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Thread: Treating Diabetes with a Low-Carb diet

  1. #1
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    Treating Diabetes with a Low-Carb diet

    Paging Dr. Steve!

    Just got word that I officially have type 2 diabetes. It may or may not be a result of the medication that I've been taking for the past 4 months (the one from my breakfast thread). One of the possible side effects of this med is diabetes, as well as liver and kidney damage, plus some other equally nasty stuff.

    My previous two readings in the past 10 years have been 86 and 90, with 60-99 being the normal range. My glucose reading came back yesterday at 359. I just about fell out of my chair. I'm convinced this is from the medication as it has also made my ALT and AST numbers (liver and kidney) go through the roof. The doctors seem unconvinced and want to put me on medication right away without checking to see if the medication has anything to do with it. I'm going to insist that we do a 2 week trial to see if reducing or temporarily stopping the medication has any effect on my numbers. I'm also going to do a strict low-carb diet.

    Anywho, I remember that Steve posted some time ago about successfully treating his diabetes with a low-carb diet and I wanted to learn more about that in the hopes that I can do the same.


    A bit of a vent and some feeling sorry for myself-ness:
    This diabetes is the latest in a long list of ailments that have come down on me this past 12 months and it's not the last one; my liver, kidneys, and triglycerides are also negatively impacted at this time and I need to do some more blood work to see what's going on there.

  2. #2
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I'm not Dr. Steve, but DH has been in and out of T2D.

    I've talked about this before, but one of the astounding "experiments" we undertook (DH and I) was a low carb diet. We cut out bread, pasta, rice, etc. Our motivation was: a) ME: fitting into a size 6 mother-of-the groom dress and b) DH: fitting into his Royal Stewart kilt for the same wedding in October.

    We started in July 2015 and DH had a regular doctor's appointment in November 2015 (post-wedding). He had gone from full-blown diabetes in July to an HbA1c of "pre-diabetic" norms in November. All his bloodwork (LDL, triglycerides) was drastically improved.

    I went from 135 lbs. to 117 lbs. I fit into my size 6, and people told my daughter that after my DIL, I was ....(well.. I don't want to brag--just saying, I guess the dress looked good on me).

    Food is medicine, and I do think avoiding processed carbs is key.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  3. #3
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    Might I suggest another alternative? Eating - to put a general term on it - a vegan diet could also give the results you are seeking. Be right back, off to Google.

  4. #4
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    Try this: https://type2diabetes.com/nutrition/...es-management/

    Also, Forks over Knives on Netflix.

    I wish I could find the link I had that stated IT'S not carbs but fat that influences glucose metabolism.

  5. #5
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    My husband has type 2 that is not controlled. The doctor told him to double his medication until the numbers go down. Doctor told him to go on low carb diet and he is trying. Geila, I would definitely try to see if quitting the nasty medication works.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    Catherine - this is so good to hear! How amazing that your husband saw such results. Of course, looking good in your dress is great too! But this does give me hope. Has your DH maintained his prediabetic state? Is he still on medication? My next step is to research the meds as my doc wants to put me on them asap.

    lmerullo - I don't think I would do well on a vegan diet. I can't eat nuts so my protein sources would be very limited, and if I had to avoid fat, that would make things even harder. I think most of the research has shown that it is carbs that affect glucose. Even my doctor, the only dietary changes she has mentioned is limiting carbs. I've also been referred to a diabetes clinician.

    TT - do you know what medication your husband is on? Re my nasty medication, I do need to try to stay on that med for at least another 6 months, but hopefully I can do so at a much reduced dosage and still gain the benefits with out the side effects.

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    Medfortin. He had to stop exercising so much because his knee and foot were hurting so bad.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Dr. Steve can see you now...

    First, my sympathy on the diagnosis. Despite the absolute chemistry of diabetes (insulin in the body doesn't match carb intake) there are numerous risk factors and yet many people with even several of those risk factors don't always become diabetic. Someday we'll know more about that; not today.

    I'm T2 but my numbers are those of a non-diabetic without any medication or insulin. A1c well under 6 and cholesterol numbers which are positive relative to where I was even when I was "low-carbing" it. Way before the era of diabetes medications advertised heavily on TV and way before insulin was widely available, diabetics used to be treated with a very-low-carbohydrate diet. It works. (A vegan diet likely will not work because it will be hard to find enough low-carb sources of vegetables to provide enough protein and, honestly, variety to keep you on the diet.)

    There are many resources on the Internet which can point you toward eating a low-carb or even a ketogenic diet. One site I think lays things out well is Blood Sugar 101. I'd recommend taking a look at that site for a good background on the illness and the effects of diet and medication on it as well as pointers on how to start eating ultra-low-carb.

    Some other points I would make at the moment:

    - If you're going low-carb or even keto, you must bump up your fat intake. Most people consume a high number of their daily calories in carbs; you can't cut them out without replacing them calorically or you will be hungry (or hangry) constantly and you'll fall off the wagon. Increasing protein eventually will result in rising blood glucose levels because, in the absence of ready carbohydrate stores, the body will glycolize protein. So the old Atkins joke about eating as much bacon as you want does not apply. On this kind of eating plan your protein intake is moderate.

    - When you start you will want to keep up your fluid and sodium intake as your body adjusts to its new diet. People who don't keep drinking water and salting their food get what's coloquially called "keto flu" for some days when they start; fluid and salt shorten that timeframe considerably.

    - At least in the beginning, you'll want to test your blood glucose levels very frequently. Solid endocrinological studies show that organ damage can occur at any level above 140 (the American Diabetes Association, for some reason, is okay with 180). Most diabetics find there is some food that will cause a surprising spike in blood glucose, but it's not the same food for all of us. For instance, I can eat a handful of berries (any kind) without seeing a big rise in my BG levels. Others cannot. Some diabetics are okay eating beans; some of us <raises hand> are not. To know, though, you have to test, ideally just before you eat, an hour after you eat, and two hours after you eat.

    Watch out for food labeled "for diabetics". It usually has artificial sweeteners in it or "sugar alcohols" (maltitol, etc.). Products like Dreamfields pasta is another one to watch out for -- I've seen numerous posts on-line from diabetics who noticed either unwanted digestive side effects or that their BG increased even three hours after they ate that particular food. As in most other diets, whole foods are best. Want chocolate? Find yourself some good 80-90% dark chocolate and have a square or two and scratch the itch. Don't buy "chocolate for diabetics".

    Your doctor may already have given you a BG meter. You can use that one but check the price of strips; that's what costs the most. I use an inexpensive meter that uses inexpensive strips (about 25 cents apiece mail order) so I can test pretty much all I want without worrying that my Rx doesn't cover all the strips I need. You can petition your doctor for an Rx for more strips or you can just buy them out of pocket like I do. That way no one can tell me what meter to use or how often I can test. If you don't test, you don't know. As you can attest, even a BG of 350 doesn't feel much different from "normal".

    - You might think that increasing your fat intake will wreak havoc on your cholesterol numbers. Aside from good studies that indicate a wide fluctuation in blood glucose/insulin levels is more responsible than fats for cholesterol issues, after several months (to maybe a year) on a very-low-carb/keto diet, the cholesterol in your body will change shape from tiny particles to larger cloud-shaped masses that don't get into cells the way the tiny particles do. So don't let your doctor rush you into a statin or such because your cholesterol numbers don't meet their protocol. Insist on a "pattern test" to assess your true risk for cholesterol/arterial issues and make sure your doctor knows how to read the results.

    I've already written a book , but this will get you started. Feel free to ask questions (or PM if you prefer); happy to answer them or point you in the direction of greater assistance.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  9. #9
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    So glad you can see me today Dr. Steve!

    I will check out that website and also reread your comments to make sure everything sinks in. I'm a bit overwhelmed right now because in addition to just taking in what this BG number means (possible organ damage! etc), my doctor sent me a long list of stuff she wants to me do. Lots of tests, appts with diabetes clinician, appts with her, etc...

    I guess the biggest thing I need right now is hope.

    How long have you been able to maintain your healthy numbers without using medication? Did you ever even try medication or did you just treat it with diet? Could you share a typical eating day?

    I suspect that with my astoundingly high number my doctor will put me on meds right away, and I understand. Safety is a big issue right now. But I also want to do everything I can diet-wise to help things along.

    p.s. books are welcome! Big books!!!

  10. #10
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    The Magic Pill. available on Netflix and Amazon, does a good jub of explaining the advantages inherent in eating LCHF.
    Also, Dr. Stepnen Phinney's YouTube videos.

    ETA: Fasting is also helpful to bring surging insulin under control--or at least limit your calorie intake to 2-3 times a day. "Grazing" keeps that insulin/blood glucose roller coaster going.
    Last edited by JaneV2.0; 2-15-19 at 6:31pm.

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