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Starch and Insulin Resistance

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    I’ve been fascinated by the Starch improving Insulin Resistance argument going on in the comment of one of Matt’s old posts. Can anyone recommend any good resources or books that can frame the science behind this? I’ve been looking around and McDougall seems to be one of the only other people advocating starch as a centerpiece of the diet.


    Is anyone here monitoring their blood sugar with starch? I have been checking it out over the past week. If I eat a meal where 30-40% is fat then my Carb Ratio to Insulin is 1:3 but if fat is 10-20% only then my ratio goes all the way to 1:5 sometimes 1:6…. I can eat almost DOUBLE the carbs for the same amount of insulin. Pretty interesting stuff. Anyone else around here using Matt’s Ideas to help with Insulin Resistance?


    Yes I am very interested in this as well. I need to do more testing. I have tried everything from paleo to fruititarian while testing my blood sugar and the results seem to back up Matt’s ideas.


    I was really hoping to have an answer to this as well. Maybe Matt will way in?

    Specifically, i hit a road block when trying to explain why sugar/starch should be a part of eating. The argument usually gets sidelined by urine/stool sugar output, kidney and liver processing and then me yelling about a measuring urine concentration …



    Yeah, I was curious to know more, or possibly read some studies that tell me more. I know it works first hand because I’m diabetic on insulin and if I eat a mixed diet with a fair amount of fat my insulin ratio is 1:3 but if I reeeeeeally ramp up the starch (like 80% of the meal) I have hit a 1:6 ratio which is awesome for me (ie 1/2 the insulin for the same amount of carbs). I was curious if this is something just mediated by fat or if protein factored in too.

    Hopefully someone familiar with this idea will chime in.


    If you do a pubmed search, you shouldn’t have trouble finding scientific studies on diet an insulin resistance. In general, a low-carb diet increases insulin resistance. A high-calorie diet will also increase insulin resistance because of increase fat stores. On the other hand, a hypocaloric (low-calorie) diet increases insulin sensitivity, and so does exercise, especially cardiovascular exercise, which rapidly uses up glycogen stores.

    I believe starch can be good for insulin sensitivity as long as one isn’t eating so much as to gain fat.


    I have low-carb induced insulin resistance. I actually followed and adhered to the starch recommendations… which actually worsened the severity of my insulin resistance and I started experiencing intense, adrenal fatigue symptoms…

    – Severe brain fog, usually improving after 6 pm, but still awful. An overall sense of instability and anxiety; bouts of depression and despondency.
    – Intense hypoglycemic episodes after eating ANY form of starch.
    – Extreme fatigue, I was yawning every few minutes. I felt like I could sleep for an eternity.
    – Lack of productivity and engagement. It effected my academic performance as a student, which prompted me to contemplate quitting my education as I felt my ultimate fate was to lay in my bed anticipating the day I could become the old me again…

    It completely destroyed me for months. I ate plenty of white rice, corn, peas, popcorn, potatoes etc. Tried everything, moderating the starch and increasing fat, fat-free, eliminating sugar, increasing sugar…

    I wasn’t progressing. I finally eliminated starch. The brain fog lifted, I felt productive and energetic again. Perhaps not the best I could feel, but I was very desperate to escape the psychological prison.

    According to Ray Peat, pure sugar has a minimal insulin release. So I followed his guidelines. I now avoid all forms of starch and focus on saturated fat and sugar.


    @Cindy01 That’s what I seem to be discovering too….well,I haven’t checked all types of starch yet. At least it seems that all grains are not something that are most optimal for me to have on a regular basis. Plantains I’m still not out of and haven’t tried potatos.

    The main thing I’m struggling with is coming up with meals as I don’t want to just eat some (raw) fruits with milk. I actually don’t like to drink my calories in general,so I don’t.

    What do you eat in a day,are some of your favorite meals/recipes?


    @Cindy- I also experience negative symptoms when I eat too much starch. My digestion suffers, and I start to feel like my system is slowing down. A low-carb diet is definitely not the solution for me, so I try to eat sugar for a lot of my carbs, although I always eat some starch too.

    As an example: today for breakfast I had a couple figs and two cups of coffee with milk and sugar, for lunch I had a McDouble and two large cokes, and for dinner I had a pizza burger and a Klondike bar–and I’ll probably drink some port later. I’d estimate that at least 80% of my carbs today were from sugar. Sometimes I’ll have more starch than this, but my digestion has been bad the last couple of days, so I cut back on it.


    @Dutchie I really enjoy fruits. This isn’t the season here for sweet, ripe fruits (all our imports during this season are from Brazil… and they are sour as f*ck) so I’ve resorted to fresh fruit juices like mango, apple, raspberry etc. Sugar (hard candy on some occasions) is good to snack on and I usually have meat (or any form of saturated fat) and some veggies for lunch/dinner. I eat eggs, too. Sometimes I have ice cream, hard candy or low/no-starch chocolate bars like Mars bars. Too much lactose causes a lot of digestion issues for me, so I prefer dairy low in lactose like whole milk, cheese, Greek yoghurt etc.

    Do I miss starch? Absolutely. I crave buttery white basmati rice with my meals, potatoes baked in coconut oil, salty green peas.

    It feels reminiscent of low carb for me, and it really is.

    If I consume too much sugar, it triggers a large insulin release and my symptoms return. So I try and spread out my sugar intake through the day. I still do not feel as energised as I would have hoped, but it really has helped. At least I can have breakfast and not pass out, or not invest so much effort in being productive.

    I am determined to conquer this.

    I have planned going nearly zero carb to minimise my insulin release for a few days (or a week) and then have a high carb day. I do not know if this method will work, some have reported carb cycling reverses insulin resistance.

    I have also planned a water fast to ‘reset’ my system. Let’s see how long I last… haha.

    Things I have tried: thyroid supplements, supplements, exercise and intermittent fasting. None have worked.

    I’d like to thank two users on this forum; Ari and Amy. Amy advocates those with hypoglycemic issues increase salt intake. It really had given me a small boost. Ari advised me to eliminate starch. Thanks guys.

    It is very odd, I NEVER had any of the symptoms I’m currently experiencing prior to low carb. I was binge eating, restricting, fasting, exercising vigorously, despite feeling extremely exhausted, a pizza binge would usually give me a boost.

    When I discovered Atkins, I was in such desperate place. Appetite suppression, weight loss, eat all the fat I want – it sounded like the miracle. It completely destroyed me. I would not be the wreck I am today if I had been a little more responsible, gah I wish I discovered 180DH earlier.

    Sugar is a great source of quick energy for those with efficient glucose metabolisms like yourself. Fruits are also more nutritious than a bowl of white rice or pasta :)

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 6 months ago by cindy01.

    @Cindy01 Don’t you think the problem with the Atkins diet migthve been that it’s high in protein…at least from what I’ve understood. Converting protein to glucose can be a stressor to the body.

    I just am a stupid c*nt,for what I keep doing to myself out of frustration,anxiety etc.


    @Cindy- Your plan to go on a zero-carb diet or water fast does not sound wise to me, considering your description of your symptoms and history. I think you will just rebound, binge on carbs, and feel even more out of balance than you do already. That’s just my opinion, but your own experience may be telling you the same thing. You report that a low-carb diet harmed your metabolism, and now you want to try that same path again?

    In your situation, I think my goal would be to normalize my relationship with carbohydrates. You’re doing well by spacing out your sugar intake to avoid spikes, but you might also think about gradually adding back normal foods, like the basmati rice or potatoes that you’re missing. If you can do this a little bit at a time, maybe 20 grams a day the first week, then 40 grams a day the next week, and so forth, then hopefully you can rebuild your carb tolerance. If you fast or go low-carb, I think you’ll only make the situation worse.

    Sugar can be helpful because fructose metabolism by-passes our normal carb metabolism and gives us instant energy, but I don’t think it’s good to totally rely on that kind of energy. In the long run, I think reintroducing starches is probably a good idea–because they will make you feel more stable.

    @Dutchie- We’re pretty much all stupid @ssholes. I highly doubt there are any readers or contributors on this site who haven’t tried some pretty dumb sh!t in the past. There’s no shame in making mistakes. We just have to learn from them and try not to do the same thing again. I figure I’m doing okay if I can make the same mistake less than, say, 20-30 times. ;)


    @David Making honest mistakes is indeed not shaming,but I’m talking about conscious behaviour here….residing in pizza binges,what doesnt do me good at all,out of pure frustration because I’m not getting anywhere in life….so I keep f*cking around with eating,exercising etc.because I have no goal ‘to do things rigth for/face my fears’.

    Theres this half year studies over here,which is kinda like along the same line as becoming a CHEK Practitioner,which starts in March and I really really would like to do this studies and obtain the certificate so I can start on my own and move forward in life again. Because I’ve been unemployed for 4years now and cant get a job….but that studies costs 4500euros which I don’t have and have no idea how to get this amount of money fast so I can start in March.

    I know it totally sounds backwards,me wanting to become a practitioner with my own shitting around….but its actually because of this,not being able to achieve that goal financially that I keep on messing around.
    If I knew I definitely gonna participate in March I’d have a goal to work towards to again…a future.

    On a sidenote,these guys seems to be Paleo/Primal in a Peat inspired framework,which I like very much:


    I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with your work situation. Four years is a long time, but I’m sure you’ll make it through if you keep working at it.

    I’ve gone through some dark periods in my life too, and so I know how hopeless it can feel. I think it’s important to try to find something to work towards and feel optimistic about. Working towards that certification could provide that for you, even if it takes a long time to save up for the actual course. Building up your own fitness, while you aim to eventually help others, could also help. I know that, for me, accomplishing small goals in the gym is great for my confidence.

    I hope it all work out for you!


    @David The problem’s that I don’t have anything to work to anymore,even the certificate because I don’t have 4500euros and I can’t even save for it because I’m in debt at the end of the month,so the little extra’s I migth save need to go towards paying off the debts.
    I seriously need that money,I’ve tried so many organizations and always get the same answer,because it’s my only way out and reason to safe myself&stop fucking around with myself…..otherwise I’m gonna make it my New Year’s resolution to end my life all together because I’m just done and see no reason to live life anymore and repeat this Groundhog-Day any longer.

    Hoping and possibillities are not an option anymore,I now need solid confirmation.

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