Archives for posts with tag: insulin resistance

Dinner today: kale, alfalfa sprouts, 3 cherry tomatoes and mince (ground beef) that was in the form of meatballs until shortly prior to hitting the plate.

Halfway through: o shit I forgot to wash the kale and found some extra protein wandering around. Well, I hope he didn’t have any friends…

I woke up to a table of dreams today.

Marty Kendall from Optimising Nutrition posted an incredibly dense set of tabled data. Luckily he is an awesome person and took the time to sort out the data for everyone.

The end product: nutrient density analysis.

(Click on the table below or link above to go the full set of charts.)

The complete list of comparisons is found below the table, bottom right. He has given four main comparisons with all foods in each sheet, followed by the breakdown for each food group. Sweet. ūüôā

The main comparisons are:

  • Nutrient Density vs % Insulinogenic
  • Nutrient Density vs Insulin Load
  • Nutrient Density vs Energy Density
  • Nutrient Density vs Net Carbohydrates

Marty uses “nutrient density” to describe¬†the amount of nutrients per calorie of a foodstuff. Please see that link to his post on nutrient density to understand more about the different ways of measuring it.

Insulin load” is defined to include the combined effects of carbohydrates, fibre and protein, specifically:

insulin load = total carbohydrates ‚Äď fibre + 0.56¬†x¬†protein

He has defined the proportion of insulinogenic calories, “% insulinogenic“, as:


Now, if all of this is completely overwhelming, it’s okay! Not everyone reacts well to this amount of¬†information in graphs.

The basic ideas are useful though: if you want to get more micronutrients in, but don’t want to overdo your energy intake, there are certain foods that are perfect for this goal.

Similarly, if you are insulin resistant and want to control Type 2 Diabetes,  you can tailor your diet specifically to control your insulin response.

Of course, every single person is different. And that’s not even talking about the multitude of invisible friends (and/or foes) that live inside you: your own¬†gut microbiota.

This means that what you eat might not have the exact same effect on you as your sibling or friend, but the ideas  above of optimising your diet are a fantastic starting point in the road to improving your health!


The bottom line, as always: eat real food!


Take that, 1984 Time Magazine cover of doom!


Here is the full text of a pilot study on the effects of an oral contraceptive on a group of obese women, some with PCOS and the rest (the control group) without.

The researchers were specifically looking at what happens to the level of insulin resistance/sensitivity to these women when they start taking a particular oral contraceptive.

From the discussion:

After 3 months of OC use, we found significant worsening of glucose tolerance (AUC glucose) in PCOS women compared to control women. There was no significant difference between the two groups in other metabolic parameters at the end of 3 months.

While the glucose tolerance seem to worsen for the PCOS group, the measured level of insulin resistance did not. However, insulin sensitivity did worsen for the women in the control group:

Hence, it appears that when insulin sensitivity is already profoundly reduced at baseline, as in the case of the combination of both PCOS and obesity, the effect of OCs in further reducing insulin sensitivity may not be evident. This may explain why only control women, but not PCOS women, experienced a significant increase in fasting insulin, and worsening of insulin sensitivity after 3 months of OC when compared to baseline.

The full paper is available online, so please have a look at it yourself! It is a very small pilot study, but it is great news that all these factors are being studied.

It’s a big step in the right direction, especially when so many women (and men) have never heard of PCOS or thought twice about the possible metabolic effects of oral contraceptives.

(*Note: I haven’t had the time to look in-depth at the stats in the paper. I’m just so damn happy to see something like this which will hopefully get funding for a bigger, and scientifically rigorous, study.)

I’m posting this more as a “note-to-self” than anything else.

I haven’t done much research on this at all, mostly because it takes a lot of time to find sane and compelling sources, so it is highly likely that a lot of the answers I’m looking for are out there.

If anyone actually reads this and is involved in the field, please let me know!

There is such a wide spread of hormonal experiences when transitioning to ketosis on all the forums and groups I visit online. Some women lose their cycles, for how long I don’t know. ¬†Many who stay on a ketogenic diet seem to regain a normal cycle after some months, but I have absolutely no idea what the norm is. I don’t know if a norm exists. And then some are on birth control, some not.

I don’t make any conclusions because all reported experiences end up being an echo-chamber. The only conclusion I have so far is that different things happen to different women, but there seem to be¬†a few subsets of common experiences.

There are two things in particular that interest me:

  • the differences between menstrual cycles on a ketogenic diet, a non-ketogenic carb-restricted diet, a “normal” middle-of-the-road diet, and a very low-fat diet,
  • the effects of different forms of¬†hormonal birth control on all of the above cases.

The first set of baseline questions seem to me to cover the continuum of metabolic regimes. (My background is in applied maths and fluid mechanics, so it seems that this is how I now process the world: hard definitions, mathematically defined regimes and effects during regime changes. What have I become!)

It should go without saying that this kind of data should be long-term data and tested for metabolically healthy women as well as those who have already developed shit like PCOS.

Then I want the corresponding set of data for the same questions, but during periods of active weight (i.e. fat) loss.

I really want good sets of data to exist with ALL the parameters available. Influences on mood, period pain (damn you forever omega 6’s and prostaglandins), bloating, PMS-cravings, flow rate, cervical mucous, give me everything.

With online food-tracking and cycle-tracking being as easy as it is these days, there really is no excuse. It should be “relatively simple” to get¬†a first-pass investigation¬†going with so many people voluntarily switching to different diet regimes.

Tools like MyFitnessPal, My Days, FatSecret and all similar apps are sitting on a wealth of information. I want it!

All the data. That’s my Christmas wish.




A quick manual re-blog (does blogger talk to wordpress some other way?):

The Hopeful Geranium (George Henderson’s The High-Fat Hep C Diet ) on the rise of diabetes in India.

Quite¬†relevant to me today as I just cooked a whole heap¬†of fatty chicken thighs in ghee. My conclusion is that ghee is awesome. ūüôā

Henderson quotes the following from B.S. Raheja on his post:

It is suggested that the real remedy for DM, ACVD and all the risk factors lies not in drugs or surgery but in the kitchen.

I thought it was about time that I compile a list of videos on YouTube that could put food and health into perspective.

This is not a full compendium of every video out there, but rather a collection that, in my opinion, covers the map of what I consider relevant at the moment.

The list below is not in an order of good to best, but rather grouped together and ranging from introductory to more involved, although a lot of their content almost overlap entirely.

As always, by linking the videos and recommending them, I am by no means implying that every single idea in them is true. They are there to make you think a bit.

Okay here we go!

— General overview —

Grant Schofield: “How Can We Change the Way We Eat”

Professor of Public Health at the Auckland University of Technology, Schofield goes through some of his first-hand experience of being a public health advisor.
This one goes at the top because Schofield describes, to me, what this is all about. Do you think about the way you want to die and how you want to be able to live up to that point?

“If you don’t, you should.”


Grant Schofield

Grant Schofield

Gary Taubes: “Adiposity 101 and the Alternative Hypothesis of Obesity”

The latest of the many, many versions of this lecture on YouTube.

What drives fat accumulation?

Why do we think about being fat in the way we do?

Just… watch, and consider what is being said. Taubes gives no advice, so you can make up your mind.

Edit: here is a 9min concise summary of the whole thing.

Gary Taubes

Gary Taubes

Stephen Phinney on The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living and Performance

If anyone has the authority to speak from experience, it’s Dr Phinney. He has been living the nutritional ketosis lifestyle and as you can see, is very much alive and well.

This talk covers starts with treading through the background of particular native populations who found themselves to be living on the cusp of dietary revolution. Luckily there are records of what these peoples most likely ate before their diet, culture and health changed dramatically.

Dr Phinney also discusses his own academic work regarding athletic performance on ketogenic diets.
Watch and learn!

Stephen Phinney

Stephen Phinney

Tim Noakes on The Great Diet Controversy

Noakes, professor of exercise and sports medicine at the University of Cape Town, talks about his own experience of being the king of carbo-loading (my words) to realising, oi vey, he was wrong.
Noakes was a lean, active marathon runner who ended up with type 2 diabetes.
A lot of people wonder what you should eat, and I think Noakes sums it up pretty well:

“What is food? Food is something which¬†was alive until quite recently.”

This is a long presentation, but well worth your time! Especially if you are South African and totally confused about all this Banting business. Hopefully this places Noakes’ journey in context.

Tim Noakes

Tim Noakes

Robert Lustig on Sugar: The Bitter Truth

The Authors@Google version of Dr Lustig’s presentation on sugar and fructose metabolism.

Robert Lustig

Robert Lustig

— Dieticians and¬†personal stories —

Caryn Zinn on Low-Carb, Healthy Fat: Weight loss and sport.

Dietician Caryn goes through her set of tips for starting out a low-carb lifestyle. I’m happy to say that I can say yes and yes to every single one of these! It was nice to watch this for the first time and go “oh cool, I must be doing this right then”. ūüôā
And here’s another vote for big food prep days with loud music and wine! Sometimes I put a movie on. Either way, I make food for the entire week.

Full fridge, empty pantry.

Confirmed! My pantry is now contained in a single kitchen drawer and this includes tea and coffee. SPACE!
Both the fridge and freezer are full. So many eggs. Mmm.

Caryn Zinn

Caryn Zinn

Vicky Kuriel on Case Reports from an LCHF Dietician

Some more practical guidelines from a dietician actively involved in the effects of low-carb, high-fat on the lives of real people.

Vicky Kuriel

Vicky Kuriel

Eric Westman on how to practically implement a low-carb, high-fat diet.

Dr Westman goes through what and how you eat if you are interested in a ketogenic-type diet. He has some very useful tips and ideas, especially if you are not interested in precisely tracking your calories.
Remember, salt is your friend, especially in the beginning if you get inexplicably exhausted. Broth is excellent.

Eric Westman

Eric Westman

Peter Attia on how he changed from burning sugar to burning fat.

Dr¬†Attia’s personal journey to an LCHF lifestyle. He has done self-experimentation and has built up a fascinating understanding of his body’s use of fuel.

Peter Attia

Peter Attia

— Health & Disease —


Craig B Thompson, current president of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, on basic cancer ideas and research trends.
(The first ~5min are introductory.)
What is cancer and why do we do so much research on it?  He gives a very good, understandable intro into the basic ideas of cancer growth which is invaluable to someone like me.

And what does food have to do with cancer?

He discusses overeating as the cause of obesity and links it to the profuse availability of food. However, he doesn’t differentiate between the different types of foods we are able to consume. Compare this is to the ideas in Gary Taubes’ Adiposity 101 lecture.
Thompson asks:

“Why do we turn that food sometimes into growth, and other times just into storage, and fat.”

In other words, we’re all asking the same question and the answer is not, in fact, entirely obvious.

Craig Thompson

Craig Thompson


Sarah Hallberg on Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Starts With Ignoring the Guidelines

What are we telling people with diabetes to eat?!

Sarah Hallberg

Sarah Hallberg

Jason Fung on the perfect treatment for diabetes and weight loss

Dr Fung also treats patients with diabetes and has seen that diabetes is in fact not an irreversible, chronic disease. Eat, and maybe fast, your way healthy again.

Jason Fung

Jason Fung

Fertility and PCOS
Michael Fox on How to Eat to Get Pregnant
Dr Fox treats patients with fertility problems and has gradually come to learn from his patients’ experiences. His treatment starts with nutrition if there is any evidence of insulin resistance.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a sign that you have insulin resistance (metabolic syndrome).

Michael Fox

Michael Fox

Alzheimers and dementia

A discussion with Grant Anderson, Robb Wolf, Peter Attia, Tara Dall, Malcolm Bacchus and Gary Taubes.

1. Malcolm Bacchus

A neurologist discusses Alzheimers and dementia and his experiences when diagnosing patients.

My grandfather had Alzheimers. It is absolutely not the way you want to go if you could avoid it.

Malcolm Bacchus

Malcolm Bacchus

2. Grant Anderson, Peter Attia, Robb Wolf, Gary Taubes, Malcolm Bacchus: ketones, coconut oil, carbohydrates… Alzheimers.

This touches on a fear of mine: ending up in hospital or an old-age home and being fed things I would not otherwise want near my body. I think of my grandmother who is 101 and will probably live forever, but who has no real say in what goes into her own body. This is a woman who was cooking for herself well into her late nineties and fasting every Friday. (I should’ve listened to her advice a long, long time ago!)

Malcolm Bacchus, Tara Dall, Gary Taubes discussion.

Malcolm Bacchus, Tara Dall, Gary Taubes discussion.

3. Tara Dall (lipidoligst)

The role of insulin resistance in various chronic disease states and how to address the risk factors before the onset of disease.

Tara Dall

Tara Dall

4. Gary Taubes, part one

A neurologist’s take on the Alzheimers chapter in Good Calories, Bad Calories:

I reviewed the chapter in the book you provided. This man is right on.
The theories about insulin and Alzheimers have been well-known for a while.
Coincidentally, in our Journal of Neurology, this is recently reported on. This is not theory anymore, it is fact.

Cheers, sugar and bread.

Gary Taubes

Gary Taubes

5. Gary Taubes, part two

More on dementia and Alzheimers.

Gary Taubes

Gary Taubes

— Some more interesting and technical stuff —

Ken Sikaris asking Does LCHF Improve Your Blood Tests?

A presentation on the effects of a low-carb, high-fat diet on the typical values in a lipid panel. This could be interesting for anyone trying to make sense of all the numbers and have no clue where to start.

Ken Sikaris

Ken Sikaris

Interview with Kenneth Brookler, ENT specialist

Ivor Cummins has posted two wonderful interviews on his blog, The Fat Emperor.
The first interview is with ear, nose and throat specialist Dr Kenneth Brookler. (The fancy name for this is an otorhinolaryngologist… Try saying that with your mouth full.)
This conversation is overflowing with insight from Dr Brookler’s experiences across medical specialties over the years. Do your curiosity¬†a favour and have listen.

Kenneth Brookler being interviewed by Ivor Cummins (

Interview with Joseph Kraft, pathologist

The second interview is with Dr Joseph Kraft, a lifetime pathologist who administered over 14 000 insulin assays. He authored the book: Diabetes Epidemic & You.

Dr Kraft indirectly¬†summed up¬†scientific paradigms beautifully when he addressed the common¬†notion¬†of “fat clogging the arteries”:

Well see this business of clogging the arteries, this is not something that’s been demonstrated. It’s a concept which they think will explain where they are in regard to their interpretation and management of cardiac disease.

This is a truly wonderful interview with what seems to be a great and humble scientist at the end of his career (he’s in his nineties!).

Joseph Kraft

Joseph Kraft

Some days you come across something that just makes you want to toss your laptop out the window.

Today that something is this video of the “USDA Great Nutrition Debate” of February 2000. (The USDA here is the United States Department of Agriculture.)

At first I was confused what Dean Ornish was doing there, because I’d never seen Dr Atkins speak in person and the video looks like it’s from 1980. My mental timeline was apparently severely messed up. I also realise how far we’ve come in the last 15 years with regards to video quality… Thank goodness! (“Next slide. … Next slide, please. Slide.”)

Well, that’s the debate.

And what do you know, there is Atkins himself sounding like a very rational man. I grew up amongst the “Atkins and meat will kill you” culture, and firmly believed it, even though I knew absolutely nothing about biology or nutrition (I’m still deeply embarrassed about everything I used to say as if I “knew” it).

A lot of the debate in the video really just feel like adventures in missing the point.¬†I was going to go through a few thoughts, but it feels pointless and I’d honestly get more satisfaction from seeing my laptop sail¬†through the rainy Norwegian skies. That is until I have to replace it, of course.

Seriously. Around 2:46:00 the question of keto-breath arises. Pffffff honestly. Choose between some potentially¬†slight bad breath and diabetes or worse? That’s the definition of a no-brainer. The bad breath also generally goes away quite quickly, in case anyone reads this and is wondering about it. I was very happy to hear Dr Atkins saying “This is serious stuff.”

2:47:20-ish, Atkins replies to a concern about his high-protein diet: “I am concerned by¬†the American Heart Association’s recommendations of Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts having their seal of approval. If that’s their recommendation, then I’m certainly happy that they’re not in my camp. I wouldn’t want them there.” YES. It seems there were at least two enlightened audience members in attendance.

I wish we had seen this video back in 2000. That way I wouldn’t have had to watch my dad eat his way through low-fat, hypertensive misery into a stroke. I’m not claiming the stroke could have been prevented, but I know I’d much rather live eating very happily and heartily¬†and then keeling over. It most definitely beats the guilt and stress of stupid diets and dying anyway.

I’m having eggs for breakfast. And I’ll be cooking them in lamb fat.

Investigative science journalist and author Gary Taubes gives a lecture at Cornell on November 10th 2014.

There are numerous versions of this lecture on YouTube, but this one is the most recent and complete version I found.

The lecture might be too in depth for some watchers, but he really covers a lot of the issues out there concerning the Standard American Diet and the generally accepted obesity-energy paradigm (model).

Before you watch, you can ask yourself why you think people get fat. Take a few minutes to think about it, maybe even write down the logical steps a regular person should follow to make themselves put on weight.

The first episode of the series: The Men Who Made Us Fat by the BBC.

It’s in the typical sensationalist documentary style that the BBC seems to keep producing, but it gives the watcher the factual context of the sugar and greater food industry over the last four decades, and how saturated fats became to be demonised.