The lack of hunger…
On my commemorative 10th day I pointed out an unusual but fully expected phenomenon of hardcore carnivorism – lack of hunger. I attribute this primarily to a drop in insulin levels and the subsequent release of stored fatty acids through the pipes.
On a recent trip to D.C. I visited the Library of Congress and dug up a nice classic on obesity, entitled, oh so cleverly, Obesity, edited by renowned obesity researcher M.R.C. Greenwood. Greenwood, in the final chapter in which he authors, goes into detail on perhaps the most important fundamental of appetite and obesity as they relate to the hormone insulin. The concept of fuel-partitioning, or as I’m now calling it, “the calorie greenhouse.”
I’ve gone into detail on this phenomenon a couple times in the past (“Fat and Starving?), and I just finished writing a 100 page e-book on the subject that will be available in a matter of weeks at the mothership (www.180degreehealth.com), so I won’t go into too much detail. But it’s very interesting and my severe lack of interest in food and decline in caloric intake since the first few days has only strengthened my faith in this.
When I first switched to a controlled-carbohydrate program (Schwarzbein) and removed sugar from my diet completely, I had a huge reduction in appetite, lost interest in sugar, and witnessed a restructuring of my body. As if by magic, while not working out or anything, I watched in the mirror as muscles popped out from under my skin in a matter of weeks. It wasn’t like Hulk ripping his shirt or anything, but my pants got too big and my shirts got too small – all while my weight remained unchanged. I certainly noticed the difference.
This gave me an impetus to look into the matter further. What I’ve found since was fascinating. The first author I came across that explained the calorie greenhouse effect was author Gary Taubes. After that I came across weight loss guru Gregory Ellis, who refers to it as “fuel-partitioning.” Ellis also, BTW, ate an all-meat diet for several months and concluded it to be harmless. Here’s the scoop, as observed in rats by M.R.C. Greenwood…
Greenwood had the unique pleasure of watching two groups of rats – one group bred to become fat, and another group of rats with normal heredity. Each group received the exact same ration of food. One group got very fat. One group did not develop any excess body fat. In other words, one strain of rats stored their food in fat cells, the other did not.
What happened next is even more important for understanding the condition of storing too much food in fat cells. The fat rats, once they became fat, started eating more food than the lean rats. Afterwards is the key. They ate more food because they were more hungry. They were more hungry because the food they eat is “siphoned off into fat cells,” as Greenwood puts it. This is a big shift. Food energy becomes trapped in fat cells, again to quote Greenwood: “instead of being able to supply the energy needed by muscles and organs…a state in which the lean body mass and selected vital organs are calorically-deprived.”
This is a big reversal, to say that one is hungry because they are fat instead of fat because they are hungry.
From this point of view, one only need to answer these following questions to understand most conditions of overstoring fat…
1) What puts food energy into fat cells, and what prohibits the release of energy from fat cells?
2) How do you trigger the release of excess fatty acids from stored cells?
3) How do you maximize the body’s capacity to oxidize fatty acids and burn them as energy?
The answer to question #1 is the hormone insulin. Insulin is a necessary hormone for survival, and war need not be declared upon it, but a condition known as insulin resistance causes insulin levels to be abnormally high. From all the research I’ve investigated, a rise in the adrenal hormone cortisol seems to cause this condition. In a way, cortisol is responsible for excessive fat storage. Cortisol is a hormone released to mitigate infection, inflammation, stress, etc. I believe that dietary fructose from refined sources paired with an otherwise balanced diet rich in fats, protein, and starch like the typical American diet to be the greatest sole source of this rise in cortisol. Cushing’s Syndrome is an extreme manifestation of hypercortisolism, and shares many of the same symptoms as Syndrome X (insulin resistance).
The answer to question #2 is lower insulin and cortisol. Lower either of these hormones, and fatty acids are released at a faster rate than they are put there. Interestingly, force-feeding is a great way to lower cortisol levels and overturn insulin resistance. Avoiding food allergens and overcoming infections will lower cortisol. Avoiding mental and emotional stress will lower cortisol. Reducing extreme exercise will lower cortisol, and reducing inflammation, particularly that which stems from the digestive tract, will lower cortisol. Eating a diet too low in carbohydrates may potentially cause cortisol levels to increase. Sugar abstinence is probably the most immediate way to overturn insulin resistance, and typically results in spontaneous weight loss.
The answer to question #3 is increase thyroid secretion, and eating a diet where the majority of calories are obtained from fat. The thyroid controls, in large part, lipolysis (fat-burning), yet another chunk of observation from the very same book as cited above. The best way to increase thyroid output is to bombard the lean tissues with usable fuel without triggering insulin enough to divert too much of that ingested energy into the cells – back to force feeding again. Eating a high-fat diet forces the body to adapt to using fatty acids as a fuel source more efficiently, and, conveniently, is the only type of calories one can eat that does not cause a rise in insulin levels.
Thus the conclusion, an accumulation of the above observations, it to eat a high-fat, high-protein, reduced-carbohydrate, no-sugar, high-calorie diet. Avoid hunger like the plague. This is the epitome of a head-on approach. When you do that, fatty acids are released into the bloodstream, having a pronounced anorectic (hunger-reducing) effect. Instead of being hungrier because your food is being stored in fat cells, you are less hungry because food you ate a long time ago is finally being released back into the body. As the lean tissues are inundated with excess energy, the thyroid speeds up the metabolism, undoing its hibernation, and makes fat-burning even more efficient, allowing lost muscle to be restored even while fat is being lost and you aren’t consuming very many calories.
That’s what is going on in my body right now. I do not have the appetite for very many calories because I have a bunch floating around in my system that I was wearing a couple weeks ago.
But that’s not to say that zero-carb is the best answer. In fact, we’ll address the potential effects of having insulin levels that are too low, cortisol levels that are too high, and thyroid secretion that is too low as a result of uber-low carb over the days ahead.
Breakfast: 7 ounces calamari, including heads, eyes, n’ stuff. 3T butter. 1T mac nut oil
Lunch: 7 ounces raw ribeye, 1T mac nut oil, 1/2t truffle oil, 2 softboiled eggs
Dinner: 6 softboiled eggs, 3T butter