I like the Low Carb High Fat diet. The 18 months I spent on it nearly 20 years ago probably put off my becoming a diabetic by several years. I was at a good weight while on the diet – down from 260 lbs to 225 lbs. The only thing that got me to stop was the feeling that my heart wasn’t doing well on the diet. I had no numbers to back up that opinion. Just felt like I was having some arrhythmia on the diet. And that was after a long time on the diet.
When I did it a couple of years ago I had good results. HbA1C numbers were great (6.4). Triglycerides and other blood numbers were excellent. Doctor was amazed. I was one of the few patients he had who was doing well. However, the diet wasn’t a cure but needs to be kept as a permanent way of life. When I went off the diet the weight came back on quickly and with a vengeance.
Problem is that LCHF only works so well for me now and I think I understand why – at least partly. It has to do with the way the body converts protein to glucose in a process called Gluconeogenesis.
The body doesn’t do nearly as good of a job of converting protein to glucose as it does of converting carbs to glucose. It does it much slower. So if I eat a dozen chicken wings at night my morning blood sugar is up from if I eat nothing or something with carbs instead. The glucose from carbs was gone hours before. Meat was still digesting and being turned into glucose hours later. The problem for me with a LCHF diet over time is that my body got really, really good at Gluconeogenesis.
Wikipedia describes the process as:
In vertebrates, gluconeogenesis takes place mainly in the liver and, to a lesser extent, in the cortex of the kidneys
To put it in personal terms, my liver is really good at converting protein from food into glucose. It would much rather take it from what I eat than take it from me. And LCHF puts no restrictions on when you should eat so for me this means I can no longer get a good blood sugar level from eating LCHF. I can get a better blood sugar but I can’t lose much weight and I am stuck with that demanding diet for the rest of my life. I already feel defeated since I’ve done this before and was only able to do it for 18 months.
I don’t feel this reduced my insulin resistance much either. Sure it must have helped some since the body doesn’t convert protein to glucose as quickly but the other edge of that sword was the longer hours that the glucose was in my bloodstream.
So far I have dodged many of the more severe issues related to T2D. I got a nerve conduction test which indicated very mild neuropathy but my eyes and kidneys have been doing well.
What I have been searching for is something to reset my body’s insulin resistance. Metformin is the oral med which helps me with that but doesn’t work well enough to keep my blood sugar regulated on its own.
I am sure someone will tell me that I didn’t eat enough fats and ate too much protein and that is why I have failed to achieve healing with LCHF. I am sure that’s true.