My Carnivore Diet – Success?

1385127027449My Carnivore Experiment Diet – Success? (Updated June 23 in italics) – If you read my previous posts you know that I believe man is designed to be a carnivore, not an omnivore.

On an emergency famine basis, we can handle plant energy (carbs – glucose and fructose) but in any significant amounts they make us sick eventually. They did it to me and almost the entire population of the world. We call these diseases “chronic diseases” because they never heal. Of course they don’t. We keep eating what is causing them. Heart disease, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, depression, etc etc. If you stop, they will heal.

So 6 months ago I started an experiment to see what it would be like to eat no plants. So I ate fewer and fewer vegetables, eventually only as garnish. I ate mainly meat, dairy and eggs. And I watched how my body reacted? Did it work?

No. It did not. Because I am insulin resistant. I believe it did. Upon further study I realize I should have attributed  my symptoms to dairy, not meat.

Once you go to a carnivore diet, you kind of like it. God/Evolution made you that way. So I could not come to terms with what happened to me. Then I came across a speech presentation by Ted Naiman (doctor, ex-vegetarian SDA who went to Loma Linda for medical school) and his subsequent interview. It may require a subscription to view but his website is here.  The presentation is full of proof from clinical trials.

But first, why was dairy a problem? I was studying about the insulin index on Marty Kendall’s outstanding website, a site I read often. Since I was eating minimal carbs, what else was raising my insulin? I drank no milk (which has a sugar, lactose) but ate some yogurt which has almost all the sugar of milk (I know, I make yogurt). But I was eating a lot of sour cream, labneh, and cream cheese. So I was getting a lot of milk proteins, caseins and wheys. And it turns out that both elicit a strong insulin response, as much as pure glucose, with wheys raising it twice that high. Whey also triggers GIP, GLP-1, two gastrointestinal hormones, plus Insulin-like Growth Factor – 1 (IGF-1). So dairy was causing my problems, not meat. 

Because as Ted Naiman points out, in clinical trials

  1. People given unlimited food which was tracked naturally ate 25% protein, instead of the 12%-15% in the American diet. We are programmed to like meat.
  2. Protein is the most satisfying of nutrients, followed by fat, but fat is less effective to control appetite in insulin resistant subjects like mee
  3. Whether on healthy subjects or diabetics, pregnant mothers or others, in multiple clinical trials, the higher the protein, the higher the body fat loss, loss maintenance over time, much lower insulin levels, lower triglycerides, glucose and all other metabolic markers with no upper limit on protein (our body does best on meat)

I will try and write more about this in a later blog. I just wanted to fix this blog. I am now in the 4th day of being a carnivore with no dairy and I have actually dropped quite a bit of water retention and feeling great.


Insulin Index

Insulin is probably our most important hormone. It acts as an orchestra conductor to countless other proteins that affect our metabolism and basic body function.

Glucose is a poison. It will kill you in less than 10 minutes absent insulin (diabetic attack). Animals have minimal amounts of glucose. There is less than a teaspoon in your 1.5 gallons of blood and another cup in your liver for emergencies. Yet glucose is the way plants store energy. Problem. Of course animals store it as fat, which is very benign to the body.

Insulin is required to force body cells to absorb excess blood glucose immediately before it kills you. So it is secreted:

  1. When you see food you will eat, in anticipation, because glucose is absorbed so quickly into the blood
  2. When you taste the food, preparing for the task
  3. When you eat and during digestion

So there is this huge surge in insulin whenever you eat glucose, in bread, breakfast cereals, desserts etc.

The secreted insulin is like a key, that fits into your cell receptors and causes them to open their doors and absorb glucose and immediately turn it into fat for later use.

With overuse and glucation (from fructose), the receptors get gummed up and no longer work. This is insulin resistance. So your body secretes more and more insulin that is less and less effective.

Until now most scientists studied the Glycemic Load and  Glycemic Index. That is a measure of how much glucose is in a food and how quick or delayed will be the release in the blood. That was helpful enough and I still pay attention to it. But it tells you little about your actual insulin response. And insulin is my problem. I am insulin resistant, like most people my age.

How much of an insulin response different foods cause is more difficult to figure out and has started to be studied more recently. So the Insulin Index was created to measure that.

The list of foods for which the Insulin Index has been calculated is not exhaustive, but it is growing by the day.


Unfortunately, glucose is not the only thing that triggers insulin. So does protein, though nowhere near as much. Somehow, protein from meat seems not to be so bad. Diary is bad for insulin resistance, perhaps because the amino acids are branched?

Your body has no way of storing excess protein. So whatever it does not need, it turns to glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis. And the glucose requires insulin to be turned into fat so it does not kill you. And I am insulin resistant!

I found that when I ate excess dairy protein (target healthy for meat protein is 1 gram per pound kilogram of ideal body weight, for me 70 140 grams per day but this is a minimum), I started having the symptoms I had before. Including:

  1. Blurred vision
  2. Heart palpitations, heart thumping in bed
  3. Difficulty falling asleep
  4. Waking up multiple times each night
  5. High blood pressure
  6. Hunger
  7. Tingling
  8. Lightheadedness and hypoglycemia, and others

All these symptoms are caused by insulin. And I am insulin resistant.

So I had to stop. I did not reform my diet and lose all that weight just to get back to my old health conditions through the back door by eating excessive amounts of protein.

So I believe that if I were not insulin resistant, I could eat unlimited animal products. But now that I am, I cannot.

So I eat lots of leafy vegetables, lots of fats, and some protein. And I feel great.

When I deviate from this plan, I get symptoms within a few hours. Same day. And it takes a couple of days before they go away. So eating cake at a party is not really something I want to do. Or overdoing the meat.

P.S. There is some disagreement on the 1 g / 1 kg limit. Some scientists believe that as we age we can safely eat 1.25 g or even 2 g. That is the highest I have seen recommended. I think I am safer at the 1 g level.


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