My New Diet

June 16, 2010

So I started a new diet this past Monday. Before I explain it let me just be really clear that this is not a “fad” diet and there’s nothing UN-healthy about it. It’s not Atkins or South Beach or Caveman. It’s simply a low glycemic diet. My cousin, an MD, is recommending it (if you missed that post you read it here). There is zero danger to my health and it won’t interfere with trying to get pregnant. In fact, this is the same diet that many doctors recommend for women with PCOS who are trying to conceive (TTC). Insert shout out to Jennandtonica and her recipe for Kale here. I even sent a (presumably) fertile friend that link. Since I don’t have PCOS I have no idea if this diet will do anything to help me on that front. It’s also the same diet a coworker was put on when she developed gestational diabetes. So it certainly can’t hurt it. And my RE agrees.

The premise behind all this – and pardon me if I go all conspiracy theory on you here, I take all this with a grain of salt – is that we eat too much sugar. When fat became the enemy, the food industry starting taking the fat out of processed foods. But then it didn’t taste very good. So they added sugar. Have you read a label recently? It’s ridiculous. Even before the science behind this was explained to me I was outraged that there was high fructose corn syrup in my can of tomato soup. And why on earth do they add sugar to fruit? I actually don’t have much of a sweet tooth so it’s easy for me to avoid sugar – when I know it’s there. (Carbs are another story however.) But plain old sugar is lurking in so many places these days and it goes by many different names (high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin to name two).

In addition to all this added sugar we’re also eating a lot of carbohydrates. Because carbs are often low in fat. So we think we’re being healthy by eating a bowl of pasta with some spaghetti sauce that probably has more added sugar in it than you realize (yes, you often need sugar to cut the acid from tomatoes but I’d rather add it in myself so I know how much I’m getting). But ultimately carbs break down into sugar. Not all carbs are created equal. Whole grain bread is better than white bread. But it’s still a carb which is ultimately a sugar. As is alcohol. So why is sugar so bad? I’ll explain the science behind it as I understand it. Some of it theoretical so don’t take this as the Holy Word on Nutrition.

Whenever you eat your blood glucose goes up. Unless you’re diabetic, your insulin then also goes up in order to bring the glucose down. This is all perfectly normal. But the glucose goes down a lot faster than the insulin. So the more sugar you eat the higher the spike of glucose and the more insulin you need to bring it down. And then you eat again before the insulin has a chance to return to normal. The overall effect is that your insulin stays higher than it needs to be. Why is this bad? Here’s the theory on that: Scientists believe that human growth hormone does something really beneficial to us while we sleep. They’re not sure what, but they are pretty sure it’s a good thing. Apparently insulin and growth hormone have the same or similar receptors. I think all of that is scientific fact. Here’s where the theory starts: Some scientist believe that insulin is interfering with the magic of growth hormone. Think of it like a USB port on your computer. Suppose you only have one port and two devices that need to use it. You can only use one at a time, right? It’s essentially the same thing here. If your insulin is up and using the port then the growth hormone can’t use the port to work it’s magic. My guess is that this is also why getting a good night’s sleep is so important for good health (that’s something else I’ve been trying to be better about lately).

So anyway, the diet is a low carb diet. But, unlike Atkins, it’s not a no carb diet and you don’t get to eat all the fatty meat you want. It’s all about pairing foods properly – never eat a carb by itself, always pair it with a protein. Eat every 3-4 hours. Eat LOTS of vegetables. You can even have the starchy ones – just be mindful not to over do them. Same with breads and grains – try to stick with whole grains but don’t eat too much of them. The diet has taken the FDA food pyramid and turned it in to a food diamond. At the pointy ends of the diamond (ie what you should eat the least of) are good fats and grains. In the middle is vegetables, water, lean meats and fruits. Organic everything is preferable and anything processed should be avoided.

So that’s what I’m doing. For the first two weeks I can’t eat any grains and should avoid the starchy fruits and veggies. And alcohol. I originally set my start date for the diet as CD 15 thinking I wouldn’t be drinking in my two week wait anyway. Now there’s not two week wait. After the two weeks, I can add the good carbs back in. I’m supposed to follow the diet for 6 days a week and pick one free day a week to eat whatever I want. Apparently it’s better to cheat for a whole day than a little bit at a time. I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to follow this diet (I am addicted to Triscuits after all) but I think I can manage to be really good for two weeks and pretty good for two more weeks. So I’ll do it for a month and then reevaluate. It will be interesting to see how much weight I’ll lose. I’m pretty I will lose weight and although that is a goal of mine the bigger reason behind this diet is to just be as healthy as possible. That’s the only thing I can control on the TTC Roller Coaster!

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7 Responses to “My New Diet”

  1. Don Wiss Says:

    I see your new diet has paleo tendencies. But I find it complicated. Paleo is a simple dietary lifestyle that is based on foods being either in or out. In are the Paleolithic Era foods (meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, vegetables, roots, fruit, berries, mushrooms, etc.). Out are Neolithic Era foods (grains, dairy, beans/legumes, potatoes, sugar and fake foods). It is then up to you to eat whatever quantity of the in foods that you want. There is no measuring.

    It is explained in more detail here: http://paleodiet.com/definition.htm

    • Stolen Eggs Says:

      There’s nothing complicated about this diet. I don’t measure anything or count calories. I just make sure to always eat any sugar or starch with a protein and try to keep the ratios in line. It’s super easy. The list of foods is similar to the Paleo diet. The main difference is that I’m only supposed to eat LEAN meats (so no worries about cholesterol and heart disease – I’m at risk for both) and I’m allowed to have some grains as well as some dairy.

  2. Don Wiss Says:

    Except that meat fats don’t contribute to heart disease. It’s the sugar and grains that do.

    Whomever came up with the diet you are following believes in the lipid hypothesis, which has shown to be a fraud. It has never been proven that high intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol are detrimental to our health. The American Heart Association bases their “low-fat” prescription off of five studies:

    (1) The first one was Ancel Keys study done in the 70’s that generated “The Lipid Hypothesis” which argues that eating saturated fat and cholesterol give you high cholesterol, and high cholesterol gives you heart disease… totally bogus, and debunked numerous times. The debunking is best explained in Gary Taubes’s “Good Calories, Bad Calories.”

    (2) The Los Angeles VA Hospital Study (1969): Researchers didn’t collect data regarding smoking habits for some men, and stated later that half the participants strayed from the prescribed diet.

    (3) The Oslo Diet-Heart Study (1970); basically proved nothing regarding deaths from heart disease and a low fat diet.

    (4) The Finnish Mental Hospital Study (1979): almost half of the participants either left or joined half way through the 12 year study.

    (5) The St. Thomas’ Atherosclerosis Regression Study (1992): 74 men showed a reduction in heart disease by those who ate diets low in saturated fat… but they were also required to eat less sugar. Since the message needed to be “saturated fat bad” that little detail is often left out.

    Let me sum it up: Cholesterol doesn’t lead to heart problems. Cholesterol is absolutely essential to good health. A major factor is the small dense LDL particles that cause problems.

    • Stolen Eggs Says:

      Well that was my misinterpretation of the diet. This diet really is very similar to the Paleo diet so really, we’re splitting hairs here. There is research out there to support virtually any opinion you have. So who knows what is right and what is wrong and what is biased and which research used proper methodology, etc. I’m not trying to dis the Paleo diet. But I’m trying this one. For now. Because it meets my current needs and it was prescribed by a doctor.
      The goal of this one is to keep your insulin levels lower and that is not inherent in the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet only sort of does that. Anyway, the fat part of it is this: I’m supposed to try to eat only/mostly Omega 3 and Omega 9 fats. Omega 6 fats, which are found in meats (among a few other plant sources) are supposed to be bad. Not for cholesterol or heart disease necessarily – I was wrong about that – but supposedly they break down in to elements that are (or can be) inflammatory and cause (or are associated with) a high incidence of tumors and other nastiness.


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