Put me in a room of people discussing weight loss and I’ll tell you that the room will soon form little clumps of people touting one diet or another. The more widely used diets have their proponents, many of whom will argue the point.
A little considered element when talking weight loss diets is looking at what people were eating before they embarked on a weight loss adventure.
There’s science and there’s nonsense. For the most part, lower carb wins slightly over low fat, but the issue is that the lower carb way of eating is much more in line with a diet best suited to people with diabetes. Why? Because whether we have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, we have a carb metabolism problem of one type or the other. Simple as that. Giving someone a whole lot of carbs when that requires a whole lot of insulin, whether exogenous or endogenous insulin, has to me always defied logic.
The lower carb you go, the more you will use ketones as fuel rather than glucose/glycogen. I could explain the intricacies of it, but entire books have been written on the subject (for example Jimmy Moore’s Keto Clarity), so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel.
One thing I will say is that fuel ketones are the healthy kind. The ketones that are only present with a high blood glucose – they are the bad kind. That’s why I call the state of producing the good kind, nutritional ketosis. It’s very different to being in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) with high blood glucose and high ketones. That can be deadly. Being in nutritional ketosis is nothing like that.
Whatever success or failure you’ve experienced with weight loss, it’s not always the type of diet alone. Always compare your chosen diet to what you were eating before! See if you’ve reduced carbs, are eating healthier, not drinking sodas, not eating sugar laden food, and note any other changes.
Eating a diet almost devoid of nutrients, full of artificial flavours and preservatives, frankenfood fried in hydrogenated fat, no vegetables, and often out of a packet, is courting disaster on the weight gain front (depending on how active you are), in addition to which, you’re also courting inflammation, gut issues, dental issues, liver issues (especially with a high sugar diet), and general bad health by eating garbage.
Once you start eating real, single ingredient, fresh food in the form of moderate protein (approx. under 80g a day) meat, fish and chicken with sides of lower carb vegetables and the odd piece of fruit, rather a lot of healthy fats (including saturated fat if organic) which will help with hunger, cutting out most grains, (dairy is your choice but many feel better without it), you’re going to feel better and see the scales move in the right direction.
You also need to move a bit too. If you are sedentary and able to walk, a simple walk, breathing fresh air a few times a week, will do it. Unless you’re exercising for several hours a day, exercise doesn’t really burn calories (it apparently takes 5 hours of vigorous exercise to burn off a Big Mac) as much as it makes cells more insulin sensitive. The less insulin you need or produce, the less that insulin will promote weight gain and hunger.
Stress is also an issue. Trying to lose weight when you’re stressed makes the job much harder. Actively getting your stress levels down with yoga, meditation or by whatever natural means work for you, is a big thing. High stress chemicals in your body can impede weight loss. So can inflammation and many other things.
So, next time someone tells you that their diet is the best and the only one that works, ask them what they were eating before, and ask them what’s different now! On that basis, most of the more popular diets will work compared to before! For diabetes, a diet based on fresh food and lower carbs, makes lots of sense to me.