Dr. Bikman's Lecture on Insulin vs Glucagon


(Julia Wilson) #1

Yesterday I watched Dr. Benjamin Bikman’s lecture “Insulin vs. Glucagon: The relevance of dietary protein” (Link below) at Low Carb Down Under.

I know protein intake can be a contentious debate among the ketogenic community, but his lecture brings up some fascinating points regarding insulin response from the intake of protein. Anyone who is familiar with Jason Fung’s literature will remember the studies he cites that indicate that protein is coupled with some insulin response (some higher than others). Dr. Bikman, however, presents data that shows that a protein’s insulin response is dependent upon the existing glycemic level of the individual. For instance, a person who is eating the SAD (high glycemic state) would demonstrate a high insulin response when consuming protein as compared to someone who is either fasting or eating a ketogenic diet (low glycemic state) who would show a minimal or no insulin response when consuming protein.

This is a significant point in my opinion, and explains, in part, why Americans and other westernized countries who consume high levels of animal proteins in combination with carbohydrates exhibit high levels of obesity. It also indicates that protein may not be as deleterious to the ketogenic state as previously believed. Dr. Bikman concludes that because the body must source its glucose from gluconeogenesis (either from proteins or triglycerides), these dietary proteins do not stimulate insulin as that insulin would result in removing endogenously-produced glucose from the blood and cause hypoglycemia.

What do you think? I’ve never really worried about my protein intake, and now I really won’t.

Also–To the two keto dudes (@richard @carl) ! I think you’ve had Dr. Bikman on the show before (or I am thinking of another keto podcast). Either way, it would be awesome to hear from him again or hear your guys’ take on this subject of appropriate protein consumption.

Type 1 diabetic about two months in and I need support!
(Banting & Yudkin & Atkins & Eadeses & Cordain & Taubes & Volek & Naiman & Bikman ) #2

I found this talk to provide a nice unifying theory between say, Protein Power and Obesity Code. Or even between the Atkins Fat Fast and standard Atkins (as written by Dr. Atkins). Some folks have too much blood sugar for protein’s glucagon effect to be of much use. More healthy folks with good fasting blood sugar, can get good effects from eating protein, while people who are fasted could do well with some protein.

Provocative talk, but jives with my understanding.

(Julia Wilson) #3

@lecheffre Yes, definitely. Someone who has been in a healthy glycemic state need not fret about protein intake as compared to someone who has been historically hyperglycemic. I have never exhibited prolonged hyperglycemia (I’ve never had my A1c tested but I wouldn’t imagine it would be above 5) so protein isn’t an issue for me. Plus I’ve been eating ketogenic for over two years.

It’s just validating to know that my protein intake won’t be my demise :slight_smile: Thanks for your response!

(Boston_guy) #4

This talk did a great job using visuals to convey complex concepts. For me the crux of it is at https://youtu.be/z3fO5aTD6JU?t=558-- Insulin spiked an a hyperglycemic state, but hardly budged otherwise (that part was in dogs, same results in humans later on).

(Nicole Sawchuk) #5

This rings true for me. In January I started working out again after reaching my goal weight. Naturally I got hungrier and hungrier. Fasting became impossible. I started adding more fat…but it didn’t satiate me. I mean I was eating the fattiest cuts of meat, and fat bombs (pretty much straight coconut oil). Still was hungry! I was barely making it 24 hours in fasting! The weight started creeping up. By March I was up 6 lbs. Clothes were feeling tighter. Than I started seeing Dr Bikman and Dr Baker’s posts. His presentation at Breckenridge was an “Ah-Ha” moment for me! While I have no desire to go carnivore, I stopped fearing protein. I made it my mission to eat protein to satiety! Suddenly, I started seeing muscle definition, more energy and no more hunger between feeding. With a little tweaking, I was able to fast 3 days easily (Hadn’t been able to do that for 4 months). But the key was adding way more protein to my feasting days!

When I was bigger, I think protein was a limiting issue, but now that I am leaner, I think my body requires it to rebuild and grow strong. I am still up the 6 lbs, but I feel like I am leaning out (my clothes are no longer tight). Will see where this takes me.

(Erin Macfarland ) #6

@N1coleS I have definitely found upping my protein much more satiating as opposed to the years I have spent trying to moderate it and attempting to “fill up on fat.” Now I eat as much fatty meat as I want.

(So much bacon, so little time) #7

On the other hand, Ron Rosedale recommends keeping protein to a minimum, after age 35 or 40, or so. The reason being that excessive protein activates the mTOR pathway, thereby causing inflammation, inhibiting mitophagy and autophagy, restricting ketone production, and promoting diabetes and cancer.

Now what?


Personally, I think Rosedale is wrong. I’m 76, and I’ve read several medical articles that emphasize seniors should increase their protein. I eat carnivore–and I also have severe osteoarthritis. Eating carnivore keeps me pain free (both knees are bone-on-bone), and the only Rx I take are for my thyroid (hypo). Because I’m hypo, I get regular blood tests, and my numbers are the envy of my doctors.

I prefer Dr. Bikman’s view. According to him, Rosedale’s theory might be accurate for those eating a SAD diet.


Protein is the most satiating macro, fat is the least. I’ve been reading more about increased protein intake after hearing talks by Ted Naiman, Bikman, and others. I feel a million times better with increased protein, I’m still very much in ketosis, and I reach what I would describe as true satiety as opposed to the feeling I get when I try to get full on fat alone. The protein leverage hypothesis is fascinating and to me it makes so much sense.

My thought is this:

  • under 20 grams of carbs
  • fat in moderation
  • protein to satiety

(Doug) #10

Rian, is this really an acknowledged thing for people in general? I ask because personally, fat is very satisfying, sometimes, almost unbelievably so - a couple of tablespoons (or ~ an ounce or 25 grams) of butter and it’s like, “Wow, now I’m not even hungry for the stuff I was going to make to put butter on…”

(Adam Kirby) #11

Love this video. Bikman has a much more compelling case than Rosedale and the longevity-obsessed dudes. To me the takeaway is don’t fear protein in meat and eggs, eat plenty of them, and you’ll get a great amount of protein and fat without getting bogged down in macro counting.

(Adam Kirby) #12

I’ve heard people say both. I think it’s a bit of a false comparison because people usually eat protein and fat together. I’d like to see it tested with a fat vs protein fast. I find fatty meat the most satiating thing, personally.

(Julia Wilson) #13

@akirby83 This is very true. It’s rare for me to eat one without the other. I think it’s more fair to say “eating protein and fat together is the most satiating” especially in comparison to eating only carbs.

(Doug) #14

Julia, thank you for posting this. What a great talk from Dr. Bikman! Good news about protein, and I’m more sold on low-carb than ever.

(Julia Wilson) #15

@OldDoug You’re very welcome! I’m lucky to have stumbled upon it myself. I follow Dr. Bikman on instagram. He is always posting fascinating peer reviewed journal articles. I’ve never subscribed to the super high fat, moderate protein version of ketogenic eating, and have historically excused it as an athlete; however, now I would feel comfortable continuing to eat high protein even if I didn’t exercise at my current level. I’m gonna go buy a steak on that note… :slight_smile:

(Brian) #16

Very good point. And it is real food.


There are dozens of studies I’ve seen which confirm this. But I guess you could be a different case.

Anyone get a chance to listen to the most recent Keto Hacking podcast? As I think @akirby83 was saying, Jimmy is going after answers to this debate. Last week was an interview with Ted Naiman, next week is Jimmy’s results from a week long PSMF type diet.

(Diane) #18

I wonder if this varies somewhat depending on a person’s level of insulin resistance. I’m still quite insulin resistant and I personally find fat very satiating. It was only after I significantly upped my fat intake (leaving carbs < 20 grams, and my protein fairly low ~ .8 grams per kg of LBM), that I started losing weight again after a stall. Maybe this is another instance of an n = 1 type situation.

(Doug) #19

Could be, Diane. Rian is right - in general it does look like protein, per se, results in higher satiety than fat, as people ended up eating less calories overall with a higher proportion of protein in their diets, versus a more normal “keto” distribution, in the studies I looked at.

I’m sure I’m still pretty darn insulin resistant too. Have never really tested fat vs. protein, here, though, i.e. just ate fat or just ate protein. A couple pats of butter or shots of olive oil does seem to do me for a good while, while if I have two bites of steak, then I want the rest of that steak, but perhaps it’s at least partly mental (and the meat has fat in it anyway, so not a perfect comparison). As far as eating full keto meals, I wouldn’t want to just have one, in the first place. Always have been a big protein eater, i.e. some gratuitously large pieces of meat, meals of 6 or 8 or 10 eggs, etc.; feel better about it after hearing Dr. Bikman.

(Banting & Yudkin & Atkins & Eadeses & Cordain & Taubes & Volek & Naiman & Bikman ) #20

Dr. Bikman’s unifying theory explains it. If your fasting glucose is high, your glucagon effect will be closer to the SWD end of the response than the fasting end.