Some Diet stuff

I’m not a dietitian or a doctor, but I feel it is important to pass along some dietary information that I have found useful as one’s diet is another piece of the puzzle regarding OCD. This is the diet I follow and I am seeing results regarding waistline, blood pressure and weight. Obviously, if something is incorrect please let me know that said this isn’t a peer-reviewed anything and this info isn’t guaranteed in any way. Always do your homework. This is a distillation of what I’ve learned and may be incomplete. I would refer to my bibliography for further clarification.

Preliminaries

We require air! 3 minutes or more without air and you die. Breathe from your nose in a diaphragmatic method. For relaxation incorporate square breathing (4 seconds inhale 4 seconds hold 4 seconds exhale) or 1/3 – 2/3 inhale to exhale ratio as related to time.

We require shelter! depending on the situation, one may die within 3 hours during harsh weather ie a blizzard. Clutter and disorganization lead to overeating and stress from a psychological point of view.

We require water! Can’t survive without water after about 3 days to a week. 2 iters of water seem to be the goal with more depending on the exercise. Involved in every biochemical reaction directly or as the solvent or solution of life itself.

We need minerals! Sodium, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, and Chloride are considered electrolytes. Electrolytes transmit current throughout the body and change the osmolarity of water. oxygen via heme in the blood, iodine and other trace minerals are used for complex chemistry in the body.

We need energy, especially fat! Omega 3-6-9 are essential fatty acids EFAs- meaning they are required to sustain health. Our bodies do not-synthesize these components. Fats are stored in the body as triglycerides. Fats are divided into 3 groups; saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Saturated fats have two important categories which are short-chain fatty acids SCFAs and medium chain triglycerides MCTs (there are LCTs, but they are not as important).

We need protein, or more precisely, 9 amino acids; phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, and histidine. These are known as essential amino acids.

We need vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K (A, D, E, K being fat soluble), and coenzyme Q. Vitamins are co-enzymes, anti-oxidants, and precursors to hormones. Enzymes are biological catalysts (a catalyst being a chemical that alters other chemicals while retaining its initial structure) Enzymes speed up chemical reactions in the body and generally proteins. Vitamins act in conjunction with proteins via our DNA to allow for metabolism and other reactions. Clotting factor is associated with Vitamin K. Vitamin D acts as a hormone. The B Vitamins act on metabolism etc…

It’s starting to look like we need probiotics, or simply put, a healthy gut microbiome. Probiotics offset bad bacteria that would occupy the same space in our colons and also produce enzymes and other nutrients, especially, SCFAs like butyrate and acetate.

We need sleep! Sleep hygiene is important. Use the bedroom or sleep area for sleeping and sex only. TV and other distractions and sometimes even reading can disrupt the psychological association between the bedroom and sleep.

We need love or what’s the point of living. Whether it is having family, friends or social support, having healthy relationships are protective against isolation. Isolation increases stress and lowers mood.

There is no essential carbohydrate necessary for human survival. That said carbs can be used for energy. Unless you are an athlete added sugars are a no-no. Fiber helps move things along in the colon and insoluble fiber will help our gut biome create SCFAs.

Ketogenic diet – the basics

Ketosis is when the body produces ketones; acetone (in the breath), acetoacetate aka Acac (in the urine) and beta-hydroxybutyrate (in the blood) aka BHB in common parlance and β-OHB in medical literature.

To get into ketosis one needs to keep net carbs under 20 grams – it takes a few days because of glucose stored in muscle and glycogen stored in the liver. We have about 500g (2000 calories) of carbs in the body. One is still a “carb-burner” until keto-adapted which can be anywhere between 2 weeks to a month and sometimes up to 3 months.

The macro breakdown of a ketogenic diet is 4% carbs 16% protein and 80% fat. Essentially a ketogenic diet is a 4:1 ratio of fat to everything else, but carbs are meant to be low.

Ketosis can feel uncomfortable at first. One can feel fatigue, nausea, light-headedness/slightly dizzy, and experience headaches during the first weeks of adaptation which has been referred to as keto-flu. The following, in this order, should be attempted to alleviate symptoms.

  • Drink lots of water, no seriously at least 2 cups
  • Up salt intake, especially sodium and magnesium.
  • Use exogenous ketones (aka ketone supplements like BHB salts)
    • Do not use the recommended amount of supplement, use significantly less. about a 1/4 of the amount.
    • Do not fart as you will very likely shit yourself – you must go to the bathroom to fart to avoid this.
    • It may upset your stomach and that’s pretty normal.
    • It should feel pretty good – almost like caffeine, but without the jitters.
    • It also seems to suppress appetite.
  • Ride it out, but if you feel really poorly discontinue and see a doctor

Ketosis is defined as having BHB greater than 0.2 mMol.

Mild Ketosis = 0.2 – 0.5; Nutritional Ketosis = 0.5 – 3.0; Fasting Ketosis = 3.0 – 6.0; Exercise Induced Ketosis = 2.5 – 3.5

Ketosis happens because of fat metabolism during the break up of a triglyceride;

Metabolism will preferentially burn; alcohol/ethanol sugars & starches: carbs fats aka FFA (free fatty acids) & ketones

The goal of becoming keto-adapted is to use ketones and the resultant FFAs as fuel. Ketosis helps regulate internal hormonal imbalances as it simulates fasting since fats do not raise blood glucose and insulin levels they way carbs will.

  • Insulin lowers glucose and lowers fat oxidation
  • Alcohol lowers ketones and glucose and increases insulin.
  • Carbs raise glucose & insulin and lower ketones.
  • Fat reduces glucose and raises ketones and lowers insulin, but still triggers a metabolic response.
  • Fasting reduces glucose and raises ketones lowers insulin.

If one has a problem sleeping during the first few weeks, it is advisable to

  • Consume a small amount of carbs (a teaspoon of honey 7g-ish) to help before going to bed.
  • Take magnesium throughout the day.
  • Use heat via hot showers or other methods (heat pads) and avoid working out at night.
  • Avoid caffeine, guarana and other stimulants.
  • Get off your digital devices after dark. Install f.lux on your PC and the “Twilight” app (or similar) to eliminate blue light that disrupts our circadian rhythm.
  • Have an anti-stress protocol (meditation, yoga, relaxing walks, regular massages, etc…) as well as good sleep hygiene.

Insulin resistance is the likely cause obesity.

  • Glucose and Insulin levels do not necessarily correlate. One can have a normal glucose level and have a high insulin level
  • Insulin causes insulin resistance.
  • Insulin resistance happens when insulin levels are high and persistent.
  • Artificial sweeteners raise insulin, but not glucose. Stevia is not an exception. Stevia is controversial because while it raises insulin it increases insulin sensitivity which is a good thing. The close to the plant stevia the better is a good rule of thumb.
  • All foods cause an insulin response, but not all foods cause a glycemic response. Protein, in particular, shows a varied response to insulin levels, but show roughly a low glycemic response.
  • Cortisol is the other hormone that leads to weight gain. Cortisol raises glucose and raises insulin.

What to avoid at all costs.

  • Trans-fats, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, Olean, Olestra and other foods that have never existed in the human diet without determining their effects on the body, in particular, the insulin response.
  • Fructose, HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup), invert sugar and corn syrups.

Generally avoid

  • Vegetable oils because of our consumption of these oils is over top at this point in history. The modern western diet has Omega 3 and Omega 6 ratios at roughly 1:20 when it should be more like 1:2
  • Refined carbs, refined flours that eliminate fiber out of the final product.
  • Added sugars; sucrose, and sugar alcohols except for maybe erythritol.
  • Sweeteners in general. Sweeteners tend to invoke a glycemic and insulin response by virtue of hitting the tongue.
  • Processed desserts.
  • Stressful events.
  • Do NOT Snack – eat when you are hungry and don’t eat when you are not hungry.

Friends to Incorporate

  • Vinegar is protective and mitigates the insulin response. Other SCTs such as butyrate may also help fuel the lining of the stomach.
  • Fasting lowers insulin – incorporate regular fasting or intermittent fasting regimens.
  • Incorporate soluble and ferment-able fiber into your lifestyle. This means veggies and fruits like avocados and berries. Oats also have tons of insoluble fiber, but can be used as occasional food. Do not add sugars!
  • Cruciferous veggies are great. High in nutrients and soluble fibers
  • Incorporate fermented foods, low in alcohol, into your diet. Use homemade yogurt, kefir, kombucha. The store-bought stuff tends to be pasteurized. The real stuff tends to be very tart in comparison. Do not add sugars! A probiotic (one that needs to be refrigerated) can be beneficial. 2 glasses of wine or beer can help overall health. As mentioned, butyrate is a product of fermentation and is being considered for treating Ulcerative Colitis and IBD (irritable bowel disease) See
  • Eat whole foods vs processed foods
  • Incorporate berries and apples as your desserts. 70% Dark chocolate in moderation…in moderation…in moderation
  • Nuts (pistachios and macadamia nuts are very good)
  • Drink tea (Black, Oolong Green or White tea. It has antioxidants and other benefits as well as a marginal boost to one’s fat burning ability. Spice your tea instead of adding sweetener.
  • Bone broths help soothe the stomach and provide gelatin which is considered a very nutritive and easy to digest protein.

What you eat (the form of the food) is more important than the “calorie” content. It is quality over quantity (higher quality implying less processing). Think of calories as the theoretical limit of the energy the food can have. Calories by themselves do not tell the complete story. The hormonal theory of obesity explains much more.

The body wants to maintain homeostasis and does this via hormones (insulin which stores fat, Leptin which signals satiety, Ghrelin which signals hunger, Peptide YY, and Cholecystokinin which signals for “fullness” to counter Ghrelin, Incretin which signals the stomach that carbs are on the way etc…). This fact leads to the idea called a set-point. It is best thought of as our bodies wanting to maintain the status quo. This can only be overridden by decreasing insulin resistance over the long term. Despite this, there are genetic markers that make this easier or harder to achieve.

Exercise, although important, does not help in weight loss with the caveat of increased muscle mass. Muscle mass consumes calories and the more you have, the better, but as Fung states “you can not out-run a bad diet.” No amount of exercise will offset calories eaten in the long-term as the body will slow down metabolic rate to compensate for the lack of calories eaten even though one may have plenty of calories stored as fat.

Fasting

A fast is defined as not eating.

During a fast it is important to consume water, but unsweetened tea and black coffee may be used. Extended fasts may incorporate broth, but one should supplement salts by adding it to water or broth.

Evidence suggests that regardless of a fast, it is ideal to have the “metabolic window” to be restricted to 9 hours from when the first metabolically active component (even if it has no calories) is consumed. During a fast, this means we get all of our unsweetened tea, black coffee, bone broths, etc… within the 9-hour window. Outside fasts, it is ideal to consume one’s calories within the 9-hour window and simply drink water outside that window.

Anything and everything that is metabolically active despite having zero calories is off the table. This would include virtually all supplements and medications (unless otherwise needed for some good reason). In other words, the cafeteria is open between whatever 9-hour window you choose, and after that the water fountain.

Fasting is easier than consuming a small amount of calories. Consuming a small amount of calories will make you hungrier for more food leading to grumpiness and failure of fast.

In a perfect world, the 9-hour window would begin early morning and end early evening as we have the lowest insulin response in the morning.

In all things, the 80/20 rule applies.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Bibliography

Fung, Jason, and Jimmy Moore. The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting. Victory Belt Publishing, 2016.

Fung, Jason. The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss. Greystone Books, 2016.

Moore, Jimmy, and Eric C. Westman, MD. Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet. Simon & Schuster, 2014.

Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy. Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017.

Sisson, Mark, and Brad Kearns. The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot Your Metabolism in 21 Days and Burn Fat Forever. Harmony Books, 2017.

Taubes, Gary. Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health. Anchor Books, 2008.

Volek, Jeff S., et al. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: an Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable. Beyond Obesity, 2011.

Wilson, Jacob M., and Ryan Lowery. The Ketogenic Bible: the Authoritative Guide to Ketosis. Victory Belt Publishing, 2017.

Wikipedia 2017

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