In the comments a few days ago, Meme – a long-time follower of this blog – wrote a couple of really amazing posts about reversing Type 2 Diabetes. In them she asserts that Ray Peat is correct in that it’s polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) (not sugar!) that cause what is commonly known as insulin resistance and T2D. She did her own N=1. She lost weight using a high fat, low carb diet and remained diabetic (unable to tolerate carbs). Introducing sugar again led to a 40lb weight gain. Here’s the really cool part: She then switched to a very low fat, PUFA free diet and lost most of that weight, PLUS REVERSED THE DIABETES.
Here are her comments, Part 1 and Part 2 (edited to add some paragraph breaks for ease of reading):
Hi Lanie, You asked “So if you have diabetes and make the symptoms of diabetes go away does that mean you no longer have diabetes?” Unfortunately, the answer is NO. The hallmark of a diabetic person is the inability to oxidize glucose. Sugars cannot get in to the cell to be used for fuel, so it stays circulating in the blood (HYPERglycemia) and gets spilled in the urine as a safety measure to protect the body’s tissues and organs. You will no longer be diabetic when you can eat anything you want and can effectively use that food for fuel at the cellular level.
Sugar does not cause diabetes. PUFA suppresses the thyroid gland and poisons the mitochondria and that is the true cause of diabetes. I have proven this on myself through an experiment that I did last year. I told you about it last summer, but I’m going to refresh your memory: I was morbidly obese and pre-diabetic for 20 years. I did a high fat low-carb diet and lost close to 80 pounds (I’m a 5’2″ 48 year old female). Losing the weight improved many markers for me, blood pressure, cholesterol, hormones, etc. However, when I tried to eat blueberries or any fruit I suddenly became FULL-ON diabetic, despite eating NO sugar or grains for three years. That’s when I realized that sugar does not cause diabetes, it was something else in the food supply, namely the ingestion of PUFA.
Ya gotta get your calories from somewhere, when I was low-carbing I ate TONS of avocados, nuts and nut butters, seeds and seed oils, bacon, chicken fat/skin, fish oil etc. All of it was “clean” and organic, but PUFA nonetheless. In adding fruit back to my diet (when I discovered Peat in November of 2013) I immediately gained nearly forty pounds and became fully diabetic by March of 2014. The way out of that scenario was not easy (or pretty), but I’m here today, six months after the end of my experiment to reverse diabetes/reduce estrogen, weighing in at 135 pounds and can eat anything I want (including tons of chocolate, OJ, fruit, potatoes etc). Also, I no longer take thyroid medication after being on it for 15 years.
I sincerely hope you are doing your low carb diet in a severely PUFA restricted manner (NO fast food), otherwise you will surely find yourself right back at square one with a very limited diet and still unable to eat and have energy like a normal person. I did my experiment last summer and quit in September 2014 so as not to stress my body through winter, I had NO idea the metabolic results would be so dramatic and permanent. My experiment was simple, but not easy. I ate absolutely NO starch, NO PUFA and very low saturated fat (under 20 grams a day). LOTS of protein and vegetables and fruits for six weeks at a time and then I took a break cuz it’s tough. On the break, still absolutely NO PUFA, only saturated fats. Then repeat for another 6 weeks. As a former morbidly obese diabetic, I urge to do whatever it takes to lose the fat, but above all else avoid PUFA like the plague as that is the TRUE CAUSE….I know, such a long winded answer to your question 😉
And when I asked for more information, she said this:
I removed starch because it was causing terrible blood sugar issues and also gut bloating (you’ll recall the raw garlic Shock & Awe). I drastically cut fat so that whenever my body needed fat, it would pull from my more than ample reserves. This left fat free dairy, very lean meat, gelatin, seafood, fruit and veg. I used non-GMO 100% pure fructose powder (in coffee etc.) cuz Peat says that form of sugar is more easily used by diabetics. I started the fructose at the end of March 2014 and I was tolerating OJ and all fruit very well for sure by July, so three months. I was very strict with zero PUFA and NO starch.
Every six weeks I took a break and ate tons (prolly too much) of saturated fat like whole milk, brie and rice crackers because it was I was sick of “dieting”. I noticed on these breaks that I was tolerating alcohol waaaay better too….still being very strict with PUFA. After a brief break I did another 6 week round, it helped me mentally to know that it wasn’t going to last forever. I did three rounds total and quit in mid September. I kept protein high, like always 100 grams at least and some days even more because I was hungry. I did the high protein to prevent muscle loss, keep my liver happy and it helps with satiety.
YES, the low fat was key because it gave my liver a break and forced the use of my stored fat. I always kept myself in a caloric deficit, some days a deeper deficit than others, but NEVER at the expense of nutrition,,,,which is where Cron-O helps enormously. I always made sure that all nutrients were covered. I supplemented a TON of B vitamins to help with sugar tolerance. This wasn’t easy, there were times where I had headaches and was grumpy and hungry. I mitigated the stress as much as possible using all of Peat’s recommendations (bag breathing to increase CO2, thyroid meds, Progesterone, vit. E, aspirin, B vits. etc.).
End result was 38 pounds of fat loss, NO muscle loss, blood pressure is 130/80 instead of my previous 170/100. AND I can eat like a normal person. I chowed down through the holidays and actually had to go off of my thyroid medication because I was getting too much. My metabolism was so vastly improved I was SHOCKED. I had been on thyroid meds for 15 years. I don’t track on Cron-O anymore (pretty much never want to see cucumbers and Fage 0% fat yogurt again, lol). And like I said earlier, it’s been six months since I quit last September and I weigh 135 lbs. I eat intuitively and whatever I feel like eating (which includes potatoes or popcorn or rice with lots of butter on occasion), any and all fruits and lots of OJ daily.
I was very scared when I did my experiment, but I had no other choice. I had already tried every other option and the only things my doctors were offering: Lipitor, Metformin and ace inhibitors. I’m going to start exercising now that it’s Spring, I haven’t felt this good in over TWO decades….so yeah, it appears that rapid fat loss can deplete PUFA in less than 4 years and literally fix a myriad of serious health issues. The first round I was very calorically restricted and it was a difficult adjustment, I think I took a two week break before I started Round Two. The second round was much easier in a many ways because I was tolerating sugar so much better, I found that I didn’t have to be so strict with my calories as long as I kept fat very low, like 10 or 15 gms a day and I could have more carbs while keeping protein high always. I think I only took a one week break before I started Round Three, I was eager to get to my goal, didn’t want to lose momentum as I had found my stride so to speak….and I really just wanted the whole thing over with.
I never made it to my goal, which was 125 lbs. I got to 132 and said GOOD ENOUGH!!! I didn’t want the stress of dieting especially as the days grew shorter. I gained 3 pounds back over the winter, who cares, I’m still within 10 pounds of my goal and am choosing to exercise the rest of it off now that I know that I am cured of hypothyroidism/obesity/diabetes/hypertension. I know it’s only one old gal’s experience, take it for what it’s worth, but I’m tellin ya based on my experiment, I think Peat is 100% correct.
Fercrissakes, would someone please write a journal article on Meme’s experience!? The world needs to know this shit!
Working with Nourish Balance Thrive I have been able to regain a sense of balance in my life, get off the blood sugar roller coaster, and reduce the high insulin that was keeping me perpetually hungry. Low-carb eating and supplementation has facilitated this, returning me to near-normal blood sugar levels within 6 weeks. After reading Meme’s comments I’m pretty confident that once I lose weight (and reducing dietary fat seems to be key here) and eliminate the stored PUFAs housed comfortably in my fat cells that one day I’ll be able to eat a more diverse diet.
Now that my hunger is all but gone and I have consistent energy throughout the day I’m going to gradually reduce dietary fat and see if we can’t move this train along a little faster.
PUFA no es bueno, friends.
Edited to add:
Meme has these final words on the topic:
When I was doing the diet rounds I ate NO starch and very very low fat. I do think the no starch was every bit as crucial as the low fat. I’m pretty sure that starch from refined grains contributes to the diabetic issue. So while I can eat starch now in the form of potatoes and rice with no issues, I still do not eat REFINED grain products for the most part, especially no wheat. Reducing Estrogen (produced by fat cells, but also from the environment) was also a major factor for me in restoring thyroid/liver/gallbladder/pancreas health. I think some how the PUFA and excess estrogen synergize and ruin everything.
I wanted to make sure I got all the details in there. If there’s anyone else out there with a similar Peat-tastic story to share, I’d love to hear it!