September 29, 2009

Why Weight Loss Stops on Long Term Low Carb Diets

The enthusiasm for the low carb diet as a weight loss diet arises in the first few weeks and months when most people experience dramatic weight loss.

What rarely gets mentioned--especially in the miracle weight loss books--is that very few low carb dieters ever get to their weight loss goal, especially those who start out with a lot of weight to lose.

I am enthusiastic about the power of carb restriction to lower blood sugar to normal or near normal levels. I am not as enthusiastic about low carbohydrate dieting as the solution to tough weight loss problems.

Because even the online low carb community tends to believe that people who stall out are "not doing the diet right" and respond to stall posts with that assumption, most people who do stall out long term leave the discussion boards, leaving only those who have succeeded to greet the newbies.

But as someone who stalled out for years on my own weight loss, and someone who has read the boards for years, I am convinced that permanent stalls are the norm and the people who get down to goal the exception--especially among those older than 45.

In this post I'm going to discuss a few reasons why this happens.

1. Thyroid slowing. Long term low carbing causes changes in T3 hormone levels which are often hard to diagnose. It can cause something called "Euthyroid syndrome." I learned about this from Lyle Macdonald's book, The Ketogenic Diet, which has cites to the relevant research. Getting help for this problem is very hard as your TSH will be fine and standard thyroid testing may not pick it up.

Physiologically what seems to happen is that your body responds to months of ketogenic dieting by assuming you are starving--people who are starving are in ketosis all the time too. So it turns down the thermostat to conserve your body mass so you don't die. If this happens to you you'll know it. You'll feel exhausted and dragged out all the time, and the burst of energy most people feel when they start out low carbing will be a distant memory.

Dr. Bernstein reports that many of his patients develop thyroid problems months after starting the LC diet, but he insists this is because they have developed autoimmune thyroid disease. I have to question this. Too many of us with no markers for any kind of autoimmune disease experience this metabolic slowdown on long term low carb diets. Whatever the explanation, once your thyroid slows, you weight loss will slow dramatically.

My take on this now is that it is a good idea to raise your carbohydrate intake over the ketogenic boundary from time to time. Where that boundary is varies from person to person. It's the point where after adding a few more grams of carbohydrate to your intake, you suddenly gain the 3-8 lbs you lost the first three days you were on the diet. That instant weight gain is not fat. It is the weight of the glycogen you've just restored to your liver and muscles.

Watch your calories closely when you raise your carbs this way and you shouldn't gain any weight. In fact if you watch calories and keep carbs just over the boundary while lowering your fat intake you might lose a pound or two.

Note: If you can't keep your blood sugar normal at an intake high enough to get you out of a ketogenic state it might be time to talk to an endocrinologist about safe drugs that can help. I personally maintain now at an intake that varies from 70-110 grams a day (my ketogenic boundary is at about 65 grams a day.) If I stay lower than 50 for six weeks I always develop that half dead feeling again. I need insulin at some of my meals to eat at this level, but I feel a lot better when I do. Metformin along with the insulin keeps me from gaining weight. In fact, I have been losing slowly and steadily over the past six months with the combination of lower fat/higher carbs, insulin and metformin.

2. Fat-induced insulin resistance. There is some interesting research that has been discussed on the Whole Health Source Blog about how, and more importantly, why, palmitic acid, a saturated fat might raise insulin resistance in rodents. There are a lot of other studies over the years that have demonstrated that high saturated fat intakes of all kinds increase insulin resistance too.

While I don't believe that high sat fat intake worsens heart disease or cholesterol, I think it is very possible that, for the reasons that Stephan Guyenet hypothesizes in the Whole Health Source post, long term high saturated fat intake does does increase insulin resistance, and that after many months of eating very high fat/low carb diets this increase in IR can become a huge problem especially when people experience "carb creep."

"Carb creep" is very common. Over time most of us end up eating more carbs than we think we do. A bit more here, a bit there, or perhaps we are eating larger portions of lower carb foods than we realize, so that 4 g intake is 8 g. Do that five times a day and you are eating a lot more carbs than you realize.

The cure for this is to weigh your portions for a while and get accurate carb counts. If you are eating over 60 grams a day, cut back on the saturated fat and see if that helps. I am starting to think the very high fat low carb diet is only appropriate with extremely low carb intake levels.

For those of us eating low carb to control blood sugar, a higher carb intake may be necessary to keep ourselves from experiencing diet burn out. If your blood sugar is under control at a higher carb intake, your health is fine. You may have to compromise on weight loss, though. Or perhaps cut back on the cheese, butter, nuts, meat fat and cream and see if cutting out some of that saturated fat helps.

3. Stalling Is Built Into the System. The 10% factor. High quality research which I've blogged about elsewhere suggests that when people have lost between 10-20% of their starting body weight they will experience metabolic slowdown no matter what diet they use.

When I polled the diabetes community last year about their own diet experiences, the single most often repeated report was that most people who cut carbs could lose and maintain the loss of 20% of their starting weight, but after that, forget it. This is better than Dr. Leibel's results with a mixed diet, where slowdown kicked in at 10%, but it's far less weight loss than most people who embark on a low carb diet hope to lose.

My belief is that if you stall the smartest thing you can do is declare victory and maintain your weight for a few months without attempting to lose more. Make your body feel safe, so your thyroid ramps up a bit and stops worrying about the next famine. If you can't maintain at your partial weight loss, you are not going to be able to maintain if you lose more.

In fact, the sanest goal would be to find the weight level at which you can maintain happily without feelings of deprivation and stay at that weight. Then you might just not become one of the many many low carb dieters who lose 100 lbs and gain back 120. There are far too many of them, most of them blaming themselves for weakness. My guess is it isn't weakness, it's the revenge of a metabolism that has been pushed too far and is now 100% dedicated to preparing you for the next massive famine.

4. Calories Do Count. There is a glorious period when people start their first low carb diet where they do seem to trick the body into dropping crazy amounts of real fat--despite eating relatively high calorie intakes. This passes. Oh, how it passes.

Once you have dropped that initial 10% or so the magic of low carb dieting wears off and the only way most of us (not all, but most) lose any more weight is by cutting back on our food intake.

To lose weight you do have to cut calories below some level which for many of us with metabolic problems or who are older is MUCH lower than what dietitians tell you or what you get when you use online calculators.

After years of thinking I couldn't lose weight cutting calories, I learned I can--thanks to a week long attack of stomach poisoning. It turns out all I have to do is cut my calories down to about 800 a day and I will lose. The calculators tell me I should lose on 1350. The nutritionist told me I should lose on even more than that. Twice this year I've been sick for a week unable to eat and both times I have lost a pound or so eating 800 calories--and most significantly, kept it off later on.

Do I want to keep eating like that to lose more? No. Because if there is one thing I've learned, it is that you maintain your weight loss on a diet only a few hundred calories higher than the one you ate while losing. I have no wish to have to eat 1,000 calories a day for the rest of my life.

Normal Blood Sugar Is The Best Goal To Chase. Most of us started obsessing about weight loss because doctors told us if we lost a lot of weight we'd stop being diabetic. This is absolute hogwash. Go look at my Type 2 Poll if you still believe this. It isn't the weight loss that controls blood sugar it is cutting out the carbs. No matter how thin we get, most of us will see diabetic blood sugars if we eat carbs.

If you understand this, but also understand that maintaining normal blood sugars no matter what you weigh will eliminate diabetic complications including heart disease, you should be able to accept whatever weight loss you can achieve and relax about the rest.

Carb restriction is a powerful tool for achieving normal health. It's a useful approach to weight loss, but like ALL diet approaches, it only goes so far. Yes, there are people who have huge low carb weight loss successes, but for every one of those there are hundreds who stall out at that 20% lost from starting weight. If you can get to even 15% lost, give yourself a big pat on the back, realize you are are normal if you stall, and get to work on maintaining that impressive weight loss for life.



Anonymous said...

I have only been eating low carb for 9 months. My weight has hovered around the same place for at least 5 of those months. I would like to weight less, but I am eating this way to control my sugar levels, not to lose weight. And the sugar levels are under control. I should say that at one point I weighed 235 lbs. and that when I started eating low carb I was only 171. Now I am 157. but the main point is the one you ended your post with. This is about health, not weight loss. If health is your focus then your weight will adjust accordingly.

Venkat said...


Thanks for this post. I am looking for the after effects of a LC diet in the long run.

I am on LC diet since June 08. I am a Type II diabetic for the past 10 years.

My A1c in Apr 09 was 5.0. In Aug 09, the A1c shot up to 5.5. My fasting BG moved from 85 to 97. Now, in between my meals, the BG drops to 96 or 97 and it does not go to 80s (as it used to be).

One problem I feel is, I wanted to increase weight and I was travelling from 108lbs to the current 135 lbs. Some time after April 09, I have added weight in the belly area (I added coconut oil to my diet only during this period and was consuming 4 Tbsp per day) and that is apparently increased my IR.

I need to somehow get the fasting BG and in between meals BG to 80s. I am not sure, where to start.

My carb consumption per day is 35g. For the past 2 months, I have not added or shed any weight.

Now I have stopped coconut oil, tried 24 hr fasting but the FBG is not coming down to 80s.

I take 6000 Vit D, 1000mcg B12 and Fish oil capsules (2 per day).

Do you suspect anything.... Any pointers is highly appreciated.



Jenny said...


I have never seen anyone not associated with a site selling coconut oil report anything BUT weight gain after adding it to a diet.

Fasting will raise the blood sugar of many people with Type 2 diabetes (and Type 1, too.)

If you aren't taking metformin, it might be very helpful in lowering fasting blood sugar and insulin resistance. It is a cheap generic drug and very safe. I find it really helps with weight control.

Anonymous said...

Now my issues with continued weight loss makes a lot of sense. I think I'm very susceptible to "carb creep" and I'm going to have to take a long hard look at that in the next few weeks. Thanks for another great posting!!

Stargazey said...

Apparently I'm the exception to the rule. I started low-carb when I was over 50 and have lost 35% of my original weight. I've maintained the loss for 2.5 years now by doing low-carb.

It took 3.5 years to lose the weight, but I kept at it. At various points I had to drop things like low-carb candy (the carbs are still there--they're just slower to release) and pork rinds (zero carbs, but LOTS of calories). I'm not saying low-carb weight loss works for everybody, but it does work for me, so I'm sure there are others out there who can do it, too. In the meantime, as Jenny says, low-carb has excellent health benefits.

P.S. Coconut oil works for me, and I'm not sellilng it, LOL! I use it in place of animal fat or liquid oils when steaks or other servings of meat are too lean. It seems that I can eat more calories when I add coconut oil to my meat. I have no idea why that might be, though.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Jenny,

Just wanted to clarify something about my post on palmitic acid. Butter did not induce metabolic dysfunction in that rodent study when it was fed at an equal number of calories as the low-fat diet. I was hypothesizing that palmitic acid acts as a reversible signal to conserve blood glucose, but does not induce pathological, chronic insulin resistance.

In humans, the controlled feeding trials do not generally support the idea that saturated fat consumption leads to insulin resistance in either normoglycemics or diabetics. We don't have any long-term properly controlled trials. However, in the Women's Health Initiative dietary modification trial, reducing saturated fat by 24% (among other things) had no significant effect on insulin sensitivity measured by HOMA-IR (admittedly not the ideal measure).

The control group ended up getting 12.4% of their calories from saturated fat, which is about what the average American eats. So at the very least, eating that amount of saturated fat does not lead to insulin resistance.

Jenny said...


I have seen quite a few other studies that link insulin resistance to fat consumption, and more importantly, I do hear from time to time from people with diabetes who find their blood sugar going up, not down, when they eat the classic Atkins style low carb diet.

So I think it is a possibility that on the very high fat diets low carbers eat there could be that kind of effect.

Quite a few low carbers report that they end stalls by cutting out dairy--i.e. cheese and cream, and though it might just be a matter of calories, it might also be the fat.

There is such a mass of conflicting data on this subject.

renegadediabetic said...

I'm pretty well stalled out on weight loss, but have been successful at maintaining about a 30% weight loss for four years. I hang in there for the health benefits and celebrate the fact that I'm about 120 lbs lighter than I was four years ago.

As for fat consumption raising insulin resistance, as far as I can tell, most studies on fat consumption also include high carb consumption. The S.A.D. is high fat, high refined carbs, which I agree is a bad combination. Have there been any studies showing that high fat, low carb increases insulin reisitance?

Anonymous said...

Venkat et al,

I added coconut oil to my diet to improve my HDLs. I found I added about 5 lbs and my blood sugar levels stalled. So I cut that out. I have done some experimenting with intermittent fasting and found that helped my sugars go back down. The method I used was to eat a good breakfast and lunch, but then eat nothing until the next morning. I do this about once a week and it seems to be effective for me.

Ben said...

I have also had luck with intermittent fasting combined with a low-carb regimen. Twice a week I skip breakfast and lunch, then have a normal dinner. I don't get too hungry, as long as keep low-carb the day before the fast.

I'll then carb-up for one meal a week. Pizza and beer!

This seems to have lowered my blood sugar all through the week (even the day after my carb-up), and eliminated the long stall I was experiencing with long-term ketosis. And, it's also reintroduced pizza and beer (once a week) to my diet!

Susanne said...

I am almost 53 years old and was starting to be afraid nothing was going to budge my number on the scale down, but I'm finally starting to lose again after a 9 month stall (at 240) after I lost an initial 25 pounds on my first run at a low carb diet.

I am having Atkins Advantage shakes for breakfast, lunch, and a snack, and then a low carb dinner (meat and vegetables). Plus 2 weeks ago I added 1000 mg of Metformin XR before bed. This new diet + meds has brought my FBS down to 108 and I'm starting to see a pound a week loss. This morning I was 234.5, a move in the right direction.

I think you're right though Jenny...calories do count. Fat intake does count. Exercise does count. I thought at first the low carb by itself would do everything for me, but that has not turned out to be true.

Jenny said...


Metformin counts too. It makes the difference for me between gaining and losing, and that is even without it doing much of anything for my blood sugar since I'm insulin sensitive.

I think that it because it blocks something the liver does that keeps it from putting down more fat.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Jenny,

I do think very high-fat diets (70+ percent of calories from fat) may lead to negative consequences in some people. Most people are probably better off with more carb than that if they can keep BG under control. But no one has shown (to my knowledge) in humans that animal fat leads to worse consequences than other fats in this context.

I think the intermittent fasting anecdotes are interesting, particularly what Ben said. It seems that there are a few pretty good natural tools for improving insulin sensitivity, including exercise, IF, eliminating wheat and sugar (and other problem foods such as dairy in some people), and reducing carbohydrate until blood glucose is under control.

ItsTheWooo said...

I’m convinced weight loss stalling not better explained by poor nutrition is usually related to relative/absolute leptin deficiency. The “stalling” is both a result of energy out (becoming fatigued as hell) as well as energy in (consciously and unconsciously eating more – having “bad days” more often and eating a lot more calories even on the “good days” of sticking to low carb faithfully).

The reason I know this is so is because leptin replacement has dramatically improved my energy levels (which were almost certainly impaired by low free t3 secondary to extreme weight-loss and LC eating). Weight loss and food restriction related thyroid problems should not be with symptomatic goiter; typical presentation is going to be low TSH with low free T3 and low or normal T4. It is hypothalamic, functional. Goitre will indicate problem with the thyroid itself, either deficient substrate or dysfunction of the gland (and the goiter, hypertrophy, is a sign of that). In weight/food decrease thyroidism, the gland goes to sleep and conversion of inactive thyroid hormone is silenced by decreased sympathetic nervous system output (secondary to low leptin, low insulin, low fatty acids and glucose in the blood).
Anecdotally, the reason I know it is a leptin thing and not a low carb thing is that the energy went skyward after getting leptin even though I still eat LC. If it were my diet of 40-60 carbs daily, why do I have energy for days… but if I stop taking leptin, sooner or later I become a ravenous beast with pitiful energy.

This may be a tomatoes tomatos thing because leptin suppression is perceived as starvation, so the issue is not fundamentally different, but rather it is an issue of identifying the major trigger (that is, which is the real trigger for starvation adaptation; is it carb restriction OR is it leptin suppression secondary to fatty acid efflux and low insulin?) It is irrelevant since in a natural physiology they go hand in hand, and weight loss success also tends to go hand in hand with carb restriction and excessive leptin reductions according to studies – you cannot separate relative weight loss, insulin/carb reduction, and leptin deficiency.

All I can say is, insulin may rule fattening, but leptin rules weight maintenance.

If medicine were as smart as me, it would start testing and treating this massive decrease in leptin which occurs after weight loss and dieting. At least in a specific segment of the dieting/obese population (people who KNOW what works and WANT to do it) this treatment is the difference between being miserable or fat vs being both happy content AND thin/energetic.

They already KNOW successful weight losers have sharp and extreme drops in leptin. For some reason they think this is a good thing. Somehow leptin, in obesity research, became bad. It’s insane. It started with the observation that fatty fat fats have very high leptin, and when they lose weight, the leptin comes down (trends toward decreasing). So somehow leptin being lower after weight loss became to be interpreted as a good thing, similar to insulin decreases and glucose decreases. Sure elevated leptin is a sign of metabolic disease, and symptomatic fat cell hypertrophy. Sure high leptin can cause problems when it is at the levels found in the obese and hyperinsulinemic. That doesn’t mean “low leptin is good” after weight loss! I mean, imagine if people in respiratory distress were known to manifest increased respirations; resolution of respiratory distress will correlate with a decrease in respiratory rate and effort, right? So it is good then that people have respiratory rates of 7/min? This is so when the subject is leptin. Stop confusing trends with causes. Reduction in a value may indicate improvement, but sometimes it also may be the body’s attempt at preventing what it perceives to be an imbalance. And guess what? That attempt works well.

ItsTheWooo said...

(part 2)

Here’s the facts.

The body’s anti starvation mechanisms are around “persevering its present fat stores”, that’s all. Sure there are points when the mechanism becomes totally freaked out (when starved markedly), but in general the mechanism kicks into effect whenever significant loss in body fat starts to occur… regardless of how unnaturally fat disease had made you. The body has no knowledge at ALL that obesity is possible, as our evolution occurred without obesity (excess accumulation of fat). As far as the body is concerned, any major loss of fat is bad news. And weight loss leads to low leptin. Low leptin leads to fat regain. Not losing weight keeps leptin high. Sucks.

It is also worth mentioning WOMEN are more vulnerable to this than men as testosterone replaces many physiological effects of leptin, whereas leptin and estrogen have a symbiotic nature (the presence of one augments the effect of the other, and creates dependency for it)… female physiology is highly dependant upon both esetrogen and leptin. This is why you more often see men who’ve lost tons of weight, eating no carbs and feeling fantastic, men don’t really need leptin other than in trace amounts really. Women evolved hypothalamic amenorrhea and are hypersensitive to perceiving/reacting to stress/starvation for a reason; growing a fetus can be fatal in the middle of famine or the suggestion of it. So women’s bodies capitalized on the leptin signal and grew vines around it. There is a reason thyroid problems and reproductive problems are very very common among women, especially women who diet.

For me, anyway, taking leptin has made me a normal thin person. It made me feel almost exactly the way I felt the first days of low carbing, when I was obese and overweight.
Sure I have to eat low carb to maintain that way, but my endocrine system works and I feel great. This is not the case when I don’t take leptin.

I really think the MAJORITY of people who regain weight after losing it successfully, even full well knowing what works and can’t seem to do it, are responding to that low leptin state.

If doctors started treating the leptin deficiency after weight loss, people would find it easy as hell to maintain their diets and feel great.

(sorry for the long posts, THIS IS A SUBJECT NEAR AND DEAR TO MAH HEART).

Jenny said...


Thanks for taking the time to write up an extremely important post!

Stargazey said...

Wooo, you've commented on this before and it makes sense. So, how does a maintainer get his/her doctor to prescribe leptin? said...

So can I drink lots of Slim-Fast Low-Carb Diet Creamy Chocolate shakes, with 190 calories, 20 grams protein, 6 grams carbs, 4 grams fiber, 9 grams fat?

Jenny said...

You drink such a shake and you are likely to lose weight--much of it in the form of muscle mass. You're also asking, long term for malnutrition from missing the micronutrients in food since the "nutrients" in the shake are merely a ground up vitamin pill (ingredients fresh from polluted CHinese factories. You also may increase inflammation drinking up the omega-6 rich canola oil (a product of genetically engineered rape seed.)

The shakes contain glycerine which will turn into glucose in the body of a person who is in ketosis but which isn't counted in the carb counts.

I am baffled at why anyone would put such a substance in their body. Here's the full ingredient list.

Water, Calcium Caseinate, Milk Protein Concentrate, Canola Oil, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Potassium Phosphate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Cellulose Gel, Glycerine, Maltodextrin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Soybean Lecithin, Guar Gum, Sucralose (A Nonnutritive Sweetener), Artificial Flavor, Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, and Citric Acid. Vitamins & Minerals: Magnesium Phosphate, Sodium Ascorbate, Calcium Phosphate, Vitamin E Acetate, Zinc Gluconate, Ferric Orthophosphate, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamin Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Sodium Molybdate, Potassium Iodide, Phylloquinone (Vitamin K1), Sodium Selenite, Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12) and Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3).

Killer of Sacred Cows said...

@renegadediabetic: I've found the same thing works for me - but my IF is from dinner to dinner. On IF days, I just don't eat breakfast or lunch (apart from my supplements). It hasn't failed me yet.

Anonymous said...

Stephan tends to look at things on a population level and tends to de-emphasise genetic factors, which may be a problem for specific individuals - or populations: some subpopulations ("races") tend to have higher levels of lactose or alcohol intolerance, for example. Then there are weird families like one side of mine, who have all the metabolic factors of "obesity" without being overweight - in fact some of the overweight ones tend to measure better than some of us skinnies.

That suggests a disconnect between insulin/resistance and leptin/resistance.

More leptin stuff

and thanks to ItsTheWooo also for adding to this information, IMO leptin and its effects on the rest of the endocrine system are still under study and will require several more years of research.

It's not uncommon for some people to find weight loss stalls are overcome by eliminating diary, for example. For others the key factor may be reducing saturated fats and replacing them with monounsaturates.

The "tweaks" necessary to break out of a stall may vary widely between individuals for these and probably other reasons.

The "big picture" of reducing carbs, eliminating wheat, reducing fructose and Omega 6s is now fairly well worked out but there's still a lot of devil in the detail and significant variation which requires attention to the feedback from BG meter, lipid panels etc. as well as from the scales.

ItsTheWooo said...

Re: Taking leptin...
Leptin is a protein, like insulin, it is an important hormone found in our bodies just like insulin, and just like insulin certain conditions can make us deficient in it. Extreme weight loss is one condition that can cause leptin deficiency and this is documented in research (people who have lost extreme amounts of weight tend to make far less leptin than weight/height/bfat matched controls). In spite of this, no one has yet figured out that leptin replacement makes quality of life and health of many people a whole lot better.
As of this point in time there is no way to get it, other than to be a billionaire and hire your own physician and buy it direct from the company like michael jackson or something heh. Either that, have a specific leptin-deficiency symptom that will qualify you as a lab rat in a study (e.g. hypothalamic amenorrhea in my case).

What really annoys me is in the study I am presently in, there is this trend on behalf of hte researchers to view the leptin as a drug, rather than a hormone replacement. That is, their mentality is "we are giving you something extra" rather than "we are giving you something you are missing". For example, if my weight goes down, they all freak out as if the "drug" is causing "weight loss". Um, no. More likely, having a working endocrine system is resulting in logical weight loss considering I eat a really spartan diet. The fact I wasn't losing weight BEFORE is the real problem, because the way I eat should make any normal healthy person lose weight (1600-1700 cals, <60 carbs, pretty high-moderate activity although no exercise).

I wouldn't hold my breath any time soon. The number of people who get it are very, very low. No one understands that leptin is the way by which the body maintains its weight, and insulin mediated obesity programs body so that this signal only functions when body fat is well above what is socially/scientifically considered typical body fat levels. Even the people who get it aren't pushing for leptin replacement, but they're trying to target a few of its effects on the brain that involve lower appetite (there goes the false bullshit belief that over eating is the major way people get fat - I can tell you that leptin really doesn't affect appetite THAT much, what it does do is make my endocrine system work so I am much more energetic and use energy for fuel like a healthy person... my appetite is most affected by menstrual cycle changes and not really by leptin actually... although it does have an effect on appetite it isn't as great as its ability to be a facilitator of endocrine function).

Rambling again. Sorry. It's annoying when you know what works for you, but it's certain as the sun sets that you can't have access to it. My well being is ten thousand times better since taking it. In a tiny dose.

ItsTheWooo said...

Oh and a counter point re: shakes. I eat atkins bars often, at least 2 or 3 a week, I don't drink shakes because I wasn't ever fond of milkshakes and drinking fat/thick things but when I do have a shake they are typically quite filling. I actually find atkins bars are one of the most filling, glucose balancing foods I can find (on par with say, monosaturated fats like pecans and macadamia nuts, peanuts, and the well known superfood eggs). On the other hand, the so called "natural low carb staples" like nasty muscle meats tend to make my sugar very unstable and I feel like crap. I will almost always feel like crap after eating meat, esp old meat, and I may or may not become ravenously hungry if I eat a lot.

I am quite thankful for atkins bars, I would probably weigh more without them. Note that only atkins bars seem to work... the ones with a majority of maltitol and such sweeteners are definitely problematic (e.g. EAS bars or thinkthin or southbeach).

I also would argue they are a lot more nutritious than some of the things low carbers consume like pork rinds, pepperoni, or oils and other rendered fats which are all fat calories with zero nutrients. At least bars contain vitamin pills and complete proteins. And the atkins bars use a blend of fats, not just canola oil.

And I am a big fan of vitamin pills, because stuff like inositol and recently I've discovered chromium GTF (not picolinate that did nothing) help me a whole lot with not just metabolism stuff but my depression issues too.

Just a counterpoint :)

Jenny said...


The Atkins bars are full of glycerine which converts into glucose in most people who are in ketogenic states. So the bars in reality contain a lot more effective carbohydrate than they claim. I saw huge blood sugars spikes when I tried them years ago and so have others who reported on this online.

I also am not crazy about the soy-based protein. My experiences in the past with soy protein is that it can cause severe mood problems. Plus there is the issue of how soy compounds can cause leaky gut syndrome and the resulting severe immune reactions to food proteins.

When I wanted bars in the past, I made my own, homemade, with whey protein and peanut butter.

Debbie Cusick said...

Interesting but rather depressing post for someone who would still like to lose at least 100 pounds! I'm sitting here hovering at about a 23% loss from my starting weight, stalled for about 4 months now more or less. The loss has done a lot to normalize blood sugars though. On a classic Atkins-like diet they didn't normalize quite as much as I would like.

But when I adopted macronutrient ratios more in line with Dr. Jan Kwasniewski's Optimimal Diet - much lower in protein (though still adequate amounts) that is usual with Atkins, and much higher in fat than I was consuming on Atkins, my numbers really dropped even further.

And I've actually lost 9 pounds on this change just now - though still too early to say if the stall has really broken.

Debbie Cusick said...

Oh I just wanted to speak up in defense of coconut oil too. I love coconut oil, have no financial interest in it - beyond shelling out money to buy it, LOL. And it has never caused me any sort of weight gain. I have some coconut oil every day including every day of the last few weeks when I have lost 9 pounds. :-)

Anonymous said...

I've noticed on some days my BG goes higher after my standard 15g or less carbs breakfast. The corollary is that my evening BG often doesn't increase unless I seriously overdo the carbs (eating out), so the slope of insulin resistance over the day has changed.

I don't yet have enough data but it may be coconut oil is to blame. The upside is that it is delicious and very filling/satiating, the downside *may* be increased IR the following morning. Research is continuing - for many people it is beneficial but for some the different fat profile appears to cause problems.