diabetes and low-carb diet?

Old 05-30-2010, 07:24 PM
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Default diabetes and low-carb diet?

Hi all,

I'm new to FitDay and to the forum, but I wanted to ask a little bit of advice.

I am almost 25 years old, living and working abroad, and am a very healthy weight with constant physical movement for work. Lately a friend who's a pharmacist noticed I was a little swollen around my neck area which he thought needed to be checked out for hypothyroidism. I subsequently went to his pharmacy to have a little blood work done just as a start, and it turned out that while my other levels were normal for cholesterol, etc, I had a glucose reading of 206, after fasting. The person who performed the tests was so shocked that she wanted to do it again. The second time it read 147, but still too high for fasting levels, and way past the cut-off of 126 for pre-diabetes. This stopped me in my tracks completely.

After discussing the results with the pharmacist, he immediately told me to get further blood work done, which I will be doing this week.

The reason I have been so worried about this, is because apart from being a diabetic-level reading, the glucose was the reading I was most interested in knowing. My grandfather had diabetes and therefore it runs in the family. While he lived a long life, it was full of complications from diabetes. Lately I had been wondering if this disease, which my mother was aware of and therefore was very cautious with us as kids, had somehow reared it's ugly head in me. I've been drinking like water's going out of style, been fatigued, and feeling erratic and emotional like I never had been before. Just based on my own intuitions, I had been eating better, eliminating anything but health-store bought whole grains, tons of fruits and veggies, salads, almost no sugar, and just basically eating really healthily.

What I'm considering now in the wake of this potential (because nothing is confirmed yet before further blood work) is a low-carb way of eating. I've been researching like crazy and IF I have diabetes, or even just pre-diabetes, I really want to try to deal with it with diet and be extremely careful about what I give my body.

What I'm curious to know is if there are any diabetics out there who follow a low-carb way of life and what are the percentages of carbs/protein/fat that you eat per day? What has been helpful/not helpful? I want to approach this matter rationally, intelligently, and really consider all my options.

Thank you for any advice you might be able to give me!
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:09 AM
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I just skimmed over your post, but low-carb would be the best diet for someone with diabetes. For more detailed information, visit Mark's Daily Apple

If I were you, I would keep my carbs anywhere from 0-100 (lower, being preferable). I suggest that you stop eating bread, or at the very least greatly reduce your grain intake, including corn, which is not a vegetable, but a grain, and legumes which, like bread and other grain, contain lectins, which are mild natural toxins. Grain plays havoc with insulin, and I would never recommend eating them to anyone, not even a healthy person. Ideally, all of your carbs should be coming from a moderate amount of dairy (if your digestive system can handle dairy products), plenty of non-starchy vegetables, and the occasional fruit. You should be getting the majority of your energy from high quality fat, such as grass fed beef, organic butter, olive oil, avocado, etc. I believe a ketogenic diet (one under/around 20 carbs), would be best for you for now, but I must warn you that you will feel horrible for awhile (times varying, but you may feel bad for a few weeks), until your body learns how to use fat and ketones (Your brain uses these for energy instead of glucose on a ketogenic diet, since your brain cannot use fat for energy), instead of using carbs as an energy source. But after this 'low-carb flu', you will feel like a million bucks.

Also, remember to eat LOTS of fat. I cannot stress this enough. Full fat meat, dump butter and olive oil on everything. I average over 150 grams of fat on any given day, and about 120 grams of protein. I usually keep my carbs under 10 (I'm trying to lose a bit of weight). Don't be afraid of saturated fat. The studies that 'proved' these fats were bad for you were based on very poorly conducted experiments, in which the participants also ate large amounts of sugar and processed foods, hydrogenated fat, etc. Many people around the world eat diets high in saturated fat, such as the massai, and those living in tropical regions, and these people, when eating their traditional diets, have virtually no heart disease, cancer is almost unknown, the list goes on and on. It is only when they are introduced to a modern diet full of processed carbs, that things like diabetes, gum disease and obesity starts to rear its ugly head.

I would also tell you about cholesterol, but I feel like I'm rambling. Just go to the link I gave you earlier, go to the forums, and read the cholesterol post by forum member 'Griff'. Your cholesterol may be higher after eating this way, but its actually often those with low cholesterol who have heart attacks. So, its perfectly alright to have high cholesterol, ideal even, as long as its the right kind.

Also, if you keep your carbs very low, (0-20), it would be almost impossible for you to gain fat. So don't worry if you feel like you're eating a lot. I eat about 2,200 calories a day, and am still steadily losing weight (over 2 lbs a week, after losing water weight), and I'm an average sized girl who doesn't do any exercise besides walking around a bit, and lifting heavy weights for half an hour a few times a week. A fellow forum member did an experiment, and he found that as long as his carbs stayed under 20, he simply could not gain weight, Even if he ate something like 3,500 calories a day, which was far above his maintenance level. So unless you eat 10,000 calories a day of meat (No easy feat, I must say), you will not gain weight. Just to be sure though, weigh yourself once a week at the same time of day, to make sure you stay on track.

EDIT: Stay away from vegetable oil! I repeat, stay away from the vegetable oil! It has a horrible omega 3 to 6 ratio, and this causes heart disease! You should be using only olive oil, fats derived from animals, and coconut oils and nut butters (NOT PEANUT BUTTER. Peanuts are a legume, and not actually a nut, and they are absolutely horrible for you!) to get your fat from!

*Achem*, hope I helped

Good luck, and I hope you feel better soon, hon.

Last edited by Beefsister; 06-05-2010 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:15 AM
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I'll second Beefsister's advice, and I'll add that you look up a man by the name of Dr. Richard Bernstein. He's a type-1 diabetic physician that's been keeping his condition in check for almost (or maybe more than) 50 years by following a very low-carb diet, to the point where he no longer requires medication. His methods have also been followed very successfully by several type-2 patients.
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:52 PM
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I also second Beefsister's tandoorichicken's advices.
yes, please cut down grains & fruits.

you may also want to search Dr. Jan Kwasniewski's Optimal Diet (a high saturated diet). he is a doctor in Poland who has had great success with diabetes 1 & 2 & some other civlized diseases.

also i recently read that cinamon helps sensitizing insuline hence diabetes. so maybe suplementing it would help. at least, it is pretty safe, inexpensive & tastes good. (i add a little cinamon in a lot of dishes that i cook)


Last edited by gee1996; 06-18-2010 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 06-19-2010, 02:35 AM
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Default I do not agree

I agree with part of it, you need to keep GRAMS of carbs below 100 (15 grams =1carb). Look on packages/cans of food for serving size. You will be amazed how much a true serving is... and then at the total carbs listed... thats for 1 serving.

The part I disagree with is the wild free for all on fats. Yes, you body DOES need fat to survive.

The key is balance. Only ten percent of the calories consumed should be from sources of saturated fat, another twenty can come from unsaturated fats. How many grams of saturated fat should you eat daily? For a normal adult, ten percent is around twenty grams of saturated fat. We will benefit more from avoiding processed foods and processed fats; and, enjoying natural whole foods and natural fat.

The best sources of the good fats are eggs, olive oil, raw nuts, avacado, REAL butter, coconut oil.

Avoid: Hydrogenated oils of all kinds. Canola, margarine (even the 'smart' margarines, Substitute butters) Artificial sweetners and fructose. For sweetners try using Stevia.

Also I have read on several sites that Wheat bread, pasta ( even the whole grain ones) crackers and cookies (that makes sense lol).. should also be avoided and instead eat things like:

sprouted grain (breads), Millet, sweet potatos and ALL fruits and vegetable. Although there are some veggies higher in starch like corn, peas, lima beans.. even those have better benefits than say mashed potatoes or white potatos no matter how it is made. One last thing, you can have brown rice, but white rice will spike you blood sugar.

Good luck!
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:18 PM
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I'll have to partially couter-disagree with GameGal. I hope we're not confusing the OP too much!

Sprouted grains, in the end, are still grains, and they add a lot of unnecessary carbohydrates to the diet. True, they have some additional enzymes that assist with digestion, but beyond that they don't bring much to the table.

The mainstream concerns about fat in the diet have to do with heart disease. As arteries get damaged, the body blocks the leaks with cholesterol, a kind of temporary glue that holds the artery shut. If not enough protein is consumed, the artery cannot repair itself in time, and the leak tears again, and the body fills it in with even more cholesterol, decreasing the diameter of the artery even further. If this continues over time, the artery can become completely blocked. It's true that certain kinds of fat can increase blood cholesterol, but chronic high cholesterol is merely a symptom, not the underlying cause.

The root cause of arterial damage is inflammation. During inflammation, the arteries momentarily harden and become more susceptible to tears. This inflammation can be caused both by infection, as well as high blood glucose. If we can reduce any cause of inflammation, we can reduce the number of vascular tears, the resulting cholesterol plugs, and thus, heart disease. This is pretty much the biochemical basis for the low-carb diet.

In the absence of inflammation, then, it doesn't matter how much fat we eat. Fat has to be looked at through a completely different lens. Regardless of your diet type, the fate of all dietary fat is to end up inside a cell somewhere, where the intracellular machinery can transform individual free fatty acids into hormones called prostaglandins. Saturated and W-3 fatty acids are changed into prostaglandins that reduce inflammation. Conversely, W-6 fatty acids are transformed into pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. Incidentally, W-6 acids are found in very large amounts in canola oil, corn oil, and other vegetable oils. This is why we primal/paleo low-carbers avoid them. Any excess cholesterol is mopped up by the fiber in our vegetables.

Hope this clears up your concerns, GameGal.

Finally, brown rice will spike your sugar just as much as white rice. You only get the benefit of added minerals and better taste with the brown.

Last edited by tandoorichicken; 06-23-2010 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:42 AM
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To the OP--you got some FANTASTIC advice in this thread. Have a look at Mark's Daily Apple and you will be fine.
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Old 07-26-2010, 01:17 AM
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I would also suggest seeing a dietician about the best diet for you. There is an abundance of good and bad advice and the advice will differ from person to person. How you manage your diet may also depend on if you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and what you want your lifestyle to be like. Carbs are the only thing you count when you are trying to figure out the insulin your body needs, so a low carb diet means your body needs less insulin. That being said, you need carbs for energy, so if you are diabetic, it is VERY important you understand the relationship between carbs and insulin (it could mean the difference between life and death).
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by wizziebeth
What I'm curious to know is if there are any diabetics out there who follow a low-carb way of life and what are the percentages of carbs/protein/fat that you eat per day? What has been helpful/not helpful? I want to approach this matter rationally, intelligently, and really consider all my options.

Thank you for any advice you might be able to give me!
Hiya Beth,

I was a Type 2, insulin resistant diabetic. Prior to a low carb diet, my readings were over 400. Even taking insulin with my meals, my lowest reading was never lower than 140. Within a month of starting Atkins, my readings were close to 100...without insulin.

When I'm actively trying to lose weight, I drop my carbs to around 35gm per day. I also try to keep my calories around 1200. I don't count fat grams, but I also try to limit how much extra fat I add to my diet in the way of oil on salads, butter on vegies, etc.

When I need a break from the 'diet' aspect of Atkins, I just increase my carbs. Although through trial and error have discovered that if I go over about 80-100 gm per day, my blood sugar levels also increase.

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