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13 Weeks: Sweet Release

Low glycemic load diets: good blood sugar control, good food -- and even reduced calorie?

by
Charlie Martin

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September 7, 2013 - 7:00 am
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Week 1 of my fourth 13 week season: a low glycemic load diet, tracking my weight and blood glucose. You can follow me at my 13 Weeks Facebook page for daily updates, and you can join Fitocracy (free!) and follow my daily exercise, and maybe even start tracking your own.

Diabetes mellitus, especially the type-2 variety that used to be called “adult onset”, is a serious problem that’s been growing along with people’s waistlines. The name comes from “diabetes” (διαβήτης in Greek, and more or less adopted whole into Latin) meaning “to pass through”, and “mellitus” from Latin, meaning “sweetened with honey.” So the name means “pees sweet.” In fact, the test for diabetes was originally to taste the patient’s urine; if it was sweet, that meant diabetes.

This is why doctors are glad they no longer do their own lab work.

Type 1 diabetes is caused when the pancreas stops secreting insulin, for reasons that aren’t completely clear; type 2 happens when the body stops responding to insulin normally. No one is quite clear why that happens either, although an interesting new line of research is suggesting that people with type-2 diabetes have abnormal populations of bacteria in the gut. (I’ll be writing more about this soon, I’ve got a stack of papers full of long Greek-root words to read.)

Whatever the cause, the effect is that your blood sugar goes too high. This has a lot of bad effects, including a greater risk of heart disease and strokes, pain and numbness in the limbs, and not to put too fine a point on it, peripheral body parts becoming gangrenous and falling off, leading to slow creeping painful death.

This explains why, when I was diagnosed as actually being type-2 diabetic (familiarly called T2DM in medical conversations) I took it somewhat seriously, leading me to the first of these 13 Week experiments last year. I’ve experimented with several different diets and exercise plans, and lost a little over 30 pounds — followed by a near plateau of very slow weight loss. I was rather more successful with controlling my blood glucose — a little too successful back in April, in fact.

So, at the end of this most recent experiment, I had an HbA1c test, which measures your average blood glucose level over the lifetime of red blood cells. (I explained that in more detail last January.)

For the previous 13 weeks, I changed the diet, adding more carbs and reducing my metformin dose to 500 mg/d to see if I could avoid the hypoglycemic episodes. I was successful; haven’t had another fainting spell. Last Friday I had another HbA1c, though, and it’s up to 6.4 percent, which still counts as good control of the T2DM, but lower would be better. So, after talking with my doc this week, I’ve made some changes in my meds: back up to 1000 mg/d of metformin, back down to 20 mg/d of Prozac, and I’ve cut out the simvastatin completely because my cholesterol is actually low. All this for this 13 weeks; I’ll have another set of blood tests at the end of this 13 week experiment, in December.

Aside: Just making it one thing after another, my current doc, who I really like, just told me that the effects of the Affordable Care Act, and the required changes in paperwork and all, have taken so much time away from doctoring, which she likes, and put so much of her time into doing clerical work, which she hates, that she’s hanging it up in February. I’m starting to look for a concierge doc in this area.

As well as changing the medications, I’ve changed the diet somewhat. I found it very difficult to maintain the “slow carb” diet. I just didn’t feel as good as I had (mostly) on the low carb diet, but I didn’t want to go back to that and have more hypoglycemic episodes. So this 13 weeks, I’m trying a low glycemic load diet.

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Top Rated Comments   
Charlie, I empathize with you, truly. I've been trying with some modicum of success to lose weight - I've tried a number of programs - I like the low carb diet best, but the one thing I've noticed as I've fluctuated on the weight charts, no matter the diet, this seems true:

You put on pounds and lose ounces. I'll keep trying though, and someday, some year, somehow, some diet, I'll reach my target...

32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
You seem in a good place as you start this next 13 weeks. I am happy for you. Keep learning & teaching us. Thank you for pointing out the difference between type 1 & type 2 - drives my daughter crazy that no on understands this difference! I used to explain but have given up.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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Charlie--eat small, properly balanced low-glycemic meals 6 times a day...every 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours starting with breakfast no more than 1 hour after getting up. By properly balanced I mean high protein content, low amount of complex carbs, low amount of "good" fat and high amount of fiber. Limit total intake to about 1000-1100 calories a day. By day 4 you will be metabolizing fat, losing weight like crazy, you won't be hungry or craving because your blood sugar will be lowered to normal levels (or on the way down to normal), the high protein will keep the body from using muscle to make up the calorie differential so only the fat wil be 'burned' for the extra calories. AND you will get an additional 9 calories for every gram of fat that is metabolized so your energy level will go up! Now you can figure out how to do all this yourself or you can find a program that has already done it for you inexpensively AND includes a free health coach AND a healthy lifestyle-changing program that is physician-led so that you won't gain your weight back when you have reached your weight goal like 85% of all people who go on "diets" do if they don't change the hhabits that caused them to need to lose weight in the first place. www.AchievingHealth.tsfl.com. Check it out because you don't know what you don't know....
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
For most of human existence, we fattened up in the Fall -- rather like pigs and bears -- and then went on an enforced diet every Winter.

And during that era, the vast, vast bulk of our diet did not consist of significant carbohydrates. Indeed, the sole time of the year when sugars were available (fruits and berries) humanity was eating large.

So even carbohydrate restricted diets may not get us back to where Darwinian selection morphed us.

=========

During the Winter/ off season enforced lassitude was the rule.

Consequently, those wishing to lose weight ought not to pursue athletic activities. Such efforts trigger hormone shifts that instill cravings for prompt energy.

Humanity can only lose weight, meaningfully, in 'survival mode.'

And it's for survival that we pack on the pounds so easily. This is especially true for Polynesians and Sahel Africans. In both cases, nutrition is catch as catch can. And both cultures STILL revere fatty brides. (!) Run way models wouldn't last one-year in such tough environments.

Although we revere modern Olympians, their body fat is w-a-a-a-a-y low compared to natural humanity. In their own way, they're freaks. That's why they're getting medals.

In sum, drastically reducing fast sugars and most carbs solves most of what ails us.

=======

The OTHER factor is Sunlight. Our metabolism is as influenced by the seasons as much as the plants are. It's hard to miss that plants put on their growth spurt in the Spring. The Summer sun does not do the trick.

Our hormones have us on the same annual rhythm -- driven by sunlight quanta.

But now that America and the World have transitioned from incandescent bulbs to fluorescent bulbs -- or even LEDs -- the spectra of the late night has changed.

Incandescent lambs emit black body radiation. They glow because they're hot -- just like the Sun. Consequently, their spectra is close enough to the Sun to mimic it for hormonal purposes.

Not so for fluorescents. These produce ultra-violet radiation (excited mercury vapor) that then triggers fluorescence in the phosphor coating lining the vapor cavity. ( aka the tube ) This visible radiation is quite unlike the Sun. It absolutely does NOT trigger the warmth response -- because it is low in infra-red wavelengths. The very property of creating highly efficient light cuts against the human need to feel the heat.

LEDs are even worse in this regard. Without getting too technical, they emit radiation almost as pure as laser light -- made collectively white by compounding the emitters on a tiny scale. They get their astounding efficiencies by being even colder in their emissions -- no infra-red to speak of.

Not surprisingly, consequent to their introduction, systemic weight gain is seen -- across other species, too. All laboratory mammals are gaining weight as institutional illumination has gone artificial -- and never incandescent.

This trend started in the most advanced nation: America. It's propagating across the planet -- in sequence -- as energy efficient lighting is a Green dream everywhere.

The connection is entirely missed, ignored, ridiculed -- but correct.

What can you expect?

It effects women more than men because they spend more time inside the home. In urban settings, many women get very little sun at all.

This sunlight deprivation can even trigger a change in the gametes. Nigerian parents in London have had the shocking surprise of having totally white babies -- to include blue eyes and blond hair! The stress on the the parents has caused a re-set of the DNA locks that hold macro-sequences in place. At the second remove, the DNA is trying to find/ set loose variation that will permit the bloodline to morph into the new environment.

The shocker is that all of the cogs lined up in a single generation. Darwin would be astounded. Blacks become Whites in a single (generational) bound when deprived of enough sun.

Such is the power of the Sun on our hormones and on our gametes.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have lost count because I have helped hundreds of people normalize their blood sugar levels and reduce and eliminate their type II diabetes medications. My wife and I have been health coaches with Take Shape For Life for over four years now. Latest success story: Ken is 69 years old a type II diabetic for 19 years. In three weeks on the Take Shape For Life program, he lost over 17 pounds AND, more importantly, his doctor took him off of his metformin and glyburide as well as his blood pressure meds because he is blood tests and blood pressure were all at normal levels. If you want to know how nutritional intervention really works for disease and weight management visit www.AchievingHealth.tsfl.com. We coach all clients for free using Take Shape For Life's physician-led comprehensive health program. If you truly desire to make health a priority then please visit the website and call us...
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Teapartydoc, you are describing what has been going on in our whole economy for many years. As the government gets bigger, it intrudes into more nooks and crannies of the economy. This generally benefits the big outfits at the expense of the smaller ones, but it is toxic for industry as a whole. Since both political parties are helping create this mega-government, I don't know what it will take to stem the tide. We will just have to live with very slow growth and high unemployment until something changes.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Charlie, I empathize with you, truly. I've been trying with some modicum of success to lose weight - I've tried a number of programs - I like the low carb diet best, but the one thing I've noticed as I've fluctuated on the weight charts, no matter the diet, this seems true:

You put on pounds and lose ounces. I'll keep trying though, and someday, some year, somehow, some diet, I'll reach my target...

32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
You might consider cutting out grain all together. Especially wheat. Focus on green vegetables and protein instead.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fred, I cut out wheat a year ago, except for occasional lapses. I haven't had all the _Wheat Belly_ effects, but it seems to have cleared up stomach and gut troubles I've had basically since about the Nixon-Kennedy election.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Docs are glad they don't do their own lab work?
You struck a sore spot with me. We used to do a lot of it. I won't describe what I used to do because I like a modicum of anonymity and the kinds of tests I did were pretty specialized, and while they didn't make or break the practice, they did supply a nice supplement to the range of income-producing procedures. This was wiped out by a law called CLIA-88 signed by GHWB in 1990 or 91. It required government inspectors to be allowed into one's practice to investigate how labs were operated, they were required to register at various levels of complexity, and changes to how they were run were mandated by the inspectors with re-inspection after the changes were made. The inspectors were given discretion as to how stringently the laws were to be enforced. After receiving my first review, I promptly stopped doing lab work, just like hundreds of thousands of other independent practitioners, and the law had the intended intent of those who wrote it (big lab and hospital lobbies, who used the excuse that a few women had been mis-diagnosed as not having cervical cancer when they did have it--the law covered everything under the sun, not just pap smears) and all lab work then went to the big labs and hospitals. When you sit back and look at this, HMOs, and the OSHA laws that went into effect during the GHWB admin, he was an extremely bad president for centralization of health care. No licensed practitioner is immune from this stuff.
When you read Tocqueville's descriptions of pre-revolutionary France, and how nothing could move without the sayso of a bureaucrat, you are reading about American health care. And it will only get worse. The only way out is to sever the tie, and that tie is government licensing.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, it was mainly meant as a joke -- at least you don't have to taste people's pee any more. As you see in the aside, the government requirements are still coming.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Where can I find an accurate table of glycemic loads of foods?
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Behind the link that says "standard table of glycemic indices for many foods here."

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/76/1/5.full.pdf

There are a number of web sites with similar things.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
You seem in a good place as you start this next 13 weeks. I am happy for you. Keep learning & teaching us. Thank you for pointing out the difference between type 1 & type 2 - drives my daughter crazy that no on understands this difference! I used to explain but have given up.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Tweaking glycemic response is complicated by food thickeners. Contra-intuitively n some cases making meal very highly viscous worsens post-prandial glycemia despite slower absorption.
You can make food more viscous with guar gum in a way that improves response to glucose load. Only it is dose dependant; whereby low guar gum content lessens post-prandial glycemia yet a high guar amount makes it actually worse.
Seaweed's alginate is another viscosity agent that can be used to control glycemic response. The tradiotional diet of Japanesse high rice diet induced glycemic load may be paradoxically controlled by mealtime seaweed tidbit.
Not all viscosity agents act the same in this context. Other scosity agents includes items like pectin, psylllium & oat Beta-glucan
Anybody like coconuts ? Don't know about diabetics yet seems "Coconut-derived D-xylose affects postprandial glucose and insulin responses in healthy individuals"
2011 free full text = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3259296/)
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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