Food as Medicine to Lower Blood Glucose – scientific support

In two recent A Dietitian’s Journey posts, I wrote about the positive impact certain foods, such as apple cider vinegar, ginger and turmeric root have had on my blood sugar levels and more recently, about kombucha and kimchi. In this article I touch on the science to support the use of these foods to lower blood glucose levels.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has long been popular as a folk remedy for high blood sugar and a 1988 study demonstrated that vinegar lowered both blood glucose levels and insulin following the eating of complex carbohydrates (starch) and simple carbohydrates (sucrose). It is now known that vinegar acts by a similar mechanism as the Diabetes medication Metformin® and increases fat burning, increases glucose movement into cells and increases insulin sensitivity. This may account for the effectiveness of vinegar in lowering blood glucose that has been know historically and has now been demonstrated in human clinical trials.

2004 study

A 2004 study, looked at the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar in reducing blood glucose levels after a meal (postprandial) as well as insulin levels in subjects with varying degrees of insulin resistance. The small study included both non-Diabetic subjects and those with Type 2 Diabetes. The non-Diabetic subjects were either insulin sensitive (n=8) or insulin resistant (n = 11) and there were 10 subjects with Type 2 Diabetes.

Fasting subjects were randomly assigned to either drink (1) 20 g apple cider vinegar with 40 g water and 1 tsp saccharine to sweeten it or (2) a placebo (water) drink. After a week of testing, subjects switched groups, so if they previously drank the placebo, they now took the apple cider vinegar.

After a 2-minute delay, subjects ate a white bagel, butter and orange juice (87 g total carbohydrates) and blood samples measuring blood glucose  and insulin levels were taken 30 minutes and 60 minutes after eating the test meal.

As would be anticipated, fasting blood glucose was higher in ∼55% of subjects with Type 2 Diabetes compared with the non-Diabetic insulin sensitive and non-Diabetic insulin resistant groups and fasting insulin  was 95–115% higher in both the subjects with Type 2 Diabetes and the non-Diabetic insulin resistant group

Compared with the placebo, the insulin resistant subjects that drank the apple cider vinegar had 34% higher whole-body insulin sensitivity 60 minutes after the high carbohydrate test meal and the subjects with Type 2 Diabetes had 19% higher whole-body insulin sensitivity.

This study demonstrated that apple cider vinegar taken before a meal containing carbohydrate can significantly improve insulin sensitivity in insulin-resistant subjects – both those with Type 2 Diabetes and those with ‘pre-Diabetes’ (i.e. insulin resistant, non-Diabetic).

2015 study

A 2015 study looked at the effect of vinegar on glucose metabolism in muscle, as it is considered the most important tissue for insulin-stimulated glucose disposal.

Subjects with Type 2 Diabetes drank either (1) 30 mL vinegar (6% acetic acid) and 20 mL water or (2) a placebo drink (water) before a mixed meal of bread, cheese, turkey ham, orange juice, butter and a cereal bar (with a total of 75 g carbohydrates, 26 g protein and 17 g fat).

Blood glucose, and insulin levels were measured in the subject’s forearm at 30 minutes and 60 minutes before the meal and 300 min after the meal was eaten and compared to placebo, vinegar increased forearm glucose uptake and decreased plasma glucose and decreased plasma insulin.

Researchers concluded that vinegar’s effect on carbohydrate metabolism may be partly accounted for by an increase in glucose uptake, demonstrating an improvement in insulin action in skeletal muscle.

NOTE: The amount of apple cider vinegar taken before meals in these two studies were 1.5 Tbsp. (20 mL) or 2 Tbsp. (30 mL).

Mechanism of Action

When taken with or just before meals, it is believed that vinegar slows gastric emptying, delays the uptake of glucose and slows the rise in blood sugar following a meal (2 hours postprandial).

Vinegar also stimulates an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) that increases fat oxidation, improves glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity and lowers glucose production (gluconeogenesis) in the liver.  This is similar to how the diabetic medication Metformin works (see Zhou et al, 2001).

NOTE: This article is not proposing that foods such as vinegar are substitutes for medication prescribed by a doctor.

Activation of AMPK by vinegar has been demonstrated in the liver of vinegar fed rats and in human endothelial cells in vitro (see Kondo et al 2009, Sakakibara et al 2006, 2010, Li et al 2013) and this may account for the effectiveness of vinegar in lowering blood glucose that has been demonstrated in the human clinical trials, above.

Taking vinegar at meals has also been reported to significantly lower the glucose response after a meal (postprandial) – presumably by slowing the absorption of starch or polysaccharides (see Johnson 2009, 2010, Ostman et al 2005).

Ginger

Ginger was shown to have blood glucose lowering activity in a 2004 study that found that pre-meal treatment with ginger lowered induced high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia).

A 2015 study evaluated the effects of a ginger powder supplement on  fasting blood glucose levels and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in Type 2 Diabetics. To be included, subjects needed to have been diagnosed as T2D for at least 2 years, have a HbA1c level of 6-8%, as well as taking no antioxidant supplements for at least 3 months prior to the study, and no smoking and drinking. Subjects that took insulin before or during the study were excluded, as were those that had a change in the type or dose of medication, changes in diet or any illnesses during the study.

The fifty subjects of both genders were divided randomly into and experimental and control group, with 25 subjects in each and received either a ginger-containing capsule or a placebo capsule twice a day for 12 weeks. All subjects took their usual medications for T2D and were stable on their dose.

Of 50 patients that began the study, 41 subjects completed the study (22 in the ginger group and 19 in the control group).

Fasting blood glucose levels after the intervention study were 19.4% lower in the ginger supplemented group than in the placebo group and HbA1C was .77% lower in the ginger supplemented group than in the placebo group. It was concluded that a study with more subjects and a longer study period were needed for a better observation of the effects of ginger in improving blood glucose in those with Type 2 Diabetes.

Turmeric Root

Turmeric root (Curcuma longa) is a rhizome of the ginger family that gives curry powder (which is a mixture of several spices) its characteristic yellow colour. Turmeric has been used in both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine to lower blood sugar levels. The active component of turmeric, is curcumin.

An extensive literature review of studies on curcumin was conducted and published in 2013 with more than 200 publications retrieved using the search term “curcumin and diabetes” from the MEDLINE database, with the earliest being a case study from 1972 and curcumin has since been extensively studied in animal models of Diabetes and in a few clinical trials with subjects with Type 2 Diabetes. The conclusion of the literature review was that there is ample evidence in the scientific literature regarding the use of curcumin as a potential treatment for Diabetes as well as its associated complications.

Note: when using turmeric, be sure to add a few grinds of black pepper as it increases the bioavailability of the curcumin by ~2000 times.

Fermented Foods – Kombucha, Kimchi and Jun

Kimchi

Fermented foods, such as kombucha and kimchi are popular as probiotics for enhancing the microbiota of our intestine.  Research in the field has focused on what role this complex bacterial community plays in health and disease in people, and how we can alter the microbiota through the foods and beverages we consume. The benefit of eating foods and drinking beverages with these probiotics has been demonstrated in studies and include improvement of constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), intestinal inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s and colitis, as well as an improvement in immune function.

homemade kimchi

Lactic acid bacteria are the most widely used strains used to ferment foods; from sauerkraut, kosher dill pickles to kimchi, a staple of the Korean diet.  For lactic acid bacteria to benefit the microbiota of the human intestines however, they first must be able to survive the hostile environment of digestion, which include extreme acidity, and digestive enzymes, and bile acids – not to mention low oxygen availability, and regulated temperature. It has been demonstrated in studies that they do.

2014 meta-analysis

A meta-analysis published in 2014 examined the effect of probiotics on glucose metabolism in patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus of randomised-controlled studies where fasting blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), insulin concentration or homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) changes were reported for the intervention and control groups.

Seven trials met the search criteria and results indicated that probiotic consumption significantly changed fasting plasma glucose by –0.9 mmol/L (-15.92 mg/dL). The duration of intervention for ≥8 weeks resulted in a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose of 1.2 mmol/dL (-20.34 mg/dl). HbA1C was significantly reduced by -0.54% compared with control groups. The results also showed that probiotic therapy significantly decreased homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) by -1.08 and insulin concentration by –1.35 mIU/L.

This meta-analysis suggests that eating or drinking foods containing probiotics may improve glucose metabolism with a potentially greater effect when the duration of intervention is ≥8 weeks, or multiple species of probiotics are consumed.

2016 meta-analysis

A meta-analysis published in 2016 examined the effect of probiotics on glucose and glycemic factors in Type 2 Diabetes of randomised-controlled studies published in English between January 2000 to June 2015. The main outcomes of interest were mean changes in glucose, HbA1c, insulin and homoeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance (HOMA-IR).

A total of 11 studies with 614 subjects were included. It was found that there was a statistically significant difference between the probiotic consuming groups and the placebo-controlled groups on the reduction of blood glucose of -0.52 mmol/L (10 mg/dl).

Analysis identified that probiotics significantly reduced fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, insulin and HOMA-IR in participants with Type 2 Dabetes.

Kombucha and Jun
Raspberry kombucha

Kombucha is a beverage made by fermenting black tea and sugar with some “starter” from a previous batch, called the ‘mother’ or ‘SCOBY’ (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). This is sometimes referred to as the ‘tea mushroom’ or ‘tea fungus’.

After ~ a week or 10 days, a second fermentation takes place with approximately 1 part fruit to about 10 parts fermented tea. This remains in sealed containers where it yields a lightly carbonated, mildly acidic and fruity flavoured beverage, which is the final product. In the photo to the left, this is my first batch.

Left: Kombucha (first fermentation) Right: Jun (first fermentation)

Green tea and honey can also be used to make a fermented product using a very similar process, but using a different kind of SCOBY (one that is adapted to metabolize these substrates) and the resulting product is called Jun.

The taste of jun is considerably different than kombucha, as is the alcohol content.  Kombucha is typically ~1.50% alcohol whereas Jun ranges from 3-7% alcohol.

With some investigation, I was able to determine that kombucha is essentially a symbiotic growth of acetic acid bacteria and osmophilic (water-loving) yeasts in a cellulose mat that the culture makes.

The main bacteria are (1) Acetobacter acetic acid bacteria that are able to convert the ethanol (alcohol) that is initially produced in the fermentation process to acetic acid, in the presence of oxygen and (2) Gluconobacter – acetic acid bacteria that prefer sugar-rich environments.

This is the same species that converts the ethanol (alcohol) in apple cider, to apple cider vinegar. Hence, it seems reasonable to surmise that it is the acetic acid content of kombucha and jun, which give it its characteristic tart taste, that also provide the same glucose lowering effect as apple cider vinegar.

Some final thoughts…

Given that there is scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar, ginger root, turmeric root, kimchi, kombucha & jun play a role in lowering blood glucose and other markers, these foods should be considered – along with a low carbohydrate diet and intermittent fasting (extending the time between meals) when addressing the problem of high blood glucose levels resulting from insulin resistance.

Food, and the temporary absence of it, as medicine.

NOTE: These foods should not be consumed without first consulting with your doctor, especially if you are on medication for Type 2 Diabetes as they can have a potent blood effect on blood sugar levels.

References

Akhani SP, Vishwakarma SL, Goyal RK. Anti-diabetic activity of Zingiber officinale in Streptozotocin-induced type I diabetic rats. J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2004;6:101–105.

Ebihara K, Nakajima A: Effect of acetic acid and vinegar on blood glucose and insulin responses to orally administered sucrose and starch. Agric Biol Chem 52:1311–1312, 1988

Jayabalan R, Malbaša R, Lončar ES, et al: A Review on Kombucha Tea—Microbiology, Composition, Fermentation, Beneficial Effects, Toxicity, and Tea Fungus. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 13(4): 1541-4337

Johnston CS, Kim C, Buller AJ, Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects With Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes, Diabetes Care 2004 Jan; 27(1): 281-282.

Johnston CS, White AM, Kent SM. Preliminary evidence that regular vinegar ingestion favorably influences hemoglobin A1c values in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2009 May; 84(2):e15-7

Johnston CS, Steplewska I, Long CA, Harris LN, Ryals RH. Examination of the antiglycemic properties of vinegar in healthy adults. Ann Nutr Metab. 2010; 56(1):74-9.

Khandouzi N, Shidfar F, Rajab A, Rahideh T, Hosseini P, Mir Taheri M. The Effects of Ginger on Fasting Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1c, Apolipoprotein B, Apolipoprotein A-I and Malondialdehyde in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research : IJPR. 2015;14(1):131-140.

Kondo T, Kishi M, Fushimi T, Kaga T (2009b) Acetic acid upregulates the expression of genes for fatty acid oxidation enzymes in liver to suppress body fat accumulation. J Agric Food Chem 57(13):5982–5986

Kim NH, et al. (2008). Lipid profile lowering effect of Soypro fermented with lactic acid bacteria isolated from kimchi in high-fat diet-induced obese rats. BioFactors 33(1):49-60. PMID 19276536

Li X, Chen H, Guan Y, Li X, Lei L, Liu J, Yin L, Liu G, Wang Z. Acetic acid activates the AMP-activated protein kinase signaling pathway to regulate lipid metabolism in bovine hepatocytes.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(7):e67880.

Mitrou P, Petsiou E, Papakonstantinou E, et al. Vinegar Consumption Increases Insulin-Stimulated Glucose Uptake by the Forearm Muscle in Humans with Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of Diabetes Research. 2015;2015:175204. doi:10.1155/2015/175204.

Ostman E, Granfeldt Y, Persson L, Björck I. Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Sep; 59(9):983-8.

Sakakibara S, Yamauchi T, Oshima Y, Tsukamoto Y, Kadowaki T, Acetic acid activates hepatic AMPK and reduces hyperglycemia in diabetic KK-A(y) mice. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Jun 2; 344(2):597-604.

Shang Q, Wu Y, Fei X, Effect of probiotics on glucose metabolism in patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A meta-analysis of randomized
controlled trials. Medicina 52 (2016) 28-34.  doi:10.1016/j.medici.2015.11.008

Sun J, Buys NJ, Glucose- and glycaemic factor-lowering effects of probiotics on diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials. British Journal of Nutrition, 2016; 115(7):1167-1177

Yusoff et al, Aqueous Extract of Nypa fruticans Wurmb. Vinegar Alleviates Postprandial Hyperglycemia in Normoglycemic Rats, Nutrients 2015, 7(8), 7012-7026

Zhang D, Fu M, Gao S-H, Liu J-L. Curcumin and Diabetes: A Systematic Review. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2013;2013:636053. doi:10.1155/2013/636053.

Zhou et al, Role of AMP-activated Protein Kinase in Mechanism of Metformin action. Journal of Clinical Investigation 2001 Oct 15; 108(8): 1167–1174

Copyright ©2017 The LCHF-Dietitian (a division of BetterByDesign Nutrition Ltd.) 

LEGAL NOTICE: The contents of this blog, including text, images and cited statistics as well as all other material contained here (the “content”) are for information purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, medical diagnosis and/or treatment and is not suitable for self-administration without the knowledge of your physician and regular monitoring by your physician. Do not disregard medical advice and always consult your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before implementing anything  you have read or heard in our content.

 

Reversing the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes – a Dietitian’s Journey

I once believed that Type 2 Diabetes was a chronic, progressive disease  because that’s what I was told, but I am seeing for myself that a reversal of symptoms is possible.

Today, after more than 10 years as someone with Type 2 Diabetes, I had an almost normal Fasting Blood Glucose reading of 5.8 mmol/L  (105 mg/dl) – when just 6 months ago, my average fasting blood glucose was between 10 – 11 mmol/L (180 – 198 mg/ml).

Fasting Blood Glucose – September 27 2017

Just 2 months ago, after eating a low carb high fat diet with no more than 50 g of carbs per day, my Fasting Blood Sugar was averaging 7.5-7.8 mmol/L (135-141 mg/dl) and at the lab on July 25, 2017, my blood sugar was still way too high, at 8.0 mmol/L (144 mg/dl) – see below.

Fasting Blood Glucose, July 25, 2017

It was at that time that I decided to lower the amount of carbs I ate and to delay the time between meals (something referred to as intermittent fasting) as these are well-documented to help lower insulin resistance, and in turn, blood glucose. It isn’t “fasting” in the classic sense and there are many things that can be consumed during this period, that don’t affect blood glucose levels or cause a release of insulin. For me, I ate a full supper every weekday and then didn’t eat until supper the next day, although I would have any one of a number of things that don’t impact insulin or blood sugar in between, if I wanted to.

Was I hungry?

Oddly, no!

I’d have a coffee in the morning (my usual cappuccino made with diluted cream, as opposed to milk as it has no carbs) and since there aren’t any carbs in it, it’s something I can enjoy when I am “fasting”…just like “bone broth”.

 

A month later, on August 22nd, for the first time, my 2 hour post-prandial blood glucose (i.e. two hours after a meal) was 5.8 mmol/L (105 mg/dl).

This was definite progress!

To put that in context for someone without Diabetes, blood glucose taken  two hours after meals should be less than 7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dl) – so my blood sugar after supper was not only in the non-Diabetic range, it was much better than that!

The problem was, my fasting blood glucose still remained high.

I carried on with delaying the time between meals (“intermittent fasting“) during the weekdays and ate what the number of meals I wanted on weekends, keeping my carbs at a low level, and monitoring my blood glucose every two hours or so.  This is the level I discovered that I do best at.

As mentioned in a previous blog, I added a no-carb beverage before bed that I made with club soda (seltzer), apple cider vinegar and grated ginger root (and sometimes added grated turmeric root) and started seeing my fasting blood sugars come down. I dubbed it “Gingeraid“.

The last three weeks I have been playing around with drinking Kombucha during the day (which is a fermented tea beverage that is mildly acidic)  and as I found out, the acid in Kombucha is acetic acid – just like apple cider vinegar.

I was noticing a marked improvement in my fasting blood sugars!

I’ve since done some poking around in the scientific literature and have discovered that Kombucha and other fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi  (cabbage fermented with ginger, green onion and chili – a Korean staple ) have been documented to have a marked effect on fasting blood glucose.

BINGO!

Most mornings the last few weeks, I’ve had a fasting blood glucose is ~6.2-6.5 mmol/L (112-117 mg/dl)

Today was a first, almost normal fasting blood glucose of 5.8 mmol/L (105 mg/dl).

I did a “happy dance”!

I will write and article documenting some of the scientific evidence that fermented products such as Kombucha, kimchi and apple cider vinegar lower blood sugar but suffice to say, in the meantime I will keep eating the same lower level of carbs and monitoring my blood sugar, continuing to delay the time between meals a few days per week (supper to supper, but eating food if hungry or if my blood sugar is low), drinking Kombucha during the day (I love it diluted 50-50 with Gingeraid), and will drink 1/2 to one litre of Gingeraid before bed.

Here is the link to the article documenting that the components of 'Gingeraid' including apple cider vinegar, ginger root, turmeric root, as well as kombucha and kimchi lower blood sugar: Food as Medicine to Lower Blood Glucose - some scientific support.

Final thoughts…

I once believed that Type 2 Diabetes was a chronic, progressive disease because that’s what I was told by my endocrinologist and by the nurses I saw at the Diabetes Clinic, but I am seeing for myself what many clinicians and researchers have discovered – that achieving remission is possible!

Am I “cured”?

No.

But if I end up without any of the symptoms of the disease, does it matter?

Note: I am a "sample-set of 1" - meaning that my results may or may not be like any others who follow a similar lifestyle. If you are considering eating "low carb" and are taking medication to control your blood sugar or blood pressure, please discuss it with your doctor, first.

Copyright ©2017 The LCHF-Dietitian (a division of BetterByDesign Nutrition Ltd.) 

LEGAL NOTICE: The contents of this blog, including text, images and cited statistics as well as all other material contained here (the “content”) are for information purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, medical diagnosis and/or treatment and is not suitable for self-administration without the knowledge of your physician and regular monitoring by your physician. Do not disregard medical advice and always consult your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before implementing anything  you have read or heard in our content.

A Dietitian’s Journey – two and a half years of change in photos

Like most young adults, my three sons hate when photos are taken of them, however when we gather for a holiday each year in the spring and fall,  they indulge me in a group photo.  This has provided me with visual  documentation of my progress these past two and a half years, since I first learned about a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) style of eating. These cell phone pictures certainly aren’t the best quality photos, but they serve the purpose.

The first photo from the left with me in the plum shirt, was taken April 2015, around the time a retired-physician friend first told me about the work of Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist in Toronto that teaches his patients a LCHF-diet, along with intermittent fasting (IF) to reverse the symptoms of Diabetes and obesity.

The second where I am wearing a scarf was taken in September 2015, shortly after I began eating a liberal lower carb diet, but was not following a ketogenic lifestyle or intermittent fasting. I was not eating as large amounts of carbohydrate as I had been, and guess I was probably eating ~ 130 g carbs per day.

Two and a half years of change – from April 2015 – Sept 2017

The third photo, the one in the middle, was taken exactly a year ago in September 2016.  I had lost some weight, but as you can see, the crocheted cardigan I was wearing was stretched skin-tight over a striped camisole.

Quite by accident, in the fourth photo taken in April 2017, it turned out that I wore the exact same outfit as I did in the previous September. This photo was taken only a month after I had begun following a LCHF lifestyle seriously at the beginning of March (6 months ago). I wore the crocheted cardigan open, and one can see that while I lost a lot of weight on my face and neck, my abdominal circumference had decreased to a lesser degree.

Two days ago, I deliberately wore the same cardigan and skirt that I had randomly ended up wearing in the previous two photos – with the identical camisole in a different colour, underneath. What can be seen in this last photo (September 2017) is that my face and neck have continued to slim, but what can’t be seen is the huge amount of space under the crocheted cardigan. So here is a photo of that space:

The significant abdominal weight loss (~4.5″) in one year

Through the large spaces in crochet pattern of the cardigan, one can see the outline of the bottom of my skirt and my pink sandalsThere is 4″ of space all around!  The significant changes in weight, abdominal fat, and overall much lower blood sugar at all times of the day has occurred since I first lowered my daily carb intake from ~50 g per day in March to ~35 g per day in July – and began seriously intermittent fasting a few days per week, from supper to supper (except for coffee in the morning).

While I still have another ~25 pounds to go to reach what I believe will put me at a waist circumference of 1/2 my height, I am definitely “getting there”. The progress is slow, yes, but consistent.  My lab tests and daily glucose readings reflect the change. These photos serve as more evidence.

This weekend, for the first time, I forgot to take my “baby dose” of Ramipril one night and decided to measure my blood pressure at several points the next day, to see whether it was coming down compared to 3 months ago when I began temporarily taking it, by choice. My systolic blood pressure without medication was 15 mmHg lower than it was three months ago and my diastolic blood pressure is ~5 mmHg lower. I’m going to continue taking this medication until my blood pressure is ideal without it, but it is encouraging that I am much closer to that goal.

I am sharing these photos to encourage others that for me, following a low carb high fat lifestyle has made a huge difference – and the more seriously I limited the amount of carbs I ate, the more significant my changes have been.  Had eating 50 g of carbs per day produced the results I sought with respect to my insulin resistance and weight loss, I would have stayed at that level, but it became evident that I don’t process carbs at all well.  For me, it was necessary to lower the amount of carbs I ate, but it is certainly worth it. There are days, such as holidays that I choose to eat more than 35 g of carbs per day but I choose to avoid going higher than 50 g per day.

I consider my intolerance to carbohydrates to be no different than if I was wheat intolerant or lactose intolerant. Some people who are lactose intolerant, for example can consume some lactose and their bodies can  digest it. Others lack the ability to digest significantly smaller amounts of lactose and necessarily limit it in order to feel well. The inability of my body to process carbohydrates is no different.

Everyone is different in terms of the amount and even the types of carbohydrates their bodies can process without impacting their insulin levels, blood pressure, lipids or weight, which is why there is no one-size-fits-all “low carb diet“. What is ideal for someone else will be different than what’s ideal for me. My role as a Dietitian is to work with clients and their physicians to help determine what level of carbohydrate intake works best for them – in order to lower insulin resistance (and in turn blood glucose), lower high triglycerides and cholesterol, as well as blood pressureWeight loss is a natural byproduct of addressing these.

Want to know how I can help you? 

Please send me a note using the “Contact Us” form on this web page.

I’m Joy Kiddie, practicing what I preach.

Note: I am a "sample-set of 1" - meaning that my results may or may not be like any others who follow a similar lifestyle. If you are considering eating "low carb" and are taking medication to control your blood sugar or blood pressure, please discuss it with your doctor, first.

Copyright ©2017 The LCHF-Dietitian (a division of BetterByDesign Nutrition Ltd.) 

LEGAL NOTICE: The contents of this blog, including text, images and cited statistics as well as all other material contained here (the “content”) are for information purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, medical diagnosis and/or treatment and is not suitable for self-administration without the knowledge of your physician and regular monitoring by your physician. Do not disregard medical advice and always consult your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before implementing anything  you have read or heard in our content.

Cheat Days and Eating LCHF

I often get asked what I recommend people do when it is a special occasion, or a holiday. Are we allowed a “cheat day”.  This is how I answer the question.

It may seem like a strange thing for a Dietitian to say, but when it comes to weight loss, or targeting lower blood sugars, or pressure or cholesterol, I don’t believe in “diets”. The way I look at it is, if people go on a diet,  then at some point, they go off of it. I prefer to think of what we eat in terms of “everyday foods” and “sometimes foods“.

Eating a low carb high fat (LCHF) diet is a choice, just like becoming a vegetarian. People become vegetarian for different reasons; sometimes it is for religion reasons or ethical reasons and sometimes it is for the perceived health benefits. It’s the same with the reason people start eating LCHF. For some, it is to lower insulin resistance, for others it’s to address high blood sugar or to lose weight.  Some decide to eat this way because it was the diet of our ancient ancestors.  Since the reasons people start eating LCHF are different, the reasons people might give to eat a high carbohydrate food also differ.

As far as an idea of a “cheat day”, I don’t find the idea of being “allowed” or “not allowed” foods, helpful.  It implies that there are rules that we are somehow ‘breaking’ – and this comes with baggage all its own. Restricting  calories or restricting food and weighing and measuring every bite that we put in our mouths is not a paradigm that has served most people well – and this type of obsession and attention to “how much” can, in theory, feed a predisposition to disordered eating.

I encourage people to learn to follow a LCHF style of eating and to become adapted to burning fat, rather than just carbohydrate.  Then I advise them to eat when they are hungry and stop eating when they are no longer hungry.  It sounds simple, but there is some physiology behind it. Without constantly high insulin levels driving food craving, eating a diet rich in healthy fats enables people to stop eating when they are no longer hungry.

Eating or not eating high carbohydrate foods comes with an opportunity cost. The questions I encourage people to ask themselves is “what will the results or conssequences be if I eat the specific food(s) I have in mind, and in what quantities?”

“What will the consequences be if I eat 2 oz of this saffron-raisin egg bread? Or 4 oz? Or more?

For example, if a person that normally eats ~100g of carbohydrate a day wants to eat a few slices of pizza, the physiological consequences will be different than a woman that normally eats 35g of carbohydrate, or a man that normally eats 50g of carbs per day. If either of them is insulin resistant or Diabetic, it will certainly impact their blood sugars (the symptom), but how long will it have an effect on their insulin levels?  That is the more important question.

“What will my blood sugars be tomorrow, if I eat 1/2 cup of this noodle pudding with dried fruit?”

For people who are in ketosis, eating foods very high in carbohydrates will cause that to cease for a time, and it might take several days of eating LCHF again until they are again in fat-burning mode.  Likely there will be a few days of being hungry through the day.  Are they okay with this?

I want people to have a healthy relationship with food – and that means that they can eat anything – but how much and how often?

The last time I made this bread for company, I gave them the remaining loaves to take home. I ate a small amount and really enjoyed it.

Everyday (i.e. “everyday foods”), I choose to eat LCHF, but sometimes (i.e. “sometimes foods”) I will take a taste of something yummy – and I encourage my clients to feel free to do so too.  A bite of an ice cream or cake, in the grand scheme of things, won’t make a huge difference, in fact, I calculate the number of carbs that are in the food I am considering, and decide beforehand, if it is worth it for me.

Tonight I will be having my family over for a special dinner and I have decided in advance that I will have 2 oz of the bread, a spoonful of the noodle pudding and a 2″ x 1″ piece of the honey cake.  Sure I can have more, if I wanted, but I’ve come to realize that whether I eat 2 oz of the saffron honey egg bread or 10 oz of it, it will taste exactly the same!  Why eat more? I’ve never been a big fan of the noodle dish, so a small taste is fine with me, and the honey cake is only made once a year on this occasion, and it’s my mother’s recipe from 1954, so yes I am going to eat a bigger piece and enjoy every bite. So what am I going to eat?

Roasted chicken with saffron, honey and hazelnuts

Chicken! …and some red butter lettuce salad with raspberries on top and drowned in olive oil.  Oh! And an apple slice, dipped in honey, for a sweet year.

Eating LCHF is a choice, and a lifestyle and as such, we can choose to eat other things.  How much, how often and which things is up to us. If our goal is to lower our insulin levels, we will know (or need to learn) how much of something won’t have a large, lasting impact.

So eat! Enjoy!

Note: I am a "sample-set of 1" - meaning that how I implement a low carb diet may differ from others who follow a similar lifestyle. If you want to adopt this kind of lifestyle, please discuss it with your doctor, first.

Copyright ©2017 The LCHF-Dietitian (a division of BetterByDesign Nutrition Ltd.) 

LEGAL NOTICE: The contents of this blog, including text, images and cited statistics as well as all other material contained here (the “content”) are for information purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, medical diagnosis and/or treatment and is not suitable for self-administration without the knowledge of your physician and regular monitoring by your physician. Do not disregard medical advice and always consult your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before implementing anything  you have read or heard in our content.


Copyright ©2017 The LCHF-Dietitian (a division of BetterByDesign Nutrition Ltd.) 

LEGAL NOTICE: The contents of this blog, including text, images and cited statistics as well as all other material contained here (the “content”) are for information purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, medical diagnosis and/or treatment and is not suitable for self-administration without the knowledge of your physician and regular monitoring by your physician. Do not disregard medical advice and always consult your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before implementing anything  you have read or heard in our content.

 

Why I am the Low Carb High Fat Dietitian

This article provides the references for the text which appears on the front of my webpage.A low carb diet isn't new. In fact this was the standard recommendation prior to the discovery of insulin.

Several years ago, I began to ask myself how it is that 2/3 of men and ~1/2 of women in Canada are either overweight or obese. In the early 1970s, only ~8% of men and ~12% of women were obese and now almost 22% of men and 19% of women are obese- even though statistics show we are eating much less fat, drinking way less pop and eating more fish than ever before. I wondered if the increase in overweight and obesity might be related to the changes in the Dietary Recommendations that began in 1977 and which encourage us to eat 45-65% of daily calories as carbohydrate and to limit all kinds of fat to 20-35%.

In early 2015, after scouring the scientific literature and reading about the clinical use of a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet, I came to the understanding that those who are insulin resistant or have Type 2 Diabetes or have other indicators that they are not tolerating large amounts of carbohydrate well could improve their symptoms significantly by following a lower carb style of eating, with the oversight of their doctors.  Such an adjustment in lifestyle seemed like a small price to pay for the potential of significantly improving – and in some cases reversing symptoms of these conditions, especially when compared with the reality that at best these symptoms will stay the same and very likely will get worse over time.

Many scientific studies as well as physician’s clinical experience indicate that a lower carb style of eating combined with extending the time between meals lowers insulin resistance (which is the underlying cause of high blood sugar). When insulin levels are lowered, blood pressure comes down and triglycerides and some other lipid ratios normalize.

Physicians across Canada, the US, the UK and Australia that prescribe a LCHF Diet to their patients have found that they experience a significant improvement in the symptoms of insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and that a natural reversal of many symptoms is possible. Such improvements often enable these doctors to reduce- and sometimes discontinue medications that were previously prescribed to their patients for these conditions. While the American Diabetes Association enables Type 2 Diabetics to choose to follow either  moderate low carb diet (130g carbohydrate) or a low fat calorie restricted diet for up to a year for weight loss, as of yet this approach is not approved by Diabetes Canada.

A low carb diet isn’t new. In fact this was the standard recommendation prior to the discovery of insulin.

It seems to me that a lower carbohydrate intake resulting in improved symptoms and lab results as overseen by one’s own doctor is preferable to living with chronic disease symptoms and taking increasing numbers of medications in an effort to manage symptoms, but each person needs to evaluate the alternative and make their own choice.

For those who want to aim to improve or reverse the symptoms of these chronic diseases, I offer services as the LCHF-Dietitian. 

References

1942-2015 Canada Food Guides: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/canada-food-guide/background-food-guide/canada-food-guides-1942-1992.html

Canadian Medical Association Journal, Early Releases (May 11, 2015), Food Guide Under Fire at Obesity Summit:  www.cmaj.ca/site/earlyreleases/11may15_food-guide-under-fire-at-obesity-summit.xhtml

2015 Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges:  https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/reports-publications/eating-well-canada-food-guide-resource-educators-communicators-2007.html#a9

1970-1972 Obesity Rates:  https://lop.parl.ca/content/lop/ResearchPublications/prb0511-e.htm

2014 Obesity Rates, Statistic Canada – Overweight and obese adults (self-reported), 2014 http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2015001/article/14185-eng.htm

Janssen I, The Public Health Burden of Obesity in Canada, Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 37 (2013), pg. 90-96

from the Public Health Collaborative, Summary Table of Randomized-Controlled Trials Comparing Low Carb to Low-Fat Diets – https://phcuk.org/:

[1] A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on
Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women. Brehm et al.
http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jc.2002-021480

[2] A Randomized Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet for Obesity. Foster et al.
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022207

[3] A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity. Samaha et al.
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022637

[4] Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor in overweight adolescents.
Sondike et al. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022347602402065

[5] The National Cholesterol Education Program Diet vs a Diet Lower in Carbohydrates and Higher in Protein
and Monounsaturated Fat A Randomized Trial. Aude et al. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?
articleid=217514

[6] A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet To Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia: A
Randomized, Controlled Trial. Yancy et al. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=717451

[7] Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body
composition in overweight men and women. Volek et al.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC538279/

[8] Comparison of a Low-Fat Diet to a Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Weight Loss, Body Composition, and Risk
Factors for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in Free-Living, Overweight Men and Women. Meckling et
al. http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jc.2003-031606

[9] Lack of suppression of circulating free fatty acids and hypercholesterolemia during weight loss on a highfat,
low-carbohydrate diet. Hernandez et al. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/3/578.long

[10] Perceived Hunger Is Lower and Weight Loss Is Greater in Overweight Premenopausal Women
Consuming a Low-Carbohydrate/High-Protein vs High-Carbohydrate/Low-Fat Diet. Nickols-Richardson et al.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000282230501151X/

[11] Short-term effects of severe dietary carbohydrate-restriction advice in Type 2 diabetes—a randomized
controlled trial. Daly et al. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1464-5491.2005.01760.x/abstract

[12] Separate effects of reduced carbohydrate intake and weight loss on atherogenic dyslipidemia. Krauss et
al. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/83/5/1025.full

[13] Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk
Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women The A TO Z Weight Loss Study: A Randomized Trial.
Gardner et al. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=205916

[14] Low- and high-carbohydrate weight-loss diets have similar effects on mood but not cognitive
performance. Halyburton et al. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/3/580.long

[15] A low-carbohydrate diet is more effective in reducing body weight than healthy eating in both diabetic
and non-diabetic subjects. Dyson et al. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1464-
5491.2007.02290.x/full

[16] The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in
type 2 diabetes mellitus. Westman et al. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2633336/

[17] Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet. Shai et al.
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0708681

[18] Effects of weight loss from a very-low-carbohydrate diet on endothelial function and markers of
cardiovascular disease risk in subjects with abdominal obesity. Keogh et al.
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/3/567.long
www.PublicHealthCollaboration.org

[19] Metabolic Effects of Weight Loss on a Very-Low-Carbohydrate Diet Compared With an Isocaloric HighCarbohydrate
Diet in Abdominally Obese Subjects. Tay et al.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109707032597

[20] Carbohydrate Restriction has a More Favorable Impact on the Metabolic Syndrome than a Low Fat Diet.
Volek et al. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11745-008-3274-2

[21] Long-term effects of a very-low-carbohydrate weight loss diet compared with an isocaloric low-fat diet
after 12 mo. Brinkworth et al. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/90/1/23.long

[22] Efficacy and Safety of a High Protein, Low Carbohydrate Diet for Weight Loss in Severely Obese
Adolescents. Krebs et al. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892194/

[23] In type 2 diabetes, randomisation to advice to follow a low-carbohydrate diet transiently improves
glycaemic control compared with advice to follow a low-fat diet producing a similar weight loss. Guldbrand et
al. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-012-2567-4/fulltext.html

[24] A Randomized Pilot Trial of a Moderate Carbohydrate Diet Compared to a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet
in Overweight or Obese Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or Prediabetes. Saslow et al.
http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0091027

[25] Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets: A Randomized Trial. Bazzano et al.
http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1900694

[26] The Role of Energy Expenditure in the Differential Weight Loss in Obese Women on Low-Fat and Low Carbohydrate
Diets. Brehm et al. http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jc.2004-1540

[27] Effects of a Low Carbohydrate Weight Loss Diet on Exercise Capacity and Tolerance in Obese Subjects.
Brinkworth et al. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2009.134/full

[28] Comparative Study of the Effects of a 1-Year Dietary Intervention of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Versus a
Low-Fat Diet on Weight and Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes. Davis et al.
http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/32/7/1147

[29] Weight and Metabolic Outcomes After 2 Years on a Low-Carbohydrate Versus Low-Fat Diet: A
Randomized Trial. Foster et al. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=745937

[30] Effects of a Low-intensity Intervention That Prescribed a Low-carbohydrate vs. a Low-fat Diet in Obese,
Diabetic Participants. Iqbal et al. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2009.460/full

[31] Consuming a hypocaloric high fat low carbohydrate diet for 12 weeks lowers C-reactive protein, and
raises serum adiponectin and high density lipoprotein-cholesterol in obese subjects. Ruth et al.
http://www.metabolismjournal.com/article/S0026-0495(13)00223-0/abstract

[32] Comparison of isocaloric very low carbohydrate/high saturated fat and high carbohydrate/low saturated
fat diets on body composition and cardiovascular risk. Noakes et al.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1368980/

[33] Long-term Effects of a Very Low-Carbohydrate Diet and a Low-Fat Diet on Mood and Cognitive
Function. Brinkworth et al. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1108558

[34] The effects of low-carbohydrate versus conventional weight loss diets in severely obese adults: one-year
follow-up of a randomized trial. Stern et al. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15148064

[35] A Randomized Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet vs Orlistat Plus a Low-Fat Diet for Weight Loss. Yancy
et al. 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20101008

[36] A randomized controlled trial of low carbohydrate and low fat/high fiber diets for weight loss. Baron et al.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1646726/

[37] A very low-carbohydrate, low-saturated fat diet for type 2 diabetes management: a randomized trial. Tay
et al. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25071075

[38] Randomised controlled trial of four commercial weight loss programmes in the UK: initial findings from
the BBC “diet trials”. Truby et al. http://www.bmj.com/content/332/7553/1309
www.PublicHealthCollaboration.org

[39] Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets for Weight Loss and Heart Disease
Risk Reduction:A Randomized Trial. Dansinger et al. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?
articleid=200094

[40] Very Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets Affect Fasting Lipids and Postprandial Lipemia Differently in
Overweight Men. Sharman et al. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/134/4/880.long

[41] Comparison of high-fat and high-protein diets with a high-carbohydrate diet in insulin-resistant obese
women. McAuley et al. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-004-1603-4/fulltext.html

[42] Diet-Induced Weight Loss Is Associated with Decreases in Plasma Serum Amyloid A and C-Reactive
Protein Independent of Dietary Macronutrient Composition in Obese Subjects. O’Brien et al.
http://press.endocrine.org/doi/10.1210/jc.2004-1011

[43] Advice to follow a low-carbohydrate diet has a favourable impact on low-grade inflammation in type 2
diabetes compared with advice to follow a low-fat diet. Jonasson et al.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4025600/

[44] A non-calorie-restricted low-carbohydrate diet is effective as an alternative therapy for patients with type
2 diabetes. Yamada et al. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24390522

[45] Low-Fat Versus Low-Carbohydrate Weight Reduction Diets Effects on Weight Loss, Insulin Resistance,
and Cardiovascular Risk: A Randomized Control Trial. Bradley et al.
http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/58/12/2741.long

[46] Weight loss with high and low carbohydrate 1200 kcal diets in free living women. Lean et al.
http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v51/n4/abs/1600391a.html

[47] Evaluation of weight loss and adipocytokines levels after two hypocaloric diets with different
macronutrient distribution in obese subjects with rs9939609 gene variant. De Luis et al.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/dmrr.2323/abstract

[48] Enhanced weight loss with protein-enriched meal replacements in subjects with the metabolic syndrome.
Flechtner-Mors et al. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/dmrr.1097/abstract

[49] Long-term effects of a low carbohydrate, low fat or high unsaturated fat diet compared to a nointervention
control. Lim et al. http://www.nmcd-journal.com/article/S0939-4753(09)00124-0/abstract

[50] A randomized study comparing the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet and a conventional diet on
lipoprotein subfractions and C-reactive protein levels in patients with severe obesity. Seshadri et al.
http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(04)00344-4/abstract

[51] Comparison of low- and high-carbohydrate diets for type 2 diabetes management: a randomized trial.
Tay et al. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2015/07/29/ajcn.115.112581.abstract

[52] Weight loss on low-fat vs. low-carbohydrate diets by insulin resistance status among overweight adults
and adults with obesity: A randomized pilot trial. Gardner et al.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.21331/abstract

[53] Metabolic impact of a ketogenic diet compared to a hypocaloric diet in obese children and adolescents.
Partsalaki et al. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23155696

[54] A randomized controlled trial of 130 g/day low-carbohydrate diet in type 2 diabetes with poor glycemic
control. Sato et al. http://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(16)30169-8/pdf

[55] Short-term safety, tolerability and efficacy of a very low-calorie-ketogenic diet interventional weight loss
program versus hypocaloric diet in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Goday et al.
http://www.nature.com/nutd/journal/v6/n9/full/nutd201636a.html

[56] Visceral adiposity and metabolic syndrome after very high–fat and low-fat isocaloric diets: a randomized
controlled trial. Veum et al. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2016/11/30/ajcn.115.123463.abstract

[57] An Online Intervention Comparing a Very Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet and Lifestyle
Recommendations Versus a Plate Method Diet in Overweight Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes: A
Randomized Controlled Trial. Saslow et al. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28193599

Fact and Fallacy of a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) Diet

It bothers me when people make negative comments about a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) style of eating, without really understanding what it is – and what it isn’t. This article addresses a few of the common misconceptions about a Low Carb lifestyle that were presented in a recent French-language newspaper article.

FALLACY: “The LCHF diet targets a very low carbohydrate and high-fat diet, aimed at rapid weight loss.

FACT 1: Firstly, there is no single LCHF diet.

The Atkins Diet is one kind of LCHF diet, so is a Paleo Diet, and these are substantially different from each other. There are LCHF diets written by non-healthcare professionals such as the “Bulletproof Diet”, as well as those from Dr. Jason Fung, a Nephrologist (kidney specialist) from Toronto and from Dr. Eric Westman of Duke University. Referring to “the” LCHF diet fails to take this huge range into account.

FACT 2: There is no one “goal” of LCHF diets.

From my experience, most of the well-designed LCHF diets written by healthcare professionals and researchers are aimed at lowering insulin resistance (IR), which underlies the symptom of high blood sugar and Type 2 Diabetes. Weight loss is a natural byproduct of eating in such a way as to lower IR.

FACT 3: LCHF diets that focus on weight management rarely aim for “rapid weight loss”.  

LCHF diets designed by healthcare professionals with a weight management goal generally aim for consistent weight loss and/or inches lost, and reducing abdominal obesity. Morbidly obese people or those with a great deal of weight to lose and who begin eating low-carb will lose weight rapidly at first, firstly from water-loss and then from fat loss. That is not the aim, but the result.

FALLACY: “this diet is so restrictive”…

FACT 4: this diet…”

Which LCHF diet? As mentioned above, there are many different LCHF-style diets and they differ substantially from each other.

Fact 5: The term “restrictive” is not defined, so this statement really has no meaning.

What are all LCHF diets “restrictive” in?

Foods that are not included on an Atkins Diet are very different from what is not included on a Paleo Diet.  Dr. Fung’s recommendations differ from Dr. Westman’s. For example, Dr. Fung does not limit any fats, and Dr. Westman does.

Which LCHF-diet is “restrictive” and in what foods or nutrients?

FALLACY:this diet is so restrictive that the likelihood that the people who adopt it will drop it in the short or medium term is high.

FACT 6: Which LCHF diet is restrictive and what is it restrictive in? Is there evidence to support that people that stop eating those foods regularly are unable to continue to do so in the short- or medium term?

FALLACY: “There is a difference between processed high-carbohydrate foods such as juice, sweetened beverages, white bread, pastries and sweets, and whole foods high in unprocessed carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole wheat, vegetables, fruits, legumes , which are associated with good health and the prevention of the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.“.

FACT: 7: all carbohydrates (whether from juice, fruit, pastry, brown rice or whole wheat) are broken down and supply the blood with glucose.

FACT 8: how quickly all carbohydrates are broken down to glucose varies.

FACT 9: how much insulin is released in response to all of these different carbohydrates is what most well-designed LCHF diets endeavor to address.

FALLACY: “Whenever an attempt is made to isolate a nutrient (carbohydrates, proteins or lipids) and make it responsible for all ills, it is wrong. The reality is that we need these three nutrients for the health and enjoyment of eating.

FACT 10: Well-designed LCHF-diets have all three macronutrients in them; carbohydrates, protein and fat.

The major difference is LCHF diets are low in carbohydrate and high in fat. Which carbohydrates are eaten on different LCHF diets vary. Paleo diets for example eat starchy vegetables that ketogenic-style LCHF diets don’t. In addition, which fats are promoted in the different styles of LCHF diets also differs.  Paleo diets are known for promoting lots of red meat, including processed meat such as bacon and sausage and lots of full-fat cream and butter.

LCHF diets, such as the one I teach, include the saturated fat found naturally in foods, such as in steak or in cheese but encourage the “high fat” part of the diet to come from mono-unsaturated fruits such as avocado and olives, from a wide variety of nuts and seeds, as well as from the oils from these foods as well as from omega 3 fats found in fish. It also includes the carbohydrates found in an abundance of non-starchy vegetables, specific fruit, nuts and seeds. A look at just a few of the recipe ideas posted on this web site, certainly do not indicate a “restrictive diet”.

FACT 11: The Dietary Guidelines in Canada (and the US) have “attempted to isolate a nutrient – fat, and make it responsible for all ills”. 

In 1977, the Dietary Guidelines in both countries were first changed to restrict fat intake from all sources, especially saturated fat, in the belief that eating fat contributed to heart disease (see previous articles).

While it is now known that dietary fats do not cause heart disease, and even the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation changed their recommendations in this regard, it is my conviction that it was this vilification of fat and the corresponding promotion of diets very high in carbohydrates (45-65% of daily calories as carbs) that contributed to the dual obesity- and Diabetes epidemics that we now have.

Some final thoughts…

A LCHF-style of eating can be done safely, with slow yet consistent weight loss, while being overseen by one’s doctor and monitoring blood glucose and lab work.

It certainly doesn’t have to be restrictive, as one can eat meat, fish, seafood, poultry, cheese and other dairy, vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds. It can provide a nutritionally adequate diet – certainly no less adequate that the average Canadian eats, following Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide [see Do Canadian Adults Meet Their Nutrient Requirements Through Food Intake Alone? Health Canada, 2012, Cat. No.: H164-112/3-2012E-PDF].

References

Le Soleil (07 septembre 2017 17h50, “Nutrition : des raccourcis absurdes et dangereux” (“Nutrition: absurd and dangerous shortcuts”)

Do Canadian Adults Meet Their Nutrient Requirements Through Food Intake Alone? Health Canada, 2012, Cat. No.: H164-112/3-2012E-PDF

Note: Everyone's results following a LCHF lifestyle will differ as there is no one-size-fits-all approach and everybody's nutritional needs and health status is different. If you want to adopt this kind of lifestyle, please discuss it with your doctor, first.

Copyright ©2017 The LCHF-Dietitian (a division of BetterByDesign Nutrition Ltd.) 

LEGAL NOTICE: The contents of this blog, including text, images and cited statistics as well as all other material contained here (the “content”) are for information purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, medical diagnosis and/or treatment and is not suitable for self-administration without the knowledge of your physician and regular monitoring by your physician. Do not disregard medical advice and always consult your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before implementing anything  you have read or heard in our content.


 

Food as Medicine; dramatically lower blood sugar – a Dietitian’s Journey

I am not one for popular remedies for health issues.  I don’t believe in “cleanses” and I don’t “eat clean” – or do I? If not eating any dairy is “clean” then I eat “dirty” because I use cream in my coffee, but if not eating gluten or grains is “clean”, then my eating is pristine.

The problem with popular beliefs around food and eating and word-of-mouth remedies is there is no standardized means to define them or evaluate their effectiveness.

Folk Remedies

Folk remedies, on the other hand, are in a different category. These practices, on which many nutraceuticals and even pharmaceuticals are based have GRAS standing (“Generally Recognized As Safe”) and have been used by cultures around the world for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Here’s are two examples of folk-remedies in this category;

Swallow’s Nest

The Chinese have made soup out of the nest of a particular swallow which builds its home on high cliffs. This “bird’s nest soup” is highly prized and very expensive to make, but considered to have restorative properties for those with breathing difficulties.  As it turns out, this particular swallow’s nest is high in theophilline, a compound that has come to be used in Western medicine as therapy for respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Bird’s nest from this swallow has a GRAS standing and can legally be purchased in traditional Chinese medicine stores. One can take medication or food containing the same active substance, and in both cases one’s symptoms improve.

Bitter Melon

Bitter melon or bitter gourdkarela is widely grown in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean – both for food (prized for its bitter taste) and for its medicinal properties. In both Ayurveda, the traditional medicine (Hindu) of India and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) different parts of the bitter melon plant are brewed as a beverage and taken as a treatment for Diabetes. As it turns out, bitter melon, which has GRAS standing, contains polypeptide-p which is an insulin analogue.

Apple Cider Vinegar

I’ve been hearing about the use of apple cider vinegar (ACV) since I first started reading about low carb high fat diets in early 2015, from Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist (kidney specialist) from Toronto. He recommended that 1 Tbsp. of unpasteurized ACV be taken in a glass of water prior to meals and that it be add it to broths, soups and marinades. He’d said that it inactivates the production of digestive enzymes and slows down the rate of digestion, stabilizing blood sugar levels. Since the recommendation to use ACV at the time did not come with any scientific evidence, I summarily dismissed the idea of using it.

Persistently High Fasting Blood Glucose

For those who have been following my own progress following a Low Carb High Fat style of eating over the past 6 months (posted on the tab “A Dietitian’s Journey”) you know that despite losing weight, significantly lowering both my triglycerides and LDL cholesterol and my overall blood sugar levels coming down significantly, I had two ongoing problems;

(1) my morning fasting blood glucose (FBG) remained high, and

(2) my blood glucose would only drop into the 5-point-something mmol/ L range (~94 mg/dl) or to the 4-point-something mmol/ L range (76 mg/dl) range after an entire day of intermittent fasting.

Since there are physiological risks associated with high blood glucose, I was very motivated to find out why they were high in the morning and to do something about them.

I decided to keep detailed food records for 3 weeks to see if there was a patter, and ruled out diet. 

Then, I decided to take my blood sugar several times each night, from midnight until 8 am, over several days, to see when it rose. As it turned out, it would drop nicely after supper (as it would after eating at any other time of the day), to 7-point-something mmol/l (~130 mg/dl) after an hour or so, and then to 6-point-something mmol/L (121 mg/dl) around midnight, and then it would gradually begin to rise from ~2 am, reaching its highest point around 8 am, following the circadian rhythm of cortisol.

Since it seemed that my high morning blood sugar was due to cortisol rising after went to bed until 8 am, and since cortisol can be affected by many things including stress, I took up going for a walk after supper. It did help!  My morning blood sugars were in the mid-6-point-something mmol/L (~117 mg/dl), which was a far-cry from the 8.0 mmol/L (144 mg/dl) level it had been!

The evening walks, however, were short lived due to a shift in the winds and the raging forest fires in and around the Lower Mainland which caused the skies to fill with Fine Particulate Matter, know as PM2.5 (as the are 2.5 micrometers or less, in size).  Since these can enter the lungs and the blood stream resulting in ill-effects, my walks stopped. In fact, if I did have to go out, it was with a vented N-95 mask. The smoke briefly cleared being replaced by stifling heat in the mid- to high-30 Celsius (100 F) for 10 days, followed by more smoke, so I began to look for something- anything that might lower my morning blood sugars, which at this point were hovering in the 7.6 mmol/L mmol/L (137 mg/dl) range!

At first I tried doing a short workout on my Nordic-track or using my “step” before bed, but it didn’t do much for my blood sugars and made me far too awake to fall asleep.

Having some unpasteurized, unfiltered ACV in the house, I decided to try it.  It tasted terrible!! I tried adding it to water and it was still awful! I couldn’t bring myself to drink it!!

From Masking the Taste to Food as Medicine

A few years ago, in an effort to drink more water each day, I began drinking Club Soda / Selzer and then purchased a Sodastream machine, to carbonate my own (filtered) water.

I usually drink it plain, but have been known to put a twist of fresh lemon or lime in it.

 

ACV Ginger-aid

I tried adding 1 Tbsp of unpasteurized ACV to 1 litre (quart) of carbonated water but I still couldn’t drink it! All I tasted was sour!

Needing to mask the taste, I decided to grate a bit of fresh ginger root into it and “ACV Gingeraid” was born!

 

The first time, I drank a litre (~ quart) of “ACV Gingeraid” mid-morning, and my blood sugar dropped from 7.3 mmol/L  (132 mg/dl) to 6.6 mmol/L (119 mg/dl) in an hour. I thought to myself that maybe it would have dropped the same amount if I had done nothing.

I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink (except a coffee with only cream in the morning) but presumably under the effect of cortisol and my body’s own making of glucose from fat stores, my blood sugar continued to rise from 6.6 mmol/L (119 mg/dl) at 5:30 AM, to 7.7 mmol/L (139 mg/dl) just before 10 AM.

That was just too high – and I hadn’t eaten! 

So, I made and drank a second bottle of ACV Ginger-aid and in 1.5 hrs, my blood sugar had dropped to 6.3 mmol/L (114 mg/dl). Then by 4:00 PM, and drinking no additional ACV Ginger-aid, it was 4.8 mmol/L (86 mg/dl).

I would previously only get to those kinds of numbers just before dinner, when I was on an intermittent fast day.  This was 2-2.5 hours earlier.

That couldn’t be, I thought…

Several days in a row, the same thing would happen, with only slightly different numbers, some of them lower.

My blood sugar would be around 7.3 mmol/L (137 mg/dl) 2 hours after dinner and I would drink most of a bottle of ACV Ginger-aid before bed, and in the morning my FBG would be in the 6’s mmol/L (~119 mg/dl). Could it be because of the drink?

One day, quite by chance, I had some fresh turmeric root in the house (because I use it in cooking and because I like the taste). As well, is a potent antioxidant and the curcumin (the active compound in turmeric) has been demonstrated to have anti-carcinogenic properties).

I decided to add a little bit of grated turmeric root because I thought the turmeric would taste good with the ginger (it did!).

I also added a bit of freshly ground black pepper to the Turmeric-ACV Ginger-aid, because I had read that black pepper makes the curcumin in the fresh turmeric root 2000 times more bio-available. 

Turmeric ACV Ginger-aid

The drink tasted delicious!

But what happened to my blood sugars was quite surprising.

It became evident that for me, using “food as medicine” has had some very impressive results!

 


Just 3 days earlier, I was impressed because by 4:00 PM my blood glucose was 4.8 mmol/L (86 mg/dl) – which was a good 2.5 hours earlier than usual.

Since adding the turmeric to the ACV Ginger-aid, I was getting numbers in the mid-4 mmol/L (i.e. 4.6 mmol/L / 84 mg/dl) by 2:30 in the afternoon!

By drinking the Turmeric-ACV Ginger-aid  before bed, my morning FBG is consistently in the low 6’s mmol/L (~110 mg/dl) and on a few occasions, ”ve been getting numbers in the high-5s mmol/L (103 mg/dl). I was considering Metformin to get these kinds of results!

This is by consuming ordinary food found in my kitchen!

I continue to eat LCHF and I usually intermittent fast breakfast, as I’ve never been much of a “breakfast person”. I occasionally don’t eat until mid-day as that is when I usually first feel hungry.

My blood sugars are the best they’ve been since I started measuring them.

Now, 2 hours after meals my blood sugar is usually in the low 6’s mmol/l (~110 mg/dl) and the ONLY change has been adding this beverage before bed and occasionally one plain ACV Ginger-aid through the day.

Just to be a ‘good scientist’, last night I deliberately ate 1/2 a dark chocolate bar (72% cocoa) and drank 3/4 of a bottle of plain AVC Ginger-aid (no turmeric) and tested my blood glucose this morning. It was 6.6 mmol/L (119 mg/dl).  That’s crazy! I was expecting 10 or 11 mmol/L.  That’s what it used to be just a few weeks ago, when I’d eat a little bit of dark chocolate!

NOTE: I wanted to see what would happen if I ate the same way but discontinued the beverage. My blood sugar went up to 8.8 mmol/L the first morning after not having any the previous day and was 8.6 mmol/L the following morning. The third day, I drank only one bottle in the afternoon and on at night before bed and the following morning, my fbg was 7.2 mmol/L (still way too high, but much lower). I anticipate it will continue to drop as I have 2-3 bottles of the mixture per day.

Even thought I am NOT exercising (first because of the smokey conditions outside and because I fell back into old “bad-habits” of getting up early and working at my desk with my coffee), my blood glucose is what I would have anticipated would have occurred if I had taken Metformin.

Keep in mind, I am “a sample-set of one”. There’s no saying that others will have the same, or even similar results. In addition, I do NOT encourage people to make any changes in the amount of medication that a doctor prescribed without being told by that doctor.  This drink is NOT a substitute for medication that has been prescribed!  That being said, for those who are not taking medication but have persistently high blood sugar readings does it not make good sense to consider trying such food as medicine?

NOTE: I decided to find out if there was any scientific evidence for the anti-glycemic properties of ACV and did find a 2015 study, suggesting that it increases insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in those with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), which I have. I then decided to look and see if ginger had anti-glycemic properties and found a 2015 study that reported that ginger significantly reduced FBG as well as HbA1c, along with Apo B, Apo B/Apo A-I, MDA and increased the level of Apo A-I in T2D patients. Naturally, I looked to see if turmeric was known to have anti-glycemic properties and sure enough, it did!  I found a 2013 publication that indicated it is well-known that turmeric has a stimulatory action on pancreatic β-cells, and that this may be the mechanism by which it lowers blood sugar in those with T2D. Whether these substances used together have a far greater effect on blood sugar than any of them used separately would certainly make for an interesting study!

WARNING: Given the possibility of these ordinary foods resulting in a dramatic drop in blood sugar, if you have Type 2 Diabetes or pre-diabetes, first discuss incorporating these foods into your diet with your doctor. As well, be sure to monitor your high blood sugar often if you drink these.

ACV Gingeraid Recipe

Click on the link for the recipe for ACV Gingeraid with Variations – food as medicine. Enjoy!


References

Mitrou P, Petsiou E, Papakonstantinou E, et al. Vinegar Consumption Increases Insulin-Stimulated Glucose Uptake by the Forearm Muscle in Humans with Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of Diabetes Research. 2015;2015:175204. doi:10.1155/2015/175204.

Khandouzi N, Shidfar F, Rajab A, Rahideh T, Hosseini P, Mir Taheri M. The Effects of Ginger on Fasting Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1c, Apolipoprotein B, Apolipoprotein A-I and Malondialdehyde in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research : IJPR. 2015;14(1):131-140.

Zhang D, Fu M, Gao S-H, Liu J-L. Curcumin and Diabetes: A Systematic Review. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2013;2013:636053. doi:10.1155/2013/636053.

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Note: Everyone's results following a LCHF lifestyle will differ as there is no one-size-fits-all approach and everybody's nutritional needs and health status is different. If you want to adopt this kind of lifestyle, please discuss it with your doctor, first.

Copyright ©2017 The LCHF-Dietitian (a division of BetterByDesign Nutrition Ltd.) 

LEGAL NOTICE: The contents of this blog, including text, images and cited statistics as well as all other material contained here (the “content”) are for information purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, medical diagnosis and/or treatment and is not suitable for self-administration without the knowledge of your physician and regular monitoring by your physician. Do not disregard medical advice and always consult your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before implementing anything  you have read or heard in our content.

Surprising ways to get adequate fiber eating LCHF

When people think of getting enough “fiber” they often imagine foods like “bran” and prunes – foods not usually eaten when one is following a LCHF style of eating. But what is fiber and how do we get enough when we don’t generally eat grains or legumes?

Fiber – soluble and insoluble

There are two kinds of fiber, insoluble and soluble.

Insoluble fiber is what most people think about when they think of “roughage” needed to form stool and prevent constipation. It helps form the bulk of the stool. Insoluble fiber is naturally present in the outside of grains, such as whole grain wheat, un-milled brown rice and the outside of oats. It is also found in fruit, legumes (or pulses) such as dried beans, lentils, or peas, some vegetables and in nuts and seeds.

Soluble fiber forms a ‘gel’ in the intestine and binds with fatty acids. It slows stomach emptying and helps to make people feel fuller for longer, as well as slow the rate that blood sugar rises, after eating. Soluble fiber absorbs water in the gut, and helps to form a pliable stool. Soluble fiber is found on the inside of certain grains, such as oats, chia seeds or psyillium, as well as the inside of certain kinds of fruit such as apple and pear.

Dietary Recommendations for dietary fiber intake varies with age and gender. Men under the age of 50 years are recommended to take in 38 gm / day of dietary fiber, and men over 50 years to take in 30 gm / day. Women under 50 years old are recommended to take in 25 gm of fiber per day and over 50 years, 21 gm per day.

[Reference: Government of Canada, nutrients in food, https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/nutrients/fibre.html]

Both kinds of fiber are needed and most Canadians eating a conventional diet are getting half of what is recommended.

For those eating a Low Carb High Fat Diet, even though grains and legumes are generally not eaten, getting enough fiber is not that difficult.

Avocado – Surprisingly, avocado which is an excellent source of vegetable fat, is also high in fiber, having more than 10 gm fiber per cup (250 ml). Avocado grown in Florida which are the bright green, smooth-skinned variety have more insoluble fiber than California avocado, which are the smaller, darker green, dimpled variety.

Berries – Berries such as blackberries and raspberries are fruit that I encourage people to use sprinkled on salads, as they are an excellent source of antioxidants, but also have 8 gm fiber per cup (250 ml).

Coconut – Fresh coconut meat has 6 gm of net carbs per 100 grams of coconut, but also packs a whopping 9 gms of fiber and is a very rich source of fat (33 gms per 100 gm coconut). It can be purchased peeled, grated and sold frozen in many ethnic stores or in the ethnic section of regular grocery stores.

Artichoke – Artichoke is a low-carbohydrate vegetable that is delicious boiled and it’s leaves dipped in seasoned butter. Surprisingly, one medium artichoke has over 10 gm of fiber.

Okra – Okra, or ‘lady fingers’ is a staple vegetable in the South Asian diet and is commonly eaten in the Southern US. Just one cup of okra contains more than 8 gm of fiber.

Brussel Sprouts – These low-carb cruciferous vegetables are not just for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.  Split and grilled on the BBQ with garlic, they are a sweet, nutty addition to any meal, packing almost 8 gm of fiber per cup.

Turnip – Turnip, the small white vegetable with a hint of purple is not to be confused with the pale beige, larger rutabaga. Turnip contains almost 10 gm of fiber per cup. It is delicious pickled with a single beet, and eaten with Middle Eastern foods.

Constipation

Even though passing stool is as natural a part of the process as eating is, most feel awkward discussing it. Many don’t know what “normal” is in that regard, or even if there is such a thing. Is once every few days okay, is it detrimental if it is only once a week?  Should it be every day and if so, is more than once a day too much? Does texture matter or is it only frequency?

Frequency and Texture

Many physicians consider normal bowel movement (BM) frequency from 3/day to every 3 days whereas I tend to lean towards daily to every two days as preferable. Even if BM frequency is in this range, hard, painful to pass stools are problematic and would be categorized as constipation.

Since the mid-1990s there is a standardized method to classify the texture of stools, called the Bristol Stool Chart based on research which indicated that stool is a useful surrogate measure of how long feces (stool) takes to go through the large intestine (called “colon transit time”).

Bristol Stool Chart

While Type 3-7 are considered valid for diagnosing diarrhea, Type 1 and Type 2 stool can have normal “transit time”, but be compact and hard due to lack of fluid / water.

The fact is, many, if not most people either have a lack of fiber or a lack of sufficient fluid or both and are constipated to a greater or lesser degree. They eat every day, but they don’t pass stool often and when they do, it is hard and compact. Their bodily waste sits in their colon for several days before finally being eliminated – and when it is, it is hard, dry and compact and often painful to pass.

Constipation is usually due to two factors;

(1) not taking in foods with enough fiber and

(2) not drinking enough water

Sometimes, despite eating the foods mentioned above, people find it isn’t sufficient. This is where what I have dubbed “birdseed” comes in.  Of course, I don’t mean actual birdseed!

What I call “birdseed” is a mixture of 1 tbsp. freshly ground whole flax seed (3 gm fiber per tbsp.) to which 1 tbsp. of chia seed is added (5.5 gm fiber per tbsp.).

 

The chia seeds are ground a little bit with the previously ground flax seed, and then the two ground seeds are placed in a small bowl.

An added portion of psyllium husk (1 tbsp.) is optional.

 

Drinking “Birdseed”

To drink this mixture, diluted coconut milk can be added, the mixture briefly stirred and then drunk quickly, followed by a good amount of water (I recommend at least 2 cups (500 ml).

 

Eating “birdseed”

For even more fiber and a delicious taste, 2 tbsp. of tahini (ground sesame paste) can be added and the mixture eaten with a spoon.

Tahini has 0 net carbs, and almost 4 gm of fiber for 2 tbsp.

 

 

Note: people often ask if they can make "chia pudding" to which they add ground flax seed, but the idea here is to have the flax and chia seeds do their magic in the intestines, not in a container, beforehand.

Water – how much is sufficient?

Dehydration is another factor that contributes to constipation. Often people simply don’t drink enough water to form a bulky, pliable stool.

The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for water for men over 18 years is 3.7 liters per day and for women over 18 years, 2.7 liters per day and this is from all water, including that contained in beverages.

Fiber and water together

Drinking one liter of water or club soda / seltzer with each batch of “birdseed” is a good idea, because the last thing we want is to have all this insoluble and soluble fiber this in our intestines, with insufficient water. In the worse case scenario, this can result in an intestinal blockage, so be sure to drink sufficient water when taking “birdseed”.

I usually recommend that people start off with having 1 tbsp of flax seed and 1 tbsp of chia seed once a day – increasing after a few days if needed to twice (or if needed, three times) a day – making sure to drink a liter of water immediately afterwards.

What about carbs in “birdseed”?

While flax seed, chia seed and psyllium are grains, they have very few net carbs.

1 tsp of whole flax seed (3.4 gm) is so high in fiber that it has no net carbs.

1 tsp of whole chia seed has only .3 gm of net carbs.

Even if you add 1 tsp of psyllium husk, that adds only 1 gram of carbs.

“Birdseed” can be drunk as described above, eaten with sesame paste (also very high in fiber and a good source of healthy fat), or sprinkled on salads or omelettes.

…and remember to drink a liter or so of water each time you take “birdseed”, so that passing stools daily, just like eating daily, will be the norm.

To your good health!

Joy

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Note: Everyone's results following a LCHF lifestyle will differ as there is no one-size-fits-all approach and everybody's nutritional needs and health status is different. If you want to adopt this kind of lifestyle, please discuss it with your doctor, first.

Copyright ©2017 The LCHF-Dietitian (a division of BetterByDesign Nutrition Ltd.) 

LEGAL NOTICE: The contents of this blog, including text, images and cited statistics as well as all other material contained here (the “content”) are for information purposes only.  The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, medical diagnosis and/or treatment and is not suitable for self-administration without the knowledge of your physician and regular monitoring by your physician. Do not disregard medical advice and always consult your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before implementing anything  you have read or heard in our content.