At his highest weight, Larry Diamond topped the scale at 340 pounds. He now weighs 180 pounds. And the story of how he achieved his weight loss highlights why so many dieters are climbing on the ketogenic low carb high fat diet bandwagon.
At his highest weight, Larry weighed 340 pounds. He gave up skim dairy, lost some of his weight and then, when he started getting serious in May 2013, he weighed almost 300 pounds.
"I was following many of the 'healthy' recommendations: we only bought whole wheat products and I would eat skinless chicken breasts. I did try vegetarian for around 9 months. It got me to one of my lowest adult weights but I didn't have a lot of energy for feel very good on it," he recalls of his attempts prior to going on a Paleo plan that includes dairy.
Larry credits Mark Sisson, author of "The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy" and "The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation: A step-by-step, gene reprogramming action plan," for inspiring him on his Primal path to weight loss.
"I started my health journey (I phrase it this way instead of weight loss journey) by literally googling why am I so hungry after eating a fast food meal. Because that always astounded me. I could eat a huge fast food meal of well over 1300 calories and feel hungry two hours later. That led me to discussions of carbs being converted to glucose and the central role of insulin in appetite, fat storage, and ultimately inflammation and preventable diseases," Larry recalls.
"I then started finding out about terms like Primal and Paleo. The arguments against eating grain: we have only been eating them for 10,000 years and are not adapted to eat them, they contain anti-nutrients, they provoke a huge insulin response, and they are not nutrient dense."
In addition, Larry discovered Professor Tim Noakes and followed the path to the sports scientist's own shift from a high carbohydrate diet to a high fat plan. Noakes, author of "Challenging Beliefs: Memoirs of a Career," had developed type 2 diabetes and resolved to explore the subjects that Larry subsequently investigated, such as "Ancel Keys, the 6 and 7 country study, the diet-heart hypothesis (saturated fat consumption drives heart disease). Ultimately I became more informed about cholesterol, HDL, LDL, small dense LDL and the remarkable health benefits of natural and good quality saturated fats."
It's a topic explicated in the best-selling new book that is creating a sea change in the weight loss and health world: "The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet." In it, author Nina Teicholz investigates the reasons that our food pyramid and traditional diet advice (eat more whole grains, eliminate red meat and full-fat dairy) have failed.
Larry's diet today features "whole foods, grain free, plenty of fat from eggs, grass fed meats, grass fed butter, coconut oil, avocados, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and almonds. I became very comfortable with the scientific reasons why these would be healthy for me then the results exceeded my wildest expectations."
And the essence of what Larry learned can be summarized in two powerful concepts:
- If we eat the foods we evolved eating for the past 2.5 million years when we were hunter gatherers we give our genes what they need. This reduces our appetite because we are eating the most nutrient dense foods and it helps the body to heal and thrive because the body is getting the food and nutrients that help it work and operate the best.
- The second concept I learned is the central role of insulin. It is hard to overestimate how important insulin is. First it is largely responsible for appetite. When you eat carbs, not just sugar but carbs, the carbs are converted to glucose. The glucose has to get out of the bloodstream where it is a poison. It gets stored and excess eventually converted to fat. It also prompts the body to store fat and more or less wall it off so it is virtually impossible to lose and burn it.
It keeps people hungry and it down regulates the innate human ability to rely on fat as a fuel source and turns people into 'sugar burners' dependent upon carb intake every few hours to keep going. So insulin keeps people hungry, leading to overeating, and turns them into fat storage machines with very little ability to burn fat no matter what they do. It is also key to inflammation which is then the driving force for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. So my whole way of eating now is based on keeping insulin low and steady throughout my entire day.
Larry's diet today features:
- I start the day with a bulletproof coffee. This is organic coffee with a tablespoon of grass fed butter, around a tablespoon of coconut oil, some heavy organic pastured cream for me. That now gets me through lunch.
- I am still usually not too hungry at lunch but I tend to have some left over grass fed beef (we often buy roasts and slow cook them which gives us leftovers and is cost effective). Or sometime some wild caught tuna. Then I will have some cheese and veggies, celery, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower. Maybe some berries.
- Dinner will be a salad or vegetable side dish with some grass fed beet, or organic chicken thighs, or wild caught fish. Prepared in interesting and satisfying ways. For snacks I'll have macadamia nuts, 85% chocolate, sometimes little swigs of heavy cream, or little bits of cheese or butter straight.
For beverages, he drinks water, tea and coffee.
And he's shared his discovery of what really works for weight loss and health with his entire family. His wife lost 45 pounds and, like Larry, never experiences hunger.
We are both never hungry and have a freedom I never thought possible. I haven't been sick since starting this. My back pain when completely away shortly after giving up my last grain, corn. My allergies are gone. Just gone. I used to have to take allergy medicine every day and probably missed 5 to 7 days a year of work when they were at their worse. I have more energy and feel better than when I was 19 and suspect I feel better and I am healthier than most 19 years who are eating the standard low fat diet.
I have gotten much stronger and have put on a lot of muscle at the same time I have lost most of my belly fat and especially my neck fat. This was huge for me since I no longer suffer from sleep apnea.
In addition, Larry is guiding his daughter on her low-carb diet path. "She was happy before but since we replaced all grains at breakfast with pastured eggs and bacon she is thriving and happy like never before. It has been a wonder watching what it is doing for her as well. We try and give her as much fat as possible because we've researched and have found fat is absolutely critical for child development."
He feels that "one of the great nutrition tragedies is reduced and skim dairy in schools. On full fat dairy, kids brains would be getting what they need, they would not be as hungry, they would better be able to concentrate and perform because they would not be experiencing the sugar crashed they get with skim dairy."
Larry's not alone in his weight loss success on a high fat low carb Paleo-style diet. Health blogger Jimmy Moore lost 180 pounds and improved his health in multiple ways. He's become a successful author in his goal of helping others, including "Cholesterol Clarity: What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers" and an upcoming book "Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet."
For those who want more than anecdotes of success, Jimmy's co-author is noted internist Dr. Eric C. Westman. Also the co-author of "New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great," the physician conducted numerous studies and research prior to recommending high fat low carb ketogenic diets for his own patients.