HCLF—an inadvertent experiment


Due to the unpleasant combo mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) and worse-than-usual seasonal allergies (thanks climate change…), I’ve (hopefully temporarily) had to go an extremely restricted low histamine diet. The easiest things to eat on the diet are higher carb foods, given that gluten free grains are fine, whereas almost all convenience low carb/high fat foods are out—no nuts, aged cheeses, cured or pre-cooked meats, avocado, olives, etc (among other restrictions—also no fermented foods, cocoa products, tea, legumes, tomatoes, eggplant, spinach, chilis, cinnamon, and more). I’ve basically been eating lots of gf cereal, rice cakes, some eggs, and veggies. My diet has switched from low-ish carbs to predominantly carbs.

While I’ve had occasional misses in my insulin doses for doses for meals and corresponding spikes, I’ve been surprised that a.) it has taken way fewer units to cover my carbs than I expected, and b.) my basal needs are dropping (every morning I’m waking up drifting low). Now, this could be due to one or or a combo of two things: reduced inflammation due to lower histamine levels and/or reduced insulin resistance due to HCLF diet. I suspect it’s a combo of the two, and while I’m not going vegan, I suspect this is the bodily “hack” behind the success people report on the plant-based HCLF diets. Prior to this, I’d assumed eating low histamine would be awful because it would require a high carb diet to be at all convenient and that would be awful as a diabetic and result in weight gain. Now I’m not sure the latter part is true, since my insulin doses aren’t skyrocketing the way I’d assumed they would. Also eating cereal has been kind of fun, even if the best kinds (basically, all the cinnamon ones, are off-limits to me at present).


I wouldn’t doubt your basal needs have fallen as your inflammatory processes have improved.

I’m curious if your weight has changed noticeably since starting back on the carbs? How many carbs per day are you eating under these new circumstances?

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I’ve only been doing it for about a week, and I don’t monitor my weight beyond noticing how my clothes fit etc. No noticeable changes yet. We will see! I don’t plan to stay on this diet indefinitely if I can help it though—hoping to revert back closer to my normal once the pollen dies down, if that works for me.

My inflammation has improved from its recently much worsened state (MCAS + allergies), but it’s still slightly worse than it was at baseline pre-allergy season (still have mild sx, but tolerable with the dietary restrictions), which is why I’m hesitant to attribute it entirely to reduced inflammation, since I hadn’t adjusted the basal doses for the temporarily worsened sx. So I do suspect the HCLF is part of it, especially since it’s very similar to what other people report on that diet (much lower insulin resistance). From everything I’ve read, both LCHF and HCLF can work in their own ways as diabetic management tools, each with pros/cons, but I’d never tried HCLF to this extent before.


Also I have no idea how many carbs I’m eating daily at present (just that carbs are making up the vast majority of my calories at present), since I don’t really keep tabs of what I eat over the course of the day, I just pay attention in the moment and eyeball the amount and dose for it. I’m on MDI, so there’s no automatic record of doses, and I don’t tend to do formal math to figure it all out. #oldschooldiabetic

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My theory (and it’s all just made up, haha!) is that the combination of carbs and fat is really bad, but one or the other is actually fine. When you look at people who live the longest and have the lowest rates of type 2 diabetes (typical blue zones), they often have really low fat diets.


I could buy that, and furthermore, that genetic variability might make one strategy or the other preferable for some folks vs others. Also probably depending on lifestyle factors.


The problem with really low fat diets is that eventually soft tissue injuries and other joint issues crop up. Source - my relative followed the Pritikin diet for 20 years, towards the end, turned jaundice yellow and had nagging injuries that took many months to heal and was dealing with terrible joint pain, all of which cleared up when fat was added back to their diet. My philosophy (which I don’t follow very well) is everything in moderation, except for the meth. Avoid the meth.


Yeah, in spite of the effect on insulin resistance, I would not recommend my current diet to anyone not in my situation. A ton of otherwise very healthy foods are ruled out, which sucks (also pretty much everything super delicious has histamines—I’m so thankful that coffee at least seems ok). I’m not sure that either extreme blood sugar dietary hack (LCHF or HCLF) is otherwise an ideal approach health-wise—I’d suspect not, but the question would be whether the trade-off in improved control some people see would outweigh the cons of the restricted diet. Hard to say and probably extremely variable.

That said, it’s super helpful to know that doing this temporarily is not the minefield I expected it to be.


lol. #truth


I don’t think the Pritikin diet is LCHF though? Or at least they say they’re not…
I thought their whole thing was just nutrient density.


I tend to agree with what others are saying, that either a LCHF or a HCLF diet seem to work, from everything I’ve read. I’m not sure I would agree with no fat as that just seems crazy and impossible. But low(er) fat seems reasonable.

I also have a lot of allergy issues, as you know, and my allergist is testing me for mast cell activation syndrome (crossing fingers I don’t have this, but I’ve had a couple totally random anaphylactic reactions). I personally feel that once you get into this more severe and rare realm of allergies, there is probably always inflammation to some degree. I may have mild days and severe days, but I’m guessing my immune system is always in a state of battle compared to people with few or no allergies. In fact, allergies are the reason I gave up eating low carb after eating that way for several years…it just became too stressful and too restrictive to manage in addition to multiple food allergy issues.

I went to a vegan expo with a friend the other day, since two of my allergens are dairy and eggs, and found myself wondering about whether I should just dive in and try the whole plant-based diet since I am already, by necessity, halfway there.


Pritikin is definately not LCHF, it is extremely low fat. That is why I answered your low fat response. Should have quoted you to avoid confusion.


Yeah, you definitely need some fats to be healthy. And some protein. Right now I’m getting some of both mostly from a bit of eggs, freshly cooked chicken, or fresh goat cheese every day. I think the amount of either necessitated isn’t that high though, unless you are living a lifestyle that requires a ton (for example, I’m guessing a body builder probably would have a rough time on HCLF, unless it somehow included plenty of lean protein, and then would probably be more moderate carb).

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It is my time of the year… My insulin needs rise dramatically and unpredictably with seasonal allergies. I eat fairly low carb. The other night I tool 10 u of extra insulin overnight to counteract the allergies :slight_smile: I hate allergies.

Not that I will adopt a HCLF diet, it is interesting to see that eliminating histamines helps with the BG control.

Yes it is :slight_smile:


I don’t know if eating low histamine would help someone with only seasonal allergies and not MCAS, but it could be worth a try.

But so delicious sigh


Don’t forget the salt - Fat+Carbs+Salt = super tasty


Fat+Carbs+Salt = French Fries?
Fat+Carbs+Salt = Fish and Chips?


All of those, but don’t forget fried chicken, fried pork cutlets, Sweet potato fries, chicken fried steak, etc.


MMmmmmmm …
Salty fatty carbs


I’ve been HFPB for four years, with almost no fat from oil. I do eat reasonable amounts of nuts, seeds, and avocado. A1Cs (and basal rates) dropped. Carbs and oil together (french fries, for example) raise my Bg in unpredictable ways and take a crazy amount of insulin to counteract.

I wouldn’t hesitate to try it. You have to love beans though. :slight_smile:

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