Insulin Friendly Diet

insulin friendly diet

What we promote is not exactly low carb or high fat, it is not paleo specifically or Atkins or even Nutritional Ketosis. What we promote is an insulin friendly eating style and lifestyle. If you are like most people you are asking yourself, “what the heck does that mean?”

I often write and post about what can seem to be very different concepts in natural living, health and healing, weight loss and medicine. As different as the topics may seem, the theme and thread of commonality that I consistently use is building a lifestyle and protocols that are metabolically and hormonally healthy. If you have been following my posts over the last two years then you realize how complicated this whole concept truly is.

What I focus on and try to do is make these concepts as simple as possible, for myself and my own health endeavors and for those reading. In making things simple I inevitably run the risk of missing important points and over simplifying to the point of being, well, in a word, wrong. That being said, I am going to do my best here, and want you to know that no one post is the end all, be all, of the story. Nor is it all inclusive, nor am I ever trying to be vague. It is just the nature of the effort to keep things simple. I hope you understand.

We as a culture and in medicine have been locked in the glucose driven model of insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, diabetes and cardiometabolic issues and it can be hard to think any other way. The fact is that glucose is toxic and the body will stop in its tracks and burn it whenever possible to get it out of our system. This immediate action the body takes on glucose and that urgency often gets interpreted as the body having a preference for glucose over other fuels.

Blood glucose levels are specifically relevant to our health depending on the metabolic state we are in. When we are a chronic sugar burner, taking in a lot of carbohydrates and predominately burning glucose for fuel, then the normal glucose blood levels are 70-99. When we are fat adaptive and burning fat efficiently then that number can drop into the 50's and has been reported in experienced fat burning athletes to drop into the 40’s with no abnormal change in physical or mental function. This new set standard in a fat burning person can make any blood sugar level over 80 a problem.

The true danger in high blood sugar is the toxicity level it produces and the correlative insulin levels. The body can handle high blood glucose levels from time to time, but a chronically high glucose level and its toxic effects can eat away at the body from the inside out. The risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and heart disease come from the chronic exposure to high insulin levels long before the high blood sugar levels alone can do their damage.

It is this chronic over exposure to insulin that literally burns-out our system and health. So what can we do? How do we avoid or fix this? The simple answer is low insulin levels. How do we get these low insulin levels? A low insulin diet and lifestyle.....and here it is:

Low insulin stimulating foods. The strongest stimulators of insulin are carbs. Low carb diets beat low glycemic index diets out of the water regarding weight loss, metabolic function, hormonal improvement, satisfaction, and sustainability. It is not about the glucose levels alone but the corresponding insulin levels and a low carb diet overall keeps insulin pretty low. Carbs trigger 23% of our insulin response. Protein is responsible for 10%. Fat has no effect. That leaves 67% in this insulin equation that is not stimulated by food and the rest of the 67% is from the incretin effect (think stomach hormones) and cross hormonal reactions (think thyroid (toxins), cortisol (stress), and brain chemistry (think addiction and emotions in life).

So, what does that all mean? Basically it means that there are foods and behaviors that are blood glucose friendly but terrorize insulin. You can be blood glucose healthy and still drive all the health issues that are correlated to high blood sugar due to how it raises and keeps insulin levels up. For example:

1. Dairy. As in milk and yogurt...both are glucose mellow but insulin insulting.

2. Animal protein. Red meat and white fish......again, no blood sugar rise but a very steep increase in insulin

3. Workout shakes, whole grains and convenient foods. Protein powders, grain products, and processed foods....may not have a big glucose rush (initially) but will crank insulin.

That said, sugars, grains and starches are the biggest offenders.....they should be avoided FIRST.

Behavior Considerations:

A. Hyper stress response (cortisol) will throttle insulin.

B. Poor night of poor sleep will increase insulin resistance.

C. Anxiety...will immediately raise insulin levels.

D. Slow and low cardio over time will promote sugar burning and free radical production as well as raise insulin and cortisol.

Others issues to consider:

- Medications...statins, anti-biotics, and thyroid meds all promote insulin resistance.

- Artificial sweeteners can mess up gut bacteria and promote metabolic issues.

- Alcohol....sorry stresses our insulin/glucagon balance and decreases glutathione (a major anti-oxidant) and stops fat burning in its tracks as well as plays havoc on our nutrient economy and feeds the addiction cycle.

Ok, you still with me? Take the concepts above and put them into action as you can in your life and add these 3 modalities to help balance your neurological tone (the driving factor for this whole process):

1. Meditate

2. Paced breathing

3. Body work... specifically chiropractic upper cervical adjustments.

Now, mix this into the other concepts we go over here and keep at it. Yes, there is a lot to learn, don’t stress, we are on this road together, let me know your insights and if mine are helping you.

Dr. Don

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Brandon - July 7, 2016

Dr Clum, I have really enjoyed your videos and blog post. I have been following your recommendations for about one week and I have lost 13 lbs. I feel great, tons of energy. One question, where do you stand on getting carbs from foods such as fruit, sweet potatoes, and other foods like this? Do you happen to have a food lists of do not eat?

    Dr. Don Clum - July 7, 2016

    Dr. Herrington, thank you for your feedback and the trust in giving these things a try, great work! Foods like fruit and starchy veggies will effect different people in different ways depending on their health history, hormonal profile, genetic susceptibility, and stress cycle health. One to two servings of fruit is usually fine in a metabolically healthy individual, where a metabolic syndrome person might have a reaction…..same with starches. There is no carb requirement, so you can get all you want from fibrous veggies, so usually it is that people “want” the other sources. Bottom line, test it and see. Test how your feel, energy, sleep, and if need be blood sugar patterns to be sure. Again, depends on the profile of the person and the reason they are looking to make the change. I hope that helps. Dr. Don

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