Ask SugarFree

Which new study about diets do you believe? What are good foods to eat? How does the latest diabetic medication compare with what’s already out there, and what potential pitfalls are there to using it? How can I find out if I’m insulin resistant or have PCOS? Is the latest study on Fill-In-The-Blank true? Should I follow that advice?

You’ve got good questions. Now you have a good place to ask them. Or, if you want to ask a question privately, there’s now a new contact form you can fill out just below.

Ask SugarFree is open to anyone. You ask; I’ll try to answer. :D Think of this page as the place to help wade through the Junk Science propagated through the medical journals and mainstream media on a daily basis.

For example: Want to know why we’re still a nation (and, increasingly, a world) of chronically ill, fat, insulin resistant people? Take a gander at the U.S. NEWS “Best Diets Overall” ranking. There are twenty-five recommended diets, most of which will ultimately create more adipose fat tissue while diminishing your overall health. The list contains the Atkins diet, which is then disparaged through a series of ignorant misstatements and a few outright lies. And it comes after the “Eco-Atkins” diet — a perverse misnomer that must have the good doctor rolling in his grave. It prescribes eating nothing but plants and plant fats. Like vegetable oils. Shudder. The average person however, will read this piece of junk (it doesn’t deserve the word science attached to it) and follow it as they follow the current food pyramid, with the same results: all bad.

Then there’s this recent horrific piece in the NY Times, on one teen’s stomach banding surgery. If the article itself isn’t enough to turn your own stomach, and make you want to be on the committee to ban the doctors cited in it from ever practicing medicine again, read the 369 comments.

This page is for you, Dear Reader, and I hope you will use it.

CONTACT SugarFree

 

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52 Responses to Ask SugarFree

  1. Trish Young says:

    SugarFree, I have been following you for the last three months, as my daughter Ariel is one of your Protocol Participants. She is doing so well. We have several similar issues, although I have one she doesn’t — Type 1 diabetes that I developed at the age of forty-five. I am now two months shy of sixty. By eating proteins, full fat and lots of veggies I have finally lost several pounds (I didn’t measure myself, though I am able to wear clothes one size smaller), but for the last three months while eating this way my blood sugars have been quite high. I wear an insulin pump, and up until I started eating like this I ate more carbs (mostly fruits, since I am also gluten intolerant) and my A1c was around 6. Now, eating fewer carbs, my blood sugars are higher.

    Unlike Ariel, I am eating three times a day, since I’m afraid to upset the carefully arranged settings on my pump for the background amounts of insulin. I live at the beach and walk my yellow lab at least once a day for nearly an hour, and on most days I also walk again or hike in the woods for at least an hour.

    I am now stuck. I’m not really losing weight. I feel fine and my sugars are a little better, but do you have any answers about:

    1) why my blood sugars got higher when I started eating very little carbs and full fat and
    2) is there a way to eat that will bring my blood sugars back to a reasonable range?

    I don’t know if you are working with any other Type 1 diabetics, but my doctor has always said that with tight blood sugar control comes the inability to lose weight, since insulin is a hormone that makes our bodies want to hold on to fat.

    I will be very interested in hearing your response.

    Thanks for all you are doing. You make an enormous difference for so many people.

    Sincerely,

    (Ariel’s Mom) Trish

    • Trish, what a pleasure to welcome Ariel’s mom to the blog — it’s a pleasure to ‘meet’ you. :)

      Although I need to speak with you to get a better sense of what you’re eating, and your blood test results (so look for a private email from me), I can say, in general:

      1. You wear a pump, which is programmed to handle insulin needs. Fruits are the worst things for any diabetic to eat, because they require a lot of insulin to process. The more insulin you need, the less likely it is that you will be able to get rid of excess adipose fat.

      2. You eat three meals a day, which is the worst way for diabetics to eat. Every single time you eat a meal — regardless of the nutrients in that meal — you require insulin. What your doctor meant by getting ‘tight blood sugar control’ was that you should eat in a way that raises the least possible amount of insulin, the least number of times a day. That means two meals are better than three, and one meal is even better than that, when possible. Yes, you’ll need to get your pump re-programmed, but the health benefits will be worth it. Which brings us to:

      3. Why eating fewer carbs has raised your blood sugars. Without knowing your pump or its accuracy, and without knowing exactly what foods you ate when, I can only guess that eating fruit caused a wash of insulin that kept sugars low, and the better foods you’re eating now are showing your truer reaction to carbs. As a diabetic, you are extremely carb-sensitive. In fact, I would say allergic to them. There are definitely certain foods that, eaten in the right combination, and at the right time of day, will not only keep your need for insulin low, and not only lower your blood sugars, it will improve your general health and your diabetes immeasurably. We can discuss that in detail when we speak, and I learn more of your particular details.

      Hope this has helped!

      SugarFree

  2. Caitlin Murphy says:

    Hello!

    I have been following you for quite some time but don’t know where to start. Would it be possible to become a participant? I think I am finally ready to correct my body and take control in a real way, and yes, I’m a former HCG’er. Your website is the first and only one on the inner workings of dieting and health that really makes sense. You are doing great work!

    Caitlin

  3. Susan says:

    There are so many diets and Way-Of-Living plans that have conflicting information. Sometimes I think they just dumb down the information for mass consumption, and it ends up being dumbed down to the point of being incorrect. For example, The Paleo Diet says to avoid dairy because it has a high insulin response. The Primal Blueprint says full fat dairy (cream, butter, etc.) does not cause a high insulin response, but low fat and skim dairy does. I’ve corroborated the latter with other research.

    You might have stated it clearly somewhere and I missed it, but I’ve gleaned from comments on your blog that the latter is why a full fat dairy source is acceptable for some added fats. Since the focus of what you are doing here is related to hormonal balance and Insulin Resistance, can you comment on your guidelines for the use of dairy as a fat source?

    Susan

    • Susan,

      It’s not that dairy has a ‘high’ or ‘low’ or ‘medium’ insulin response. It’s that each person’s metabolism is broken in a particularly unique way, and thus, consumption of any food depends on that person’s level of insulin resistance, how much fat (which helps to delay glucose conversion in the bloodstream) to carbohydrate ratio a food has, the amount of it eaten, and even how often per day or at what time of day it’s eaten. The metabolism is that complex. Theories that attempt to ‘dumb down’ as you say, in order to fit ‘everyone’ — end up fitting no one.

      I eat a lot of full-fat dairy, because I am more or less on permanent Maintenance now. I go through about a pound of 83% butter a week and about a quart of 40% cream a week. I eat cream cheese, soft cheeses, sour cream, Greek yogurt, etc. too. Never slowed my weight loss down a jot, nor does eating all that fat and calories increase my fat stores by even one inch.

      On the other hand, I don’t eat any sugar. I don’t drink full fat milk or eat regular yogurt because the whey that is in those (removed when making cream and then butter, or Greek yogurt) contains almost all the sugars in those foods. I do eat my full fat dairy with starch carbs (like bread or potato or pasta) since that slows down their conversion from carbohydrate to glucose, which means that my pancreas only needs to squirt out little amounts of insulin over many hours, instead of spiking to handle a sudden load of glucose.

      Some people mistakenly believe that getting blood sugars into the normal range means that they are ‘cured’ or no longer insulin resistant. That is not so. It is the first step, but only the first step. The second, equally important step is to stabilize blood sugars, so that they never go up or down by very much. My fasting sugars are the same just about every day. My 1-hr PP goes up of course, but not by much, and then quickly drops down close to my fasting level. I stay there in between meals and at night, too. That stabilization — the steadiness of those sugars — means my body has now achieved tight control of them, which is true normal.

      SugarFree

  4. Desert Girl says:

    You said in November, ” Dr. Kruse’s idiotic “Leptin Reset”, but didn’t go into it.
    What’s wrong with it?

    • Desert Girl, thank you for the reminder that I really need to finish and post my Leptin Thread. I hope to be able to get to it this weekend. But the quick answer to “what’s wrong with it” (‘it’ being Dr. Kruse’s so-called Leptin Reset) is that it doesn’t exist. That’s because there’s no way to “reset” leptin, any more than one can “reset” the hypothalamus, as Dr. Simeons claimed.

      Nor is there any way of using food of any kind, eaten whenever, to fix a problem at the blood-brain barrier cellular level.

      After reading Dr. Kruse’s theories about leptin, all I can say (and will hope to prove in my post) is that he seems to have confused leptin resistance with insulin resistance. In fact, if you substitute the words “insulin resistance” everywhere he talks about leptin resistance, his theory makes some sense — though as you know from reading this blog, you don’t heal insulin resistance by requiring people to eat 50 grams of protein within thirty minutes of waking. And in fact, if your particular flavor of insulin resistance is PCOS, eating enormous amounts of protein like that will only make things worse because of the runaway gluconeogenesis (glucose created from protein) it tends to engender in those women.

      I’ll let my readers judge Kruse’s ideas for themselves after they read my post, which will explain what leptin really is, how it operates, how it signals the brain, what happens when that signaling breaks down (and why, and in what part of the body), and even how to fix it. Since Kruse does not require anyone to take a simple leptin test before and after following his advice to see if his theory is correct, he has absolutely no way to know if someone is leptin resistant to begin with (and no, “mirrors” can’t tell you), or if his advice has in fact started leptin signaling again. Weight loss after following his advice is a natural result for most folks, since they are over-fat and therefore by definition insulin resistant to begin with. His advice to lower carbs and eliminate sugar will help — to a degree, and for a while — with that. But that loss has absolutely nothing to do with restoring leptin signaling.

      I hope this brief response will hold you for a while. :)

      SugarFree

      • Desert Girl says:

        I don’t know if you’ve read his Post Leptin Blog (http://jackkruse.com/so-you-completed-the-leptin-rx-what-is-next/), but he finally explained the theory behind the leptin reset. He uses a large breakfast to stimulate the vagus nerve in the abdomen, which confuses the brain. That forces the body to go back to a primitive way of accounting for calories, which we all used in utero and up to 1 to 2 years of age, before our leptin receptor was functioning.

        I’m looking forward to your post about this.

        • Desert Girl,

          I did read that post. It doesn’t “explain” anything, though there sure are a whole bunch of fancy words on the page. His personal pet theory I guess, since he never actually discusses the pathways for leptin. I suppose when you’ve got dozens and dozens of posts telling people what they need to do to “reset” their leptin, eventually you need to come up with something that sort of says why.

          His bibliography at the end of the post tells the entire story. There’s not a single study on leptin signaling. Not one. In other words, though I’m willing to grant that a large breakfast may in fact “stimulate the vagus nerve in the abdomen” — for whatever that’s worth, which isn’t much — he never says, shows, explains or even cites anything that proves it changes a single thing in leptin signaling. Which, if you’re discussing broken leptin signaling, is the only thing that matters. All he talks about is somehow changing the character of leptin itself, which may or may not be true, but which is immaterial to the problem. When your leptin signaling is broken, it means that however new, improved and gorgeous you leptin may be, it is pooling in the blood and never reaching the hypothalamus at all — because it can no longer cross the blood-brain barrier!

          That this “theory” is nonsense (where are his random, controlled, double-blind tests proving this is fact, not theory?) is easy to prove. Take a leptin test so you know your starting level. Eat 50 grams of protein within thirty minutes of waking. Make no other changes but this big breakfast, not exercising if you weren’t, eating as you always have (besides breakfast, because his theory only talks about the miracle of that big breakfast) for a month. Take another leptin test. If signaling has been restored, and your leptin is no longer pooling in your blood (your leptin level will drop to a statistically significant degree, say by 20% or more) — Voila! Kruse is correct. Since I know that isn’t how signaling is restored, I also know that. won’t. happen.

          SugarFree

          • Kris says:

            SugarFree, just wanted to offer you some affirmation! My brilliant eating disorder/sports med doc told me today that Jack Kruse is way off base. My doctor is passionate about leptin resistance and knows her stuff. She says his approach is backwards and that he does not understand leptin resistance.

            Kris

  5. Lisa says:

    Hi, SugarFree — I came across this article and wondered what you think about the use of progesterone for PCOS?
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/01/02/pcos.aspx

    • Lisa, I looked at it. The first clue to ‘beware’ was the date of the article: 1999. A whole lot of knowledge about treating women with hormones has been discovered by then.

      The more salient point is that the author lumps infertility issues caused by ovarian cysts in with insulin resistance, which means that only young women who have trouble getting pregnant or irregular periods can, by definition, PCOS. Which is precisely what your doctor believes, no?

      You may have no cysts on your ovaries (I never did), be regular as clockwork (you could set a clock by mine), never have a fat issue most of your life — yet still develop the insulin resistant form of PCOS at any time. And if insulin is the problem, why on earth would progesterone be the solution?

  6. Paige says:

    Hi, SugarFree-

    I was a vegetarian for over four years before I started gaining weight. I drank soy, rice and pea protein shakes everyday, sometimes twice a day. That was usually my only protein source for the day. The rest of my meals were “healthy” carbohydrates. Oh, and the fat intake was super low. My weight only fluctuated a few pounds during that time, so it seemed to be an okay way to eat. Was that basically setting myself up for insulin resistance?

    • Unfortunately, yes. Although not every vegetarian becomes insulin resistant, the human body was never meant to consume so much sugar (to the body, rice and ‘healthy’ carbs are all glucose. Some carbs convert quickly, some slowly, but they all turn to sugar in the end). On the other hand, the human body did evolve to eat animal fat and lots of it. It’s like a car engine that’s meant to run on gasoline. You can pour 100% whole grain flour into the gas tank, but the car isn’t going to get you where you want to go. You’ve provided the wrong fuel. No different for humans. Although we’re Omnivores and can eat just about anything that doesn’t eat us first, there are some foods, vitamins and minerals that we must eat — or our engines eventually break down. And animal fat and protein are the top two requirements overall.

      SugarFree

  7. Helen Dankowska says:

    SugarFree, you wrote that the whey from yogurt from milk contains the carbs. I thought that the lacto bacteria consumed all of the lactose in milk and created the tangy taste?

    Thanks,
    Helen

    • Helen, that’s a common misconception. It’s the whey itself that tastes tangy, and is which contains most of the carbs in yogurt. The lacto bacteria does consume a tiny amount of the sugars, but very little. This is why Greek Yogurt contains far fewer carbs cup for cup than regular yogurt that still has all the whey. You can check this out in your supermarket.

      This is why Greek Yogurt is naturally much sweeter than regular yogurt. Remove the whey, remove a lot of the tang. It’s why so many people love eating Greek Yogurt these days.

      SugarFree

  8. Kelly says:

    I am very interested in receiving more information about your Protocol. I did three rounds of HHCG last year and I lost 55 pounds, and got down to 130. I was extremely thin but very unhealthy…and miserable. I struggled through P3 and never “stabilized.” I was obsessed with my diet and the scale and headed straight into depression. I just gave up and very very quickly regained all of the weight plus more. I am a motivated person, but I feel defeated after this weight gain failure. I would love more information about your plan please. Thanks!

    Kelly

    • Kelly, I’m so sorry to hear about your depression and self-blame. You did not gain all the initial extra weight because of any personal failure, and you did not regain the weight because of personal failure. You gained weight to begin with because your metabolic hormonal fat signaling broke. No one’s to blame when a green traffic light fails, right? It just fails.

      The goal should be to fix the root cause, not to bludgeon your body into no longer showing the symptoms of the root cause (the overweight), so that you can eat like a normal person for the rest of your life and regain neither pounds nor inches. That’s what the Protocol does.

      I’m happy to help you reach that goal — look for a private email from me soon.

      SugarFree

      • Helen says:

        SugarFree – In your reply to Kelly, above, you mention that she’d be able to eat like a normal person for the rest of her life. Just wondering what normal means.

        ======================

        Helen, I’m always happy to help. Please re-post your entire comment using a working email address. No one will see it but me.

        SugarFree

  9. Nickie says:

    SugarFree,

    I have been following your blog since you started posting. I did HCG, and near the end of my first (and only) round I started following your messages on the forum. It was literally life changing for me, although I still have a long way to go. I read your recommended reading list, and as a result although I had already given up sugar, I gave up wheat as well, and started using only natural, saturated fats and olive oil.

    I had never heard of PCOS before, but I suspect I may have it, based on the symptoms and what you’ve written about it. I am scheduled for a yearly checkup with my OB/GYN next month. Are there any special tests I need to ask her to do? I have researched on the web and found very contradictory advice from women with PCOS. Some think raw vegan is the way to go, others have done the Paleo diet. My brain is so fuzzy it is really hard to think it all through. I have been eating 1000-1600 calories per day of less than 50 grams of carbs, paleo style, but I have not lost weight and have indeed steadily gained most of what I lost with HCG. I am tired, moody, fat, and miserable.

    Nickie

    • Nickie,

      No need to stay miserable, I promise. You may well have the insulin resistant form of PCOS, which an OB/GYN is not likely to understand well, since they deal mainly with the infertility/ovarian cysts type of PCOS. Luckily, some simple blood tests can show whether or not you are insulin resistant and if so, what type you have.

      Please look for a private email from me. Help is on the way! :)

      SugarFree

  10. skinnybreachAline says:

    SugarFree, I had consistent readings of over 7 on my A1c, with fasting blood glucose of above 120 and post prandials well above 140. I reported my readings to my doctor who is a huge advocate of the Hcg diet. He wrote me back with the following ‘clarification’ and I quote:

    ”Firstly, a hemoglobin A1c is the farthest thing from a reliable indicator of blood glucose levels.”


    [Response: This is correct, which is why doctors should never rely on just that one test alone, and instead should order that, plus FASTING INSULIN (the Yin to Glucose's Yang) as well as a Glucose Load Test. Having said that however, any doctor who is an 'advocate' of HCG is usually selling it, and should know that it is biologically impossible to do anything but give the taker extra fat cells and usually a whopping good case of hyperinsulinemia and thyroid hormone resistance. In other words, any doctor that sells HCG is someone whose license to practice medicine should be revoked.]

    “The idea that thyroid diseases were not well known in Dr. Simeons’ time is complete fallacy. Hyperthyroidism, a disease in which the thyroid gland is stimulated to produce excessive thyroid hormone, can be slightly affected by any HCG diet. However, unless receiving a prescription form of HCG containing undiluted, high concentrations of the hormone, diets involving ‘remnants’ of HCG will NOT affect thyroid function enough to cause associated symptomatology.”


    [Response: This is what is known as a "Straw Man" argument. First say something that might be factually true, but beside the point: Simeons knew about thyroid disease. Might be true, might not, but who cares?

    Next, deny an accusation no one made: "HCG will not affect the thyroid gland very much." Well, maybe it will, maybe it won't; no one has done any random, controlled, double-blind studies to prove that one way or the other.

    Again, it's entirely beside the point. What has been studied and proven as FACT for at least a century is this: Extended severe caloric deprivation WILL result in the specific form of Hypothyroidism known as Thyroid Hormone Resistance due to the body going into "survival mode" and shutting down the metabolism in order to prolong survival. It does this not by doing anything at all to the thyroid gland. Instead the brain orders the liver to take incoming T4 (which goes from the gland to the liver, where most thyroid hormones are made) and instead of making the metabolically active T3 from it, to make the metabolically inert Reverse T3 from it. So no matter how little you eat at that point, it is converted to fat and stored instead of being burned. The body thinks it's starving, and wants to hang on to fat -- so necessary for every organ and hormone in our bodies -- for dear life. It can and will burn lean muscle mass instead. So you lose "weight" which is mostly lean muscle mass, then eat normally again after the 'diet' -- and regain the weight as all fat this time. A horrendous, downward spiral.]

    I was DENIED Metformin with the above argument. Plus now I have to either embark on HCG or exercise vigorously and eat a low fat/calorie diet.

    [Response: Really? Is someone going to kidnap you and force you into either option? :) Seriously, though -- you have all the power. You can refuse to take HCG (and I sincerely hope you do since it will do nothing but make your insulin resistance worse). You can refuse to eat a low fat/calorie diet. You can explore other options for obtaining Metformin, though it will only work well with the right way of eating for YOUR particular flavor of insulin resistance. And at the very least you can fire that bullying, patronizing, condescending and arrogant ass of a doctor and find one who will treat you like a human being instead of a collection of numbers. You GO, girl!]

    SugarFree

  11. oneflusteredmom says:

    SugarFree, I have just discovered your site and want to participate! I have tried EVERYTHING! Since losing weight with HCG in 2010, I’ve gained it all back PLUS 40 pounds. I haven’t even been able to drop weight on Atkins induction. How can I get started? Thanks!

    • I’m glad you found us. If you haven’t been able to lose any weight on Atkins induction, you very likely have the Insulin Resistant form of PCOS — itself one of the symptoms I call Metabolic Syndrome XX — which Atkins only makes worse. The often high protein turns to glucose, which your “lazy insulin” (another symptom of Metabolic Syndrome XX) cannot handle properly. Our Protocol works to reverse MSXX and get your metabolism back to normal again.

      Please look for an email from me shortly.

      SugarFree

      • Sarah Fuentes says:

        SugarFree,

        I would love to get more information on your Protocol! I too have PCOS and am so tired of hearing doctors tell me the only way I’ll lose weight is if I eat better and exercise! I have tried everything, including HCG, which after reading your information today I decided today would be the end of that! I am so tired of trying to figure out what would work best for me. I’ve looked but haven’t found anything until I read your posts, and they give me hope that maybe there is a light at the end of this long long tunnel I’m stuck in! Thank you so much for all the research and information you have given your readers. Please let me know how I can started down the path I need to be going.

        • Sarah,

          I’m so sorry you’ve been given the medical run-around. Please remember that doctors have spent all of ten minutes in medical school on diabetes, maybe a minute or two on obesity, and zero time on nutrition and PCOS. It’s not that they don’t want to help, it’s just that they know next to nothing about these issues. And what they think they know is, with few exceptions, completely wrong.

          If I were Doctor Phil, I’d gather up all the information doctors give American patients daily on this issue, information patients have faithfully followed for decades, and I’d say to the country at large: So how’s that been working for you? :D

          But of course there is a light at the end of the tunnel, as you know from reading the Protocol Participants journals. Please look for an email from me shortly about how to join us.

          SugarFree

  12. Shanna says:

    Hi SugarFree,

    I decided to follow the hcg diet after being evaluated by a doctor and seeing how well it worked for my mom, but after reading your blog and some journal articles I’m starting to regret it. Yes, I am losing weight, but I don’t want to damage my body! Would you share your protocol guidelines with me? I have sixty pounds to lose, but I want to do it safely.

    Thank you,

    Shanna

    • Shanna,

      The problem with the HCG diet is that (among other things) you may well lose weight (though that’s the starvation level calories, NOT the HCG!) but you’re losing lean muscle mass, not adipose fat. The only way to lose adipose fat safely is the fix the problem that gave you the fat to begin with: insulin resistance. No HCG or starvation required! :)

      Look for an email from me shortly about becoming a Protocol Participant.

      SugarFree

  13. Judy says:

    SugarFree,

    After eight years of gaining weight and hardly ever being able to lose any I thought I had finally found the answer. I went to a Thyroid Specialist and I discovered I am hypothyroid and leptin resistant. He put me on pure T3, HGH and Victoza to help lower my leptin resistance, but I’ve only lost five pounds in sixteen days. I thought I would have faster results so did some research and discovered your blog in the process.

    The Specialist said to stay the course and I will start losing weight. He hasn’t mentioned the insulin resistance which makes me wonder if he knows much about it. I don’t know who to trust except I know the HCG diet did not help me lose weight and now I’m even heavier around the waist just as you described. I’ve had all my blood work done. Could you help me figure out if I could do your Protocol while also on the Victoza, etc? I never found the actual Protocol — where is it?

    Thanks,

    Judy

    • Dear Judy,

      I’m glad you found the blog. You have a lot going on with your health right now, so let me try to break it down into manageable pieces.

      1. It is impossible to gain excess fat without first becoming insulin resistant. Extreme insulin resistance, such as the kind found in Type 2 Diabetics, can cause Hypothyroidism. If you have excess fat, and it seems that you do, then you are by definition insulin resistant.

      2. It sounds like you also are a Type 2 Diabetic, because your doctor put you on Victoza, which treats diabetes, not hypothyroidism! What was your A1c, and what was your fasting insulin level? How often per day do you check your blood sugars on a meter, and what are the results?

      Victoza is the brand name for Liraglutide, which is an incretin mimetic. Incretin mimetics act like incretin hormones such as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). They bind to GLP-1 receptors and stimulate glucose dependent insulin release, acting as antihyperglycemics. Incretin mimetics also suppress appetite and inhibit glucagon secretion. They slow gastric emptying and as a result prevent steep rise in post-prandial blood glucose levels. Incretin mimetics are only used to treat type 2 diabetes.

      Victoza basically increases the insulin your pancreas makes, which isn’t always a good thing, especially if you are already hyperinsulinemic — which most HCG users become. This is why your fasting insulin level is so crucial. True normal is 4 or less. Also, there is some suspicion about incretin mimetic’s causing higher than normal rates of cancer, particularly pancreatic cancer, and there is now an ongoing clinical trial to find out if this is the case. It will conclude in about ten years or so.

      3. It didn’t take your metabolism sixteen days to break down (in terms of metabolic hormonal signaling) and it won’t take sixteen days — or sixteen weeks — to fix it. Plan on a year or two.

      4. Victoza will not fix your root problem — insulin resistance. Only a change in diet will do that. As for my Protocol, yes, that is one way, and usually drugs are not required. If they are, after several months of dietary change, metformin is all that’s required. And unlike Victoza, which is costing you $3,384 out of pocket per year, a prescription of metformin will cost you $120 per year and be just as efficient. And, in my opinion, safer, because metformin does not raise insulin levels!

      Metformin works by making low levels of insulin (which is what you want for a truly healthy metabolism) work more efficiently, and by preventing the enzyme needed for gluconeogenesis (creating glucose from protein; a common problem for women with PCOS) from rising. It is also completely safe and non-toxic, even at high doses and even over extended periods of time. When you eat a diet that does not raise much insulin, Metformin insures that the smaller amount of insulin your pancreas produces does the job of keeping blood sugars in check, thus sparing your pancreas from burn-out. In other words, this is how the metabolism of a healthy person works.

      Finally, Victoza acts as an appetite suppressant, causing you to eat less. This is the opposite of a good thing. Low calories over an extended period of time cause the brain to go into starvation mode, which shuts down the metabolism, usually via hypothyroidism. This is one of the reasons insulin resistant folks become hypothryroid to begin with: as they gain weight they diet, which makes everything much worse. This is why my Protocol has low calories only for the first two weeks, followed by a month or so of eating a very high fat, high calorie diet. This reassures the brain that the body is not starving, making it all the more willing to let go of excess fat. Furthermore, the fat you eat when on Protocol helps lower blood sugars by slowing down the conversion of carbohydrates to glucose.

      5. Victoza does not treat leptin resistance. Neither does T3. Leptin Resistance is caused by leptin pooling in the bloodstream because the protein that helps it fold into the correct 3-dimensional shape so it can cross the blood-brain barrier and reach the hypothalamus — the endoplasmic reticulum — is “stressed.”

      In other words, true leptin resistance is a problem at the deepest cellular level, and neither diet nor those two drugs can fix it. Nor is it likely that you are truly leptin resistant, unless your leptin level is in the hundreds. A higher than normal leptin level (10 or under) under 100 simply means you have a lot of excess adipose fat. Lose that (by becoming more insulin sensitive, which IS controlled by diet) and your leptin levels will drop. Achieve true normal fat levels, and your leptin level should become normal as well. If not, there is a drug that will restore leptin signaling, which I will write about in a separate thread — but it is not necessary in 95% of cases.

      6. I’m not sure what you mean by “I’ve never found your Protocol” since I’ve written about it extensively in many threads on this blog, and the Protocol Participant journals are all public. I suggest you go to the archives and start reading all the posts from the beginning, and follow the links where given (especially in the Welcome To My World thread) to view the videos and read the material.

      I hope this answers all your questions!

      SugarFree

  14. Karissa says:

    Hi SugarFree,

    I have been glued to your blog this afternoon, trying to absorb as much information as possible. I began the HCG protocol today and am beginning to believe it is a mistake. I have battled weight issues my whole life. I followed the South Beach Diet religiously in the year leading up to my wedding, but stalled out about ten pounds to my goal. Six years and two children later, I am now forty pounds overweight and miserable. I feel broken somehow, like my body is incapable of releasing the excess weight. I have failed at numerous diets: Atkins, raw food, eat for life, carb addict, u weight loss, to name a few. I have put my life on hold, ashamed of my body, of my perceived “lack of self-control”. Please help me.

    Karissa

    • Karissa,

      I’m glad we talked yesterday, and that you dumped the rest of your HCG down the drain. As I said then, and will repeat here, there is nothing wrong with your self-control. What’s broken is your metabolic hormonal signaling, not your morals or character. Fix the signaling your brain needs to see you as you are now, and the fat that your body is “incapable of releasing” will be let go. Your brain is only keeping that fat now because you have essentially been starving yourself for years, and when the body starves, it holds on to every molecule of fat so it can keep you alive one more day. It might be difficult for you to do a 180 degree turn from the way you’re currently eating (extremely low fat and low calorie) to a high fat, high calorie diet, but that’s what is required to start the metabolic healing process. Your body will thank you. :)

      SugarFree

  15. Therese says:

    Hi SugarFree,

    I’ve done several rounds of HCG. I lose weight but it always comes back so I keep doing more rounds. The first round was a breeze and I was 100% compliant with the P&I regimen, but each subsequent round was more and more challenging and I would often feel hungry and cheat. I’ve always had the nagging feeling that there’s something “off” about HCG, and your blog is a revelation. I’ve been up all night reading about your Protocol.

    I’m actually halfway through a 40-day course of HCG, but after reading about your Protocol and the excellent results people are getting I want to stop taking the HCG and do the SugarFree Protocol instead. I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last year. I stopped taking my Byetta and Metformin because my blood glucose levels were lower after losing ten pounds this round (about 100 fasting and PP whereas they were were in the 200+ range previously). But I suspect that I jumped the gun and my blood tests will not be as favorable as I’d like. Can I have the metabolic blood testing done right away, or do I have to wait until the HCG leaves my body? If so, how long will that take? When can I start the Protocol? I would appreciate your assistance in getting started.

    I’ve been dieting all my life (I’m 41 and was on my first diet at age 10), and I was just about resigned to being fat forever. But now I am excited and have hope that I can lose the weight permanently and regain my good health. Thank you for your research and experiments and for sharing your knowledge with all of us!

    Many MANY thanks,
    Therese

    • Therese, I’m so very glad you found this blog. You’ve raised several important issues, which I will try to address.

      1. Stop the HCG NOW. Toss the rest of it away today, and never take it again. This is especially crucial for a diabetic, and your better glucose readings may not be as good as you think they are. I’ve reviewed well over one hundred blood test results from women who’ve taken HCG, and the result in every case is so similar I can say without hesitation that there is a clear pattern that develops. In every single case there is not just insulin resistance, the thing that makes us fat to begin with (and it seems that yours began early), but hyperinsulemia, a particular flavor of diabetes. This is where blood sugar control is so bad, the pancreas pumps out more and more insulin, hoping that eventually it will be sufficient to get muscle cells to take it in, thus lowering blood sugars to non-toxic levels. But of course, the definition of insulin resistance means that muscle cells can no longer ‘hear’ insulin’s message.

      When this happens, insulin in the blood stream gets out of control. In the beginning, it artificially lowers blood sugars, so things appear to be better, but in fact your pancreas is burning out, and your triglyceride level is rising, putting you at greater risk for heart disease. Your numbers look better, but your diabetes is actually getting worse.

      The second part to this pattern of former HCG takers is the Hypothyroidism (in the form of Thyroid Hormone Resistance) that occurs whenever the human body experiences very low levels of calories (or carbs) over an extended period. So it’s a double whammy. The metabolism completely shuts down, which means weight gain. The sufferer lowers calories still further, and the metabolism gets worse. This is a very high price to pay for pound loss, and yet no one ever needs to pay it. Simply deal with the root cause of excess adipose fat — insulin resistance — and the pounds and inches will melt away.

      2. The reason the HCG ‘diet’ worked well for you in the beginning, but less so with later tries — is directly tied to why you (and 99% of everyone else who diets, no matter what kind of diet it is) always regained the weight, and then some.

      When you first tried HCG, you were insulin resistant, but probably only mildly, in fairly good health, and not yet diabetic. The HCG did nothing whatsoever except to give you additional fat cells, which it makes from proto-fat cells. However, the starvation diet caused you to lose lean muscle mass, as your metabolism shut down and your body began to conserve fat. But it is your lean muscle mass that needs and burns most of the calories you eat!

      So you lost ‘weight’ but not much fat. And, you now had more fat cells to fill. As soon as you started eating normally again, the brain, remembering how long you were in ‘starvation mode’, wasn’t eager to let fat go and you no longer had as much lean muscle mass to burn the calories. Thus, you regained weight but this time it was all fat.

      Then you dieted again. Lost even more muscle mass while retaining even more fat. Then normal eating, fewer muscles now to consume those calories, and thus more fat accumulation. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. A horrible downward spiral, and one I see in each and every HCG taker! If not sooner, then later.

      You can have the metabolic blood tests one week after your last dose of HCG, just to make sure there are no lingering effects that will hamper the test results.

      Best wishes,

      SugarFree

  16. Cardsblossom says:

    Hello, SugarFree,

    I have been very interested in your research and work for about a year now. You are an excellent writer! During this year I have lost and gained the same 25 pounds twice. Once with HCG and once with exercise and mostly a non-carb diet. A lot of stress (I started a new company) put the weight back on most recently. I am pre-menopausal and have been hypothyroid for decades. I take Amour 60 mg, and 50 mcg Liothyronine (T3) twice a day. I have a very low body temperature. I’m 52, 5’7″ and weigh 234. I know my weight will not come off permanently until I get my body chemistry figured out. I am going to my doctor on Tuesday; she is great and I would like to get the tests done you suggest and learn more about your protocol. I work out of the home so cooking is no problem for me.

    • Cheryl,

      Thanks for your kind words. :)

      A few things jump out at me from your comment. First, stress — even the stress of starting a new company (for which, congratulations! It’s always great to meet women entrepreneurs) — will not put 234 pounds on a 5’7″ frame. To do that, you must first be severely insulin resistant and, since you’ve taken HCG, are very likely hyperinsulinemic as well. Second, a “non-carb” diet all by itself, if done for more than a few weeks, will cause hypothyroidism, particularly thyroid hormone resistance in the form of massive Reverse T3 build-up. Third, if you do have thyroid hormone resistance (and I can’t imagine any other reason for taking T3 as you are), Armour is making it worse, since Reverse T3 is created by T4, and Armour contains a great deal of extra T4! And finally, given your low temperature, I suspect you may have Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, in which case the way you are taking the T3 (and the amount) is problematic, and instead of solving the problem, will only keep you dependent on the drug.

      Depending on your response to other questions, I may have other blood tests to suggest you request from your doctor. Look for a private email from me shortly.

      SugarFree

  17. Mark says:

    Dear SugarFree,

    Thank you so much for this site. While I do not seem to be a typical reader (I am a thin male), I have found a wealth of useful information. My health collapsed a year ago, and many of the issues that you focus on here appear to be centrally involved.

    Eliminating carbs saved me, stabilizing my blood sugar and improving my overall situation tremendously. Unfortunately, since then, my thyroid function has deteriorated further — exactly as you predict — and with this my cholesterol has skyrocketed.

    I am now caught in a bind: it seems that I need to increase carbs for the sake of thyroid function, but whenever I try to add a tiny amount — with plenty of fat, of course — I lose blood sugar control.

    Other than trying to start even smaller and go even slower, I am not sure what to do. Any tips would be most welcome!

    (I have run the leptin panel, and from what I can tell, thyroid function — specifically conversion of T4 to T3 — is the most glaring problem.)

    Thank you again for the invaluable help you provide here.

    Mark

    • SugarFree says:

      Mark, thank you for your kind words. :) It does appear however, that you have run into the problem seen on so many low carb, paleo and zero carb forums: a belief that the only way to control insulin resistance is to virtually eliminate all non-vegetable sources of carbohydrates. And in some cases, to eliminate the veggies, too!

      But as you’ve now seen for yourself, total elimination of carbohydrates in the form of starches that convert primarily to glucose brings on a whole host of other problems. The confusion, I believe, lies with the proposition stated on all these forums: unlike fat or protein, there is no ‘essential’ carbohydrate. And in terms of survival, this is true. You can live for decades without ever eating a vegetable or a fruit. Many people in other parts of the world – like the Inuit – have done so for tens of thousands of years. But in addition to the fat, they eat parts of sea animals that provide full thyroid and adrenal function, parts either not available to us, or which we do not generally eat.

      So surviving on zero carbs is possible, just as these forums state but, I maintain there is a difference between surviving and thriving. Other human processes (and thyroid hormone function is only one) do best with some starch (and even a bit of fruit) carbohydrates, roughly 70 – 100 grams per day once full metabolic health is achieved. Wolfgang Lutz wrote about that thirty years ago. Jan Kwasniewski talked about it decades ago. I’ve been saying it for years, and have been banned from several “High Fat/Low Carb” forums for daring to write about it, though it appears medical science (See: Perfect Diet) is catching up to me. The secret lies in first fixing the root cause of the problem, Insulin Resistance, not in simply refusing to eat the foods that cause the adverse reactions. That’s because, as you’ve seen yourself, doing so not only makes insulin resistance worse in some ways, it causes a whole host of other problems, including increased susceptibility to Candida and fungal infections.

      And as you also know, you don’t have to be fat to be Insulin Resistant! Look for a private email from me to discuss your particular problem in more depth, and please know that it is possible to become insulin sensitive enough to eat the carbohydrates that will help to support your thyroid hormones. :)

      SugarFree

  18. Chris says:

    Obesity and how to cure it nicely explained. Truly impressive and nice information. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Debbie says:

    Hi, SugarFree. I have tried every diet possible including several rounds of HCG. Only the first round actually worked. But I ended up gaining most of it back. I am quite active. exercise every day and eat very healthy. The weight just will not come off. I am sure I have damaged my metabolism through years of dieting. I’m contacting you because my Doctor read your blog and Participant history, called to speak to you, and then recommended your diet. I would love to start ASAP. I am hypothyroid and have many food allergies/intolerance. I can have no dairy. Nor egg whites. Can you please help!!!!

    • SugarFree says:

      Debbie, I believe I can help. :) Several doctors are now referring patients to me, and are pleased with the results they see. I’ve sent you a private email for how to contact me personally – please check your in-box.

      Best wishes,

      SugarFree

  20. Tiffany says:

    Hello, SugarFree –

    Thank you for all the information you have provided on your site! I have been overweight for most of my life. I was able to lose weight eating a low carb primal diet, but in the past year I have regained ten pounds that I can’t seem to get rid of. My mother and oldest brother are both type 2 diabetics. Last fall I bought a glucometer and found that my fasting blood glucose was often around 120 and my PP readings ranged from 90 to 115 and higher despite eating low carb. I am very interested in learning more about your Protocol and would greatly appreciate any information.

    Tiffany

    • SugarFree says:

      Tiffany, thanks for writing! Sadly, as you’ve learned, simply ‘losing weight’ (regardless of the method) doesn’t usually help resolve the root problem that got you overweight/over-fat to begin with: Insulin Resistance. Which is what your blood sugar readings are telling you. I’m sorry to hear about your mother and brother, but biology is not destiny, and you are not doomed to follow in their footsteps and become diabetic. In fact, they’re not doomed to remain diabetics if they also decide to deal with, and fix, the root cause. Please look for an email from me, telling you how to proceed from here. :)

      SugarFree

  21. Adriana says:

    Hi, SugarFree – How I can be included in your Protocol? Thank you! Also, super awesome that you are doing this kind of work for people.

    Adriana

    • SugarFree says:

      Adriana – thank you for writing, and for your kind words. :) Please check your mailbox for a message from me.

      SugarFree

      • grisabella says:

        Dear SugarFree,

        Thank you for all your insightful comments in your blog – have only discovered it yesterday night and I have been going avidly through it for the past hours – in all the stories told and your articles, I see mirrored my own life and my yearlong persistent efforts to lose weight over the years creating havoc with my metabolism…

        [personal excerpt snipped]

        Please help me with your advice on how I can be included in your Protocol?
        Grateful indeed for your help and kind advice … Grisabella

        Dear Grisabella,

        Thank you for your kind words. I have sent you a long email with all the information you requested.

        Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday!

        SugarFree

        • SugarFree says:

          Dear Grisabella,

          My email to you was returned as undeliverable/address unknown. Please go to the Contact SugarFree link and send me your correct email so I can forward the information you asked for on to you.

          SugarFree

  22. Julie Fisher says:

    Dear SugarFree,

    I have devoured almost every page of this blog and I must say I am impressed with everything I have found so far. I am inspired by so much here and a lot of it makes perfect, logical sense. Its always good to question and ask and question some more when it comes to health and nutrition, even if you come face to face with the devil in people.

    I have been a ketogenic convert since August this year as I was looking for a way to lose the excess weight (for the hundredth time). When anyone asked about my new diet I could not explain why I cut the carbs; it seemed logical but my technical knowledge was seriously lacking. When I said its also high fat everyone laughed at me or derided me and while I feel healthier, I don’t look any different. So no one else is convinced. I am no longer ignorant and will stand my corner but I still have much to learn, especially as I do not want to damage my body further; I am convinced I ‘broke’ myself through 10 years restrictive low fat dieting and terrible binges.

    I would love to know more about what you do and what you would suggest to a 25 year old with a spare 15lb tyre that refuses to move. I am 5’1 and probably around 54kg, (I avoid weighing myself anymore because I can’t take the frustration). I have been in deep ketosis for the past two weeks, exercise for 2.5 hours a day and eat 900 cals. I have noticed change but hardly enough to make it feel all this is worth it.

    Due to your research I bought a blood glucose meter and it should arrive on monday, and I am actually really excited about it…I was fascinated to learn ketosis is taxing on the liver, could you explain why? Could you also explain your views on gluconeogenisis and why that is also not a good thing (which is why I presume you suggest adding in as many carbs as your insulin tolerance allows while still being mildly ketogenic?). Lastly I read somewhere that fat release plummets with a even a moderate increase in insulin. Do you know what the word ‘moderate’ is referring to with regards to any numbers or data? I am pretty sure I understand all the pieces, I just don’t know how to put them all together to make this work for me.

    Id love to hear your thoughts.

    Kind Regards,

    Jools

    • SugarFree says:

      Dear Jools,

      Thank you for your kind words and detailed letter. :) Please look for a detailed reply sent via email.

      SugarFree

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