October 5, 2015

ITIS -- It's the Insulin, Stupid (Pt 3/?)

If you made it through the encyclopedic posts that were part 1 and part 2 of this series on insulin, and you’ve come back for more, thank you! It is one of my biggest flaws as a writer: brevity is not my strong suit. (But at least I admit I have a problem. That’s the first step, right?) This post is no exception. In fact, it's probably longer than the first 2. So go grab a cuppa joe, or tea, or whatever you like, and hunker down for a nice, long read.

Okay. So I left off last time pointing out that, in covering the effects of elevated insulin and glucose on the cardiovascular system, reproductive function, the brain, kidneys, eyes, and inner ear & balance mechanisms, I had not said one word about obesity. I hope we’re all on the same page and can agree that insulin resistance is not something limited to people who are carrying around a few—or a couple hundred—extra pounds. Obviously, there are millions of non-overweight people who are infertile, have heart disease, kidney disease, vision problems, dementia, and more. (I have written about this before. One of my personal favorite posts on this entire blog is the one where I explained that obesity is simply one more effect of metabolic derangement, rather than its cause. I also wrote about this topic for Designs for Health.)

Nevertheless, we’d be missing a substantial piece of the insulin puzzle if we didn’t talk about the role of insulin in regulating body weight. Before we get to that, however, we first need to look at the actual functions of insulin, as well as the pancreas. It is an unfortunate byproduct of our epidemic of “diabesity” that we automatically think of blood glucose when we hear the word insulin. And there’s no doubt insulin does have an important role in regulating—or, more specifically, lowering—blood glucose (BG). But that’s not insulin’s only function. In fact, I would argue it’s not even the primary function. We will get to weight, I promise. But just like we did in the cancer series, we’ve got to trudge through a lot of biochemical weeds before we get to the good stuff. So here goes.

Time for a brief extremely verbose endocrinology lesson.

October 2, 2015

Food for Thought Friday: Yes, You *Are* Hungry

One of the frequently repeated claims about low carb and ketogenic diets goes something like, “I don’t get hungry anymore.” Many people find that being in ketosis suppresses the appetite. In some cases, the higher the ketones and/or the free fatty acids, the less desire there is to eat. But is this really true? If you follow a low carb diet, will your appetite go away completely? Will you never be hungry? I find this hard to believe, so let’s dissect this claim, shall we?

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (and if so, I thank you!), then you know I’ve reserved these Food for Thought Friday posts as my place to do a little ranting, albeit in a humorous way. I hope I’m not becoming too negative, though. It’s just that I get pretty hung up on language, and I don't like us playing fast and loose with how we say things. It’s probably the writer in me. So I got a little annoyed the other day when I was catching up on Robb Wolf’s podcast, and I heard Perfect Health Diet author Paul Jaminet say something about this phenomenon of magically disappearing hunger.

September 24, 2015

ITIS -- It's the Insulin, Stupid (pt 2 of ?)

Warning: This is a ridiculously long post. I was going to break it up into two, but I figured, what’s the difference between one really long post, and two semi-long ones? You can always read a couple paragraphs and then come back later if you don’t have time to read it all at once.

Also: My blog has a very eclectic audience. I have physicians, PhDs, and others well-educated in biochem and A&P reading this, but I think the bulk of my readers are interested laypeople. I try to tailor my posts to the laypeople, keeping in mind that they are of above-average intelligence, and certainly above-average knowledge about all this low-carb, high-fat, Paleo, and ancestral health "stuff." Just wanted to remind everyone of the diverse audience here, because this post, in particular, contains simplified explanations of complex processes, and I apologize if any of the pros find themselves bored. :-/ 

OKAY! Now we come to the next part of why all of this insulin stuff is so important. (Missed the first part? Click here. And you’ll notice Ive changed the title of this post to say it’s part 2 of I-don’t-know-how-many. In starting to write part 3, I realized this is going to be more like 5 or 6. I am learning new things about this every day that I feel are important enough to write about, and the number of posts it will take to include them keeps rising.) 

Here we go...

September 17, 2015

ITIS -- It's the Insulin, Stupid (pt 1 of 3)

As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time educating myself about health, nutrition, and food. Whether I’m reading papers in the scientific and medical literature, keeping up with posts by intelligent bloggers, or learning more about human anatomy and physiology, a good portion of my week is devoted to ensuring that, as a nutritionist and blogger, I know what I’m talking about, and I provide my clients and readers with reliable information. There’s so much hashing and rehashing of old news in this field, and you can’t walk five feet without bumping into a dead horse that’s been beaten over and over—and over—again. So it isn’t often that something comes along that really blows my mind. (Like this. I am still fascinated by this.) Once in a while, something that’s actually very simple, and which should be totally obvious, blows my mind, if only because it makes me think about things in ways Id never considered before.

With the help of some very cool people in the low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) world, I have been introduced to a new concept—well, new to me, but certainly not “new” at all—and I’d like to share it with you. There’s a lot to talk about, but the overall theme boils down to this: by focusing almost exclusively on blood glucose, the medical and nutrition professions have been missing the boat on a much larger, much more insidious problem: insulin.

As you know, blood glucose and insulin are intimately related. It’s hard to discuss one without the other. But when was the last time your basic bloodwork panel included a measurement of your insulin levels? Have you ever had a doctor look at anything but your fasting glucose and maybe your A1c if (s)he was concerned about your blood sugar management? (Never mind that the A1c isn’t even included in a typical blood panel. You often have to specifically request it.) If you’ve ever been the victim of experienced an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), did your doctor measure your insulin levels, or only your blood glucose?

With a single-minded focus on glucose, glucose, glucose, we have distracted ourselves from what is really driving the ship in type 2 diabetes (T2D), metabolic syndrome, Alzheimers disease, and many more conditions that we’ll explore in detail in part 2 of this series. Hence, the title of this post.

September 15, 2015

OH - EM - GEE!



Remember: Amy Berger, M.S., NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition.

September 10, 2015

Bacon Revelation

Hey Everyone!

It looks like it’s bacon week here at Tuit Nutrition. (And there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that!) As a follow-up to Monday’s post about bacon from “100% vegetarian fed” pigs, with no added nitrates, let’s dive a little deeper into this salty, smoky, sweet, and darn near intoxicating food.

Generally speaking, I like to think I'm a pretty intelligent gal. I recognize, however, that there are some subjects that render me a complete eejit. All mathematics beyond your basic algebra comes immediately to mind, as does anything you might find in a high school physics textbook. I am not at all above admitting that I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer. However, on subjects about which I am truly passionate, I’d like to think what I know exceeds that which I do not know. Until recently, I had thought this was true regarding my knowledge of bacon. But I was wrong! I had a revelation about bacon a few days ago, and at the risk of exposing what a total moron I am, I thought I’d share it here on the blog, in case anyone out there is even slower than I am, and hasn’t yet had this epiphany. (Good thing there are only four people reading. Chances are, all four of you learned this long ago, and the only useful thing you’ll gain from this post is a hearty guffaw, at my expense.)

Okay. Maybe I’m late to this party, and if so, I’ll just don my dunce cap and head off to go sit in the corner. But really, if it’s taken me this long to realize something pretty neat about bacon, then I have to figure there are others wandering around out there, ignorant of this very cool thing.