I posted in Roy's thread, but I wanted to add my support and experiences in this thread. Thanks for starting it, Matt, and for the great videos.
First, I'll say that I agree with Maria that there isn't a single diet that works for all of us. What I've read is that 10-15% of us are 'carb adapted', so they don't experience the same results with a high carb diet as the rest of the population. There are also some people who are more sensitive to carbs than the average, so we all have to find what works for us. I'm T2D and for years I followed the suggestions from my doctor, a diabetes nutritional workshop, the Canadian dietary guidelines (all the same stuff). I took the meds prescribed and exercised. All that got me was progressive weight gain and more meds. I've researched many diets over the years and tried all that seemed legit, so I feel I have a good understanding on how my body works. Here are a few I've tried:
High carb vegetarian - felt shitty and gained more weight, also had a spike in my long-term blood sugar levels
Atkins - I lost weight but my blood sugars didn't improve much.
Paleo - This worked very well for me and was a huge step to where I am today. I lost weight, felt great, dropped my BS levels and really cut down on my hunger, which naturally led to:
Intermittent Fasting - This was a natural progression for me. I've always struggled to eat breakfast but 'it's the most important meal of the day', so I did for years. Once I switched to paleo I started eating within an 8 hour window, then just ended up eating once a day because that worked best for me.
Ketogenic - This is where I ended up. It doesn't require you to eat only once a day, though I do, and it's changed my life.
I came across paleo very early on in the movement, but there weren't any studies that I could find that supported it. It made sense, but I need more than that because I can be pretty stupid at times. It wasn't until a few years ago that I came back around to it though several books that cited studies and gave a much more in-depth explanation of why it works. When I did try it, though, it worked very well for me. As I said above, I ended up eating just one meal a day even though the suggestions were to eat in an 8 hour window. This is essentially intermittent fasting for 16 hours a day. I then found this site
which really brought it all together for me. How our bodies deal with nutrition, how to deal with the underlying issue, not the symptoms, and all backed by a critical analysis of the statistics and studies that support the various schools of thought on diet. Once I found that site, it was like a revelation.
The guy who runs the site is a kidney doctor who's only about 2 hours away from me. His patients were mostly morbidly obese diabetics, so he ended up looking into diabetes as it was the disease that drove most of his practice. He was able to explain the mechanics of diabetes in a way that I found very easy to understand. Once I understood how my body was acting and reacting to my diet, it gave me the tools to fix the issue. I was already motivated to make a change as the reason I was researching nutrition and diabetes was because I needed to go on insulin, according to my doctor, and I had zero interest in that or the complications. So, what does Dr. Fung recommend? He's a proponent of a Low Carb, High Fat diet. He also is a proponent of fasting, the ultimate LCHF diet. I know it sounds extreme, but it doesn't have to be. Eating only within an 8 hour window give you a 16 hour fast everyday. This lets your blood sugar drop, which increases insulin sensitivity. For extreme cases, he often suggests fasting for a day or more. He's been able to get many of hit patients off insulin and often all other diabetic drugs within a few months. That was my experience, too.
This is really hard for me to admit, but I was once over 275lbs. I'm not sure how much over because I couldn't face weighing myself. I'm 5'6" and, when I was younger, I was at the national level in a couple of sports, so it isn't like I hadn't been healthy before, or didn't know how to train. Through extreme HIIT and calorie reduction, I was able to drop a fair bit of that weight, but I still stalled at about 225. I had a specialist comment on how amazing that was, given the weight-gaining effects of the meds I was on. That got me involved in what I was putting in my body and I ended up dropping most of the meds, to the chagrin of my doctor. That made it easier to lose or even maintain the weight, but my blood sugar kept rising until we got the insulin stage.
With that motivation and what I'd learned, I decided to try fasting. At that time, I was already on the paleo diet, so I was in ketosis, though I didn't really understand that at the time, but it means my body was already adapted to burning fat for fuel, not carbs. That, and the fact that I only ate once a day, made fasting surprisingly easy for me. There are a whole host of good things that your body does when fasting, such as an increase in your natural HGH, more energy, and clearer thinking, all of which I experienced. I would've seen the same results with a keto diet, but not as quickly. Fasting allowed me to jump-start my weightloss and it's remained an effective tool if I fall off the wagon and need to get back on. After I lost the weight I needed to lose I switched to a ketogenic diet, which is similar to paleo. I had a meter that would measure your breath to measure my ketosis, so I used it to test foods that I added back in to my diet. Dairy is very interesting in that it has sugars but also fat. The fat offsets the sugars to some extent, though to different degrees in different people. Some people on paleo or keto avoid dairy, but I found it didn't raise my blood sugar noticeably or kick me out of ketosis, so that's great for me. My tests were done with raw milk and the cheese I made from it, so I got full fat.
What I've read about protein has shown me why the Atkins diet didn't work for me. When you eat fat, it stays as fat. If you eat too much protein, however, your body can turn some of it into glucose, giving you a blood sugar spike. I tried this out with my glucose meter and also the keto breath meter and I found, for me, that too much protein didn't work for me. I also came across other research into protein that supports this and, sadly, also finds a correlation between too much protein and aging/cancer issues. Personally, I think that just about anything these days can give you cancer, so I don't worry about it too much, but I do think that a moderate protein diet makes the most sense. That leaves me with fat for calories but, happily, meat has fat. Meat is around 25% protein, so if I want 60 grams of protein, I need to eat about half a pound of meat a day for a moderate intake. This is where I differ from what Matt's doing.
In the end, I was able to go from 210 when I started doing extended fasts to 160, in 4 months. The fasting re-set my hunger signals which made it much easier. I used to be able to eat about a pound of cheese without feeling full but now I feel full when I've had enough. I've done several 5-7 day fasts and the longest I've done is 11 days, but you don't need to do that if you aren't in crisis. I've seen a lot of people who've lost a lot of weight end up with lots of excess, saggy skin. I lost over 100 lbs without any saggy skin and I think it's because of the fasting. When you fast, your body scavenges what it needs. I had lots of fat, so energy wasn't an issue, but my body used the excess skin for protein. This seems to be typical with fasting.
Now I typically eat a HFLC diet. I do eat a lot of veggies and greens, but my low carb allowance is about 25-35 grams of carbs a day. I don't eat root veggies and you have to watch some things like peppers, but there's an awful lot to eat. I have huge salads with full fat dressings and/or veggies with my meat. I don't need any meds for my blood sugar, my colitis is gone, along with a host of other issues, and I feel great. I do miss grains and I occasionally fall off the wagon or have holiday dinners, but I'm convinced that it's the best for me. Someone mentioned that it takes 3 days for your body to switch over to burning fat, which it may, but I found it takes me 5 days. Once you do, though, it's great.
Thanks to everyone who's contributed here. I'm always interested in learning more about what works and doesn't for nutrition and I hope everyone here finds something that works for them. I urge you to check out the site I linked, or take a gander at his books, The Obesity Code and The Diabetes Code. Dr. Fung is incredibly good at explaining what is happening in our bodies, and that's definitely good to know.