Well folks, not much exciting happening here except of course that both diets are proving to be useful at dropping glucose levels. Our fasting glucose levels this morning were 80 and 82 mg/dl – both in the perfect range. My levels are remarkably consistent, having busted out a 79 or 80 for 5 straight days now. We are both feeling pretty good too. My skin is ridiculous, and my teeth feel great despite only brushing twice thus far.
So if these are wondrous diets that reduce fasting glucose, what could be the problem?
Well, as you guys already know, I’ve knocked on both low-carb and vegan diets pretty hard over the course of this journey. I’ve railed them because both seem particularly counterproductive over the long-term despite nothing short of miraculous results in the short-term for a lot of sick people. What gives?
The low-carb diet seems to have many benefits specifically relating to bringing blood sugar levels down. There is less inflammation from reduced glycation. There is less insulin, so hunger often decreases, food is no longer being diverted into fat cells instead of being readily available as energy, and people lose weight and feel much better. The reduction of fiber is often quite soothing to an inflamed digestive tract. Moods from better glucose control often stabilize – clearing up emotional instability. Muscles can come from out of nowhere as they did in my case. There’s no end to the litany of early-stage benefits of reducing the carbohydrate content of one’s diet.
Yet, the same can be said about doing a very low-fat diet (5-10% of calories or so) that stresses mostly fibrous plant foods. The diet I’m following for this two-week time period is not just devoid of animal products, but is virtually fat-free. There is nothing wrong with animal foods, saturated fat, or dietary cholesterol whatsoever. Anyone who has done honest, unbiased, and intelligent research has also come to this conclusion. It is obvious. But you can see how low-fat nuts (Schulze, Fuhrman, Barnard, Shintani) come to the conclusion that these foods are unhealthy though, when their exclusion leads to instant relief from even such terrible and “incurable” diseases such as type 2 diabetes. I forgive them for their zealotry, despite how poor their general logic may be.
On the surface it looks like the more well-balanced the diet is between macronutrient groups, the more harmful it is. “Everything in moderation” looks like it’s the dumbest saying since the beginning of time. It looks more like “moderation kills,” and “extreme” heals. This experiment seems to only back up a hypothesis supporting restricted dieting or food-combining (not eating all macronutrients together at the same time).
But our ancestors always combined the three macronutrients whenever they could. It is natural human instinct to combine fats and proteins (always including animal sources) and carbohydrates together. Look at any culture or race on the face of the earth with the exception of the Eskimo and you see that theme repeated. Humans love meat, seafood, and dairy products. They are always held in the highest regard – but when they have access to carbohydrates, they eat them. Humans naturally like ‘em all together. Food tastes better and is more satisfying that way – and the combination NEVER led to our demise as a species until refined carbohydrates got a foothold (barring a handful of early agriculturalists who were nutrient and/or calorie starved).
Ancestral diets were healthy, and our ancestors, when they had food abundance, were able to obtain excellent health from those diets. Put a person on such a diet today and it often doesn’t perform miracles, because we are not in the same state of physical health as those that came before us. We have a hard time metabolizing the mixture of all foods properly.
This all comes back to the way in which our heredity has been degraded – through a lull in the activity of mitochondrial DNA (low metabolism = low mitochondrial activity = next generation born more or less in starvation mode with a downgraded set of DNA). This has everything to do with the human metabolism. If it is low, the body cannot burn fatty acids efficiently, fats tend to accumulate intracellularly as well as in the bloodstream, which can cause insulin resistance, and glucose cannot be stored and thus becomes elevated in the blood along with insulin.
The root of the problem, therefore, is not combining foods together in a meal. The root of the problem is a metabolism that doesn’t support proper lipolysis, that triggers insulin resistance, and that doesn’t encourage the use of blood cholesterol to make steroid hormones (one of cholesterol’s primary duties).
Yeah, a type 2 diabetic facing impending loss of eyesight and heart attack needs to take dramatic and aggressive action towards fixing their problems and getting off of medications. A restricted diet will always achieve that faster. But I won’t give up until I find exactly the way in which to reliably stimulate the metabolism, making the ultimate goal within reach:
To be able to eat a healthy, wholesome, hearty, sustainable, and enjoyable diet that combines all the elements the human being seeks without negative consequence.