Metabolic Dysfunction

We have approximately 30 trillion cells that need energy to function. We have to convert food to ATP – a type of energy that can be used in our cells. When that conversion is not going well, we don’t produce energy in our cells the way we are supposed to, thus leading to cellular dysfunction. Cellular dysfunction then leads to tissue dysfunction and organ dysfunction. Organ dysfunction can then show up as various symptoms: heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and dementia, cancer, chronic kidney/liver diseases, depression, and brain fog, to name a few. 

Metabolic dysfunction, the energy deficit or lack of good energy production in the cells, can be caused by insulin resistance. This sends us back to optimizing our lifestyle as much as possible and staying away from foods that raise our blood sugar too much. As mentioned in the previous post, even low-glycemic foods can still impact some people’s glucose responses to a greater degree, so it is up to you to progressively figure out which foods work best with your biology. 

What follows is a basic list of foods (eggs and dairy, meat and fish, baked-good ingredients, pasta, oils, fats, and sauces) that will help you better control your blood sugar levels.

Eggs and Dairy

When you want to buy dairy products, go for pasture-raised/grass-fed or organic dairy. If you consume dairy alternatives, skip the sweetened varieties and oat milk.

  • Eggs (go for pasture-raised or organic)
  • Kefir
  • Greek-style full-fat yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Sour cream
  • Unsweetened nut and seed milks (excluding oat or rice milk) 
  • Unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (excluding oat)

Meat and Fish

When buying animal products, look for local, pastured, and 100% grass-fed. Next would be USDA-certified organic, such as with:

  •  Beef
  • Lamb
  • Game meats

For seafood, preferably buy wild-caught, small fish, such as:

  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Salmon

Baked-Good Ingredients

When baking, swap in these alternative flours and sweeteners for refined wheat flours and traditional sugars. As a side note, dark chocolate should be 85-88% or higher, even as a snack.

  • Almond flour 
  • Coconut flour
  • Monk Fruit 
  • Stevia
  • Allulose 


White-flour pasta is an ultra-processed food so buy one of these alternatives instead:

  • Zucchini noodles
  • Konjac noodles
  • Hearts of palm pasta
  • Chickpea or lentil pasta (on occasion)

Oils, Fats, and Sauces

As mentioned in The 10 “Primal-Approved Fats and Oils,” you should bypass traditional vegetable/seed oils (canola, corn, soy, safflower, sunflower). These vegetable/seed oils are easily damaged by exposure to light, heat, oxygen, without even mentioning cooking itself. 

  • Tahini
  • Nut butters
  • Aioli
  • Guacamole
  • Pesto
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • MCT oil

On a Final Note

Embracing a low-carb lifestyle is not as challenging as it may appear at first. So many alternative products are available now. Just a few swaps and you can still enjoy your favorite recipes!

Until next time!


The Levels Team. “110 Foods Unlikely to Spike Your Blood Sugar.” Levels, 25 May 2021, Accessed 28 Aug. 2021.

“The Secret to Longevity, Reversing Disease and Optimizing Health: Fixing Metabolism with Dr. Casey Means | the Doctor’s Farmacy with Mark Hyman, M.D.”, 11 Aug. 2021, Accessed 28 Aug. 2021.

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