Low Carb Lung Doc
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Low Carb Lung Doc

Eating for Metabolic Health

When launching a blog or a website, I think it’s helpful to start with some of the basics, super simple. So I’m starting here with some basics and recommended resources, and we will deep dive in the coming months about topics, book reviews, etc.

What is insulin resistance?

After many years of following the standard American diet (SAD), we have hurt our bodies with too much sugar and processed carbohydrates, driving our bodies toward a state of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance causes people to have persistently elevated insulin levels, contributing to inflammation, obesity, high blood pressure, elevated levels of fats in the blood, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, obstructive sleep apnea, heart failure, and other medical conditions.

Several medical conditions are associated with metabolic syndrome

When we eat sugar or processed carbohydrates like dried fruit, oatmeal, pasta, and whole grain bread, our blood sugar rises. The pancreas produces insulin to keep the sugar at a safe level. Insulin helps get glucose out of the bloodstream and into the liver as glycogen and muscles, and when liver stores are full (this is a small storage space), the remainder is stored in our fat tissue. Hence, eating too much sugar and processed carbohydrates leads to increased fat, as well as other energy processing (called metabolism) problems of insulin resistance. Over time, the body requires more and more insulin to bring the blood sugar levels back down, until one day the blood sugar levels stop coming back down and stay high. This is called type 2 diabetes.

Many of the standard treatments for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes involve making the tissues more sensitive to insulin (e.g., metformin), but others actually make the insulin levels higher to control blood sugars, adding to obesity and the other problems of insulin resistance. So, if we do not fix the basic cause of insulin resistance, all of the health problems associated with insulin resistance get worse.

The good news is that by correcting what led to insulin resistance (poor nutrition by eating a standard American diet, sugar and processed, starchy foods), we can help correct the metabolism problem associated with these illnesses, and even turn around the disease or make certain health problems go into remission.

So what is the best way to get started? Doing this in the best way involves education, planning, initiation and follow through with close monitoring.

1. Education through counseling and reading. Read, read, read. Take in all the information you can before you start and come up with a plan. Shifting to a low carb lifestyle is always better when one has knowledge and a plan before diving in, and working with your doctor before making changes. It’s also a good idea to initial tests of your metabolic health with lab work done after you have fasted. We often check: fasting lipid panel, fasting insulin level, comprehensive metabolic panel, hemoglobin A1c, C-reactive protein, uric acid, thyroid stimulating hormone, and a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level.

2. Planning. Meet with you doctor and a low carb nutritionist to set up a plan. This is especially important if you have prediabetes, diabetes, or other health conditions.

3. Close follow up with your health team to follow labs and make any necessary medication adjustments.

What are some good resources for following a low carbohydrate lifestyle?

Websites:

Virta Health — I highly recommend this program, and the website has a lot of useful information. At Virta they partner the patient/client with a diabetes doctor (endocrinologist) and health coach to literally guide every person through a diet to achieve a state of nutritional ketosis to reverse type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and insulin resistance/obesity. It is all done through an app, with the client and their team seeing the client’s daily data, and their method has had significant success. (We will go through the studies in a future blog.)

Vinnie Tortorich’s Website — You can sign up for a free pdf with information on his NSNG (no sugars, no grains) program. His Podcast is excellent too.

Eric Westman’s Adapt Your Life

Low Carb USA and Diet Doctor

Books:

Eat Rich, Live Long, by Ivor Cummins and Jeffry Gerber

New Atkins for a New You, by Eric Westman, Stephen Phinney, and Jeff Volek

The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, by Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney

The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance, by Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney

Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It, by Gary Taubes

The Case for Keto, by Gary Taubes

The Obesity Code, by Jason Fung

The Big Fat Surprise, by Nina Teicholz

Lore of Nutriton, by Tim Noakes and Marina Sboros

Simply Keto, by Suzanne Ryan — Good recipes for low carb living

Movies: Fat: A Documentary and Fat: A Documentary 2 — In iTunes, Amazon Prime

REMEMBER: Consult with your doctor before you make any significant lifestyle changes.

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Patricia George

Patricia George

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Physician, athlete, and lover of the outdoors. Seeking to understand how we manifest our best selves. Inspired by hope. Opinions are my own.