Saturday, November 10, 2012
My Dad suffered a heart attack a few days ago and just received two stents. I know that his obesity and borderline diabetes have contributed as has a family history of heart disease. I did a lot of research online and found some good stuff by Dr. William Davis, the author of "Wheatbelly". I'm curious if anyone has used his "Track your plaque" program to manage heart disease or if there are any resources that do not include taking statins or similar drugs but dietary/lifestyle intervention including supplements.
Any help is appreciated.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
I want to start out by sharing a link that explains a common misconception about ketosis and keto-acidosis:
Ketosis or keto-adaptation is not dangerous but very helpful. Ketones are what our brain and our muscles use for fuel when there is no glucose. Only when our carb intake goes under about 50 grams/day does our body start fueling significantly with ketones that are made from fat. This is the reason why people on low-carb (under 50 grams of carbs) diets can lose weight quickly and without hunger. Their body has learned that fuel comes from fat, either body fat or fat in the diet because there are not enough carbs to burn. The human body does need some glucose but it can manufacture the necessary glucose through gluco-neogenesis in the liver. Since gluconeogenesis will only happen when the glucose is needed this will not lead to excessively high sugar levels in the blood as happens when we eat high-carb foods which will then cause a rise in insulin. Insulin will lower the blood sugar level quickly, but the result is that the low blood sugar level will make us hungry for more carbs. By eating a low-carb diet, our body gets in the habit of burning ketones for fuel and blood sugar levels are much more stable. This is why people on ketogenic (very low-carb) diets can easily skip breakfast, exercise without fueling or even do some intermittent fasting without feeling hungry.
When people on ketogenic diets increase their carbs a little, to the level where they are still relatively low-carb, but not ketogenic, these benefits often go away.
This is what happened to me several times when I fell back into old habits of eating. The most recent one was using supplements that contained sugar when I felt sick, another was eating more fruit because we had it for free in your garden. At other times I really wanted to enjoy a piece of chocolate but low-carb chocolate is still hard to find and somewhat time-consuming to make, so the regular stuff put my carb levels over the limit. The level at which a person switches from primarily burning ketones to primarily burning sugar for energy varies a little bit. Some people will stay in ketosis with almost as much as 100 grams of carbs/day while others need to stay at 20 or 30 grams/day.
This is why the popular Atkins diet recommends starting at 20 grams of carbs/day for 2 weeks and then increasing gradually from there.
The only disadvantage could be that reducing the amount of carbs to 20 grams would eliminate not only fruit, but also dairy and some vegetables and these things have nutrients we may not want to miss. For this reason Dr. Atkins recommended that people take a supplement during the very low-carb induction phase of his diet.
At 50 grams of carbs/day I have a much wider choice of foods that fit in my eating plan. The only thing I eliminate completely are grains and beans and sugars, none of which I really miss. Nutrient-wise my diet is complete, allowing for all the essential nutrients in my diet on a daily basis. I have every intention to stay on this level of carbs for life because it is tasty and easy to maintain.
I want to finish with the words of two of the leading researchers in low-carb nutrition, Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney, who have this to say in their book: "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living":
This process of keto-adaptation is a powerful metabolic state because it means your cells have a sustained fuel supply thanks to a steady release of energy from body fat. (p. 39)
Friday, November 09, 2012
It took only 24 hours this time, a sign that I had not overdone it too badly with the fruit carbs.
I can always tell that I'm back in ketosis by the fact that my weight suddenly drops, this time from 132.8 down to 131.2 this morning. As usual I had somewhat of a hard time to keep snacking down yesterday and ended up having a little bit more of the dark chocolate than planned. Eating lots of macadamia nuts, probably about half a cup, helped keep things under control.
My goal is now to stay in ketosis until at least Christmas and see my muscle mass improve and body fat go down. My next doctor's appointment is on Dec. 11 so I have 32 days left to make improvements. As always I will focus on what I do from day to day rather than the results to keep me motivated. Life is less hectic for the rest of the fall and winter and that should help a lot to fit more exercise into my schedule.
Friday, November 09, 2012
I like to try new things, new twists to an old way of eating, new forms of exercise, new hobbies and new goals. I'm in a time of transition at the moment. Part of it is the time of year, the end of fall and beginning of winter just around the corner. My daughter's swim season is coming to an end allowing me more time in the afternoon then I've had for several months. This is a good time to try new things and things that are seasonal.
As far as exercise I want to learn one completely new thing, snowshoeing. Last year we bought snow shoes but never had enough snow to try them.
I'm also going to work on my horseback riding, in particular bareback, which is great for improving posture, balance and core strength. I may replace running with swimming for the winter, hoping that I can transfer some of the things I've learned in other sports to learn faster. Maybe I'll learn a few new moves ice skating. I'm also still planning on building more upper body strength.
As far as my diet I am going to have to learn some new things as well. I have not gone through a winter eating low-carb yet so I have not had time to think through adjusting existing recipes to make them low-carb. Soups will have more fat instead of starches for thickening. I may experiment with veggie and meat lasagna to skip the pasta. Today we are invited to a pot-luck so I'll get to try out some new stuff. A chocolate cheesecake is going to be on the menu for dessert, if I have time maybe some low-carb cookies.
The greens in my fall garden under the greenhouse tunnel are getting close to being big enough to eat, I hope we will get some more mild temperatures in November to speed things up.
My biggest difficulty about winter is the cold in the morning. It will be interesting to see if ketosis is going to increase my body temperature which was usually under 97 degrees on waking, typical for hypothyroidism. Many of my other hypo symptoms disappeared once I was completely keto-adapted.
This is going to be a fun winter, I have so many things I want to do. Maybe there will even be time to just sit in a cozy chair and do some knitting while listening to older Jimmy Moore podcasts.
Thursday, November 08, 2012
That is my conclusion after doing some additional research on Ron Rosedale's blog.
The reason is this:
While I believe that so-called "safe starches" are not as toxic as grains and beans and sugar, they will still raise insulin-levels and raised insulin levels always lead to fat storage and inhibit fat burning. Anyone who is overweight or obese or has a tendency to become overweight has probably been exposed to enough fructose and glucose from their diet (even if they eat low-carb now) that they are to some degree insulin-resistant and leptin-resistant. I had my personal example of this when I found out yesterday that my daughter's H A1c blood test came back at 5.7, right on the border to pre-diabetes. She has been eating no grains or beans and far less sugar than most kids her ago for the last 8 months and her weight is normal, her body fat percentage lower than average. But the occasional chocolate bar or larger serving of fruit or dairy must have been more than what her body needs.
Rosdale argues, convincingly, that there is a direct correlation between long life expectancy and low carbohydrate consumption.
The other disadvantage of consuming more than about 50-60 grams of carbs/day is that you lose the advantage of not feeling hungry or having any cravings for food, something that really helps with weight loss and weight maintenance.
So for anyone planning to experiment with adding safe starches to their plan I would suggest to have an H A1c test done to make sure that you are not in or very near the pre-diabetic or diabetic range.
If you are considering adding safe starches because you feel hungry this could be because your carb levels had not been low enough (under 50 grams/day or even lower for some) or your protein levels were too high and/or fat levels too low. It is also possible that someone is not feeling great on ultra low-carb because they are not fully keto-adapted, a process that can take between 2- 6 weeks, depending on the person.
I learned the hard way that every time I am out of ketosis (as I am at the moment) that even once I am back in ketosis it takes several weeks until I get all the benefits of increased energy. I'll really try to stick with it from now on, even if I get sick.
There are individual differences of course but I think they may not be as big as I used to think.
Here is Ron Rosdale's blog on this issue :
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