Wednesday, September 16, 2009

High Protein meal replacement shakes

There is a researcher named Dr. Mary Gannon who has published numerous studies at NIH.GOV on high protein diets. Her research is excellent and as a result organizations like the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard have adopted high protein diets based on her research. You can find out more by Googling “mary gannon protein”.

Don't confuse Joslin at Providence in Novi MI or other diabetic education centers with Joslin at Harvard, they may be related but I attended a class at Providence and the person teaching contradicted Joslin Harvard. During that less than helpful class I learned that high cortisol does not cause diabetes and that high cortisol is only caused by fear, I learned that consuming fat in your diet has no effect on your blood sugar, that high protein diets are very bad for diabetics and that you should never replace a meal with a meal replacement drink.

You can research everything I am about to write in contradiction to the ridiculous blather I learned at the Joslin Diabetic Center at Providence in Novi Michigan.

Cortisol is a necessary hormone that your body produces. High cortisol levels are caused by extreme physical exertion or extreme emotional states such as (in my case) grief. Essentially saying that high cortisol is caused by fear is saying that all physical and emotional stress is caused by fear.

Fat does contribute to your blood sugar level. Fat takes longer to digest so if you eat a very fatty meal your blood sugar might take hours to increase. Eating a lot of fat over a long period of time will cause an overall increase in blood sugar that can be very hard to control or understand since most diabetics are told to check their blood sugar 2 hours after eating.

A meal high in fat and protein (Atkins) will have a very small immediate impact on blood sugar and and a larger longer term impact.

Mary Gannon has published numerous studies at NIH.GOV proving that high protein diets are beneficial to diabetics and any properly trained and educated person involved in diabetic education already knows this.

The Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard has been conducting a study with high protein meal replacement drinks and found them useful in helping diabetics control their blood sugar and weight.

So we have discovered two things;

First, that a lot of the diabetic education out there really sucks even if you get it from someplace you believe is a reliable source.
Second, that high protein diets and meal replacement shakes can help you control your blood sugar and weight.

I have been taking phosphatidylserine to lower my cortisol and the results have been amazing, I am losing weight at a very steady rate, over 35 pounds so far.

For years I have been drinking protein shakes. I drank a lot of them when I lifted weights. I found them to be quick meals that kept me satisfied when I was working or busy. Some people reach for candy bars, I reach for a shaker bottle.

I was pretty surprised when I gained a lot of weight over a short period of time after my son died. Now I understand that even though my diet did not change much, my physiology changed, probably because my cortisol level sky rocketed.

I didn't pay a lot of attention to it for about five years and then I started working at losing the weight. I spent 6 months working out with weights for 45 minutes to an hour 3 days a week and using a tread mill 30 minutes a day 6 days a week. I reduced my calorie intake to under 2000 calories a day. At the time I was working half at a desk and half on the shop floor about 10 hours per day 5 days per week. Using the metabolic information at I was burning around 4,000 calories a day without the workout. I didn't lose pound one. My doctor was useless. I dropped the diet and went back to my normal about 3,000 calories a day. On a feast day like Christmas I (and many others) eat about 4,000 calories a day.

It took me another five years to find out about cortisol, mostly because I never believed in medical reasons for weight gain. I figured if you were fat you had to eat a lot and do very little. Pretty simple.

Not so simple, as I found out. There are actually conditions that make it almost impossible to lose weight.

Protein in liquid format, like protein shakes, digests faster and less of the protein is digested, typically between 50% and 75% of the protein from a shake is metabolized in your system during digestion. The human body is designed to metabolize fats and proteins from solids, not liquids which is one reason meal replacement shakes help people lose weight.

Something I discovered from reading the South Beach diet is that Metamucil will decrease the glycemic index of foods. Essentially this means that it makes foods digest slowly. The higher the index, the faster food digests and the more it impacts your blood sugar.

Because of what I read I started drinking a metamucil with my protein drink. You can mix them, I typically get orange metamucil and chocolate protein. I wouldn't mix them if I had other flavors and I typically do not mix them. Drinking the two together makes me feel stuffed.

I noticed that if I wait a few minutes between the metamucil and the protein it had a different impact on my blood sugar. I believe that the metamucil forced the protein drink to take longer to digest.

I would not drink metamucil right before or right after a work out, but, I would drink a metamucil with a protein drink when I want the protein to take longer to digest so that the absorption of protein is maximized.

If you can wait a few minutes I believe you should since it takes up to about 15 minutes for the metamucil to get into the digestive system. If you eat or drink before the 15 minutes (about) you are just mixing them in your stomach. If you are like me there probably won't be a lot of time between the two.

My suggestion for meal replacement shakes is a protein drink (you can get the protein at Costco or where I have found it is cheaper) and a metamucil. Drink the metamucil first, then drink the protein shake.

Using high protein drinks as a meal replacement can help you control your weight and your blood sugar.


Natasha said...

I drink two meal replacement shakes a day from IdealShape. I replace breakfast and lunch! The shakes taste good and are convenient too! I have been able to lose the weight I wanted and keep it off! I would highly recommend it!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading the posts, and I pretty much agree with what Mary said.

John D. Ayer said...

I am assuming you mean Dr. Mary Gannon whose research is posted at NIH.GOV. I really liked her approach, she started at recommended protein levels and kept doing studies increasing protein levels until the results plateaued. Good research, well presented. I also like the way the website at Joslin-Harvard keeps up to date with developments, there is too much crap out there. I edited my post to include a suggestion to search for "Mary's" research at I did notice you don't necessarily agree with my anecdotal comments based on her research and my personal experience, and you don't necessarily disagree. Thanks, John.