Here is where I'll try (sometimes not very hard) to answer your questions. My judgment has often turned out to be terrible, so any advice should be greeted with great skepticism.Tweet questions to @dumbassgenius or email them to email@example.com.A trio of related questions:
Do you follow a particular diet? Which one? Why?
Which pills/supplements should I be taking in order to have a better life? (thinner, smarter, live longer, etc)
You've talked about controlling blood sugar as a way to add time to your life. I have type 1 diabetes (diagnosed at a late age of 27, 3 years ago), and although I control my sugar very well for a diabetic (A1C between 5-6), it's unlikely to be anywhere near a normal person. Best case scenario, Id guess I'm going to die at least five years earlier than I would have had I not been diagnosed.
If you were diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic, what would you do?
Try to find a natural cure?
What kind of diet would you follow?
Dear Christophe, Philip and Bradford -
The inventor Ray Kurzweil takes 150 to 200 pills a day because he wants to live to 2040. Around that time, he thinks, artificial intelligence will create a singularity - a point at which technology will be able to solve all problems and we'll all get to live forever. I don't think that events will play out like that, but I do take 70 pills a day, hoping to live long enough to see some really cool stuff, like Google contact lenses and the Suri Cruise - Maddox Pitt-Jolie wedding.
I've also dropped my weight. Weighed in the mid-170s at 5'10 1/2" when I was bouncing bars. Strong like bull. But now I'm in my 50s, and what's the point of slabby pecs anymore? Science shows that skinny, underfed animals live longer, so, over the past 8 years, I've dropped about 30 pounds. Now I'm kind of scrawny, and it looks a little creepy. I now weigh what pretty much everybody weighed in the first half of the 20th century, before we turned into a nation of waddling, shirt-untucked blobbos.
I like food and don't like exercising too much discipline, so I use fiber gummies and carb blockers to replace some discipline. Fiber gummies are chewable fiber in the shape of gumdrops - candy that makes you poop. (Offer a bowl to an unpleasant coworker without telling him about the pooping part.) The faster food moves through you, the less you absorb. Carb blockers suppress a digestive enzyme so you only absorb 75% of the carbs your eat when you take them with a meal. Yes, you poop a little more, but it's worth it.
Fat blockers, however, are pure punishment and should be avoided for all but the fattiest meals. Lots of intestinal distress and disgusting, oily dookies. Better to eat less fat. For instance, peel half the cheese off of a piece of pizza - it'll still taste just like pizza. People will think you're weird, but eff them. Other weird stuff I do besides peeling pizza: take a leak before I eat - you enjoy your food more if you're not distracted by a full bladder; eat off of small plates using small forks and spoons - helps with portion control.
I take cholesterol blockers, both prescription - statins - and non-prescription - phytosterols - along with a DHT blocker. DHT is the form of testosterone that makes your prostate blow up and your hair fall out. Anytime you see a TV ad where old men are always rushing off to pee, you're seeing an ad for a DHT blocker. An added benefit of DHT blockers is they cause your body to pump out some extra testosterone to compensate, so it's a little like being on steroids.
My favorite drug is metformin, a diabetes drug that decreases glucose production in the liver and increases insulin sensitivity. Tens of millions of Americans with Type 2 diabetes are on it. I don't have diabetes, but metformin can be good for non-diabetics, too. Metformin is one of two drugs that fools your body into reacting as if you're taking in fewer calories, possibly flipping your metabolism into extended-life mode. (Check out this article/photo on calorie restriction in monkeys. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/10/science/10aging.html Resveratrol is the other drug that can flip your metabolism, but when you take it orally, your liver knocks out 99% of it.)
Other drugs/vitamins I like are aspirin (half an adult tablet per day) - reduces inflammation (so does flossing); glisodin - possibly slows down graying of your hair, makes some people euphoric, generally scavenges age-related gunk; curcumin - reduces inflammation, is a very pretty orange color; fish oil; ToCoQ10; carnosine; ALA and carnitine; glucosamine/chondroitin; and vitamin D. Maybe only 1/3 of the vitamins I take actually do anything, but we won't know until the future which 1/3 it is.
You might want to visit Life Extension (www.lef.org). They sell fancy vitamins and try to back up what they sell with research. Lots of stuff to read there. Vitacost.com has good prices.
If I had Type 1 diabetes, I'd try to hit all the fairly easy ways to minimize blood sugar spikes:
Eat lots of small meals/snacks instead of a few big ones.
Find out what foods have a high glycemic index and eliminate the crappy-tasting ones from your diet. Turns out rice cakes have a high index in addition to being bleh. So why eat them?
Slow down and minimize food absorption with fiber and carb blockers.
Get aggro with people who try to sabotage your routine.
Make sure your doctor is up to date in his/her diabetes knowledge and make sure you're up to date. There are a few diabetes newsletters you can sign up to get spammed with. This one's good - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't get down on yourself if/when you screw up. Not giving yourself shit makes it easier to maintain healthy habits.