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2022-08-03 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 535 references
[Comments enabled]  

If you think the medical system gives a flying **** about anything but money and power -- you're insane.

If you think the supply lines for anything you might be prescribed from said system is secure: You're suicidal.

I've written about solving the problem when it comes to metabolic syndrome many times.  You can read one of the seminal missives right here, if you'd like.

This is August.  Soon it will be fall.  Then winter.

Flu, cold..... virus season.

Did you do a stupid thing?  Whether you did or didn't the bottom line is that if you're overweight or obese, and you know damn well if you are, only you can change it and what your doctor has told you, and all the pills they larded you up with, is not the answer.

He or she knows it too.

The choice is yours, but frankly, if you listen to the clownfaces for anything they cannot prove at this point you're the idiot.

Good luck.

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2022-07-17 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 575 references
[Comments enabled]  

You may have heard "NNT" bandied about the last few years, but this is much more about medical so-called "science" generally, and our abuse of it, than just the last two years.

Postulate: NNT must always be superior to NNH for all outcomes of equivalent or greater severity, and if it is not then whatever is being done is actively harmful and being pursued for reasons other than the health of the person involved.

"NNT" is number needed to treat.  It is the number of persons who must undergo some prophylaxis, diagnostic or treatment in order to prevent one bad outcome of some specific type (e.g. "hospitalization", "death", etc.)

"NNH" is number needed to harm.  It is the number of persons who must undergo some prophylaxis, diagnostic or treatment in order to cause one bad outcome of some type (e.g. "hospitalization", "death", etc.)

No drug, procedure or treatment is ever without risk.

So let's take a hypothetical diagnostic procedure called "Frobozz."  It is capable of detecting a certain sort of cancer.  For each 1 million such diagnostics the data is that it detects 100 cancers.  You might thus say that "NNT" is 10,000; that is, to find one cancer you must run 10,000 screens.  Therefore you might also claim that everyone should do this on some schedule because for every 10,000 of them we do we will save a life.

That is wildly misleading if taken alone, yet this is how it is always presented.

From this pie-in-the-sky you must subtract all of the following:

Let's say, also for example, that for 1 each one million such diagnostics you cause 50 cases of grievous harm, resulting in either permanent disability or death.  That sounds like a tiny risk, but in fact it isn't -- it is half, all alone, the odds of finding the cancer!  That's actually a very bad set of odds all-in.

The reason comes if you find the cancer.  Ok, now you have a diagnosis.  But unless the diagnosis leads to an actual cure, that is, the ultimate demise of the person in question, whenever it occurs, is not due to that cancer, then the diagnostic was wasted because it did not change the outcome.  And, to make it more-difficult, this data isn't easily available.  The average survival time from diagnosis of a specific cancer is, but the actual functional cure rate, that is, that cancer does not eventually kill the person, is very, very hard to obtain.

So let's further presume that of the 100 cancers you find 50 do come back despite treatment or the treatment kills the patient, either directly or indirectly.

In this case the diagnostic is statistically worthless.  That is, while it prevents 50 deaths from cancer it screws 50 people either on a permanent disability basis or straight into a coffin, and the other 50 cancers it detects kill the patient anyway.

And by the way, we haven't subtracted out yet the derogation of pleasure in life that the treatment, when you find the cancer, causes yet this too is a cost to the person in question that has to be subtracted back out.  For those times when the treatment fails it is usually catastrophic since most cancer treatment is wildly debilitating during the period it is applied.  If you die in two years anyway would you rather have your quality of life destroyed during those two years or just the last month or two?  This isn't academic; my mother made that exact choice, refusing further treatment, and I cannot fault her for it.  She had two quite-bad weeks at the end but other than that she was able to live out the rest of her life without a material element of disability.

The really nasty implication of all of this, however, is that the diagnostic doesn't just make the doctor and hospital money for the diagnostic: It also makes the hospital and doctor a crap-ton more money for treatments of the cancer that are found but fail to save the person in question; the cancer gets them anyway and the physician and hospital make a ton of money from all of the above even though the net number of lives saved IS IN FACT ZERO.

Tell me why people should get rich for no net benefit to anyone -- except their bank account, of course.

If you think that's bad, let's add more to mix.

We know that mental state is important to health.  The old saying that you can "worry yourself sick" is in fact diffuse but true.  There is statistical evidence that attitude matters, in other words, even though we have no idea why and we can't isolate it.  There are plenty of theories but no facts, yet the data is what it is.

In other words if you have diagnostic testing of some sort performed and it in some way impairs your mental state due to anxiety over the results you will get a few days or week later it is entirely possible that net-on-net you'd be better off not doing it at all, particularly if the condition in question is relatively rare -- that is, the NNT is very large!  Again, we are talking about diagnostics where you have no particular reason to believe there's something seriously wrong that needs attention.

Now if that diagnostic does not engender mental anguish then perhaps for that person there's no negative, diffuse contribution.  But we know that in some people it does, and in some of those people that anguish is quite notable.  Is this taken into account when all the data is compiled?  Of course not.

This problem arises due to the structure of our medical system.  It cannot be addressed through anything other than changing the structure, and one of the primary problems that leads to this is paying for acts instead of results.  In addition our regulatory environment completely ignores NNH most of the time; it certainly has when it comes to the jabs and kids, for example, where just on the known risks from myocarditis and pericarditis the NNT/NNH ratio is wildly out of whack since the rate of severe (hospital) or fatal Covid in healthy children and teens is approximately that of chicken pox in young children and those two side effects alone are more-likely than a serious infection outcome.  With chicken pox we took roughly 20 years to qualify a vaccine for kids; the reason it took 20 years is that the infection itself is so rarely serious or fatal in children that determining whether the NNT/NNH for it was beneficial required two decades of experience before widespread use, lest we screw kids instead of helping them.

Today we do not care about anything that gets in the way of the money to be made and you refuse to force the money monster found in your local physician's office, pharma firm and hospital to cut that crap out even when it comes to the risk of screwing your own children!

This is not confined to the United States so don't think for a second a "socialist" medical system would resolve it; you need only look where there is one to see how badly they mishandled the pandemic to see that their structure is not meaningfully different than ours in that regard.

Between our fiscal stupidity and the rapacious nature of both the hospital and pharmaceutical industry, which has gone unchecked and been allowed to do pretty much whatever they want despite 15 USC Chapter 1 which makes any sort of collusive pricing a criminal felony we are facing a squeeze in the Federal and State systems for both Medicare and Medicaid within the next few years.  Both may well collapse and between them they are the largest unfunded outlays the Federal Government has -- and thus, when the screws really get turned they will be whacked not because politicians want to but because if they don't we'll go the way of Sri Lanka.

I've written much on the structural problems from a fiscal point of view, but we're almost-certainly beyond fixing that now.  Ten+ years ago when Leverage was published we had opportunity to do it -- and didn't.  We instead put in place Obamacare, which made it worse.

This means all you have left is personal mitigations and choice and you need to act on those now because time is short.  There are things that you likely can do, right here and now, to change the odds to some degree and to a significant extent this is a mental exercise, not just one of physical changes in your lifestyle.

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2022-07-16 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 510 references
[Comments enabled]  

You can read the "how" to fix it, in terms of diet, right here.  Oh, Google considers this "misinformation"; it wasn't for five years after I published it, but suddenly got blackballed, thus is now on this side of the blog -- along with everything else that is in the "personal health" category.  You see, neither Google or the medical and pharmaceutical industry want you to be healthy; if you're healthy you don't give them any money.  It really is that simple when you get down to it.

But let's say you want to play the oh its ok that I eat carbs like crazy, and that expanding waistline isn't a big deal, and oh **** you, you're full of crap game -- and would like to prove I'm full of it.

Or perhaps you've decided you're tired of getting fatter, sicker, feeling like crap all the time and getting all manner of this and that.

Well, how do you where you are metabolically?

You could read this, and if you do, you'll note you need a glucose meter.  There's a problem with that; basically all the glucose meters are made for several-times-a-day use, because they're designed for and sold to diabetics, who have to check their glucose all the time.  The meter isn't the problem; there are a bunch of them, and they're reasonably cheap -- its the test strips, which are typically sold in a capped bottle and have a short lifetime once opened.  If you're using them daily then that they're worthless a month after that seal is broken is no big deal.  But if you're not -- you're checking every now and then -- that means you're spending crazy money on consumables because you'll run one set of tests and have to throw the rest of the supplies out.

There was one commonly-available meter with individually wrapped strips a number of years ago, the ReliON Ultimate.  It has been discontinued and thus you can't get the supplies anymore.  Such a nice thing for the "industry" to do to people, right?  Yeah.

In addition if you want to know if you're actually running on fats you need to know your ketone levels.  There are inexpensive strips you can pee on and get a color change indication which is decent, but less than really dispositive.  What you'd really like is both ketone and glucose levels in the blood at once, especially if you suspect you may be (or know you are) diabetic because having both high glucose and high ketones at the same time is a serious warning sign that you need medical attention right now.

So if you want individual strips, and if you're using this for nutritional guidance you do because while you might test often when you start after you start getting results checking yourself every few weeks or even months is fine, never mind giving you enough knowledge to know if there's a potential diabetic problem brewing (even though there probably won't be, and in fact you may reverse it, if you fix what you put in the pie hole) you still need a means to test that.

Keto-Mojo is one such choice, which @Workerbee here at the forum mentioned -- so I checked it out.

Their older meter, which I was aware of, used the "bulk" pack for strips -- and that meant I ignored them because I'm not diabetic making this is an "intermittent use" device for me, not a daily-use one.  The newer one, however, has individual wrapped supplies.

The ketone strips are a bit expensive -- they are for any sort of meter because the test is tougher to produce and costs more to make but the glucose ones are reasonable, even if you're buying them as a diabetic and expect to use them on a daily basis, being about 25 cents/each.  That's pretty competitive, especially when you consider the individual wrapping which means if you have a one or two year expiration on them they're all good for that length of time.

They also include a calibration test set of solutions while virtually none of the other widely-available meters do; like most modern meters these do not require coding, but the capacity to verify that its working properly is nice (albeit at the cost of expending a strip); they have information available on the accuracy of their testing system which appears to be quite good, and its certainly good enough for purpose of monitoring ketosis as a nutritional state.  Again, not being diabetic I can't comment on whether this system is good enough for that purpose but the included accuracy data strongly suggests that it is.

Even if you say you generally eat "ketogenic" you might be surprised at what will knock you out of it and that does change somewhat over time, so unless you check every now and then you don't really know.  In every case where I've run into someone who has claimed "it doesn't work" and they're willing to be challenged on it I've handed them a******strip and every time it has read zero -- whatever said person says they are and aren't eating they are taking in too many carbs.  The capability to measure both glucose and ketones in a few seconds is especially interesting if you're attempting to exercise while in a ketogenic state (you should; it is the most-beneficial in terms of both weight control and, if you're into such, endurance events such as running at or beyond the half-marathon distance) because immediately afterward and before you consume any food you can test and see if in fact you were in ketosis and running on stored fats or if you liberated the remaining glycogen in your liver and used that for fuel.  If you did liberate glycogen then your glucose will be a bit elevated immediately after exercise (maybe around 110 or 120) but your ketone levels will be below the ketogenic threshold.  Data is truth, guessing is guessing and while all exercise is good until your glycogen is depleted you will not lose body fat.

Finally, unless you give away the data to someone nobody has it but you, which in this world of skanks among so-called "professionals", including the medical profession, is invaluable.

No, I don't get commissions from these guys; I don't do that sort of thing here.

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2018-02-27 15:35 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 413 references
[Comments enabled]  

I get asked this a lot, so here are my thoughts.

First, two disclaimers -- I'm not a doctor.  Second, I've got a lot of data, but it's all mine so it's all anecdote.  All I can back it up with is a few friends who have similar or identical gear to what I use.

So with that said, here we go.

First, alcohol (drinking alcohol now, not the non-potable versions!) are ethanol.  They are a form of carbohydrate.

But alcohol is a special carbohydrate.  Unlike the common sort in foods ethanol is preferentially metabolized -- that is, it is burned first before other carbohydrates. This is why you get drunk (instead of it "mixing" with all the other carbs and being taken up slowly, which would mean you'd have to drink on an empty stomach to get drunk at all) but at about one drink per hour, you also burn it off at the same rate no matter how much food you eat.

Like all other carbohydrates, however, ethanol also produces the same sort of boost/crash response that you get from other fast carbs, and in fact since it burns first it's arguably the fastest carb.  This is why when you're drinking you often want food and is why "bar food" is inevitably high in carb content (e.g. french fries, etc); the bar owners are not stupid and they sell what people want to buy.

There are two basic problems with drinking alcohol in any amount as it relates to a keto lifestyle.  The first is that booze inherently is anti-ketogenic, although if you keep it to one drink in a day you can remain in a ketogenic state and have that one drink, provided you are performing some amount of exercise (so as to keep glycogen stores very low.)  The problem is that the second drink, and any non-keto food you might consume due to the cravings that alcohol does produce, is almost-certainly enough to knock you out of a ketogenic state.

There used to be a book out there from the early 1900s called "The Drinking Man's Diet."  Unsurprisingly, it called for consumption of essentially zero carbohydrate; the reason is that alcohol consumption greatly potentiates weight gain if you eat carbohydrates.  Why?  Because it's metabolized first and thus the rest of the carbs you take in wind up being stored as glycogen and, if your glycogen stores fill it goes directly on your body as fat.

So that's the keto-related bad news, basically.  But unfortunately the bad news doesn't end there and it's not ketogenic-specific.

I own a Fenix 5x, which I wear basically all the time (except when doing some sort of work that might damage it, such as working on my car, and when it needs to be charged) including overnights.  It's an incredible piece of equipment which I bought mostly for its performance tracking under exercise and its mapping functionality, which is a safety feature when I am hiking in the backcountry ("never lost" as long as it can see the sky and has power.)  No, it's not a substitute for a map, compass and knowing how to do land nav, but it's convenient and, in my opinion, was well-worth the investment.

It also gives me a hell of a lot of data across my entire day.  One of the things it allows me to do is track the quality of sleep, heart-rate variation (which maps to your stress level) and resting heart rate.  And this is where the second piece piece of bad news comes from.

I can tell you from looking at that RHR and HRV (stress) level during my time sleeping on which days I have had zero alcohol intake, on which days I had one drink, on which days I had two, and on which days I had more.  The "more" doesn't matter; once you pass the second one in a day from a stress point of view you may as well get hammered.  My accuracy rate just looking at this piece of information alone is astoundingly high -- and when it's wrong, it's never wrong on the low side (that is, indicating less stress than my booze intake indicates.)

The first drink will raise my resting heart rate by a point or two and delay my systemic stress level from dropping into the lowest category by a couple of hours.  The second by two to four points and costs me half the night in terms of getting into that "resting" state from a stress point of view.  Third and beyond?  You're screwed in terms of actually getting anything that's called "rest" when you sleep.

This has profound implications if you are interested in athletic performance as well.  There's simply no way you will be well-rested and able to perform at peak capacity if you've had anything to drink for two to three days prior to the event.

This is utterly repeatable, every time, has been since I've owned this unit from the first day forward and anyone that has access to that data is going to be able to figure it out without knowing anything else about you.  A couple of friends of mine who have similar units have told me that they have identical results, and I've confirmed this as they've let me look at their data briefly and told them which days they went out to the bar.  I was right -- every time.

For this reason putting such data in the "cloud" and allowing anyone else access to it is a profoundly bad idea.  You don't need an AI to process this, just a pair of eyeballs!

It would be utterly trivial to determine your consumption of booze and "box" you from which it would then be trivial to do things like charge you more for insurance.

The above, by the way, assumes your alcohol is liquor and there are no sugars in whatever you mix it with, if anything.  Straight-up Scotch, vodka-and-(diet) tonic, etc.  Beer and wine also contains carbs that are not from the alcohol; those have to be counted too and it's almost-impossible to know what the non-booze carb content is with the exception of a handful of "light" beers that advertise it -- because unlike actual food the manufacturers don't have to tell you, and they typically don't.  When it comes to craft beer you may get away with one pint glass (or 10oz for high-gravity) of beer but you won't get away with the second in terms of ketosis.  The same issue presents itself when it comes to wine.

So if you're asking whether drinking alcohol is compatible with living a ketogenic lifestyle, the answer is "maybe."  The maybe is that if you are actively trying to lose weight then no, it isn't, and by the way, it doesn't matter what form of food intake you're using in that case because alcohol will poison all of them in terms of weight loss.  The old saying that "he has a beer belly" is not bull****, in short.  One of the worst ways to sabotage your metabolic systems is to screw with your hunger regulation -- while it's possible to ignore that it takes an amount of willpower few possess.

If you are very studious about avoiding any sort of other carbs, except for nutrient-dense green vegetables, then you can probably remain in a ketogenic diet with one drink a day, assuming you are an average-height male.  Women have it tougher simply because on average they're smaller and alcohol is typically not "sized" in terms of the size of the drink to match body size and mass.  This means that for most women that first drink is going to be borderline.  Your odds of remaining in a ketogenic state improve if you are engaged in a material amount of vigorous exercise daily (defined as at least 15 minutes of effort in heart rate zone 4 or 5) as well.

But beyond one drink it doesn't matter if you're trying to live a keto lifestyle.  You will get knocked out of a ketogenic state with the second beer or mixed drink essentially every single time and it is likely to require 48 hours or even more to return to it.

So yeah, if you have one night a week you have a few beers and such you basically took a 7-day ketogenic state and turned it into a 3-4 day one. That's half.  If you're already where you want to be in terms of body mass and metabolic state you can get away with that once a week and probably not harm yourself all that much.

But if you do that twice in a week you can forget it.

The worse news, however, is that ketogenic or not that second drink costs you substantially in terms of impacting your overall body stress level and quality of sleep.  The third one destroys both and it will require 48-72 hours of abstinence before things are back to normal.

This, incidentally, is wildly out of kilter with what the so-called medical "experts" will tell you.  They all say that one drink a day is not harmful and may even be protective; that the second one is probably "neutral" and real serious harm starts with the third (and gets rapidly worse with increasing quantity.)


The trivially documented disruption starts with the first drink, the second does very material damage to the quality of your rest and beyond that you may as well get rip-roaring trashed in terms of cardio and overall systemic stress.

I'm sure a far more-strict analysis is almost directly dose-dependent -- for example, the damage done to your liver.  But here I'm not focusing on the long-term chronic effects from drinking too much -- those are both well-known and basically impossible to argue with.

This is simply looking at the data in the context of consumption of "routine" amounts of alcohol if you are trying to live a healthier metabolic lifestyle.

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2016-06-18 05:00 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 1431 references
[Comments enabled]  

The often-heard comments when someone says they're eating HFLC include "your kidneys will explode", "Atkins was really bad for him (Mr. Atkins)", "You'll have a heart attack", "You can't be athletic doing that; you need carbs" and more.

I would like to put some perspective on this.  Yes, this is anecdote; it's a sample size of one with no double-blind, of course -- that is, my personal experience.

Some background: Somewhat over five years ago I essentially went hard-core Atkins-induction coupled with "Couch-to-5k."  At the time I was unable to run one half mile without stopping, climbing a few sets of stairs was work, even summer lawn mowing was a strenuous exercise -- while the heat was certainly not helpful, neither was exercise tolerance.  I was "nominally healthy" in that I was not diabetic, but my body mass had risen from about 155 in High School to right around 210, plus or minus a couple.  I had several times undertaken fairly severe exercise regimes, including hour-long daily stints on a stationary recumbent bike I purchased, in an attempt to lose weight, along with a low-fat, "eat plants" diet -- without success.  I could drop 10lbs without much trouble, but no more, I was ravenously hungry all the time, and as soon as I cut back on the exercise the weight came right back on and stayed.

I'm absolutely certain that I was insulin resistant even though my blood glucose was normal -- I'd get the "hangries" if I attempted to not eat in the morning immediately on waking, and was often hungry for something by mid-afternoon after eating a carb-laden (and low-fat) lunch.  If there was a bag full of M&Ms in front of me and I had one, the entire bag would be gone within a couple of hours.  The same for a tin full of cookies.  A loaf of home-made bread (I have a bread-maker) would be lucky to make two days; the first big, thick slice would get consumed and I'd want two more an hour later.

In short despite my outward metabolic signs being ok, but being overweight (not obese) I know exactly where I was headed -- for both obesity and diabetes.  I'm sure of it.

So in early 2011 I decided I'd had enough -- that the conventional wisdom was either wrong or I was simply going to be consigned due to bad genetics to get older, fatter, and sicker.  The latter is what we have all been sold and I was determined to not simply give up.

Since that was the consensus, I saw no harm in trying something else -- after all, the odds were that I would not make it worse, at least not quickly, and when it comes to things like heart attacks and strokes they take years to develop, weeks or months.

So I went full-on, zero-carb Atkins induction, bought a pair of Nike running shoes and a Garmin 305 with a heart rate strap to track my exercise.

I'm not going to tell you that this was an easy path, at least at first.  I modified the Couch-to-5k thing (you can look it up online) in only one way -- the very last segment of each work-out I ran as hard and fast I could.  At the start this was maybe an eighth to a quarter of a mile, but it would grow to a half-mile later.  Other than that I pretty-much followed the program.

I could not run a half-mile when I started.  Not even close.

I felt like I'd been hit by a bus every.... single... day.

But I kept with it, both on the food and running.  After the first two weeks I added back green vegetables, but otherwise ate zero carbohydrate -- and that included alcohol.  Instead of three times a week I tried for five, and got up at 0500 every day to do it because living in Florida it's hot, even in May.

In the first week, five pounds disappeared.  I knew this would happen and probably be (mostly) water.  The next week and pretty-much every week thereafter, however, another one or two came off.

About two months later I ran a full 3.1 miles for the first time, without slowing to a walk or stopping.  It was not easy, but I did it, and by now it was the middle of June.

Eight months later, roughly that Thanksgiving, I was down to about 160.

I looked at the Garmin stats.  I had lost 50 lbs, which is about 175,000 calories. Running is about 120 calories a mile, according to a heart-rate adjusted GPS machine, and I had run roughly 500 miles at that point, or 60,000 calories worth.

Only one third of the body mass I lost was due to exercise.  That's a numerical fact; the rest was lost due to changing what I ate.

I slowly lost about another 5 lbs; my body weight now fluctuates around 155, +/- 5, assuming I'm reasonably good.

And there it has stayed for the last five years -- whether I'm training for a half-marathon, the Wicked Triple (three races in two days of close to a marathon distance in total), hiking part of the AT, sitting on my ass enjoying a vacation or whatever else I might be doing.  My exertion levels have literally been all over the map, yet my body mass has not.

What has remained constant, more or less, is my adherence to the consumption of food things (and not consuming others!) that I have laid out many times -- you can read that list right here.

Now here's what's changed long-term when it comes to my person and my health that I haven't talked about much:

  • Since I was a child I have had horrid problems with seasonal allergies to the point of being nearly useless twice a year for a month or so.  No amount of medication, OTC or prescription, has ever successfully controlled this completely.  Benedryl works but knocks me flat on my ass, and anything containing pseudoephedrine makes me feel extremely uncomfortable -- I'm one of the people who just can't use any decongestant containing that substance.  I was basically forced to remain indoors, in an air-conditioned space, for two months out of the year and maintain a high-quality pollen filter in my car's airhandler -- or else.  I also avoided travel to woodsy and other flowery areas during the times they were in bloom for obvious reasons.  Slowly, over the last couple of years, my seasonal allergies irrespective of where I am in the country have almost completely disappeared.  They're not completely gone; I still suffer from some congestion for short periods of time, but it's much better than it was.  Last spring I hiked a piece of the AT through the spring bloom, complete with thousands of bees pollinating the flowers, and had exactly zero trouble.  Five years ago that would have been unthinkable.  This appears to be correlated with....

  • My general inflammation level has, I believe, dropped quite a bit.  I had always had "on and off" acne problems, even as an adult.  As a teen it was bad, but it never went completely away -- until I got rid of the carbs.  The same is true of skin issues; I always had them on and off, especially in the winter when the air is dry.  Again, completely gone the first winter and they have stayed gone since.  Gee, I wonder what's going on in my coronary arteries?  Betcha it's not bad things but no, I'm not paying a couple of grand to get CT+contrast scanned to find out for sure.  (The one exception: perfumes in laundry detergents will still "get" me, so I have to watch out for that.)
  • I have no adverse blood glucose reaction to sugar intake.  I have, a couple of times in the last year, "challenged" my body with heavy sugar intake just to see what happens; typically with a large dose of milk chocolate or heavily sugar-laden confections like donuts.  I've not been able to drive my blood glucose over 110 with such a challenge despite intentionally trying.  I don't know if I could actually drive my blood sugar to anywhere near 140 today (the upper boundary of what they call the "normal" reaction to such a test) if I literally sat and ate a bag of sugar.  Note that while I was never diabetic I'm very sure my metabolism was compromised.  For those who wonder if your metabolic systems can heal over time if you stop insulting them, the answer appears to be "Yes."

  • I don't like sugar any more.  Things with a lot of sugar in them taste like crap.  Raw white sugar now has a smell to it that I associate with being "medicinal" and is not at all pleasant.  It sort of smells like poison, in fact -- hmmmm.... maybe it is?

  • I have no "hangries" -- ever -- or carb-cravings.  I often have no desire to eat anything before roughly lunchtime; I'll get up in the morning and am simply not hungry.  This means that if I eat something around lunch, and then around dinner, I'm effectively fasting 18 hours out of every day.  It's not because I'm trying, it's because I'm not hungry.

  • If I do work out a lot my appetite goes up.  If I don't it goes down.  I don't have to think about it, count calories, make efforts to restrict my consumption of food or anything like that.  It's simply this: If I'm hungry I eat.  If I'm not I don't.  Oh, and since I'm not gorging myself on hangries my capacity for food has shrunk.  Yes, it appears my stomach is smaller, in that I get full faster -- and it empties slower too.  An interesting observation that I cannot correlate with fact, but I sure can with how I feel if I try to stuff myself for some reason.

  • My exercise tolerance has gone up massively.  The other day I worked on wrecking out part of my gazebo floor (it needs replaced) which involved using a Wonder Bar, saw and moving sand (via shovel and yard cart) that had accumulated under them and then mowed most of the back yard -- in 90ish degree weather with 85%+ humidity.  It was hotter than Hell, but other than needing to stop and get a drink a couple of times it wasn't all that bad.  I would have heat-stroked out trying this a few years ago -- literally.  Likewise I might go run a 5k tonight, and while the sun will be down it won't be any cooler.  Yes, it will be hotter than hell, but I'm not concerned about not being able to do it.  This I attribute to the exercise, not the diet.  But, with an extra 50lbs I suspect I wouldn't be able to move my additional mass irrespective of my cardio condition anywhere near as well as I can today.

  • I am far faster running now than I ever was -- including in High School!  I was never able to break the 9 minute mile barrier on a 3 mile run, with my "typical" time being around 30 minutes.  My PR now is 7:00 flat on a timed 5k race and 7:49 on a half-marathon.  This isn't a singular result either; my kid, who ran one season with the HS cross-country team, has half-way adopted my way of eating over the last six months -- and not only has her appearance improved she has also taken more than two minutes a mile from her time, breaking the 10 minute/mile threshold for the first time in the last couple of weeks.  Don't tell me you can't perform athletically on a low-carb diet -- that's a damned lie.

I'm not going to tell you this was all easy, because it wasn't up front.  Yes, carb-cravings are real.  A week or so back while in a group having a conversation that turned to food I remarked that I do not, as a rule, eat carbs -- my carb intake is for the most part beer, and only a couple a day maximum.  A nurse who was there proceeded to say that "Atkins causes kidney disease" and further that she "has cravings for carbs and thus needs them."  Both are false; first, Atkins is high fat, not high protein.  It is true that high protein diets can cause kidney problems but that's not Atkins; that's doing it wrong!  Second, meth causes cravings too, but that doesn't mean you need meth -- it means you're addicted to it!  Carbs are the same deal; when challenged as to the specific nutrients that you need that are in carbs, of course, she had no answer.  That would be because there aren't any; the amount of carbohydrate you actually require in your diet is zero.  I gave up; oh, she was complaining about having big snoring problems too (gee, I wondered, if you lost some weight what might happen to that........) This, however, is illustrative of the attitude of many in the so-called "health business"; their 4 hours of class at some point was not only insufficient most of what was in there is flat out wrong and even when taking this path might help alleviate a person problem they're experiencing they won't try it!

Here's my view, more than five years into this: I've seen exactly zero bad effects from adopting this lifestyle, and multiple good ones.  My indicators of metabolic health have improved, my exercise tolerance is up massively, I am more able to perform athletically today than I was when I was 17 despite being three times as old, I have zero glucose tolerance trouble evident when challenged, I am never "hangry", I do not crave carbs and in fact find things with sugar in them "too" sweet yet I count no calories or make other conscious attempt to control my food intake and my body mass is approximately what it was 35 years ago and hasn't moved more than a few pounds in either direction for the last five years.  The only exception was when I was in a relationship, eating far too many carbs (and knew it) and five more pounds went on -- literally as soon as I cut that crap out they disappeared within a couple of weeks.

Why would I change what I'm doing now, when for the last five years it has worked -- effortlessly -- to not only halt what was an obvious and visible (albeit slow) decrease my personal vitality and health that many would simply attribute to old age, but almost-completely reversed it -- and in many cases my health and physical abilities now exceed those of my teen years!

Yes, I'm a data set of one.

Now tell me why would you not run your own experiment.

I'm all ears.

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