Slowly becoming mainstream - Low-carb lifestyle

mubs

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In the past few weeks I have been busy reading up on a topic I came across that fascinated me.

In a nutshell, we eat a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fats (this is what doctors have told us to do).

The Cliff Notes version is:

ALL carbohydrates, regardless of type (simple/complex) or source (grains, lentils, vegetables, starch, etc.) get converted completely to glucose in the body. Glucose is not a sustained source of energy for the body; it is an emergency fuel for the fight-or-flight response (when you want to run away from a tiger, chase a deer to catch, fend off the rapist or fight with that mean toughie who's picking in you). All that glucose triggers insulin release, which utilizes a small portion for energy and converts the rest of the glucose into fat. Since energy is no longer available in the body, you feel hungry / weak / tired and eat more carbs. The stored fat goes on increasing, triggering insulin resistance which itself increases fat storage - a vicious cycle. Get it?

The short answer is to eat lo-carb high-fat food (no don't be shocked). But the body takes time to adapt to this natural way of functioning, since we have been dumping carbs into it and training it to burn glucose. Note that this is not a diet - it's a lifestyle change. If you go back to eating carbs, you go back to to your present condition.

The benefits of this lifestyle change are: loss of body fat, increase in lean muscle mass, reduction in hunger, greater endurance, drop in blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reversal of diabetes and heart disease and other things. A high-carb diet is also now being traced to brain diseases like Alzheimer's, dementia, Parkinson's, etc.

Mainstream doctors will laugh at this, but this knowledge is slowly becoming mainstream. Time magazine recently had a cover issue on this topic. More importantly, read the books instead (below).

There are 3 very good books I read. Easier to read the e-books, easier on the wallet too. You can buy the e-books from Amazon.com.

I don't have a Kindle reader, and wanted to read the books. I did find out from Amazon that they have a free Kindle Reader program for the PC (and various other platforms). So I downloaded that, bought the three e-books for peanuts, and read them all.

1)
“Deadly Harvest” – The Intimate relationship between our health and our food.
by Geoff Bond (Amazon)

2)
“The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living” – An expert guide to making the life-saving benefits of carbohydrate restriction sustainable and enjoyable.
by Jeff S. Volek, PhD, RD & Stephen D. Phinney, MD, PhD (Amazon)

3)
“The Rosedale Diet” – Turn off your hunger switch. Live longer, Lose weight fast, And keep it off.
by Ron Rosedale, MD & Carol Colman (Amazon)


I suggest you read all three, in the sequence listed; but if you can't, at least read #2 and #3. Worst case, at least read #2. All the medical research and citations are there, in readable form in #2. The second book is very thorough and scientific (extensive citations). The evidence provided is compelling and impressive, and makes one want to switch to this diet.

The third (Rosedale's) is written for the layman and is somewhat repetitive, except that he advocates limiting saturated fat and eating more monounsaturated fat. He is also a very big fan of supplements. One thing he strongly recommends is multivitamin-multiminerals without iron. This is impossible to find in India. Iron gets stored in the body, and excessive amounts lead to heart disease.

This is now proven science, and it is inertia, convention, established beliefs and politics that is preventing it from becoming mainstream

For me, the symptoms described in the second book (mainly, and a little in Rosedale's) are what I experience: hunger + tiredness, therefore eat (carbs), and within a couple of hours, back to square one. It was almost eerily like the books were describing me!

Of course they all say this is not a "temporary diet" but a lifestyle change because the body has to switch from burning glucose to burning fat, and that change itself requires a minimum of two weeks on the new eating habits. And that if one reverts back to eating carbs, the body reverts back to burning glucose.

Very low carbs means no grains (rice, wheat, corn etc.); no lentils; no starchy foods (potato etc.). It's is a massive change in lifestyle.

All this may sound blasphemous to you. But have an open mind and read about it. You will be shocked.

I'd like to hear your reactions as well.

Best,

m
 

Mercutio

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My dietary requirements leave me with ridiculously limited options.

I eat very little processed food. I avoid carbs from sources besides fruits and vegetables (e.g. broccoli) or grains (mostly steel cut oats for oatmeal).
I avoid sodium, artificial sweeteners and caffeine (I do drink tea).
I have not eliminated meat or dairy, but I've cut both of them down to minimal levels. Maybe I'll eat those things at two meals in a single week.
I eat unsalted nuts, beans, oatmeal, steamed veggies, eggs and fruit. Right now, most of my calories come from nuts or oatmeal.

I'm trying to follow the suggestions made in "Knives or Forks", which strongly advocates elimination of animal protein and dairy products from diet, but I can't bring myself to completely eliminate those things.

On a daily basis, that really does eliminate one of the few moment to moment pleasures we have in life. I'm told that it should make a difference in my health, but the joke about whether or not this is actually living definitely does apply.
 

Bozo

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It's the Atkins diet from about 15 - 18 years ago. Low carb, high protein. I lost over 35 pounds. But, I like donuts, French fries, potato chips, sticky buns, etc., etc. I couldn't maintain my weight and put it all back on.
 

mubs

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Merc: you're almost there. If you read the books (or at least look for the authors' websites) you'll get an idea. It takes at least two weeks for your body to start burning fat instead of glucose on an ongoing basis. Once the switch is made, you just have to maintain that state to start accruing the benefits. I believe your pre-diabetic condition will improve tremendously.

Bozo: No. High protein levels have been proven to be harmful.

It is important to understand that whatever you put in your mouth, you are consuming only 3 things: carbs, fat and protein. If you reduce intake of one, you have to increase intake of the other(s) to keep calorie intake constant. The books say both carbs and high protein levels are harmful. Therefore, the only choice is to increase fat. Ironically, a high fat intake (on a sustained basis) actually reduces body fat and the ultra-small VLDL particles that are the ones causing damage. Go figure.
 

fb

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I'm on the HCHF-diet myself, it's excellent. ;)

But seriously, I thought the best thing was to eat normal balanced food, and not too much? And that the biggest threat might be all the hidden sugar in everything we eat and drink these days?
 

mubs

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No. Some 40 years ago, the US recommended a diet high in carbs and low in fat. That failed experiment has resulted in an explosion in diabetes, heart disease and what not.

What more can I say? Read the books if you're motivated.
 

LunarMist

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No. Some 40 years ago, the US recommended a diet high in carbs and low in fat. That failed experiment has resulted in an explosion in diabetes, heart disease and what not.

What more can I say? Read the books if you're motivated.
Meh. The extreme diets are not a good idea for most people in the long run. The human body evolved over a long period of time to eat a mixture of nutrients.
 

sechs

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Glucose is not a sustained source of energy for the body; it is an emergency fuel for the fight-or-flight response (when you want to run away from a tiger, chase a deer to catch, fend off the rapist or fight with that mean toughie who's picking in you). All that glucose triggers insulin release, which utilizes a small portion for energy and converts the rest of the glucose into fat. Since energy is no longer available in the body, you feel hungry / weak / tired and eat more carbs. The stored fat goes on increasing, triggering insulin resistance which itself increases fat storage - a vicious cycle. Get it?
This is -- How should I put it kindly? -- false.

All cells in your body run on glucose all of the time. The Krebs Cycle, which is used, among other things, to burn fat, doesn't even run if glycolysis (the breakdown of glucose) isn't. Cells in your brain don't run on anything other than glucose. So, it's hardly "emergency fuel"; you can't live without it.

While high blood glucose triggers insulin production, that's to get it out of your bloodstream. The vast majority of that glucose is going to be converted to glycogen. The triggers for fatty acid production are more complicated. You might be conflating this with insulin's function to stop the use of fat as an energy source.

If you're feeling hungry after eating a carbohydrate-rich meal, you probably have some kind of satiation issue. If your brain isn't telling your to stop eating, then, obviously, you're going to put on weight.

There's no insulin-fat conspiracy. If you eat more calories than you use, you eventually turn them into very compact fat stores.
 

sechs

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I'm trying to follow the suggestions made in "Knives or Forks", which strongly advocates elimination of animal protein and dairy products from diet, but I can't bring myself to completely eliminate those things.
Maybe you should look into recipes from the Seventh-Day Adventists.
 
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