I finally broke down and bought a blood glucose/ketone meter and, after the usual faffing around that goes with a new piece of equipment, I discovered to my delight that my ketone level is 2.3mmol, which is smack in the optimum zone.
By itself, that’s a weird & irrelevant factoid, so here’s some background:
The weight gain
Ten years ago I took a job in systems support at one of Canada’s major banks. Between the stress, the forced bonhomie of corporate culture, the food merchants in the mall, a mild addiction to Dufflet lemon tarts, and menopause, I started to gain weight.
After five years, the department I worked in was outsourced and I got laid off (which was a huge relief), but the weight gain had become a habit, and I continued to pick up a steady three or four pounds a year.
Not much, nothing dramatic. But over ten years, it added up to forty-six pounds. Ouch!
During those ten years, I tried dieting – many times – but never got past the first ten pounds before the diet became intolerable. And, of course, I regained whatever I had lost. With interest.
Mid-January I decided to have another go. This time, instead of the usual calorie-counting, I did some research before deciding on how to diet, and lucked out.
I found a lot of material on weight control; most of it was suspect or irrelevant. Allergy diets, gluten-free diets, vegan diets, paleo diets, self-serving product-hawking diets, and just plain weird diets. Lots & lots of stuff I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole!
Winnowing through this barrage, I found one site – dietdoctor.com – that stood out with what appeared to be a research-based diet, with lots of backup information, no sales pitches, and a modest $8US monthly membership fee that goes towards supporting the site without any industry funding.
Which is super-important – with industry-sponsored sites, there’s an inevitable positive bias, conscious or not, towards the sponsor. After all, who wants to bite the hand that feeds them?
dietdoctor.com recommends & supports a low carb, high fat (LCHF) diet, with an option to choose to eat a very low carb ketogenic diet, which is what I have done. Hence the blood glucose/ketone meter.
The kicker is that the LCHF diet is super-contentious at the moment.
Government-recommended diets are the exact reverse – low fat, high carb. The Food Pyramid (which has morphed into the much-less communicative “My Plate” recently) has carbs as its broad base and fats are relegated to a tiny cell in the attic.
However, the science behind the low fat/high carb diet is tenuous, and since it was introduced, obesity and Type 2 diabetes have exploded wherever it has been followed by the public – which is most of the developed world.
Over the last decade, a growing body of research & investigation has been suggesting, then showing, that the low fat/high carb diet has been A Big Fat Mistake.
Over the past seven months I’ve lost most of the weight I wanted to shed, and changed my way of eating drastically. Since that’s almost certainly made significant metabolic changes, I’d like to get some blood work and a couple of other tests done to establish a new baseline.
At which point I’ve run into a problem: unfortunately, but predictably, the medical establishment still hasn’t got the memo. (Google “Tim Noakes”).
When I (cautiously) asked my doctor about low carb/high fat diets she
- didn’t know what LCHF is
- and, when I explained it to her, she read me a severe lecture on not succumbing to fad diets & keeping on with “everything in moderation” since my health was good
Now, this doctor – a family practitioner – is not an old fuddy-duddy on the verge of retirement; she’s younger than my daughter! To be charitable: she’s, an excellent baby catcher, so little old ladies are not the focus of her practice.
She also works out of the family practice clinic of one of Toronto’s major hospitals, and, from various things over the years, I get the impression that the hospital keeps a very tight rein on their junior medical staff. I suspect that they have to toe the line of received wisdom pretty carefully, so an excursion into a flaming dietary controversy would probably not do her career any good at all.
Either that, or she figures I’m a little old lady with a bee in her bonnet, and, as an old woman, can safely be ignored.
Or both. But that’s another post…
So now I’m looking for a physician with whom I can discuss my experiences with LCHF & ketosis, can get tests done, and, most of all, a physician who is willing help me look after my health in my LCHF/ketogenic life.