5 weeks on John McDougall’s “Starch Solution” – report so far

Well, I finished week 5. This week I lost just a little bit – like 1/2 lb. But since last week’s loss was large I’m ok with that.

After 5 weeks I’ve now lost exactly 6 kg = 13.2 lb.

Also, today was my regular visit to the hospital for blood tests. Some of the results I was very impressed with. Other results less impressed. But I’m not sure how much change I should expect in just 5 weeks.

Also, there was a period “in between” diets and I’m not sure how much the values might have changed during that time frame.

The way the schedule worked was this. I went on Dr. David Ludwig’s “Always Hungry?” low-carb diet starting 2/8/2016. On that date I also had blood tests. I stayed on that diet for exactly 10 weeks and had blood tests at the end, on 4/18/2016. So I know exactly what happened on Ludwig’s diet, and it wasn’t good, including gaining weight and never solving my hunger problems.

Between 4/19/2016 and 5/22/2016 I wasn’t on any particular diet. My weight stayed pretty much the same during this period, but I was definitely not vegan/no-oil and would sometimes overeat and I don’t have any blood test data for those in-between 5 weeks.

On 5/23/2016 – exactly 5 weeks ago – I started Dr. McDougall’s “Starch Solution” diet.

While on the Ludwig low-carb diet I gained weight over 10 weeks and my blood tests were not improved at all. In many ways they got worse.

On Dr. McDougall’s diet I’ve lost a good amount of weight in 5 weeks. The question for me, in addition to that, is what changed and what did not in my blood test results, and how can I interpret the results considering I did not take blood tests at the very start of the diet, like I did with Ludwig’s diet.

I think the answer to that question is I really can’t be sure and I just need to continue on Starch Solution for another 10 weeks and compare the results with today’s results.

In any case, these are the results of the blood values I’m most concerned with:

(1) HbA1c (blood sugar)

2/8 (start of “Always Hungry?”) – 7.9
4/18 (after 10 weeks on “Always Hungry?”) – 8.0
6/27 (after 5 weeks on “Starch Solution”) – 7.9

Given the provisos mentioned above, all I can say is that neither diet seems to have affected my blood sugar for good or bad so far. Lowering carbs did not lower my blood sugar at all. If anything it went up just a tad. And dramatically increasing high glycemic carbs did not increase my blood sugar at all – they went down just a tad. But nothing really statistically significant overall.

I think, from past experience, my HbA1c will come down as I lose more weight. I’ve just lost 13 lb so far. I think after another 10 weeks I should see better results.

(2) Total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol)

These results were dramatic. I was pretty surprised by this because I thought, according to recent research, that the cholesterol you eat doesn’t really directly affect blood cholesterol. Well, that wasn’t true in my case at all as you can see from these numbers:

2/8 (start of “Always Hungry?”) – Total cholesterol 175, LDL 95
4/18 (after 10 weeks on “Always Hungry?”) – Total 177, LDL 101
6/27 (after 5 weeks on “Starch Solution”) – Total 130, LDL 67

Wow. That’s a dramatic drop in total and bad cholesterol in a short amount of time by giving up animal products. So I’m pleased about that.

(3) Triglycerides (TG)

This particularly surprised, and disappointed me because there was no improvement, at least not yet, on Starch Solution. The normal range for this is 30-150 mg/dl.

2/8 (start of “Always Hungry?”) – 113, normal range
4/18 (after 10 weeks on “Always Hungry?”) – 159, way up
6/27 (after 5 weeks on “Starch Solution”) – 164, still a bit up

But, like I said, there were those “5 weeks between diets” so for all I know maybe my triglycerides actually went up even more during that time and have come down over the last 5 weeks. I just don’t know for sure.

Everything else is normal. My blood pressure remains good. Actually great. It was like 105 / 62 with a pulse rate of 66 today!

As for what I’m eating, I’m keeping it simple. Lots of baked potatoes, moistened with a bit of soy milk. Lots of salads topped with garbanzo beans or red kidney beans. Lots of brown rice. Some sweet potatoes. Some frozen veggies (corn, peas, carrot mix or a lower starch broccoli, cauliflower and green bean mix), sometimes some soba, sometimes some udon, sometimes some edamame. My total calorie input has gone down quite a lot compared to “Always Hungry?” because unlike that diet, on “Starch Solution” I really am usually not hungry between meals.

And I’ve increased my exercise a bit so I am cycling along the nearby river most days.

Anyway, I see lots of reasons to continue on Starch Solution and see what happens over the next 10 weeks, and no reasons to modify anything yet. I’m still psychologically “in diet mode” and happy about that.


5 weeks on John McDougall’s “Starch Solution” – report so far — 6 Comments

  1. Happy to hear about the weight loss!. Im still struggling. I try and try- nothing,. Thrn i lose 3 pounds. Then i gain gain them back. Totally a nightmare. Im glad you have success!

    Keep going! Success is wonderful!

  2. How long after you start the starch diet should you start seeing your bs numbers decrease?

  3. Hi. If you read my later posts you will see I’m not strictly on Starch Solution anymore (I was having trouble losing weight), but rather generally on WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) with guidelines from people like Dr. Greger and Chef AJ (lower calorie density, etc).

    Anyway, blood sugar comes down slowly. HbA1c is an average over several months. My blood sugar was originally over 11! Very dangerous. It dropped slowly over a year or so and now is 5.5. I’ve been off blood sugar medications for over a year now.

    Your blood sugar should drop slowly over time as you lose weight, if you are overweight. It’s definitely not quick. But it’s sure and steady.

  4. 6 weeks on the starch solution and down 5 pounds. But my blood work has gone nuts! My cholesterol didn’t budge. It is 189 same as before i started. The worse was the triglycerides are now at 250 from all the starch. They were within normal range before the starch diet. My doc wants to put me on a triglyceride lowering diet. Ugh! So, i am going to back off the starches, keep the no dairy and low fat but add a little lean protein. All in all really disapointed!

  5. You might want to read some of my more recent posts. I am currently down 138 pounds to an all time low of 148 pounds. My cholesterol is extremely low, and my blood sugar is completely normal. I’m not exactly doing the starch solution, but I do have potatoes for breakfast every morning and corn at night, and fruits during the day. I follow whole food plant-based eating, with a concentration on low calorie density foods.

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