So the kids and I went to see my 87 year old grandfather the other day, and we had a very interesting talk about diet, food (or rather the timing of it), and diabetes. My Grandpa Jack was diagnosed with diabetes shortly after my grandmother passed away a few years ago and has been tring to learn how to keep his insulin levels within limits ever since.
He still doesn’t eat great (here is a man who lived on homemade biscuits made with Crisco — gosh, were they good!), but he is certainly trying. He quit margarine and is now using real butter (yay!). Also, no more white bread, OJ, etc. He’s making real progress! What I found to be really interesting is how he has changed the timing of meals. He doesn’t snack at all. He eats a good sized breakfast and lunch and has a very light dinner early in the day. No after dinner snacks, so goes 14ish hours with no food until breakfast. Even more interesting: his doctor said Grandpa Jack’s last blood test showed he had the insulin levels of a person without diabetes! His doctor couldn’t believe it!!
Although he was making improvements in his diet, I suspected that his changed alone couldn’t be the whole answer. After doing a lot of research, I found two interesting items. The first is “intermittent fasting” or “IFing”, and the second is something in our bodies called leptin and a “leptin reset” diet that can help with many health issues, diabetes among them.
Intermittent fasting of course made me immediately think, “oh but you’ll slow down your metabolism”. Apparently not. If you can go at least 12 hours without food, your body goes into “fat burning mode”. Once you eat, that stops. With IFing, not only can it help you loose fat, but there are many health benefits associated with it, including a decrease in blood pressure, reduction in oxidative damage to lipids, protein and DNA, improvement in glucose uptake, as well as a improvement in insulin sensitivity. Ahhh, the insulin sensitivity part was very interesting because that relates to diabetes. I’m not a doctor and not going to bore you with all the details but if you want to learn more about IFing, you can read this or this.
Now for me, I couldn’t skip breakfast. I just seem to need my big protein breakfast. But once in awhile, I will stretch time between dinner and breakfast by eating dinner at 4:00. It’s amazing how good I always feel the next morning and not hungry in the slightest (which is abnormal for me). I just feel good. I do eat Paleo, so I’m not eating foods that would spike my insulin later in the evening and make my blood sugar go wonky. If that were the case, I don’t think I could IF, at least not easily, and then I would probably stress my adrenals or raise my cortisol levels. By the way, if you have irregular cortisol levels, or any adrenal problems, do NOT IF as that will only stress your body.
So how do you get to where you can try IFing? You need to first fix any insulin or leptin issues. If you’re not familiar with what leptin is, simply put, it is the hormone that regulates your appetite and your metabolism. It also regulates how much fat we are going to store and how much fat we are going to burn. It is the hormone that regulates our body’s set-point – that is, the weight that our body naturally wants to settle. Leptin resistance may also lead to chronic inflammatory condition which can in turn increase the chances of developing diabetes and dementia. It can affect your heart health seriously. It can result in growth of cancer or increase risk of strokes. Leptin resistance can cause life-threatening obesity, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases and fertility problems as well.
How to fix this? There is a diet called “The Leptin Reset” by Dr. Jack Kruse, and here are his guidelines:
1. Never eat after dinner.
2. No snacking at all.
3. Eat 3 meals a day (unless you want to skip lunch).
4. Eat a breakfast containing at least 50 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking.
5. Reduce your carbohydrates.
6. Add coconut oil to your diet.
Apparently when we snack, we are keeping our insulin constantly high, which upsets leptin. My grandpa doesn’t snack and I think that is a big factor in his lab results (that and the IFing he didn’t know he was doing). Anyway, I was always taught to snack. But, as long as you are eating enough protein (and good fat), you shouldn’t need to snack. And wouldn’t it be nice to not have to think about those snacks, especially because we are on the go so much?
Here are a few good articles if you’re interested in learning more…
Article 1 – The Leptin prescription
Article 2 - The basics on the LR (leptin reset)
Article 3 - good article that covers LR to horomones
Article 4 - Forum about experiences on LR
Anyway, I just wanted to share these two topics but tried to keep it concise. I am not a writer, and actually did horrible in English class back at UGA (my professor hated me) . So if there are any mistakes, please forgive me. But, I hope you might find these topics as interesting as I did. If anyone has any experience with either IFing or doing the “Leptin Reset”, I’d love to hear about it!
Enjoy your Sunday!