives up and you end up with full blown Type 2 diabetes because your glucose is now out of control. It is caused by a persistent high level of insulin which gradually causes insulin receptors in cells to become less sensitive to the hormone’s signal. This reduction in sensitivity forces the pancreas to manufacture ever higher insulin levels, to get the signal to work, which then reduces sensitivity further, and the cycle repeats.
This typically shows with some of the symptoms below:
1. Increased body fat levels, particularly in the central area.
2. Waist measurement greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.
3. Increased levels of facial and body hair for women.
4. Acanthosis Nigricans, which is a darkening of skin in folds and under arms.
5. Difficulty getting pregnant, (applies to women only of course).
6. Tendency to oily skin and hair.
7. Cravings for sweet or salty foods.
8. Skin tags.
10. Increased hunger or thirst.
11. Erectile dysfunction.
A series of tests by the doctor can confirm IR, but it can be missed as there is a high proportion of the population which show these symptoms and the doctor may only be looking for elevated glucose. My study also highlights that most doctors tend to only treat what you complain about, rather than being proactive about your health. I have begun to realise that you need to do that yourself. If you have any concerns9, Insulin resistance itself should be tested with both a glucose tolerance test and fasting insulin test, because of the ability of the excess insulin to keep glucose levels down, hiding the real problem and causing fasting glucose levels to appear to be OK.
One often failing of current medical testing for insulin resistance is that it focuses on your inability to get glucose into cells rather than how much insulin you are producing. The result is that people can be sent away from the doctor after being told all is okay, because the massive level of insulin in their body manages glucose down and hides the real problem. Unfortunately for them the doctor only realises there is a problem when the “end stage” symptoms show up. Because serious micro-vascular damage is being done during this undiagnosed period by excess insulin, much of the damage to your body may be irreversible by the end-stage. If you have any concerns, you need to take a look at other signals yourself and insist on insulin resistance testing to avoid this disaster.
Family history can also be a clue. Check out direct relatives on both parents sides of your family tree, because some people are much more sensitive to this than others. Also don’t assume that because you are slim, you are in the clear. There is a body type known as TOFI (thin outside, fat inside) which presents as slim, but is still impacted by significant visceral fat around the organs.
If this is not reversed or treated in some way, your future health can be seriously impacted.
Here are some of the problems directly related to this condition:
1. Significantly reduced chance of getting pregnant, even with IVF treatment.
2. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
3. Non alcoholic fatty liver disease.
4. Metabolic syndrome.
5. Type 2 diabetes.
6. Kidney disease.
7. Cardio vascular (heart) disease.
8. Blindness due to damage in small eye blood vessels.
9. Nerve ending damage that can lead to amputations particularly in extremities.
10. Alzheimer’s (brain) disease.
People with Insulin resistance, Metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes are at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Insulin resistance doubles your risk for heart attack and stroke – and triples the odds that a heart attack or ‘brain attack’ (Stroke) will be deadly, according to the International Diabetes Federation. One single extra kilogram of visceral fat in a female is linked to a 4X greater risk for type 2 diabetes.
Meanwhile, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome are also linked with higher risk for cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, cervix, pancreas, prostate and uterus. The connection: High insulin levels early in insulin resistance seem to fuel the growth of tumors and to suppress the body’s ability to protect itself by killing off malignant cancer cells.
The longer that the condition goes untreated the less the ability to reverse it in the future. It used to be believed that Type 2 Diabetes was not reversible and in fact many doctors still believe this because they have no understanding of the capability of a low carbohydrate diet to counter this. I have read that doctors are not really taught about nutrition at medical school as the current medical model instead focuses on drug prescribing and surgery.
How to reduce insulin resistance? A most effective way is to dramatically reduce the level of carbohydrates in the diet. In other words, cut out sugars, grains and starches , replacing these calories with healthy fat and low carb vegetables. For proof, ask your doctor for a continuous glucose monitor and watch to see what foods raise glucose in your body, remembering that when glucose rises, insulin will then rise to manage the glucose level in your blood. Before making any changes, consult your medical professional and take the tests.