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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.

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.

Insulin

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to elevated levels of glucose (blood sugar). Its function is to move the glucose into the body’s cells to be used for energy. Insulin is also the fat storage hormone — excess glucose that is not burned as energy or stored in the cells as glycogen will be converted into adipose tissue (fat). See the Insulin-Fat Connection by Dr Richard Bernstein.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body’s cells fail to respond to the normal actions of the insulin. The body produces insulin, but the cells in the body become resistant to it and are unable to use it as effectively, leading to hyperglycemia (excess blood sugar). Beta cells in the pancreas subsequently increase their production of insulin, further contributing to hyperinsulinemia (excess insulin in the blood). This often remains undetected and can result in Type 2 Diabetes.

For a good overview of insulin resistance, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes, see Dr Sarah Hallberg’s TEDx talk below, titled Reversing Type 2 diabetes starts with ignoring the guidelines.

Dr Hallberg is the Medical Director of an obesity clinic in Indiana, and she says that the American Diabetes Association’s recommendations to eat 45-60 grams of carbohydrate per meal is making patients worse — carbs raise blood sugar, and that is exactly what T2 diabetics need to avoid. As Hallberg points out, “Diabetes is a state of carbohydrate toxicity. Insulin resistance is a state of carbohydrate intolerance.”

The Big Fat Fix

Trailer for the film from Donal O’Neill and Dr Aseem Malhotra. Buy or stream it at thebigfatfix.com.

Donal O’Neill is a former international athlete and filmmaker exploring nutrition, health and human performance. His first movie, Cereal Killers (2013), was billed as “one of the top 10 movies that could change the world.”

Dr Aseem Malhotra has been named as a leading global voice in the fight against obesity. He practices in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and is a tireless campaigner for lifestyle medicine as the optimal prescription for a long, lean, healthy and happy life.