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Guest Post: Ankylosing Spondylitis and Zero Carb/Carnivore Diet

By Mikhaila

This is written by Jordan Gold. He contacted me through Instagram (goldjor) a bit less than a month ago and skeptically started the carnivore diet. This testimonial really made me happy. Ankylosing spondylitis is very similar to what I have except it causes arthritis in the spine (among other joints). It’s horrible. Anyway, Jordan emailed me the following:
“Mikhaila! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I’m a 26 year old male with Ankylosing Spondylitis who discovered your diet at the peak of the worst flare up of my life. After many years of ongoing sciatica, crippling digestive problems, paralysing lumber spine stiffness and a terrifying, rapidly escalating back pain that I was told by a doctor “I will most likely die with”… I have finally managed to bring ALL of my auto-immune symptoms (the worst of my life at the time I started reading ‘Don’t Eat That!’) under control.
I’ve eaten nothing but salmon, shrimp, chicken and beef (mainly beef) for the last 30 days. I managed to actually go back to my 9-5 job – a job I had to quit due to stress and rapidly worsening morning struggles only a month before. I now move around pain-free in the mornings. A month ago I thought I would be crawling out of bed at 6 am in tears, sweating profusely for the rest of my life! The thing that means more to me than anything is I’ve stopped taking opioids for pain management (I’d been reliant on them to function normally for a good few months and it was starting to worry my GF).
I now see such an obvious correlation between what I ate and how arthritic, bloated and constantly fatigued I was. It’s so apparent to me now, I’m so conscious of it that I can’t believe I couldn’t see it before. I’m looking at food in a completely new way and I couldn’t feel better about it. In fact, I’ve never felt healthier or happier in myself. Even my skin is better FFS! I’m literally a better version of me. I cannot thank you enough. The word ‘diet’ really doesn’t do this justice.
P.S It hasn’t even been a full 30 days! Carbs = poison. “

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  1. Hi Mikhaila, I wonder if people who followed the Atkins diet, when it was very popular about 15 years ago, noticed similar ‘side effects’ when following a high protein/fat diet for weight loss?
    Regards and all the best,

    1. Dr Atkins actually used his diet for much more than just weight loss, I’m sure you will find info on it if you googled. Cheers.

  2. Ken, one thing to note is that your body can turn protein into carbohydrate. There is a technical term for it but it escapes me at the moment. I am a type 2 diabetic and on the program I am on they warn of this. (ultra low carb high fat diet where a large percentage get off medication)

    1. scubajim. I know what you mean, but actually we can turn excess protein into glucose. I believe it is called gluconeogenesis, whereby the liver can make glucose from molecules derived from fat or protein. The protein restriction is also followed by the two diabetics at 2ketodudes.com, which is approx. 1 gram protein per 1 kilogram of LEAN body mass. Personally it doesn’t make sense to me. If the liver has to create enough glucose to fuel part of the energy needed by the brain(rest of energy provided by ketones), and for red blood cells, why would it overproduce glucose?. Could it, or would it, not use excess protein for other uses besides glucose, if it didn’t need it?

    2. That sounds about right (the protein limits) . I think gluconeogenesis can only make glucose from protein not fat. Why would the liver over produce glucose? I don’t know. A pure guess is survival. If the body has enough protein for replacing damaged lean body mass then the body “says” I better make glucose; who knows when we will eat again! But I am just guessing. I am a software engineer not a health professional. Dr. Phinney has some great info on endurance athletes and fat adaptation. As far as I can remember it is a similar protein recommendation. Lots of great cites in the book. (I think $9 US on Amazon)

      I will check out the 2ketodudes.com. I am on the Virta program and it is working for me. (everyone is different; I am awed that Mikhaila was able to figure out the diet constraints that helped her. Very impressive. It is a very difficult problem; excellent example of doing an N=1 experiment.

      I did just read about a case where an alcoholic went on this type of diet and lost their drive to drink. It maybe because getting off drink took away the cravings for sugar.

  3. That is true. Nora Gedgaudas discusses it in her book.(Primal Body, Primal Mind). She gives a rough calculation that an average adult shouldn’t get more than 25 gms of protein per meal in order to avoid kicking that process off. I believe it’s called the mTor pathway, but I would need to look it up.

    I’m so happy you are feeling better Jordan. Now you will have the energy to do some research to fine tune the diet that works best for you. Make sure you are getting enough good quality saturated fat to fill in for the energy you were used to getting from carbs. It’s important for so many aspects of your healing.

    Onward and upward!

    1. Sariade. That’s a Ron Rosedale finding, and not completely accepted. But the mTOR pathway is different than the gluconeogenesis pathway. I think it is interesting, but problematic if your protein needs are higher. In my case my protein requirements are for 78 grams of protein per day. That would mean I HAVE to eat four meals a day (25+25+25+3 gr protein), which would mean that I would have to eat even though I was not hungry which raises other hormonal issues for me. I don’t fret too much about protein, just make sure it is not excessive.

  4. that is mindblowing Jordan! What an amazing feeling to be free of that pain! I chuckled at your carbs=poison line. It recalled when I was researching metabolismbefore/during my transition to keto. I was struck by the bodies reaction to carbohydrates, how insulin quick as a bunny pops out of the pancreas to push that glucose into the cells, and divert excess to the liver. Seemed like the body didn’t want glucose hanging around! And it turns that excess glucose into a preferred fuel, fat! Yes, glucose(carbs) does seem like a poison!

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