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Insulin Control: The Common Denominator of the Low-Carb / Fasting / Caloric Restriction Diets.

Over the past four months, I’ve turned into a staunch advocate of Paleo / low-carb / intermittent fasting (See IF/low-carb, caloric restriction, ketosis, hormesis). I proselytize because this diet lifestyle has had a significant impact on my physical health and my understanding of nutrition. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before my advocacy spurred the comment that there is “No zealot like the converted.” Oof!

The retort stuck with me. I am a passionate about spreading good ideas. And this idea concerning the health of my friends and family was not only a good idea in theory, but also one in practice. The last thing I wanted was for my zeal to turn individuals away. I needed a better in than “low-carb” or “fasting”.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of pre-conceived notions and pent-up negative biases towards “low-carb” in specific and diets in general. Most people have experienced nothing but disappointment from dieting and/or strict exercise regiments. When the low-carb meme went mainstream a few years ago, non-believers and skeptics rightfully vocalized their doubt. My own curiosity brought me to read a good portion of Atkins New Diet Revolution; however, I was unconvinced. Atkins’ rhetoric was all pathos and little ethos: I needed the science. Not surprisingly, I never even tried the diet, more or less writing it off as just another fad.

Fast-forward to today. There is an ever-growing number of branded low-carbohydrate diets, and additionally, there are a growing number of diets that incorporate caloric restriction or fasting (Popular examples of low-carb and/or fasting include Paleo / DeVany, Protein Power, Atkins, South Beach, Warrior Diet, The Zone, Eat Stop Eat, Fast-5, UpDayDownDay, Bantingism, etc.). Such a plethora of similar yet nuanced regiments is confusing. Who wants to wade through them all to explain their own method? Who wants to lay caveat upon caveat on a diet to tailor fit it to your own experience just to explain it to an inquisitor? My eyes glaze over just thinking about it!

There is a better way. All of these diets have a clear, underlying purpose: to control insulin. Why not just call it Insulin control?

By starting with this core tenet, I can transcend the diet denominational mess.

Insulin control gets to the heart of the matter, which is that excess or chronic insulin in the blood leads to fat storage, loss of insulin sensitivity / increased insulin resistance, downregulation of fat mobilizing hormones (adrenaline, noradrenaline, glucagon and human growth hormone), and can ultimately lead to symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. How do you control insulin? Insulin control can be accomplished via reduction in carbohydrate intake or via controlling feeding times (via fasting) so that insulin levels sufficiently drop, which allows fat mobilization to resume.

Calling what we do “insulin control” focuses on the problem and implies the solution. It also grounds the diet/lifestyle to its fundamental science while avoiding the pitfalls of bias-loaded words. Starting an argument from “insulin control” gets me to low-carb, to fasting, to evolution, to metabolic syndrome, to higher-fat consumption, to more natural/less process foods. Why bother with the varying brands when it’s all about insulin control!

Further reading:

  • Go here to get started on some fantastic quotes on insulin, sugar, glucose, etc. If you’re not already practicing a low-carbohydrate lifestyle, read up.
  • Art De Vany wrote a reasoned response to the contention that the Paleo / “EF Way of eating” (See how muddled that is!?) was a fad diet. His most excellent point was that the current American diet is much more a fad having been around for merely decades relative to the stacked millennia of two million years (Tyranny of Present fallacy).
  • In mentioning Johnson’s UpDayDownDay diet, Patri Friedman notes how excellent it is that such a variation of research is occurring surrounding caloric restriction. What I wonder: is caloric restriction / fasting an emerging diet trend? I plan on doing a tiny blog on this later. Stay tuned.
  • While I was writing this entry, the IF life published a diagram that lays out how to stay on track for weight loss. It’s a useful, informative and simple diagram. And what will you note in the middlemost bubble? Control insulin!

One reply on “Insulin Control: The Common Denominator of the Low-Carb / Fasting / Caloric Restriction Diets.”

I woke to such notions after years of being overweight and having tried a myriad of options. Then I read Gary Taubes GCBC (after lucking upon a NYTimes column ‘What if its all been a big fat lie’, and it all clicked. Now I eat one large meal per day of Protein and Fat (Steak and Swiss, Bacon and Eggs…) after having fasted all day. The physiological and psychological effects are legion and sublime. I have recently given up broaching the subject with acquaintances – eyes glaze over; ‘pearls before swine’. The ‘insulin control and tyranny of present fallacy’ concepts are excellent ones I hadn’t considerd.

In the spirit of ‘sharing ideas’ :

One thousand I.U.Vitamin D3/ 25lbs bodyweight (20 mins of sunshine induce 20k naturally) see VitaminDCouncil.org
All studies that deprecate use lowly 600 I.U. Its a hormone (cholecalciferol) that effects genetic transcription, apoptosis, et. al. Meta-analyses yield 71 percent reduction in cancer… tip of proverbial ice berg. Remember the ‘high’ you got as a child from a day at the beach? Ever wonder why people get addicted to tanning… yeah, its that remarkable (an altered state) comparable with that of zero carb intermittant fasting.

Isometric weight lifting (Static contraction, SlowBurn) yeilds phenomenal muscle growth rate.

Full disclosure: 25mg DHEA, 500mg Carnitine, 200mg Alph Lipoic Acid, 81mg chewable aspirin, Magnesium, Calcium, Redwine, 5-HTP, Melatonin, Tea w. lemon,…

Floyd,
Orlando, FL.

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