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Home Posts tagged "Blood sugar" (Page 4)

Diabetic transforms his health with a low-carb diet but his doctor urges him to eat more carbs

Published on October 5, 2012,

Following yesterday’s story about a new research study suggesting a low carb diet can be beneficial for type 2 diabetes, here’s an anecdotal account on one man’s experiences of switching from a high carb to a low carb, wheat free diet and the positive impact it had on his condition and general well being. It is from a post by Dr Briffa, author of Escape The Diet Trap:

I got an interesting email over the weekend from a 56-year-old type 2 diabetic. He was diagnosed at age 42. He initially managed this as he was advised: with a high carbohydrate, low fat diet. He moved to ‘healthy’ grains that were ‘less refined’ and ate sourdough bread. In his own words: “And despite all of this, I saw no improvement, in fact I gained weight to around 90 kg before changing my diet at the start of the year.” The man in question ended up reading the book Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora T Gedaudas after hearing her featured on a podcast.

After reading Nora’s book, he followed most of her advice and then slowly extricated himself from the wheat and grain-dominated foods that he “was supposed to eat to obtain energy and remain healthy.” He started eating animal fats for the first time in years and gave up alcohol. Here’s his email to me:

I had my 6 monthly diabetes check-up last Wednesday. The diabetes consultant was really happy with all of my figures on cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, weight (I’ve lost another 4 kg since February without really trying), kidney and liver function are excellent – in fact he was really impressed and asked me what I was doing to get these improvements.

Simple, I said, I’ve stopped eating wheat in all its forms and grains in general, I avoid rice and all potato products. I eat animal fat and the only oil that I use is extra virgin olive oil. Breakfast is typically a one-egg omelette and with a small amount of bacon, smoked salmon or Parma ham. I have spinach or other leafy greens and tomatoes. Lunch is often not taken as I do not feel hungry until 6.00 pm when I have my evening meal. Another small portion of meat and plenty of veggies. The only fruit that I have are a few blueberries, wild strawberries (when they are available) and raspberries – and I mean a few.

I sleep better than ever, don’t feel tired and have lost weight. I really ought to exercise though, that is the only flaw in my regime.

“No, you MUST eat some carbohydrates” he said.

“I do, I told you, I eat plenty of vegetables.” I said.

“No, no, starchy carbohydrates, you NEED them”

“Why do I NEED them?”

“For energy, your body needs carbohydrates for energy” came his concerned reply.

“How do you think that I’ve managed to survive since you last saw me then? And, you told me how pleased you were with all of my readings – doesn’t that suggest that I’m doing fine without refined, starchy carbohydrates?”

He had no reply other than to repeat to me that I MUST eat carbohydrates for energy.

I urged him to read Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora T Gedgaudas and made him write it down. I could see that he wasn’t convinced. So, I told him that the bullshit that he’d been taught by the food industry-research funded nonsense that the Government taught him is causing all of the major health problems that he has to deal with every day.

I also said that I throw a fat-fuelled log onto the fire in the morning rather than the carbohydrate kindling throughout the day to keep me provided with energy and avoid the feeling of hunger. Again, nothing seemed to penetrate that simple head of his; it was full of the guff that he’d been taught not to question.

I decided to post this story because it represents to me many facets of a growing theme in the interactions patients have with their health and healthcare professionals. This is the sort of scenario I’m talking about (I’m using diabetes as an example, but the themes can apply to lots of conditions):

1. someone gets diagnosed with diabetes and takes conventional advice to eat a high-carbohydrate, low fat diet which.

2. the diabetic finds it difficult to control blood sugar levels effectively, even with sometimes multiple medications.

3. the diabetic starts reading information on the internet and in books which explains why a high-carbohydrate diet is (generally) a disaster for diabetics and what works better (a diet richer in fat and adequate protein).

4. the diabetic decides to take matters into their own hands, changes their diet, and their blood sugar control and general health improve through the roof.

5. when their doctor finds out that their patient is eating a ‘fad’, ‘low-carb’ or ‘Atkins’ diet, they either elect not to engage with this, or positively dissuade the diabetic from taking this approach.

In this particular case, the doctor shows a mind-numbing ignorance about basic physiology (assuming he’s been quoted correctly): No-one needs to eat starchy carbohydrate (or any carbohydrate) for energy. For a start, fat is a suitable fuel for the body. Plus, sugar can be made from other dietary elements (e.g. protein) in the liver.

Study shows improvement in type 2 diabetes with low carb diet

Published on October 4, 2012,

Atkins Nutritionals has this week issued a press release referring to new research published in the October edition of Nutrition journal which suggests a low carb ketogenic diet can help people with type 2 diabetes by improving health markers for blood sugar readings. This is how the research was covered in…

English: Diagram shows insulin release from th...

Diagram shows insulin release from the Pancreas and how this lowers blood sugar leves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those with type 2 diabetes it’s important to keep blood sugar controlled. A new international study published in the October issue of the medical journal Nutrition, shows that eating a low-carb diet can help improve health markers for better long-term blood sugar readings.

The role of insulin

If you look at the role of insulin in the body, the improvement in type 2 diabetes with a low carb-diet makes sense. When too much sugar stays in the blood over time it can damage blood vessels and nerves. It’s not just a matter of eating sweets, either. Many foods turn into sugar in the blood. The pancreas releases the hormone insulin to initiate the use of that sugar. Our bodies use the sugar for energy, and the insulin works to get the sugar into the cells where it can be used. When this doesn’t happen, the sugar stays in the blood and results in elevated blood sugar levels.

Effects of low-carb diet on type 2 diabetes

The international study looked at 363 overweight and obese patients for 24-weeks. Of these participants, 102 had type 2 diabetes. Diabetic participants reduced their medications by half or discontinued them all together for the duration of the study and health markers were monitored every two weeks. These health markers included BMI, weight, blood glucose levels, triglycerides and cholesterol, and more. Results for those following a low-carb diet showed promising results including improved weight, waist size, and serum triacylglcerols and glycemic control, along with a noted improvement in the longer-term blood sugar readings.

Which low-carb diet plan is best?

If you have type 2 diabetes or need to shed some of those unhealthy pounds, it comes down to the question of which low-carb diet plan is best. You’ll find a wide range of choices, but for the most part you’ll find they reduce carbs by cutting sugar and starches from the menu. Talk with your healthcare provider and ask for their recommendation. They know your medical history and will be able to offer guidance based on your specific health issues.

More at: Study shows improvement in type 2 diabetes with low carb diet

Here’s a link to the research abstract in Nutrition: Effect of low-calorie versus low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in type 2 diabetes

Low Carb, High Fat (LCHF) for beginners by the Diet Doctor

Published on August 23, 2012,

The Diet Doctor has an excellent post outlining the principles and practise of a low carb diet for beginners including what to eat, what to avoid and the theory of why it works. Here’s an extract…

Do you want to eat real food (as much as you like) and improve your health and weight? It may sound too

Steak and Shrimp

Steak and Shrimp (Photo credit: Patrick Hoesly)

good to be true, but LCHF (Low Carb, High Fat) is a method that has been used for 150 years. Now, modern science backs it up with proof that it works.

There is no weighing your food, no counting, no bizarre “meal replacements,” no pills. There is just real food and common sense. And all the advice here is 100 percent free.


A LCHF diet means you eat less carbohydrates and a higher proportion of fat. Most importantly you minimize your intake of sugar and starches. You can eat other delicious foods until you are satisfied – and still lose weight.

A number of recent high-quality scientific studies shows that LCHF makes it easier both to lose weight and to control your blood sugar. And that’s just the beginning.

The basics

  • Eat: meat, fish, eggs, vegetables growing above ground and natural fats (like butter).
  • Avoid: sugar and starchy foods (like bread, pasta, rice and potatoes).

Eat when you’re hungry until you are satisfied. It’s that simple. You do not need to count calories or weigh your food. And just forget about industrially produced low fat products.

There are good scientific reasons why LCHF works. When you avoid sugar and starches your blood sugar stabilizes and the levels of the fat storing hormone insulin drops. This increases your fat burning and make you feel more satiated.

Note for diabetics

  • Avoiding the carbohydrates that raise your blood sugar decreases your need for medication to lower it. Taking the same dose of insulin as before might result in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). You will need to test your blood sugar frequently in the beginning and adapt (lower) your medication. This should ideally be done with the assistance of a knowledgeable physician. If you are healthy or a diabetic treated by diet alone or just with Metformin there is no risk of hypoglycemia.

Dietary advice

Eat all you like

  • Meat: Any type. Beef, pork, game meat, chicken. The fat on the meat is good as well as skin on the chicken. Try to choose organic or grass fed meat if you can.
  • Fish and shellfish: All kinds. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel or herring are great. Avoid breading.
  • Eggs: All kinds. Boiled, fried, omelettes. Preferably organic eggs.
  • Natural fat, fat sauces: Using butter and cream when you cook can make your food taste better and make you more satiated. Béarnaise, Hollandaise, read on the packages or make it yourself. Coconut fat and olive oil are also good options.
  • Vegetables growing above ground: All kinds of cabbage, such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts. Asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, olives, spinach, mushrooms, cucumber, lettuce, avocado, onions, peppers, tomatoes and more.
  • Dairy products: Always select high fat options. Real butter, cream (40% fat), sour cream, fat cheese. Turkish yogurt. Be careful with regular milk and skim milk as it contains a lot of milk sugar. Avoid flavored, sugary and low fat products.
  • Nuts: Good to eat instead of candy in front of the television (preferably in moderation).
  • Berries: Okay in moderation, if you are not a super strict /-sensitive. Good with whipped cream.

Avoid if you can

  • Sugar: The worst. Soft drinks, candy, juice, sports drinks, chocolate, cakes, buns, pastries, ice cream, breakfast cereals. Preferably avoid sweeteners as well.
  • Starch: Bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, french fries, potato chips, porridge, muesli and so on. »Wholemeal products” are just less bad. Moderate amounts of root vegetables may be OK if you’re not too strict with the carbohydrates.
  • Margarine: Industrially imitated butter with unnaturally high content of omega-6 fat. Has no health benefits, tastes bad. Statistically linked to asthma, allergies and other inflammatory diseases.
  • Beer: Liquid bread. Full of malt sugar, unfortunately.
  • Fruit: Very sweet, plenty of sugar. Eat once in a while, treat it as a natural form of candy.

Maximum 5 grams of carbohydrate (excluding fiber) per 100 g of food is a basic tip for beginners.

Once in a while

You decide when the time is right. Your weight loss may slow down a bit

  • Alcohol: Dry wine (regular red wine or dry white), whisky, brandy, vodka, drinks without sugar.
  • Dark chocolate: Above 70 % cocoa, preferably just a little.

Drink most days

  • Water
  • Coffee: Try it with full fat cream
  • Tea

More at: LCHF for beginners

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