Monday, August 22, 2011

Research Suggests One Possible Cause Of Diabetes Epidemic

photo by my charming & talented wife, Kathryn Palmateer

Just sayin...


Alex Kerner said...

as a lover of sweets the booth is totally enticing but i will say you have inspired  me to try a low carb diet and i have already lost about 5lbs (been 3 weeks)...i still am eating fruit but have given up noodles and rice completely (which living in asia right now is quite an accomplishment) and have almost completely given up sugary treats (have had a couple of cheats)...when i get back to canada i need to start getting more creative recipes to keep it up but thanks for the articles and insight on this matter 

Shawn Whitney said...

Hey Alex - way to go. Just make sure that you get enough protein and fat. Fat is your friend and a great source of long-lasting energy. And always eat when you're hungry - low carb or paleo diets are not semi-starvation/portion control diets. Their beneficial effect comes from your body doing what it wants to do, which is the efficient, homeostatic allocation of energy.
I don't know your whole diet at the moment but what you want to achieve when you do a "carb cleanse" is ketosis. Ketosis occurs when your body switches over from using sugars as its primary fuel source and instead begins to break down proteins in the liver, using fats. The protein is converted into the small amount of sugar that your body can't do without - primarily in the brain. In the process of converting protein to sugar, fat is converted into ketone bodies.  Much of your body actually prefers to run on ketones - the heart, for instance, runs more efficiently on ketones. It also means that your body will more rapidly start to use up your fat stores. For about two weeks, when you get your carb intake below, say, 60 grams/day, you will feel hungry and thirsty a lot of the time. Just eat and drink lots - don't let yourself go hungry or it becomes easy to surrender to the urge for a sweet snack. Do they have dried meat, like jerky, where you are? Nuts are also good though they are a bit higher in carbs so you want to go easy on them. Eggs are pretty much the perfect food and, eaten with some fat source - like oily fish or avocado or coconut milk - can tide you over.

You also need to be aware of thirst. Eating carbs causes your body to hold onto more water - a lot of initial weight loss is actually water. A ketogenic diet is diuretic. You will find you sweat more (good if it's hot where you are) and that you're thirsty more often. You may also develop cramps in your legs and feet because of lack of hydration - you're not used to needing more liquids. It also helps to increase your salt intake significantly. Don't worry about blood pressure - there's lots of evidence that there's no evidence that salt is bad, including a recent feature article in Scientific American.

Lastly, there is one unfortunate side effect. When you go into kick-ass ketosis your body becomes a serious fat burning machine. The excess ketones, rather than accumulating in fatty tissue are excreted in urine and from your lungs - i.e. your breath. I can taste it when I go into that kind of ketosis - and anyone who gets close can definitely smell it. It's a sweet, kind of chemical smell but not very pleasant, shall we say. That goes away as your weight levels off. When I was in that phase a couple of years ago I was losing two to three pounds a week - so take it as a bad sign of good things happening.

OK - I'll stop boring you now. Good luck and enjoy Asia!


Alex Kerner said...

thanks shawn...i'll keep on bugging you probably when i get back to victoria in september.

Alex Kerner said...

oh and in terms of my current diet...i am eating some yogurt for breakfast (i don't have the allergic issues to daily that you described about yourself), lunch boxes (in taiwan that is usually a variety of cooked vegetables and a protein source) and dinner of salad and protein. I try to snack on nuts and yogurt right now but there is lots of dried meat options here so i'll look into that, and also eggs. When I get back to Victoria I think I will be able to vary things more and have more access to ingredients to improve the kinds of meals i make and the types of snacks i have on hand but for now that is what i got...

Shawn Whitney said...

that's a pretty solid foundation, I'd say. In the summer we BBQ a lot - meat and veggies. And we eat a lot of salads in general (dressings are easy to make with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, dijon mustard or tomato paste and a spice of your choosing). I've decided that sauces and stews are key to eating this way and not losing your mind. In the winter I usually make some up in sufficient batches that I can refrigerate some that will last - things like my own bbq sauce or a berbere paste. Having your own whole food ready made sauces will help with variety.
We've compiled a bit of a recipe book that I'm happy to send along whenever you want.

Kathryn also insisted that I say something about whole, unprocessed foods - ie. that the diet isn't just about low carb because you can eat crappy processed foods that are low carb. There, now I've done my nutritionally correct duty!

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