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Old 11-17-2014, 02:56 PM   #1
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Ketogenic Diet for Controlling Diabetes

I realize that diets are a personal choice and this isn't for everyone, but it has dramatically helped me quite a bit, so I thought I would share.

After being diagnosed with Type 2 six weeks ago, I realized I needed to take a different approach to the food I eat. I've been more or less following the dietary advice recommended by the American Diabetes Association for the last several years, but it didn't prevent my pre-diabetic condition from progressing to full blown diabetes.

For the last 30 years, the medical community (and the ADA) has been promoting a low fat diet, combined with what they refer to as "good" carbohydrate choices, including whole grains and fruits. When I was diagnosed, I immediately began strictly following these recommendations and those espoused in the "The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet."

The results were disappointing. Although my blood glucose levels dropped from the mid-200s to the mid-100s, I simply was not able to get them anywhere near the normal range of 70-99. Furthermore, I found myself constantly hungry.

So I started doing some research online, and found a number of references to "Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution" and "Ketogenic" diets for controlling (or aiding in the control of) diabetes. Dr. Bernstein's book, in particular, has been very eye opening. The author has had type 1 diabetes since the 1940s and, although still has to take insulin injections, has been able to whittle them down to a very low level. Most of his disease is controlled through diet. He has been on this diet since the 1960s and is still active at age 80.

The basic premise is this: the bulk of the calories in your diet should come from fat - about 70% or so. 20-25% comes from protein. Carbs comprise the remaining 5-10%, and pretty much all of those carbs come from vegetables and limited amounts of dairy. No sugar, whether from a natural source or not. No pasta. No breads. Period. But lots of butter, and olive oil, and lots of animal fats.

While there have been other low carb diets popularized over the years, including Atkins and Paleo, this one seems to be geared solely toward the control of diabetes.

I'll admit my first thought was that this could not possibly be good for you. I mean, I've been told my entire life that you should only eat lean meats and fish. We all know saturated fat is bad and causes heart disease, right? Well, it seems that more and more people in the medical community are coming forward to say that isn't the case.

Anyway, I started on it three weeks ago. I've now lost a total of 22 pounds, and my fasting blood sugar is at a normal 85-90 mg/dl, which is the lowest it's been in almost 8 years. Even after meals, it only jumps to around 93-95. Best of all, I am never hungry.

Like I said, I realize this isn't for everyone and some I'm sure will consider it extreme (maybe even nuts), but I was at the point I felt like I really needed to step back and rethink how I've been eating, and to do something different. Because what I've been doing up until now hasn't worked.

I know there are other diabetics here on DC. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts. And I'm also happy to discuss specifics, if anyone is interested.

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Old 11-17-2014, 03:14 PM   #2
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This is very interesting, Steve. It's very impressive that it has turned things around so dramatically for you!

While I'm not a diabetic, I know it's in my future. I like the fact that you don't get hungry with this diet. My concern is cravings. No processed carbs in your diet, (especially pasta, potato, rice and sweets) leaves a giant hole.
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:46 PM   #3
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The thing I miss the most is rice and beans. I've been eating that 4 or 5 times a week since I was in my 20s, when it was about all I could afford. Pasta I don't miss that much, and I've never been a big potato eater. I do miss beer (essentially nothing more than "liquid bread"). But I can drink wine, which has no carbs and has the added effect of lowering blood sugar. So that's good.

I think the reason this diet keeps me sated is because it has so much fat. I am supposed to have the equivalent of 3-4 tablespoons of fat at every meal. That's like eating a stick of butter a day.
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Old 11-17-2014, 04:35 PM   #4
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IMO a diet like that is good for the short haul. Once you change your eating habits and lose some weight then I think you can safely start adding back some high fiber/carbs and maintain a more balanced diet. I can now eat an orange and some oatmeal for breakfast, small portions of beans and lentils, small amounts of vegetables like carrots. Gone, for the most part, are the breads, pastas, potatoes and desserts. A normal person could probably have small amounts of baked goods without a problem. I can't have them in the house without triggering a binge. I do allow myself a few French fries, a bagel or a slice of pizza when I'm away from home. Those "treats" happen less than once a month and the rest of the day is pretty much salad and meat.

I've had to redefine my holiday treats and eliminate the sweets and high carb items I was brought up with. I have replaced them with premium nuts, seafood, steak, cheese etc... It works for me.

It has gotten easier for me now that I've resigned myself to the fact that I can't "cheat" and sneak in a slice of pie or cake, the A1C will tell on me!

The whole thing is very personal and what works for one may not work for another.

Good luck!
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Old 11-17-2014, 05:42 PM   #5
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I have a friend who is a nurse who swears by this diet. She lost over 70 pounds with it roughly 10 years ago and is the picture of health. Like others, I cannot seem to commit myself to switching from breads, pasta, etc. Honestly - I don't think I can cook this way...yes, I know that I would have to learn, but....

And being someone who has diabetes and cannot seem to get it under control, I'm starting to consider drastic measures.

I do like the idea of not feeling hungry. I feel hungry even when my tummy feels uncomfortably full. Those fasting bg levels are appealing, Steve.


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Old 11-17-2014, 06:15 PM   #6
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I may consider this approach myself. My problem is that DW won't much support a meal without some kind of spuds, or starchy something. And to cut sweets out of our house completely will be a real challenge, if not impossible. I hope I can maintain the will-power to stay away from the high-carb foods. I mean, I know how to make all the foods that can kill you slowly, including pasta, pastries, pies, breads, starchy veggies, etc. And my pancakes, I get asked to make them almost regularly.

This won't be easy. fortunately, I've had some success with apples, and various fruits of the same ilk. after eating one whole, cold, gala apple, and testing my blood sugar 20 minutes later, my b-s level went down by 15 points. I'd eaten beef, sunchokes, and savory beans for supper. The apple was a late-night snack. My fasting blood sugar was 74 the next morning. In other words, I will be able to fine-tune my meals to eat healthy, great tasting food, without reverting to old habits if I include certain veggies, legumes, and fruits.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:07 PM   #7
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I had great success with Atkin's, until it was time to start adding back in carbs. Would love to find a diet that is effective and fairly easy to stay with.
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 View Post
I had great success with Atkin's, until it was time to start adding back in carbs. Would love to find a diet that is effective and fairly easy to stay with.
I don't think it will ever be easy for a foodie.

I have finally given up on baking, cleaned the shelves of all my baking supplies, only a few spices remain.

I try to focus on the foods I can have and let go of the ones I should not have.

I also have given up on making different foods for guests. Now they eat what I eat and I make no apologies, it's only one meal, they'll survive!
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:37 PM   #9
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Dinner tonight is brie with red pepper jelly and smoked oysters...miss crackers. Managed to keep it at 16 grams carbs for the meal, will have a salad after with lemon vinaigrette.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
This won't be easy. fortunately, I've had some success with apples, and various fruits of the same ilk. after eating one whole, cold, gala apple, and testing my blood sugar 20 minutes later, my b-s level went down by 15 points. I'd eaten beef, sunchokes, and savory beans for supper. The apple was a late-night snack. My fasting blood sugar was 74 the next morning. In other words, I will be able to fine-tune my meals to eat healthy, great tasting food, without reverting to old habits if I include certain veggies, legumes, and fruits.
Chief, are you taking insulin or metformin, or something else? See... I couldn't eat any of those foods. One apple alone has 38 grams of carbs, and I allow myself about 40 grams for an entire day. Apples have been genetically bred to be very high in sugar. Pleasing on the palate, but not so much so on the waistline.
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