Risk of insulin suppression on carnivore/zero carb?



I was watching this video but I didn’t really understand any of it due to not understanding any of the medical stuff:


But he mentions that he does consume a small amount of carbs every day to trigger insulin due to some sort of overcorrection on the carnivore diet.

Is this a risk I should be aware of and get my blood tested regularly before it’s too late? Or is it something I will notice immediately the moment this issue occurs?


What does it mean? Most carnivores eat a small amount of carbs. My average on carnivore is 10g…

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #3

I doubt this is a real concern. While normally I respect Dr. Cywes, I suspect he’s being going off the deep end, lately.

There is a normal phenomenon, when we eat a lot of carbohydrate, that the pancreas stores a supply of insulin intended to be released as the first phase of its response to a load of glucose (carbohydrate). On a carnivore diet, and even on a ketogenic diet, this first phase response is not necessary, so the pancreas stops storing extra insulin.

When a carnivore or a ketonian body is confronted with a sudden load of glucose, the lack of a first-phase response makes it falsely appear that the person is insulin-resistant on an oral glucose tolerance test. I suspect that this is what Dr. Cywes is talking about. But it’s perfectly normal, and perfectly healthy. There is no need for the first-phase response when we eat in a way that doesn’t require it.

Insulin is essential to life. If you are walking around, eating well, and staying healthy on a normal amount of food, then your pancreas is producing enough insulin. It’s producing a lot less insulin than it was back in your carb-burning days, but this is a normal, healthy, good thing. It’s not going to “forget” how to produce insulin, since insulin is essential for life.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself losing weight no matter how much you eat, you are thirsty all the time, and your urine smells sweet, then you should get checked for Type I diabetes. But Type I is an autoimmune disease. It’s been with us since the dawn of history (whereas Type II was barely known before the middle of the 19th century), and it is not caused by diet.


I feel the same.
good post Paul as usual.

(Doug) #5

This. :slightly_smiling_face: The perfect comment, Paul. You said almost exactly the same thing in another thread lately, and this one made me think of that

(Michael) #6

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5w193E5Aoo interesting watch starting where I copied it. Having said this, it is important to get insulin signaling. If you eat enough food, protein also has insulin signaling and as such I “feel” like I am getting sufficient signaling (so far anyway). My glutathione is low, as expected from low I/G ratio, but I am not seeing any signs of illness or concern due to this statistically low measure.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #7

Fat also stimulates the secretion of insulin; the minimum amount needed for us to make us of it and sustain our life. There is no food, except possibly fibre, since it’s indigestible, that does not stimulate the secretion of insulin. And according to Gary Taubes, there is also a cephalic insulin response that comes from merely thinking about food. So it’s not as though our pancreas gets out of practice.

(Joey) #8

@PaulL: Well put.
@daigo1: Don’t lose a wink of sleep over this.

Without going full ad hominem on Cywes, his more recent posts have made me lose interest in much of what he says. Too much trouble for me to parse reliable science from his latest whimsy.

Are we to understand that the self-promoting #CardAdditionDoc is now in favor of having his patients ingest the very thing to which they were previously addicted?

Be thankful he’s not running an Alcoholics Anonymous center. :roll_eyes:


I did jump ahead to that part, but from the little I heard I tend to agree. We have happened what’s has been called physiological Insulin resistance. Pretty much same thing, but for a different reason. That’s why when super strict keto’rs eat and normal amount of carbs all hell breaks loose and the body completely over reacts to it, why you’d fail a GTT if you took one etc.

On the part towards the end of the last section into the Insulin part when he was talking about sky high cholesterol and people thinking they’re LMHR’s, then they add an amount of carbs and their cholesterol drops like a rock, I can confirm that same thing happened to me. When I went from standard keto to CKD/TKD and had more carbs in there my cholesterol went WAY down!

Insulin isn’t bad or the enemy, don’t fall for that scare tactic crap. Chronically high Insulin is bad and damaging. Big difference. Insulin is an extremely important hormone that does a ton of good for us.

You’ll never know the difference until you do eat carbs, crash bad over a small amount and feel like crap for days. Most people are aware of this and simply don’t care. It always made me made that I lost the metabolic flexibility to eat a normal meal without wanting to die after. Me and my wife started reintroducing carbs slowly here and there until it didn’t happen anymore. I now do a TKD/CKD hybrid and she just does a loose version of TKD by eating her carbs around workouts.

IF we decide to eat like crap for whatever reason, nothing happens. Don’t feel sick, don’t crash, we just burn it off and keep on going. If we eat a ton of carbs then go straight back to strict keto meals noting to re-adapt to. We eat something, we burn it off, seamlessly. For us, that makes much more sense. We have the benefit of low carb/keto and the benefits of carbs without letting either one be a negative. Gotta tweak your WOE to what works for you.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #10

Well, I suppose it depends on how one defines “normal.” For me, normal now means a very low carb intake, because if I eat too much, I feel bad (joint pain, skin conditions return, etc.), even if I don’t eat enough to provoke the kind of insulin response you are talking about.

And given how much eating keto has done for me, I’d be insane to eat what society defines as a “normal” amount of carbohydrate. (I used to eat a quarter to half a pound of pasta in one sitting, or an entire dozen of glazed doughnuts—but not anymore!)

(Joey) #11

Fully agree. Without some level of insulin - a vital natural hormone - we’d be dead. Inability to produce insulin is what makes T1 diabetes such a dangerous condition.

What I find hard to believe is that the human body will forget how to produce required levels of insulin if you don’t eat carbohydrates. Sorry, this makes zero sense. If so, then carbs are an essential macronutrient after all?

If not eating something that is not good for me for a long period of time leaves me even more intolerant of that thing that is not good for me, I wouldn’t describe this as a health threat. I’d ask: When will I listen to my body and learn what it’s trying to tell me?

Right on.


I’m no different, by the time I learned was an A1C was I’d already lost a lot and was still 1 point between pre and full diabetic, inflammation pissed of my messed up low back, my seborheic dermatitis, and my scalp psoriasis. But I went from eating like total garbage straight to keto, stuck with super strict standard keto, and when I’d have a cheat meal or something a lot would flare up, so I mistook the over reaction to me being able to tolerate near no carbs at all if I wanted to stay symptom free, but that wasn’t it. It was the over reaction doing that, not the amount of carbs I ate, which usually wasn’t that much especially given that they don’t start spilling over and going evil on us until we reload the liver and the muscles take there’s, because until that happens they’re sucked in so fast they can’t really get into trouble yet.

Now doing TKD/CKD I’m aware of both my actual tolerance to them vs my limit where I start actually having problems with them, that allows me to use them strategically while maintainting a low A1C, low hsCRP and being able to maintain or lose fat if I want to. Even on my higher carb days I’m not eating what the majority of people eat every day. But it’s enough to get the advantages of them like having glycogen in the tanks when I hit the gym.

(Megan) #13

I dunno… I’ve listened to this video a couple of times and I have this near constant feeling I can’t trust a damn word this man is saying, even if some of what he is saying is factually correct.

I listened to a long convo between Prof Bart Kay and (I think) Dr Anthony Chaffee a few months back and they talked about the benefits from spiking insulin production on a regular basis and, b/c they are both carnivores, they talked about using a bolus of protein to achieve it. I have no idea if it’s helpful to do this, who it’s helpful for (they weren’t talking specifically about people who are lean mass hyper responders), and how often it’s helpful to do this. I just filed the convo away in my interesting tid bit box b/c how I’m eating seems to be working well for me at the moment. I also eat fairly large boli of protein semi-regularly so, if spiking insulin is helpful, chances are I’m already doing it.

Anyway, Dr Cywes is specifically talking about people who are LMHRs, which I’m not. Maybe people who are LMHRs can handle 100-130 grams of sugar in 2 meals a day and still be in ketosis? Sugar is the word he used btw, which is a bit wtf?

I also thought consuming dietary fat doesn’t = fat scooting around in your bloodstream. Isn’t that an Ancel Keys way of thinking?

I dunno… I think the guy is full of (insert insult here)

(Megan) #14

I don’t think this is what he is talking about b/c he acknowledges people who are LMHRs are highly insulin sensitive. I think he might be trying to find a reason why some very low carb and zero carb people develop very high cholesterol, and this is the theory he’s going with.

Do we know what the lipid panels look like on indigenous populations who are eating extremely low carb? There’s always the possibility a higher ldl and total cholesterol is normal when eating this way?

(Joey) #15

Fair question. Dunno. But we do know what happens to indigenous populations who switch over to eating a high carb Standard American Diet… They become morbidly obese, contract diseases previously not seen in their family history and die young.

Food for thought.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #16

Well, lean-mass hyper-responders have very high LDL, but not because they have familial hypercholesterolaemia. Dave Feldman is recruiting for a study to see if their high LDL is dangerous or not. I’m not sure what elevated insulin is supposed to have to do with cholesterol, however.

(Megan) #17

Elevated, or spiking it as Dr Cywes is suggesting?

(Bob M) #18

I was listening to a podcast where they had an interesting theory: glucagon was there to control blood sugar, not insulin. (Glugagon raises blood sugar, while insulin drops it.) Insulin was a “back up” system used for those few times when carbs were available.

@MeganNZ One of the causes of insulin spikes is protein. I’ve seen this used by vegans as an argument as to why protein/meat is bad.

All of this is why some suggest we evolved to eat a lot of animal fat: provides plenty of calories but very small insulin response.

(Megan) #19

Yea I definitely believe it does too. Barring genetics, I think it’s probably why I have always measured very, very low ketones, back when I used to measure them.


of course it can :slight_smile: as can eating a bowl of raspberries and melon :slight_smile:
any and all food and drink intake will increase sugar and what is defined as a ‘real spike’ too right?

so in general guys, I posted what can spike insulin in another thread…recap…can be: big sunburn, dehyrdation, nose spray, coffee, any and all we do eat or drink, fake sweeteners, injury and heal/repair of the body, stress issues, inflammatory diseases of the body, sleep patterns, and more---- can’t see the forest thru the trees scenario. I think so many of us ‘dieters’ find that to happen tons of times in our research and info we obtain. The body will never be ‘about 1 item’ of natural physical order ever. The body is a combo unit for sure. OK how I think of it all :sunny: just chatting of course on it for what a well rounded physical body should be handling on its functions.