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ATB BB Series 5: Why the diet works..

Before you commit to anything for a lifetime, it is important to know as much as possible. For two reasons - one you should know what you are getting into, and two you will be able to defend & commit to something only if you are truly convinced about it.

One of the biggest hurdles in this diet is getting used to eating butter, ghee, malai, oils, cheese, eggs, chicken with skin - all fats very liberally & freely. I have no issues now, but when I began this diet I used to feel very apprehensive. What if it backfired? 

But if your plan is to succeed, you will have to increase the fat content of your diet. And no, it will not cause your BP to rise or heart disease. The myth that eating Saturated Fat causes Heart Disease, is just that - A MYTH! It was a mistake by the scientists in the 80's who oversimplified cause & reasons. The real cause of diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol issues is high insulin, which is caused by high carbohydrate intake.  

Although fat is the raw material the body uses to make cholesterol, insulin runs the cellular machinery that actually makes it (see table below). If you reduce the level of insulin, the cells can’t convert the fat to cholesterol, almost no matter how much fat is available. Eating fat in the absence of carbohydrate and expecting it to be converted to cholesterol is like trying to make your car go faster by putting a larger gas tank in it. If you reduce the amount of carbohydrate when you add the fat, not only will you probably not see any increase; you could even see a reduction in cholesterol levels.

In an earlier post I spoke about Insulin & Glucagon. Here's a quick tabular summary of what these metabolic hormones do for us:

Scanning this chart, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the more time we spend on the glucagon side, the better off we are. Remember, however, that metabolism control is not a one-or-the-other phenomenon: all Insulin or all Glucagon. Both hormones are present in the blood all the time. What drives the metabolism to store or to burn is a dominance of one or the other.

Scientists have fed research subjects all kinds of food in all kinds of combinations, drawn their blood, and measured its insulin and glucagon to discover how foods affect these hormones. The results of these experiments were: 

As you can see from the chart, of the three basic constituents of food—fat, protein, and carbohydrate—carbohydrate makes the most profound change in insulin, because it makes the most profound change in blood sugar level. Fat doesn't do anything; as far as insulin is concerned, fat doesn't exist. 

The combination of carbohydrate and protein, especially large amounts of carbohydrate with small amounts of protein, causes the greatest increase in insulin.  

(This principle is very important to understand. You will be able to make intelligent meal choices only if you get this)

Now consider the typical Indian diet.

How about the old standard: dal, sabzi and roti — protein (some in dal) and carbohydrate (veggies & grains). 

Rajma / Curd & Rice - protein and carbohydrate. 

 Idli / Dosa / Upma with Sambhar—protein and carbohydrate. 

A pizza, which is basically cheese, meat / veggies, and a crust—carbohydrate and protein. 

Pasta, vegetables, sauce /cheese—carbohydrate and protein. 

Think of anything we commonly eat: eggs and bread, milk and cereal / oats / daliya, poha, chicken and noodles. 

The list could go on forever; every one of these popular foods is a combination of lots of carbohydrate and some protein.

And what do we eat for snacks? Samosas - Carbohydrate & fat, Chaat - Carbohydrate & fat, Bread sandwiches, rolls, namkeen and papad/theplas—almost pure carbohydrate.  Doughnuts, cookies, biscuits and cake—more carbohydrate and fat.

Unfortunately, most people when they want to lose weight treat only the symptoms and often in a way that makes the real problem worse. If you go on a low-fat diet, what happens? By decreasing your fat intake you usually decrease your protein intake, because virtually all foods that are protein-rich contain substantial amounts of fat. Meat, eggs, cheese, most dairy products—the best sources of complete dietary protein—are all either taboo or severely restricted on a low-fat diet. With this protein and fat restriction, the only food component left in the diet is carbohydrate, which by default results in your eating a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet—the very diet that maximizes insulin production. 

The Food Pyramid we learnt about in school, it is wrong. It needs to be upside - down!


1. If you want to lose fat, you need to be in the Glucagon state for most of the time. 
2. To maximize Glucagon you need to make smart food combinations of Protein + Fat

Questions? Keep them coming....


  1. Hey Tanveer...This post was so needed! Thnx dear....Can you plz enlist some Protien+fat combinations for meals and snacks seperately?

  2. And it is ingrained in us......dal roti Chawal sabzi hi khana hai, it does take some time for us to accept...Ghar waale will ask you esp moms....tu Chawal nahi khayegi :( ....ate rice twice a day for 36 years of my life since 8 weeks am rice free Nd don't miss it :)

    1. My parents initially just cldn't understand what I was doing.. They found it very weird, but after they have seen the weight loss they have come around to it. :)... Surprisingly even I don't miss eating any grains. I thght I wld. But I don't :)

  3. Looks like I don't have anything left to eat.. There's not much for vegetarians right.. It's gonna be really difficult to cut down carbs completely.. I've been checking since morning what all I can cut down and what all I can add to my diet..
    It's going to take some time to get used to less carb diet..

    1. Yes, for vegetarians it is a bit tough because for them the main protein sources are tofu, paneer, soya nuggets et al. It can be done though. I will talk abt that in a future post, but the weight loss is slow. :)

  4. I am looking forward for the recipes post :D :D very well written post Tanz :D :D i control hard not to sms / mail you ....

    1. There arnt any specific recipes rashmi. Just v cut out grains from your diet. And sugar and starch like potatoes. Eat the rest.

  5. tanveer non vegetarians like me hardly eat more meat than carbs. Its chicken curry and rice, biryani,roti and meat curry ..personally i can't eat non-veg 2 days in a row.Completely eliminating carbs or even lessening it seems pretty tough. Though i am waiting to see what recipes you put up....

    1. There aren't any special recipes for the diet. You just cut out the carbs. For example in morning just eat eggs and skip the bread. I found the diet very easy and I have no issues eating non veg at all meals. But I know tht not everyone may want to do it. I guess this is not for you then.

    2. are you saying eliminate or lessen considerably carbs by just omitting them and then replacing them with vegetables or protein like milk,curd or paneer or chicken in our Indian meals. jsut circumvent the carb fillers like roti ,bread,poha etc?

  6. wow, tanveer, you should seriously consider writing a book!! and am not saying it lightly. think about it.

  7. What do you eat for breakfast? I find it difficult to plan b/f with this diet. I believe we can't eat rava(semolina) so no upma, idli-dosa. Can we eat poha?

    1. Nope. . No poha either. These foods are pure carbs. I eat two eggs with grilled vegetables and a cup of milk.

  8. This is like telling me that life as I know it is bs! It's really freaky, but exciting at the same time! Now Protein + Fat, I get that. Juts have to figure stuff out! Really, really well explained, Tanveer! Thank you so much for this series! :)

  9. No carbs?? this is very interesting but at the same time vegetarians like me would have a hell lot of problem following this diet routine..any options for diet for veggies like us you can suggest? Eggs are fine with me but do you mean boiled eggs or egg bhurji type? Thank you!

    1. Yes Parita.. this diet is tough for veggies. Eggs can be eaten any way you like.

  10. very nice and informative post

  11. hi tanveer!!
    i have been reading about wheat from internet after reading this article. it says that wheat is so much more nutritious than just being a carbohydrate. now i am confused. help!!!!!

    1. Jhanvi, this series just my way of sharing something that worked for me. It doesn't mean that you have to follow this way of eating. If you feel that wheat is good for you, please continue eating it. If you are interested in the diet, I suggest you read the book - Wheat Belly and then make up your mind either way.


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