Once I saw it this morning somewhere, I recalled reading it way back. How soon we forget. On Dr. Mike Eade’s Protein Power blog:
Some nice gems.
Let’s look at what happens when we cut carbohydrates in the diet. First, we don’t get enough carbs to replenish our blood sugar, so the body has to convert protein to glucose to make up the difference. The signal to do this comes from a rising level of glucagon, a hormone made in and released by the pancreas. In order for glucagon to do its job, the level of insulin in the blood has to go down, which it does. A low level of insulin and a high level of glucagon send a signal to the fat cells telling them to release their fat. You can think of it as opening the doors to the fat cells so that fat can easily get out. The body burns this fat for energy. As the body burns more, the fat cells release more. When the fat cells dump their fat, they become smaller. When your fat cells or adipose tissue becomes smaller, you become smaller. And you lose weight. Which is how it’s supposed to work.
But there is a little glitch in all of this.
Although the lowered insulin and elevated glucagon open the doors to the fat cells allowing fat to come out to be burned, the fat comes out only if it’s needed. If you are meeting all your body’s energy needs with the food you eat, the body doesn’t need the fat in the fat cells. On a low-carb diet your body burns fat for energy. But it doesn’t care where this fat comes from; it can come from the diet or it can come from the fat cells or it can come from both. If you are consuming enough fat to meet all your body’s requirements, your body won’t go after the fat in the fat cells no matter how severely you restrict your carbs. You will burn dietary fat only and no body fat. And you won’t lose weight. It’s that simple.
It has been shown countless times that when people go on low-carb diets they spontaneously reduce their caloric intake. Most foods available on low-carbohydrate diets are satiating and those following these diets get full quickly. They just don’t eat that many calories. In most studies of low-carb diets people drop their caloric intake down to the 1500-1700 kcal range and are quite satisfied. At that level of caloric intake, they need a fair amount of their own body fat to make up the difference between their dietary intake and the 2400-2600 kcal (or more) that they burn every day. As they consume this body fat, they lose weight.
(I heard subsequently that glucagon doesn’t really do much, but that’s beside the point and general theme.)
Go read the whole thing for a refresher, because the theme of the the whole thing is that excess calories are what stall the fat loss, and the biggest culprit is usually dietary fat. Amongst those, chief candidates are cheese and nuts: fat bombs.
It’s a mystery to me, then, how in many current iterations of LC (as differentiated from Atkins and Protein Power; i.e., sensible and reasonable low-carb dietary interventions) like LCHF and so-dubbed nutritional ketosis, that calories don’t count, and all one need do is keep lowering the carbs, limiting the protein more (like down to 10% in some cases), and up the fat to satiation.
What could go wrong?
I think lots of low-carb fans need to break out their old copies of The Diet Revolution and Protein Power and re-read them. Start over, get back on a sane and sensible path.
I’ll keep this short and quote from a brief comment exchange just a bit ago:
Robert April 29, 2017 at 13:04
The methods can be debated, but I certainly have no right to judge.
What is true though, is that it’s important to provide an intelligent and sharp critique of keto extremism. This is what FTA has done, and it has certainly helped me. And probably many others. A registered dietician claiming all the butter will give heart attacks won’t help, it’s stupid and blunt critique.
Let me relate an experience from a couple of days ago: a 74 year old guy was commenting on a Swedish LCHF blog. He is trying to control a small tumor by keeping blood sugar low, and went low carb. He went as low as 20 g carbs a day, but slowly fasting BG started creeping up, until it was worse than before the intervention. Then, he for some reason upped carbs to 100 g a day, and fasting BG plummeted , and he’s now doing great. But he was dumbfounded, asked how is it possible that upping carbs leads to lower FBG? It shouldn’t be possible!
I let him know about physiological insulin resistance. He was very relieved to finally get an answer, and grateful. He wrote he is now googling and reading more about it.
I’ve spent a couple of year on low carb sites, and I never came across this. Only here did I learn this. And it felt good to pass on the information.
Honestly, when first coming here for info on resistant starch, and reading that many had problems on low carb being solved by PHD and RS, I thought it was an exaggeration. If so many had problems, why hadn’t I heard more about it?
Not that I believe there’s an evil conspiracy to cover it up, I’m just saying it’s easy to miss the negative sides when you are inside it.
Richard Nikoley April 29, 2017 at 13:55
Ha, because in so many ways, LCHF and low-protein Keto are at the other extreme from veganism, and they behave similarly.
First, they are reluctant to talk about problems within their own cloistered circles, because since the diet is without flaw, how can anyone have a problem caused by the diet? Thus, people who claim problems are misidentifying cause (’cause it can’t be the diet, since the diet is without flaw), or “they aren’t doing it right,” and likely just need to cut carbs more, make sure they are limiting protein under 10%, and increase fat until they feel full.
Bring back the sanity.