I got into a small debate on Twitter with Brad Schoenfeld, a fitness expert who’s more than skeptical about low-carbohydrate eating. Despite the fact that low-carb diets outperform low-fat, calorie-restricted diets every time they’re put to the test, Schoenfeld thinks the evidence is lacking. Because diets are not matched for calories and protein. Anyway I thought that in this post I’d show how lifting weights and low-carb make for excellent health markers.
I lift weights once every three days, doing a high-intensity program. I’ve been doing this for almost 7 years at this point, though I lifted weights when I was younger too.
I eat low-carb. A high-carb day for me is maybe 100 grams of carbs, and I do that maybe once a week. (Out at dinner at a Mexican place; even though I order the chicken, lots of chips and salsa and tortillas come with it.) The rest of the time, I eat less than 50 grams of carbs. I take supplements too. I also fast intermittently and dump iron.
I’m 61 years old, soon to be 62.
My fasting insulin is 2.9. (Normal range: 2.6-24.9.) Basically you can’t get much better than that. Fasting insulin is one of the most important biomarkers of health, as it shows lack of insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance accelerates aging and disease like nobody’s business, and if there’s anything you want to avoid so that you don’t get the chronic diseases of aging, like cancer and heart disease, that’s it. Insulin resistance is commonly measured by HOMA-IR (Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance). Normal value for adults is <2.
My HOMA value: 0.8. Zero insulin resistance.
The ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol is the most important item on a lipid panel. (See also the excellent article by George Henderson and Grant Schofield on the importance of the triglyceride/HDL ratio.)
My triglyceride/HDL ratio is 0.5. There are no normal ranges, but ideal is considered <2.0, dicey 2.0 to 4.0, above 4.0, you need help; and above 6.0, prepare to die. (Just kidding, if it’s above 6.0, get to work.)
So, my triglyceride/HDL ratio is better than ideal.
My father had heart disease for many decades. Seeing this made me decide long ago that I never wanted it to happen to me. Looks like it won’t.
My BMI (body mass index) is just over 23. (Overweight is ≥25, obese ≥30.)
My body fat percent is about 12. That’s a guess, as I haven’t had it measured, and it could be higher. (If my guess isn’t good enough for you, oh well.) I’m not pro bodybuilder lean by a long shot, but I’m lean for a normal guy.
These stats are from just one person, so it doesn’t prove anything.
But, I eat delicious food, I never go hungry (other than a bit during fasting), and my biomarkers are better than perfect. All modesty aside, people compliment me on my appearance regularly.
So does it matter if the merits of a low-carbohydrate diet are not scientifically proven, with all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed? America is 80% overweight/obese, people normally lose weight easily on a low-carbohydrate diet, and we need a debate on its merits? Sheesh.
Granted, some portion of my excellent biomarkers are due to lifting weights. It’s not all diet.
But if people would just get off their backsides and lift some weights, while cutting the sugar and flour out of their diets, the obesity rate would drop like a stone. So would the rates of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Eat a low-carbohydrate diet, lift weights, throw in some intermittent fasting if desired, and you’re golden. You won’t get heart disease, and you’ll look better than 95% of your peers.
Put more simply: