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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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April 21, 2014

Dear Mark: Why Hyperglycemia Is Bad and Those Stubborn Final Pounds

By Mark Sisson
111 Comments

SugarToday we’ve got a fairly short one with just two questions and answers. First, I tackle a big topic: the specific effects of hyperglycemia on the body. That hyperglycemia is bad for us is implicit, but it’s important to understand why it’s so dangerous. Today, I give a brief but detailed overview of the negative effects of chronic high blood sugar. Next, Carrie gives a female reader a few thoughts on how to (and whether to) lose the last few stubborn pounds. Her unique advice involves sprinting, reframing, rethinking, and restating.

Hi Mark,

I know it’s too much to ask, but having browsed the internet and your site thoroughly about it, I just cannot get a satisfying answer to how (biochemically) high blood sugar does its damage to the body. How is it toxic? I know about AGEs and how it damages blood vessels, but even in scientific articles there’s no – again satisfying – answer as to HOW? How is coma the body’s response to too much high blood sugar? How it gives you migraines? How it reduces healing abilities? etc, etc, etc.

Maybe I’m not good at searching this or I don’t have access to the proper medical journals, but I was just wondering if you could enlighten us about this topic in a deeper way.

Thanks and regards from Colombia.

Oscar

Great question.

Most cell types, when faced with systemic hyperglycemia, have mechanisms in place to regulate the passage of glucose through their membranes. They can avoid hyperglycemic toxicity by keeping excess sugar out. Other cell types, namely pancreatic beta-cells, neurons, and the cells lining the blood and lymphatic vessels, do not have these mechanisms. In the presence of high blood sugar, they’re unable to keep excess sugar out. It’s to these three types of cells that hyperglycemia is especially dangerous.

Unfortunately, these are all pretty important cells.

What happens when too much glucose makes it into one of these cells?

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation is a normal byproduct of glucose metabolism by the cell’s mitochondria. If the stream of glucose into the cell is unregulated, bad things begin to happen: excessive ROS, a mediator of increased oxidative stress; depletion of glutathione, the prime antioxidant in our bodies; advanced glycation endproduct (AGE) formation; and activation of protein kinase C, a family of enzymes involved in many diabetes-related complications. It’s messy stuff.

How does this play out in the specific cell types that are susceptible and what does it mean for you?

Pancreatic beta-cells: These cells are responsible for secreting insulin in response to blood glucose. They essentially are the first line of defense against hyperglycemia. If maintained for too long or too often, hyperglycemia inhibits the ability of pancreatic beta-cells to do their job. For instance, type 2 diabetics have reduced pancreatic beta-cell mass; smaller cells have lower functionality. Mitochondrial ROS (often caused by hyperglycemia) also reduce the insulin secreted by the cells, thereby reducing their ability to deal with the hyperglycemia and compounding the initial problem.

Neurons: The brain’s unique affinity for glucose makes its glucose receptor-laden neuronal cells susceptible to hyperglycemia. It simply soaks up glucose, and if there’s excessive amounts floating around, problems arise. Hyperglycemia is consistently linked to cognitive impairment, causes the shrinking of neurons and the inducement of spatial memory loss, and induces neuronal oxidative stress. It also impairs the production of nitric oxide, which is involved in the hippocampus’ regulation of food intake.

Endothelial cells: Flow mediated dilation (FMD) is the measure of a blood vessels ability to dilate in response to increased flow demands. Under normal conditions, the endothelial cells release nitric oxide, a vasodilator, in response to increased shear stress. Under hyperglycemic conditions, nitric oxide release is inhibited and FMD reduced. A decreased FMD strongly predicts cardiovascular events (PDF) and may cause atherosclerosis (PDF).

Thanks again for the question. While saying “Chronic hyperglycemia is bad for you” is true enough, it’s more helpful to know exactly why it’s bad.

Now, let’s hear from Carrie:

My husband and I have been eating Primal for about 6 months now and he has lost 50 pounds. Although I feel much better and have more energy, I hit a plateau after 3 months and have only lost 20 pounds. My husband has reached his ideal weight and I still would like to lose another 20 pounds. We are living a primal lifestyle and exercising regularly and I am wondering if you can offer any advice around how I can lose the last 20 pounds? Is there anything else I can do?

One of the first things I suggest to women who have hit a plateau is to incorporate sprints into their workouts: 2 times a week, running full speed in intervals or 6-10 sprints for 30 seconds with a minute of rest in between. Cycling sprints work, too. You can also run up hills instead of on flat ground. Doing it on the beach will be harder and you’ll go slower but hit your butt and thighs differently than on flat ground. Women are naturally better at burning fat in response to exercise, so sprints are an ideal, time-efficient way to do that. It wasn’t until I started incorporating sprints that I truly reached my ideal body composition.

If you are over 40 you should have your hormone levels checked to make sure you are not perimenopausal and that your hormones are balanced. Where are you carrying the excess weight? If it is around your belly, this could be a sign that you need hormonal balancing. Visit a medical professional that specializes in women’s health. I myself had the best results with low doses of hormone replacements, but more “natural” methods are also worth a shot and can be exhausted beforehand.

Once you have addressed both of these “physical” issues, ask yourself some important questions.

How can you have a healthy relationship with where your body is now? Figure out what it would take to make peace with your body. Is it holding you back from doing anything, physically, that you’d like to be doing? Does it truly reduce your quality of life in a meaningful, tangible way? Are you healthy, happy (when not thinking about your last few pounds), and generally living life in a vibrant manner? Maybe you are content and just haven’t realized it yet.

What if this is your body’s ideal weight? Remember that women naturally carry more body fat and distribute it differently than men. We make babies with our body fat, and the hips, butt, and thighs are supposed to have a bit more bounce than the rest of the body. It’s totally normal to have it there and a sign that you’re healthy!

Personally, I also like to set intentions around my goals – things and thoughts and abstractions I would like to create and make manifest. They somehow seem more real when I do this. And if they seem real enough that I start acting like they are, aren’t they real? For all intents and purposes, I’d say that they are.

Here’s an example:

“I am making healthy conscious food choices, effortlessly reaching my ideal lean(er) bodyweight, and loving my healthy, limber, strong, fit body.”

I say these things to myself with powerful intention as I’m saying them, almost like a meditation where the focus is on the breath itself. Only here, you’re focusing on the words – how they sound, what they mean, what they mean to you. This isn’t a woo-woo, mystical attempt to “create your own reality.” It’s just a powerful way to establish and ingrain resolve.

Write your intentions down. Say them out loud. Be very specific and clear. It might feel funny saying/writing these usually abstract thoughts that only play out in your head, but it makes them real and attainable. And oftentimes you’ll find that the things you thought you were worried about aren’t even worth it. That you’re happy after all!

Good luck and don’t hesitate to write back with more questions.

That’s it for this week, folks. Thanks for reading and keep the questions coming!

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111 Comments on "Dear Mark: Why Hyperglycemia Is Bad and Those Stubborn Final Pounds"

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Groktimus Primal
2 years 7 months ago

Yeah sugar is about as bad as bad gets.

Graham Ballachey
2 years 7 months ago

Interesting stuff about the effects of hyperglycemia. I gotta learn more about nitric oxide’s role in the body!

Sugar…it’s unfortunate how many people are running almost entirely off sugar all the time. The intense energy swings and hunger pangs are thought to be unavoidable when you are in that state. I was there for many years. It blows my mind now when I fast for up to a day and feel great. When I explain it to people, the looks I get are hilarious.

Easy on the sweet stuff!

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 7 months ago
Speaking of running on sugar all the time, I’m getting to where AI now loathe to walk into a warehouse store–it seems like everybody else’s carts are all crammed full of junk foods…and the SODA! I even overheard one lady bragging to her kids that she got “all this food” (every manner of carbs you can think of) for $4 less than the eldest daughter in line behind her, whose cart was only half full, but had REAL food in it! Yet, walking into a regular grocery store is now like walking into a ghost town–it seems everybody moved over… Read more »
Jake
Jake
2 years 7 months ago

“One of the first things I suggest to women who have hit a plateau is to incorporate sprints into their workouts: 2 times a week, running full speed in intervals or 6-10 sprints for 30 seconds with a minute of rest in between.”

It seems like the first sprint would be your only true sprint and the rest of the intervals would get slower and slower. Is that the point of the workout?

Tom
Tom
2 years 7 months ago

A sprint is a sprint no matter how fast you actually travel from point A to point B. For example running in dry sand is slower than wet sand is slower than grass is slower than tarmac. It’s the applied effort that defines a sprint (not a fact – but probably around 90-100% of perceived effort).

Yasmine
Yasmine
2 years 7 months ago

Also, the point of the minute rest in between is to recover so that you can give full effort for each sprint. The better shape you are in the more sprint sets you can do and/or the short rest you can take.

Karen C.
Karen C.
2 years 7 months ago

Surprisingly, I’ve found that it’s often my second or third sprint that’s the fastest. Go figure. This is especially true with row sprints (on a rowing machine).

Warren
Warren
2 years 7 months ago
Same here: I believe that it takes the first couple of sprints before you warm up sufficiently, even if you run a mile or two warmup before starting your first sprint (which warmup I believe to be essential). Even then, I always run my first sprint with caution, say, around 90% perceived effort. After the first sprint, I have a better idea how my body is performing that day. Then I can cut loose on my second sprint and thereafter. ALSO, when my 200 meter times (about 33 to 36 seconds) start to deteriorate by more that a couple seconds,… Read more »
Zach Rusk
Zach Rusk
2 years 7 months ago

I think there was some research done that mentioned there are different benefits to higher rest periods though so that you can put forth more work with the same amount of effort. I think the best plan of action might be to perform some of your sprints with full rest between sets and some with minimal rest!

victor
victor
2 years 7 months ago

No way! You go 70-80 percent and never 90-100 percent unless you want to hurt yourself right off the bat. The only time you want to sprint 100 percent is in a race. Sprinting can be very violent and unforgiving on the body and you need to ease into it.

DanaG
DanaG
2 years 7 months ago

Is there a way to do a sprint-like exercise if you are challenged by injury? At the moment my sciatic nerve is inflamed and I cannot do running sprints. In fact, just walking is a real challenge. I’ve plateaued about 20 lbs from my upper ideal weight. Do you have any suggestions for me?

BFBVince
2 years 7 months ago

This may be horrible for your injury and not relevant to you (I’m not sure) but sprinting on the rowing machine is a new found method of sprint workouts for me. Sprint 250 meter intervals or do a 2k as fast as you can.

Miz Pat
Miz Pat
2 years 7 months ago
Miracle drug for sciatica: gabapentin (aka neurontin). Talk to your doc about it. I experienced immobilizing sciatica after a pelvic fracture. The strong pain medication (roxiset) for the fracture didn’t touch the sciatica. After 3 days of ibuprofen around the clock (in addition to roxiset), I could at least get out of bed again (to walk with a walker), though not pain free. Then switched to gabapentin and got complete relief from the sciatic pain within 30 minutes of the first dose (300mg, 3 times/day worked for me). I continued on the gabapentin for several months to ameliorate chemotherapy-induced neuropathy… Read more »
C L Deards
2 years 7 months ago

Sugar is hard to escape. Like soy it seems to be in everything. I have to read the labels on everything I buy. I mean, sugar is added to roasted almond butter. Why? I ask. Why?

I didn’t know that certain cells had no glucose regulation mechanism. That’s scary, especially considering the point I made above.

On the last few pounds front, I have seen first hand how the paleo diet affects women and men differently. The weight seemed to come off me no problem, but it’s been slower for my wife. I’ll mention the sprint idea to her. Thanks.

KariVery
KariVery
2 years 7 months ago

Hi – MaraNatha makes almond butter without any sugar added. The only place I’ve seen it, ironically, is at Costco.

BFBVince
2 years 7 months ago

I feel like the consistency of this product leaves something to be desired. Maybe this is why? Either way, it’s a good deal as far as almond butter goes.

Andrea
Andrea
2 years 7 months ago

My homemade almond butter is much better than anything I can buy in a jar.

TheSprouse
TheSprouse
2 years 7 months ago

I agree, I can’t stand the taste and texture of MaraNatha. For the price at Costco, I REALLY wanted to but I just can’t. If you’re OK with palm fruit oil, Justin’s Almond Butter is by far and away the best I’ve ever had. Taste and texture are phenomenal….I prefer its taste to freshly ground almond butter.

Kim Shannon
Kim Shannon
2 years 7 months ago

Costco recently got a new brand of almond butter. I don’t remember the name, because cane sugar was the FIRST ingredient on the label. Why indeed?

I don’t know where you’re located, but I’m in the DC area on the East Coast and I buy Giant store brand – their organic brand, Nature’s Promise – and the only ingredient is almonds. It’s very tasty too.

Danielle Thalman
Danielle Thalman
2 years 7 months ago

Fred Meyer carries it.

Ellen
Ellen
2 years 7 months ago

Tree of Life also makes an almond butter without sugar, or added oils. It’s just dry-roasted almonds. I found it at a small natural foods store.

victor
victor
2 years 7 months ago

I don’t know if Mothers Markets are a national chain but here in Orange County they have a grinder you can put your almonds in to get fresh almond butter. Almonds do have a poor omega 6/3 ratio and the phytic acid supposedly binds to minerals making them undigested but staying away from vegetable oils will help. I personally prefer macadamia nut butter. It cost more but has a good omega 6/3 ratio and no phytic acid.

Farzaneh
Farzaneh
2 years 7 months ago

Trader Joe’s brand doesn’t have sugar and is inexpensive. I tried making it at home but my almonds never turn into “butter” but rather into almond meal.

KariVery
KariVery
2 years 7 months ago

I am very interested in how too much sugar affects hearing abilities, as the person who posed the question of the day to Mark mentioned. We have several people in my family with unexplained hearing loss who eat pretty high sugar diets. I am going to have to check that out.

Alan
Alan
2 years 7 months ago

Mark, what about having a dessert or two on the weekends and sugarless on the week?

Laura Taylor
Laura Taylor
2 years 7 months ago

anyone have suggestions for female trying to lose the last 10 lbs, can’t sprint because of a permanent ankle injury, and no access to a cycle?

Pastor dave Deppisch
2 years 7 months ago

Sprinting on an eliptical– or any interval type training can work. I personally sprint the hills a couple times a week. but I have also boxed ten 30-40 second rounds intensely with one minute between to recover.

But better check with the boss (Mark) to see if I have that correct. But if you google Interval Training there are more types that may not affect your ankle problem– Grok ON!

Laura Taylor
Laura Taylor
2 years 7 months ago

not a member of a gym right now so I’m doing everything at home using bodyweight and a kettlebell. I’m going to start using some suggestions below, thanks!

defrog
defrog
2 years 7 months ago

Intervals with kettlebell swings could also help. I do AMRAP in one minute, rest one, etc., for a total of five minutes…

WelshGrok
WelshGrok
2 years 7 months ago

I like swim sprints as it’s easy on the joints and although it doesn’t get some of the benefits of a running sprint, it’s a real all-over workout. I find all-out sprints on a punchbag or even shadow-boxing good too.

Pretty much anything can be a sprint just do it hard and/or fast for 6-10 rounds of 30 sec with enough rest to do it again.

WelshGrok
WelshGrok
2 years 7 months ago

Oh dear – I don’t know if my original comment will pass moderation, but “sex” should have read “sec” – But hey I guess that would work too! 😉

Brak
Brak
2 years 7 months ago

See how a few bodyweight air-squats treat your ankle. If you can do them without pain, do them as fast as possible for 30 seconds, it will burn and you will challenge yourself similarly to sprinting, but with much less stress on the ankle.

Laura Taylor
Laura Taylor
2 years 7 months ago

interesting, I have been doing squats lately but had not thought to do them very fast. I can’t get into a very deep squat because of the injury, but this sounds promising.

John
2 years 7 months ago

Try a battle rope. Lots of gyms have battle ropes now. It will wind you just as fast as sprinting will. I dare say it will wind you faster.

Laura Taylor
Laura Taylor
2 years 7 months ago

I’m not a member at a gym right now, but I’ll keep that in mind for the future

granny gibson
granny gibson
2 years 7 months ago

I have osteo arthritis in both knees, so my sprinting days are over. When I said that to my fitness advisor, she said I could get some benefit from energetic upper body moves. I put on some music and do aerobic arm things until I’m breathing hard. Bettter than nothing!

Laura Taylor
Laura Taylor
2 years 7 months ago

interesting! have you seen any improvement?

granny gibson
granny gibson
2 years 7 months ago

Not in weight loss, but I’m also lifting higher weight and have lost fat and probably gained muscle. Certainly changed shape. I’m in for the long term. I only recently started the arm cardio, so we’ll see.

Kelda
2 years 7 months ago

Swimming works well too, sprint a length, then rest till recovered and sprint back. If one length doesn’t get you to full effort try two one after another.

Laura Taylor
Laura Taylor
2 years 7 months ago

I can’t sprint at all (my ankle is fused and won’t bend, so running is out). Also, no access to a pool right now…but if I get the chance I’ll take up some swimming

Paul
Paul
2 years 7 months ago
I see a lot of people asking for specific sprint exercises. You can “sprint” any exercise as long as doing it quickly and with a lot of effort does not pose any real danger. Not that I recommend it, but you could do high intensity intervals with curls if that was all you could do. The point is to work really really really hard at the exercise for a short period of time, then rest, then repeat the exercise, rest, etc. As far as the exercise you can do almost anything. Just do something that you are comfortable with and… Read more »
Laura Taylor
Laura Taylor
2 years 7 months ago

oh ok, I’ve been taking it very literally

Oscar
Oscar
2 years 7 months ago

Thanks for the reply Mark. I, and surely everyone else, appreciates it. It’s hard to explain to someone about the dangers of high blood sugar when all you get from some experts is “That it’s bad”.
Thanks again.

Carla ARNP
Carla ARNP
2 years 7 months ago
What a wonderful coincidence! I’m giving a talk to a group of diabetic patients this week and have been seeking info about WHY all the bad effects of hyperglycemia happen. In spite of all the years I’ve spent in this field, I did not know that some cells can resist excess sugar and others can’t–thus the sequale of diabetes. Then you answered so many of them for me today with your post. I haven’t written before but want to say how much I enjoy your posts and podcasts. I follow them daily and have learned so much from you! Thank… Read more »
Diane
Diane
2 years 7 months ago
I tried sprinting last summer. I did it actually for the entire summer all the way through Christmas until my iPod died and took my sprint timer with it. I did not lose any weight and believe me I was stringent with my diet and everything, plus I even was training for backpacking and lifting heavy weights. I have had to resort to the “do you feel content” thing. I backpacked the entire length of Glacier National Park that summer, 120 miles or so, and even our longest days felt like nothing. I can pretty much do anything I want… Read more »
victor
victor
2 years 7 months ago

Sorry about the weight but your workouts…..VERY impressive! I’m a in my mid 50s and very jealous of you right about now.

Roger Butler
2 years 7 months ago
Both of today’s questions were of interest to me but both left important questions unanswered. First, as someone who almost certainly was hyperglycemic for most of the first 58 years of his life but has been eating low carb and next to zero processed food for six years, what is the chance that damage caused by hyperglycemia gets repaired or is it simply that one is now staving off further damage? Then although Carrie’s answer was clearly addressed to women it looks like a similar problem I seem to have. On January 1, 2008 I weighed precisely 278 lbs at… Read more »
Shannon in Farmerville
Shannon in Farmerville
2 years 7 months ago

You could try increasing your fats, and put yourself into a more ketogenic state….

Carla ARNP
Carla ARNP
2 years 7 months ago

Consider reading the Diabetes solution book by Dr. Richard K. Bernstein for answers about reversing hyperglycemia damage. Or check for videos and interviews–podcasts on line. He is a Type 1 diabetic since age 12 who learned how to control his diabetes with low carb diet and glucometer and small doses of insulin as needed. He has managed to reverse all the long term effects of diabetes and is now in his 70’s and practicing as a diabetologist in NY. Very Inspiring!

meepster
meepster
2 years 7 months ago

Would jumping rope work for sprinting? I love jumping rope, and I hate running.

Paul
Paul
2 years 7 months ago

Yes. Any exercise that you can do at high intensity safely will work. The more muscles you have to use for the sprint the better, but you can really choose most any exercise.

Kathy from Maine
Kathy from Maine
2 years 7 months ago
Please explain what you mean by “balanced hormones.” Everyone says this, but I’ve never seen anyone explain exactly what they mean by it. I’ve been on bio-identical hormones for 8 years now and even though all my levels are now in the mid-range of “normal,” it has done diddly-squat for me in terms of weight loss. I no longer have night sweats or hot flashes, but I still keep gaining around the middle despite eating what most here would consider a healthful diet. There’s more to it than just “balancing hormones” for those of us who are affected so dramatically… Read more »
drjoyous
drjoyous
2 years 7 months ago

Cranky or not, I have the same questions…

Shary
Shary
2 years 7 months ago
Kathy, there is definitely a reason why you can’t lose weight (or stop gaining it, whichever is the case). There’s always a reason. It’s just a matter of figuring out what it is. Possibly a weight-loss physician could help. Some ideas: Do you really need to be on the bio-identical hormones at this point? Possibly the hot flashes, etc. would have resolved by now without them. Artificial hormone “balance” on paper via a blood test doesn’t necessarily mean the hormones agree with your body, or that the “balance” achieved is the right one for you at this stage of your… Read more »
Kathy from Maine
Kathy from Maine
2 years 7 months ago
Shary, yes, there’s a reason. I just can’t figure it out. A year ago I weaned off the hormones and felt awful. Worse than awful. So, I went back on them. No clue how long I’ll stay on them. Also went through NutrEval nutritional testing and found I’m not breaking down and using the amino acids or most of the B vitamins I’m taking in. I’m on high doses of aminos, B vitamins, plus a bunch of other sups. The NP (specialist in women’s health) said 6 months on this regimen. She fully expects me to feel a LOT better… Read more »
2Rae
2Rae
2 years 7 months ago
Shary and Kathy, I agree that it’s frustrating and confusing. I find myself in times when my body/weight seems to just go haywire for no apparent reason since nothing has changed. I am wondering if it may be the city water that can be changed (no notice given to consumers) at certain times of the year. On NOLA’s site she mentioned that her city water changed so much that she had to change how she washed her hair for different times of the year. That makes me go Hmmmmm, could it be some of the strange changes my body goes… Read more »
Energy!
Energy!
2 years 7 months ago

Have you looked into thyroid issues? I’ve had good results keeping my body temp, heart rate, and metabolism at a higher level by taking ThyroGold (150 mg) and taking RS + AOR Probiotics-3 and eating RS foods as my “safe” starches (but not too much in quantity.) I’m almost 55 and not taking any hormones. Also, no wheat or sugar. Good luck?

Energy!
Energy!
2 years 7 months ago

That was supposed to be one of these: !

dkd2001
dkd2001
2 years 7 months ago
Same problems — 5’7″, 175 lbs. On bio-identical hormones (for good reasons — including bone health) plus natural thyroid. I have gained 10 pounds in the last year and am only maintaining that on around 1200 cal per day. I have tried ketogenic, Atkins, Paleo, basic Primal, dairy-free, elimination diets, and pretty much all of the above, as well. Exercise daily, plus sprints. I’m upping my carbs to 75-100 g/day. Been low carb for most of the last 15 years. Been paying attention to Chris Kresser (hence the higher carbs). No added sugar. Still have glucose levels over 105 most… Read more »
Kathy from Maine
Kathy from Maine
2 years 7 months ago
dkd: Make that the Experiment of 2 continues. 🙂 I’m currently trying to up my carbs, too, ala Kresser and others. For resistant starch I’m eating a small (5 oz) raw potato daily, so am getting around 37 grams of RS each day. Along with the RS I take probiotics (15 strain, 50 million organisms), Prescript-Assist (2 each morning), and digestive enzymes at each meal, though I often forget the enzymes. Doh. I avoid wheat and sugar, but do indulge on the rare occasion we go out for dinner (once every month or so). As for thyroid issues, yes I’ve… Read more »
Keen
Keen
2 years 7 months ago
Well, make that the experiment of 3! I’m 50, been eating PB for 2 years, just went Paleo by cutting out diary and I’m just not budging on the scale. I’m definitely peri-menopausal as my periods are all over the place with no set rhythm anymore. I have lost fat around my stomach and the rest of my body, but my scale is permanently stuck on 90kgs, no matter what I do. I finally decided that it didn’t matter what I weighed, that I should rather focus on getting healthier. I’ve been paying a lot of attention to my stress… Read more »
Kathy from Maine
Kathy from Maine
2 years 7 months ago
Keen, I feel for you, but I think you’re on the right track. I’m trying to do the same … forget the weight and focus on health. Easier said that done, though, when you know the extra weight is, well, weighing you down. I also agree whole-heartedly with your comment that the “weight is a symptom, not a cause.” On the Free the Animal site, Richard recommends taking butter oil for the vitamin K4 for dental issues. He says since he’s been taking it his gums and tartar buildup, etc., have improved dramatically. You might want to look into that.… Read more »
healthyservesone
2 years 7 months ago

I like Carrie’s response, although it might be hard to hear if the questioner has not yet found peace with her body. It links up with the post last week about placebo and you are what you think.
Twenty pounds lost is a fantastic feat and should be celebrated! You have achieved a great deal. I believe when I stopped seeing myself as a “fat person”, it became easier and has had tremendous benefits. After years of being the “fat person”, it was hard to make that mental shift.

Harry Mossman
2 years 7 months ago

Very timely. After keeping my glucose down to a reasonable range for 5 or 6 years, it is now out of control. Metformin isn’t helping much any more. I had been eating low carb (<75 g/day), now about 25. Hasn't helped much yet.

PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
2 years 7 months ago

Harry,
You might also check out the upcoming 2014 Reversing Diabetes Summit scheduled for May 5 thru May 16. Apparently Mark is one of the featured speakers on it ,as well, so he may post something here on MDA about it. It’s presented by Dr.Mowll. URL is the diabetes summit dot com.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Harry Mossman
2 years 7 months ago

Thanks. I won’t be able to go but maybe they will post papers and/or videos.

Kevin Grokman
Kevin Grokman
2 years 7 months ago

I always enjoy reminders of the basics of why things work, why they don’t, the how and the why of the basic pieces; the ins and outs. I have a science background, what do you expect!? 🙂 But it’s great because I often forget those details and I can reinforce or build what I know and share still more with people who ask. Thanks to the writers for their questions and to you, of course, for your answers!

Danielle Thalman
Danielle Thalman
2 years 7 months ago

That’s some of Carrie ‘ s best writing imo. More please!

Storm
Storm
2 years 7 months ago

Maybe you could liken the full and cheap trolley full of junk food to the 1 quarter full trolley of primal food costing slightly more to that scene out of the movie “300” where Leonidas is explaing that he has “brought more soldiers” even though he only had 300 Spartan soldiers, compared to the greeks who had many more numbers of “soldiers” who’s primary skill was not being a soldier.

“You see friend, I have bought more food than you have”

Barbara
Barbara
2 years 7 months ago

Has anyone seen Peat’s ideas? He advocates a high sugar diet, and it seems to work for some of the followers on this site, which contradicts a lot of the “sugar is bad, carbs are bad” beliefs on primal. I feel like maybe healthy carbs have been demonized too far.

Devin
Devin
2 years 7 months ago
I’m somewhat peat. Kind of a somewhere-between-peat-and-primal with a few ‘cheats’ here and there. Aka chicken wings and beer once a month, occasional toast with eggs when going out for breakfast. I was low carb for a while and it sucked the life out of me. Really high sugar didn’t make me feel that great either. Right now, I try not to stress about food do much. I eat mostly unprocessed food, meat and fruit. Sweet drinks are a treat, but I put sugar in my coffee. Primal taught me a lot about food, and so did peat. In the… Read more »
Erin Griffin
Erin Griffin
2 years 7 months ago
I just want to say thanks for this article today. I am 16 and have been eating primally for about 4 years! I was always the chubby kid growing up and in seventh grade my dad taught me about this way of eating. I lost about 15 pounds as a twelve year old and learned how to eat. Being in high school, it is always hard with all my teachers and friends drilling into my head that people are overweight because they don’t follow the food pyramid, but I know that primal eating is what works for me and I… Read more »
Robin
Robin
2 years 7 months ago

Could skipping /jump rope be considered as an adequate substitute for sprint intervals ?

Sharon T
Sharon T
2 years 7 months ago

What do you suggest if you aren’t physically up to a point where you can sprint just yet? My weight loss is slooooow! I’m going in for blood tests on Wed to check my hormones, I am 45 yrs old, but man, I feel older some days. I really should just go 100% primal and stay primal.

victor
victor
2 years 7 months ago
Go to a track any jog around it at a comfortable pace for four laps. It might take a few times at the track to get to that point but don’t push it. Once you’re able to jog a mile three or four times in two weeks your ready to start sprinting. Start out sprinting 30-40 yards at 60 percent effort. Rest a minute and repeat 4 more times. Come back 5 days later and do the same thing at 65-70 percent effort. Gradually increase your distance but never Sprint faster than 85 percent of your full effort or risk… Read more »
Energy!
Energy!
2 years 7 months ago
I recently have had an ankle/foot tendon problem which made even walking difficult at times. After doing a bunch of exercises and taking some supps for the ankle, just walking was a “sprint” (ha!) But seriously, after a couple of weeks of almost no ankle pain, I added intervals of walking fast, then slower. Rinse and repeat. Then walking very fast, in spurts. Finally one day I tried a few steps of jogging with no problems. Walk, jog, walk jog. One day I jogged over 800 yards. Now can walk/jog for 2 miles. Am working up to a real running… Read more »
LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago
Some say carbs from grains (different types of rice for example) can contribute to hyperglycemia, as well as hypoglycemia. And this may be the case for most people. However, for the rare ectomorph, this may not be the case. I’m a female, in my forties and am and always have been naturally underweight (BMI somewhere between 16 & 17, depending on what I weigh at the time). I didn’t do too well w/ just green vegetables and berries for my carbs, and I ate plenty calories, protein and fats. Had too add some rice in there. I think the more… Read more »
Farzaneh
Farzaneh
2 years 7 months ago

I lost way too much weight going hard core primal and so have to eat more carbs now and then so I don’t become underweight. I tried increasing my fat intake instead but there is only so much fat and protein I can take in my sitting. And I was getting sick of eating fists full of nuts!

LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago

I went to ER b/c indigestion from nuts, had 30 almonds. Felt like I was having a heart attack.

I just don’t understand….if we as a race, did not evolve eating grains, many carbs…….why on earth do I feel like I need them??? I would love not to have to buy and cook and eat more food than I have to. I’d love to cut back on my food bill, and would love to cook less food. Any th

LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago

Any thoughts?

Farzaneh
Farzaneh
2 years 7 months ago
Have you tried more tubers and non-berry fruits? I learned that a 1/3 of a sweet potato added to my dinner, or a small banana instead of berries does the trick. If all you’re eating is leafy greens and blueberries you could be getting too little carbs for your activity level. One of my issues was that after 20 years of brainwashing on low-fat and portion control I was simply eating too little food and fat. I was STARVING and losing too much weight. I knew something was wrong when someone told me if I turn sideways they would have… Read more »
dakotaanddarcy
dakotaanddarcy
2 years 7 months ago
i would say, keep truckin’. from what I’ve learned, it takes about 60 – 80 days for the human mind and body to accept any change and adapt to it. that goes for sleep, habit, point of view, memorization, food, travel, etc…the longer the total duration you are doing said change, the less difficult the change becomes. so if you are not used to eating less grain, you will get used to it soon. if you fall of the train, enjoy yourself! guilt free! then hop back on. there is also a good chance you may be addicted to grain.… Read more »
LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago
Read your comment about 1/3 sweet potato & 1 banana….and yes, those small amounts are what it takes to keep me from going crazy w/ hunger for carbs…and this is what I will have to do, just very small amounts. Problem was, I guess I was kind of ‘brainwashed’ by these articles by Dr. Cynthia Kenyon and how she talks about the aging roundworms, how they start to age w/ just a little bit of glucose………and also , the scene in The Perfect Human Diet, where Dr. Jay Wortman works w/ the 1st Nations People…..and they talk about the Native… Read more »
LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago

I should also note I am a heavy weight lifter as well (meaning I lift heavy, not that I have big muscles). This may contribute to my extra carb requirements.

Please reply if you too, experience this ‘need for carbs’ (rice, fruit, sweet potatoes), yet wish to eliminate them, in hopes of adopting a ‘healthier’ low carb, low sugar, low gi diet. Would like to discuss this. Everyone I know either just eats the standard American diet and doesn’t exercise. I would like to know what other ectomorphs, particularly weight training ones, are doing.

victor
victor
2 years 7 months ago

Oh ya! I also need carbs but for the most part at high intensity workouts using the large muscles. If not I get light headed. If researched that when in ketosis you don’t retain your sodium so take a couple of bouillon cubes in warm water before a workout. Well that helps to a point but personally carbs are the difference maker in my workouts. If you really want to keeps your carbs in check look into “carb cycling”.

LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago
What are your carb choices? And do you/did you find it challenging to get enough calories/energy on just proteins, fats, vegetables & berries? I struggle…3 protein at @ 200, 3 leafy greens at @ 50, 3 fats at @ 120-160 and berries at @ 25-50….I always fell short (that came to 1,160 calories). When adding fruit and sweet potatoes, would come to a little above above that. That means that if that diet were a lifestyle choice for me, I’d be permanently consuming well below my maintenance calories. I’m already about 15% fat and 106 lbs (I’m 5 ft 7).… Read more »
bea
bea
2 years 7 months ago

I find starch raises my BG very fast. White rice, white potato etc. But the sugar from whole berries and carbs from nuts does not. Does the fructose/glucose combo plus fiber blunt the BG response? Starch/pure glucose /dextrose spike BG faster than the insulin can respond. Give me berries, some fruit and nuts any day. No post meal coma .White rice hits the blood as fast as a glucose tolerance test.

LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago
Yes, me too, white rice, white potatoes, makes me sleepy and crave sugar. Brown rice a lot less, still in the process of observing the effects, just recently added it back in b/c was not sleeping for weeks, due to low carb/calories. I struggle…I go back and forth btw, 1,200 calories on just protein, fats, leafy greens and berries….and then add several pieces of fruit and root vegetables & sweet potatoes…and feel like I am consuming too much sugar (which I might be). And the fructose/glucose containing veg/fruit does not satisfy like the pure glucose containing beans or brown rice… Read more »
LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago

Essentially what I am doing is carb cycling….

bea
bea
2 years 7 months ago
@LS Just wondering why you are eating only 1,200 calories. I think sometimes people think they are going to low Carb(and they may be) but it’s just too low in calories also. I avoid high gi starch foods but don’t only eat greens and berries. I tolerate veges like peas, carrots, brussel sprouts etc. Greens basically are zero Carb. I tested how much white rice I could eat and not go over BG# of 120. It was 1/4 cup. I think I have a delayed insulin response so I avoid fast acting glucose sources . You will only know if… Read more »
LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago
Wanted to lose body fat, I had gained 5 lbs of fat from eating those sugar free coconut frozen deserts, like 15-20 a month, for like 3-6 months…plus, the low carb thing made me binge a lot on gluten free hamburgers w/ tons of mayo, french fries, potato chips. Don’t laugh, please, but 5 lbs of fat on a small boned, thin person like myself, looked horrible (fat on bum, cellulite). My body fat when overweight was like 16%, I am naturally around 14%. So….I never really stayed on 1,200 for more than a few days at a time……always ate… Read more »
victor
victor
2 years 7 months ago
Also @ LS, noticing your posts here the main theme seems to be your desire(to the point of craving) of carbs and not particularly liking the results. Obviously 1200 calories is not enough, especially when you lift weights. If you were to add more good oils to your diet (say to 50-55 percent) and resistance starch(look it up) your calories would come up quite a bit, your cravings for carbs will diminish, and that extra weight you don’t care for might not happen. I take three tablespoons of coconut oil a day and cannot gain weight no matter what I… Read more »
Energy!
Energy!
2 years 7 months ago
If you have a chance, read the resistant starch (RS) info on MDA and the posts on the Free the Animal blog about how primitive/traditional people ate many more whole food starches than is generally known. People ate tubers etc. but not necessarily the equivalent of freshly baked white potatoes. Try eating cooked potatoes (fingerling, russet, or another types) that have been in the fridge overnight, which causes much of the starch to change to resistant starch which is not high-glycemic. Or cooked and cooled rice or beans, etc. more info on the RS thread here on MDA. Just a… Read more »
LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago

Yeah….I have to add small amounts of whatever starch……resistant starch beans, cooled rice, tubers….I tried eating green bananas for res. starch, but got TERRIBLY constipated, so stopped. Fear of lectins in beans….Dr. Kenyon and her roundworms, how even the tiniest glucose ages the worms (i.e. us…)….in spite of my ‘fear’ of adding some glucose, I will have to. BTW, I have never actually made it more than a day or two, on just berries and greens…….always added starch by default, whether wanted to or not…..felt better. Will try coconut oil, along with my olive oil and avocados.

Ben
2 years 7 months ago

Some simple suggestions for Carrie may be she is not eating enough, sleeping enough, or she’s overtraining.

I would like to know what her exercise routine is.

LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago

Hmm…I think white rice alone raises blood sugar fast…when mixed w/ protein and fat, it slows down the effects remarkably.

bea
bea
2 years 7 months ago

White rice alone, cold and reheated, with/without fat, protein always spikes me too fast. I’ve tested it and dextrose same effect. White rice to me is like a junk food. Pure glucose no nutrients and no fiber to slow its surge. All starch makes me tired also. Berries, some fruit ENERGY! No coma. Dr. Kenyon eats No Starch. She does eat berries and dark chocolate. She just avoids high levels of insulin secretion constantly. But everyone has to find what makes them feel their best. I’m a 56 year old woman. Not a 20 something crossfitter.

LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago

Yeah, I agree…I think there is more than a casual relationship to the amount of glucose one needs, and one’s age, activity level, body fat, insulin resistance/sensitivity, and even somatotype, as well. All the body builders I know, esp. the ectomorphs (like me), need higher levels of glucose/carbs/starch. Most of the diet conscious people in my age bracket (forties, fifties), require less. Somatotype in part. I think is very important.

kay
2 years 7 months ago
Thank you Carrie. So nice to hear from you. Regarding setting intention and strengthening resolve, I have found that questions work better for me. Affirmations or statements tend to tigger my “little voices” who instantly want to remind me of the many ways the statement is not yet true. Here is how I would frame my question, something to write down and read out loud a couple of times per day, without trying to mentally figure out an answer: Why is it so easy for me to come to the best possible healthy weight for me? Why do I love… Read more »
Dr. Jason Bussanich, DC
2 years 7 months ago
Carrie, Don’t know if you will read this, but as a doc that has spent 7 years observing research data, don’t get too caught up on carbs alone. No question, excess refined calories are EASY to overeat and create a surpluss. BUT, the fundamental well controlled studies suggest that insulin alone is not the one hit wonder many want it to be. I have seen post menopausal women go from pudgy to super cut (like body competition cut) while in their 50s. The fundamentals still apply. While your hormones aren’t helping at all, keep total calories low and only eat… Read more »
Dr. Jason Bussanich, DC
2 years 7 months ago
Oh! and a reasonable goal is 1.5-2 pounds per week while fasting in either style. Either part of every day or long fasts 2-3 times a week. People are sometimes not successful on primal and losing weight and it means they are still eating too much good food. I used to believe insulin alone needed to be low to lose weight, but that’s insane as pretty much everything that allows us to thrive needs to increase insulin to promote growth and usage of calories. I HATE admitting that the old calories in/out is more or less true after all the… Read more »
LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago

Can you please talk about getting carbs from starchy veg and fruit that are fructose and glucose, vs. grains that are pure glucose? I understand that the sugar in starchy fruits and veg are more slowly digested than grains…but is it significantly better for the body to have all that fructose/sugar, than to have none and just have pure glucose from say rice, beans, etc.

bea
bea
2 years 7 months ago

I too question the fructose/glucose vs pure glucose sources of food. Fructose has been so demonized probably because of HFCS. My BG stays much more even on natural Carb sources that are fructose/glucose combo. Fructose must cause glucose to be absorbed slower. Also food that has both tends to be higher fiber maybe . You are right nobody addresses this. Maybe fructose should be the new darling instead of PS. At least it doesn’t cause inflammation like tatos.

LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago
Well….just tried oatmeal today….white rice mixed w/ my food….brain fog, I wasn’t expecting that, thought that was just for wheat and dairy. My body can’t handle this. My problem is that I just need to eat earlier in the day, eat more frequently and eat more vegetables. It’s been years since I ate oatmeal, and rice in the same day. I do believe humans are not supposed to eat these things. I lift, so I thought rice would be a good carb source…I feel totally ill right now from these foods though. Starchy vegetables and carbs every 4th day for… Read more »
LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago

* ate more NON-starchy vegetables…more often.

Dr. Jason Bussanich, DC
2 years 7 months ago
Sure. Look, I have been on the anti-fructose/anti-glucose diet bandwagon before I toned down the rhetoric. I think we all get on at some point. R. Lustig and his famous video lecture on youtube would have you thinking fructose alone is toxic The thing is, he admits early in the video that small natural doses, such as in fruit, is just fine, which is what studies show. Save for the lectins, gluten (protein) issues caused by grains, the carbs are no different than any other carbs. I personally see no proof or validity that surging your insulin with 100 calories… Read more »
LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions so thoroughly. I read your answer several times. Just 2 quick questions please, I will try to be succinct. 1) I think what you said in your answer was that I will be able to keep lifting weights and doing cardio, and keep my muscle, & make small gains (2.5 to 5 lbs), eating primarily green vegetables, proteins and fats. And you said that the insulin that is generated from just those foods, IS indeed sufficient for muscle growth and maintenance (I don’t desire to be bulky, I am an… Read more »
Dr. Jason Bussanich, DC
2 years 7 months ago
LS, You get it on both #1 and #2. Carb cycling does help keep your muscles and liver used to processing carbs. Absolutely. Some believe carb cycling increases metabolism, but there isn’t any evidence for that. Metabolism is the same even when fasting. But, your hormones change to conserve fat. So, carb cycling probably serves to remind your body that it is around abundant calories and that it doesn’t need to hang out to anything. Then, the next day, you don’t eat all those extra calories and you end up burning fat. I know that SOUNDS like your metabolism speeds… Read more »
Natalie
Natalie
2 years 7 months ago

Given recept posts on here couldn’t fasting have a potentially negative effect given perimenopause? Just one thing to consider.

Also really interested in the carb discussion above since I also have issues with feeling satisfied and carb cycling seems to lead to some unhealthy food habits.

LS
LS
2 years 7 months ago
@Victor, thanks for your words of encouragement. The truth is, I don’t like or promote eating grains (rice is the only one I dabble w/), but am very lean and active, so need at least 100 carbs a day…but struggle w/ the idea of eating all that fructose that comes w/ starchy veg and fruit (Dr. Cynthia Kenyon and her discoveries really has affected how I feel about eating starchy fruits/veg, etc.). I ate a pint of those sugar free coconut frozen deserts, like 15-20 a month, for about 6-12 months…..as well as fatty meats and fishes….and my cholesterol went… Read more »
Dr. Jason Bussanich, DC
2 years 7 months ago
There is no clear evidence total cholesterol means jack anymore. Your TG are 40? That is exactly what you want. TG should be in the basement low. But, if you want to worry about cholesterol panels, do the right ones. Find a test that shows you particle size. 90% of tests docs use are completely obsolete because they don’t show the factors that actually have been proven to link to heart disease. So insane how many people are given drugs based on completely irrelevant testing. HDL can be bad too, if they are small particles. The point is, the only… Read more »
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