Is the “too much protein turns to sugar” a myth?

(Jay Patten) #223

Welp… thats a lot of info to ponder, folks.

Just to add my $0.02, I will say that when I was obese, consuming lots of fat with a lower amount of protein worked really well to lose weight.

Once I dropped below 200 pounds, I had a long stall.

Now I am much leaner I have had to dial back the fat and make up the calorie deficit with more protein to stay full and still lose weight.

So far this strategy is working, I presume because losing 100 pounds has reset/ normalized my metabolic process. Also, my 187 pound body burns fewer calories per day than my 287 pound body did (duh).

I think the take away here really boils down to self experimentation. What works for me may not work for you.

What we can all agree on is this:

Some people can eat whatever they want and never gain weight. Other people see a billboard for McDonalds on the highway and gain a pound right then and there. Most of us fall somewhere in between. There are too many variables to determine exactly 100% what human beings should be eating, so we follow guidelines. It’s okay to adjust those guidelines to fit your needs, as long as you are getting healthier along the way.

Keep in mind, nothing here is written in stone!!

Great debate, by the way. Very informative.

(Omar) #224

I like this reply

Eventhough there is a common biological processes among humans, but there is lots of individualty as well.

There are personal damages, genetics, environment, food qualities as many other things that make it difficult to draw a common law specially when it comes to weight loss.

If I listened to lots of advices I got even from doctors and specialists without educating my self I would have been in big trouble. Actualy what got us here in the first place is government agencies and their health recomendations so we end up having to lead our own path.

So I conclude that educated self experementation is important to tune down the individuality in us.

(Jay Patten) #225


Great point about genetics, environment, available food quality, etc.

Soooo many variables.

(CharleyD) #226

Indeed, you must be flexible in your feeding strategies. You’ll likely need a lot of fat in the beginning, as well as carbohydrate restriction to force the fat adaptation.

Then as you’re losing the weight you can dial back the fat percentage on the plate as you’re using your own fat, until you approach your Phinney weight.

As the Phinney weight arrives, and you’re leaner, you may need to adjust the fat on your plate up higher to account for less fat stores.

Makes sense?

(Bob M) #227

I did something similar. I went quite high fat, low protein, partially due to Jimmy Moore’s low carb book, which advocated high fat. I then found Ted Naiman on Twitter, and, deciding I was going to prove him wrong, I ordered a continuous glucose monitor and set about eating super high protein per meal for some meals. Not only did I not prove him wrong, I’ve switched to eating a lot of high/higher protein meals (though I still eat fatty meals too). I’ve only lost about 50 pounds, but I’ve gained a lot of muscle mass and strength back (from when I was younger), and that also factors in.

I am a believer in self-testing. I’ve tested paleo, Whole 30, high protein, lower protein, eggs/no eggs, dairy/no dairy, l-reuteri yogurt, resistant starch/no resistant starch, fat bombs, bulletproof coffee…it goes on and on. If something doesn’t work for me after 5-6 months, I assume it doesn’t work. Otherwise, I keep it. I also try to change things up, so my body does not get complacent.

Personally, I’m currently eating higher protein and lower fat, in general, than I did a few years ago. No fat bombs, bulletproof coffee, mostly leaner meats.

(Bob M) #228

Oops…should say NO bulletproof coffee, but eating leaner meats.

(Vladaar Malane) #229

Glad that is working for you. @ctviggen.

The going towards higher protein I understand, but leaner? Your giving up flavor.


(Omar) #230

I found that pbc is one of the worst things I ingest.

pbc got away unsuspected for long time until I caught it redhanded.

Way much better without it.

(Bob M) #231

I’m still testing. But I will buy ham (at “95% fat free!” :thinking:) and eat that if I’m still hungry after dinner, instead of buying and eating, say, salami or other fatty meat. These fatty meats just don’t taste good now. I know…this is an affront to keto people everywhere.

I still eat fat. For instance, I’ve been cooking my beef heart in the sous vide for 24 hours, from frozen. The fat cap, which I used to cut off (it’s really tough if you don’t cook it for a while), I now eat. I still like my ribeyes at times. It’s just in general, I eat lower fat and higher protein and will, for instance, eat shrimp and mussels and fish for lunch (think 120+ grams of protein, quite low in fat), without adding additional fat to it.

I also still limit my dairy, even though I can’t tell if I have an effect from it or not. So, that lowers my fat content quite a bit. I still eat it, just every so often instead of all the time.

(Jay Patten) #232


Agree to agree that self experimentation is the key here. I’ve never bought into PBC, myself. I have just learned to drink it black and fast until dinner. I will still do a fat bomb from time to time, but they are just coconut butter melted with unsweetened bakers chocolate and nothing else (no sweeteners). For the most part its meat and some low carb veggies, with some butter or olive oil. I do still eat a fair amount of full fat dairy, but I have cut back on my over-consumption of butter, cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, etc.

(John M. Bradley) #233

"…it just doesn’t apply in the context of those who are not starving and those who are fat-adapted and have fat to burn. "

Keep in mind that the keto diet was originally developed to mimic the positive aspects of fasting without the negative impact of actually starving.

I can only give my own anecdotal evidence with how my body has responded too high protein. That is, even when I keep my carbohydrates between 20 and 30 g, if I consume too much protein, I get thrown out of ketosis and my blood sugars go up. I have consistently kept my fat consumption High and my carb consumption low. The only thing that varies is my protein intake. This would indicate to me that an excess of protein is being converted to sugar by the same metabolic processes that take place during starvation.

(So much bacon . . . so little time . . .) #234

Forgive me, but the keto diet is not really as new as that implies. Keto and fasting were probably the normal way of life for most, if not all, of our early ancestors. The organized production of carbohydrate for food (also known as “agriculture”) is only 12,000 years old, after all. There are many documented tribal societies that ate keto as their standard diet, until they became Westernized.

(Doug) #235

John, I guess it really is an individual thing, then. Still wondering how it all works here. :slightly_smiling_face:

(Justin Jordan) #236

Related - Vanessa Spina (who podcasts as Ketogenicgirl) and Dr. John Limansky both tried a high protein diet and found their blood sugar rose. Both of them are long term ketogenic, and both are very insulin sensitive with low fasting insulin and low fasting blood sugar.

Limansky was doing a 3:1 protein to fat ratio, and Spina was doing 1:1. Both were taking in a lot of protein, relative to their usual consumption, and relative to their bodyweight. Limansky was doing 1.5 grams per pound of lean mass, and Spina was probably somewhere close to that.

And both had blood sugar increases. Spina’s in fact, literally doubled. Her fasting BS was around 60 and peaked at 120 during a week of this. And that’s fasted, not after a meal.

So there’s more to it than “gluconeogenesis is demand driven” Either some protein is just turned into sugar if you get the levels high enough, regardless of demand, or the protein intake at that level is sugar sparing.

But I suspect GNG isn’t JUST demand driven. Certainly, your body will produce what it needs. But when you take in protein well past your actual needs, something needs to happen to it. Some is for sure excreted, but I’m fairly sure some is sorted, and an intermediate step to that would likely need to involve conversion to sugar.

Which if Limansky and Spina had physiological insulin resistance, which you’d probably expect, would explain why their blood sugar rose. But I don’t have the biochem knowledge to confirm that. There’s a LOT of anecdotal instance of people’s glucose rising in relation to protein.

Another possibility is that the insulin response to the protein is so high that you’re getting a compensatory release of glycogen. Buuuuut I feel in the case of Limansky and Spina that their insulin sensitivity and low normal insulin makes that unlikely. But again: not a biochemist.

(Justin Jordan) #237

Limansky, incidentally, didn’t have as dramatic a rise, but his fasting BS was still around 20 points higher on the high protein than it usually was on a more typical keto diet.

(So much bacon . . . so little time . . .) #238

Did they write this up? I’d love to know more about what they ate, exactly; what their serum glucose, ketone, and insulin readings were, and what happened to their insulin/glucagon ratio. I’m not going to generalize from an n = 2 without some real data.

(it's official - I'm forked) #239

And even then I know you’re not going to :slight_smile:

(Omar) #240

you received my best reply award.

(So much bacon . . . so little time . . .) #241

Well, the Stefansson/Andersen experiment was also n = 2, but there were a lot of data published, plus we have data on various traditional diets from all over the world for confirmation, so generalizing in their case is reasonable.

In Spina’s and Limansky’s case, however, even with all the data I’d love to see, their experience points to a possibility of something that might work that way for some people, but that so far does not appear to work that way for most people. So you’re right; we’d have to experiment more before generalizing. But who knows? A scientific viewpoint is always ready to modify its ideas on the basis of new data.

(it's official - I'm forked) #242

Definitely. But not an n=2, generally, I’d have thought. This is said on the basis that if an n=2 is compelling, it SHOULD be reproducible on an n=many basis.

Not that it has to work for ALL to be useful, of course, but def more than two.