The Perfect Treatment for Diabetes and Weight Loss

From the DietDoctor.com website — Dr Andreas Eenfeldt interviews Dr Jason Fung, a Canadian nephrologist who treats obese and diabetic patients. In addition to LCHF, Dr Fung often recommends fasting as an effective part of the intervention.

Type 2 Diabetes is “Processed Food Disease”

Dr Robert Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at UC San Francisco, and has become well known for his 2009 YouTube video, Sugar: The Bitter Truth. This video has over 7 million views as of April 2017.

Here he is interviewed by CrossFit’s Rory McKernan to explain sugar’s toxicity, and how processed food—often loaded with refined carbohydrates and added sugar—is a huge part of the obesity and diabetes problem.

The Ketogenic Diet in a Nutshell

I found a good resource booklet (PDF) from the 2 Keto Dudes website — The Ketogenic Diet in a Nutshell — at booklet.2keto.com.

2 Keto Dudes are Carl Franklin and Richard Morris, and their website is at www.2ketodudes.com. They do a weekly podcast that I have been listening to for a while and it is really good. Whether you are just curious about the ketogenic diet or already on board with it, the podcast is very informative.

Carl and Richard also recently launched a discussion forum at www.ketogenicforums.com and it is another good resource to check out. Lots of good information and conversations happening there.

The Case Against Sugar

Gary Taubes is an award-winning science journalist and the author of several books on nutrition, including Why We Get Fat (2011) and Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007). Why We Get Fat was the first one I read and it taught me so much, including how we have been misled for so long about how certain foods affect metabolism and health.

Mr Taubes has just published The Case Against Sugar, where he demonstrates how sugar alters hormones and metabolism, and is the major contributor to the current epidemic of obesity and diabetes, among other metabolic disorders.

Aeon magazine has published a chapter online from The Case Against Sugar and it is a good read. A few excerpts from this below.

As it turns out, virtually all hormones work to mobilize fatty acids from fat cells so that they can then be used for fuel. The one dominant exception to this fuel-mobilization signaling is insulin, which partitions how we use the fuels we consume: in particular, it directs fat cells to store fat, while facilitating the uptake and oxidation of glucose (blood sugar) by muscle and organ cells. In other words, when insulin is secreted – primarily in response to the carbohydrates in our diet – it directs our cells to burn carbohydrate as fuel and store fat.

Yalow and Berson themselves described insulin as a ‘lipogenic’, or fat-forming hormone. This lipogenic signal must be turned off, or at least muted significantly, for the fat cells to release their stored fat and for the body to metabolize it for energy. […] The more we consume carbohydrates, though, and particularly sugar, the higher our insulin levels will be.

Insulin is secreted in response to rising blood sugar, and rising blood sugar is a response to a carbohydrate-rich meal. Sugar is implicated, in particular, because its chemical structure includes a large proportion of the carbohydrate fructose, and fructose is preferentially metabolized in the liver. As such, it is a prime suspect for the fat accumulation in liver cells that is hypothesized to be the trigger of insulin resistance itself.

Hence, the same dietary factors – sugars and refined grains – trigger both obesity and diabetes. By focusing on the problems of eating too much and exercising too little, public health authorities have simply failed to target the correct causes.

T2 Diabetes Reversal

Dr Robert Szabo, Melbourne GP and founding partner of The Low Carb Clinic, tweeted the results of one of his diabetic patients who went low carb in April — blood tests in November showed him to no longer be diabetic.

The circled values on the right show a HbA1c (Haemoglobin A1c) value of 12.3 in March of this year (6.5 or higher is diabetic). By July it was 6.8, and on November 2 it was 5.9.

No more diabetes, no medications, only a change in diet.

Keto flu

Some people who start a low carb diet experience what’s called the “keto flu” or the “induction flu” in the first few days while the body is adapting to burning ketones instead of glucose. You can think of it as kind of a carbohydrate withdrawal.

The common symptoms are:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • upset stomach
  • Lack of mental clarity (brain fog)
  • sleepiness
  • fatigue

Many people have reported good results in minimizing these symptoms by doing the following.

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Increase your electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, potassium). Initial weight loss in ketosis is mostly water, so the loss of retained water will also result in a loss of electrolytes. Adding more salt to your food can help, as well as magnesium and potassium supplements or by eating foods that are rich in these minerals. Another helpful approach is consuming salty chicken or beef broth during this period.
  • Eat more fat — cheese, avocados, fatty meat, sour cream, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, heavy cream in coffee
  • Minimize protein. The body can convert protein into glucose if you eat very much, and this can stall the transition into ketosis

I did not experience this in 2013 when I went on the ketogenic diet, but my 15 year old son had a couple of days in June where he felt crummy. This was about 3-4 days into the switch to removing carbs from his diet. It passed quickly and then he felt really good with a lot more energy.

In any case, do some research on this and decide for yourself how to prepare for the transition. You might even do a gradual reduction of carbs rather than diving in all at once.

Keto for Teens

My 15 year old son is a big boy, about 6-1. As of June 20, 2016 he weighed 233 lbs, and he was carrying some excess weight that he wanted to lose. He loved eating all the usual carb-rich foods like pizza, chips, and sugary soft drinks.

He decided he wanted to do the keto diet along with me and his mom, so on June 20 he got on board with us, ditched the carbs, and started eating what we were eating. We check his weight every Monday morning to see how things are going.

Here is his progress so far. The first week usually shows the greatest weight loss as some of this is water.

Updated: November 1

Date Weight Weekly Loss
(lbs)
Total Loss
June 20 233
June 27 225 8 8
July 4 220 5 13
July 11 216 4 17
July 18 215 1 18
July 25 213 2 20
Aug 1 212 1 21
Aug 8 211 1 22
Aug 15 207 4 26
Aug 22 202 5 31
Aug 29 200 2 33
Sep 5 200 0 33
Sep 12 196 4 37
Sep 19 192 4 41
Sep 26 194 -2 39
Oct 3 188 6 45
Oct 10 188 0 45
Oct 17 187 1 46
Oct 24 184 3 49
Oct 31 182 2 51

Aside from the weight loss he is feeling much more energetic. We can tell from his behavior too—he is just happier and more animated than he was before. He also told us that he feels awake more quickly when he gets up in the morning. It used to take him a while before he would talk to anyone in the morning.

This is the spreadsheet where we enter the data every Monday morning.

cam-weight

Keto for beginners

ketoIf you are considering a LCHF / keto approach, a good resource to start with is “A Ketogenic Diet for Beginners” on the DietDoctor.com website.

Introduction to keto, benefits, what to eat, ketosis, side effects, and much more are there for you to become acquainted with a lifestyle that is transforming the health of many people.

Scroll down the linked page and read up on the benefits of Ketosis: weight loss, improved mental focus, T2 diabetes reversal, increased physical endurance, and improved metabolic syndrome.

Bariatric surgery

Bariatric Surgery or Better Diet?Great article at the New York Times by Dr Sarah Hallberg and Osama Hamdy.

Rather than cutting on perfectly healthy organs to deal with weight loss, why not use a dietary approach on a dietary problem: cut out the foods that contribute to obesity.

Excerpt from the article:

It is nonsensical that we’re expected to prescribe these techniques to our patients while the medical guidelines don’t include another better, safer and far cheaper method: a diet low in carbohydrates.

Once a fad diet, the safety and efficacy of the low-carb diet have now been verified in more than 40 clinical trials on thousands of subjects. Given that the government projects that one in three Americans (and one in two of those of Hispanic origin) will be given a diagnosis of diabetes by 2050, it’s time to give this diet a closer look.

When someone has diabetes, he can no longer produce sufficient insulin to process glucose (sugar) in the blood. To lower glucose levels, diabetics need to increase insulin, either by taking medication that increases their own endogenous production or by injecting insulin directly. A patient with diabetes can be on four or five different medications to control blood glucose, with an annual price tag of thousands of dollars.

Yet there’s another, more effective way to lower glucose levels: Eat less of it.

Best predictor of heart disease

Most doctors will look at a blood test and focus on the “Total Cholesterol” number as a potential risk factor for heart disease. But a Harvard study shows that the more important numbers on your lipid profile are Triglycerides and HDL — specifically, the ratio of Trigs to HDL. Ideally, you want this ratio to be 2 or lower. Anything under 3.5 is considered good, however.

For example, if your Triglycerides are 100 and your HDL is 50, simply divide 100/50 for a ratio of 2. This is where you want to be.

The Harvard study linked above showed that those with the highest ratio of Triglycerides to HDL had 16 times the risk of heart attack as those with the lower ratio. A diet high in carbohydrate is known to elevate triglycerides.