A couple weeks ago I decided I was going to change one thing at a time and stop confounding all of my variables, so I have a shot at actually knowing what is and what is not helping me. I decided to start with eating low-fat, which Ray Peat says should help with weight reduction. But more importantly, I wanted to test to see if fat intake would have an effect on my blood sugar. Most people (and doctors) believe diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar. Peat says otherwise – that the cells’ uptake of glucose is impaired by fat intake.
The antagonism between fat and sugar that Randle described can involve the suppression of sugar oxidation when the concentration of fats in the bloodstream is increased by eating fatty food, or by releasing fats from the tissues by lipolysis, but it can also involve the suppression of fat oxidation by inhibiting the release of fatty acids from the tissues, when a sufficient amount of sugar is eaten.
I have previously interpreted this as being primarily polyunsaturated fat being the problem, and reduced my PUFA intake…but my blood sugar stayed disappointingly high. A re-read indicates he doesn’t actually doesn’t say PUFAs alone are the culprit – he says that dietary fat (doesn’t specify which kind) competes with sugar to get into the cells and provide energy. High fat = poor glucose metabolism. Well, I’ve had a high fat diet for the last 2-3 years, and also have had increasingly poor glucose metabolism. So I thought I’d try to reduce fat in my food and track my fasting blood sugar to evaluate for effect.
So I started eating low-fat on 3/18/14 – not quite 2 weeks ago. I stopped for 5 days in the middle of my experiment because I was tired of eating sugar all day long. I don’t even like sugar. When you don’t eat starches (I don’t…makes me depressed) and you’re limiting meat and fat, you end up eating a lot of sugar (fruit/juice/honey) for fuel. I think Peat would say that’s ideal, but I was getting tired of eating so much sweet stuff. So I gave up in the middle. When I did that, though, I noticed an interesting blood-sugar trend. So I again went low-fat for a few more days to see what would happen. Here are the results:
My blood sugar is high. I’m pretty much diabetic. This is a given. But look at what happens when I reduce the fat in my diet, increase it again, and then reduce it again. By starting and stopping I managed to create a reversal experiment. The graph shows a decent correlation between fat intake and fasting blood sugar. When I eat more fat my blood sugar goes up – less fat, and it goes down.
Now take a look at what happens when I add my carbohydrates intake to the graph – remember this is all simple sugars. I’ve eaten no starches over the past 2 weeks.
Because I have to eat something, generally less fat = more carbohydrate intake. Overall though, carb intake was pretty stable – and it appears to be completely unrelated to my up-and-down fasting blood sugar.
What do I conclude from this? Well, it’s hard to draw firm conclusions given the short duration of the experiment, but it sure looks like high blood sugar (and possibly type-II diabetes) are related to fat intake much more so than to sugar intake.
RAY PEAT – RIGHT AGAIN!
So what am I going to do about this? Actually, it’s almost nice enough outside to get out on my bike again, and I intend to do that. Biking for 30 minutes a day on flat terrain at moderate intensity has reliably lowered my blood sugar in the past, and I really like it. So that’s what I’ll be doing about my blood sugar. Low-fat just isn’t working for me. I quit it twice in 2 weeks because it was making me feel all eating-disordy. Like, feeling resentful and deprived and fantasizing about bread. I think it could be done if someone (unlike me) could tolerate starches well, but this just wasn’t working for me.
So diet-wise I’m back to eating a regular Peat-y diet – I’ll try to find a balance with fat where I’m eating less than I have in the past but not so little that I’m afraid of a teaspoon of coconut oil. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-80g per day. I’m also done tracking what I eat for a little while. It’s easy to get obsessed with this stuff. In a bad way. I don’t want what I eat to be so damn important.
So what experiment am I going to try next? I really want to add 10mg of B6 to my supplement regimen, to better help with estrogen management, reduce serotonin, and help with libido. Will start that today and will report back in 2 weeks.