When I was 35 (back 14 yrs ago), I weighed 307 lbs and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Here is me at 307 lbs.
All the doctor told me was to take these pills (metformin and glipizide) and cut out sugar and processed sugary foods. I struggled over a period of 6 years to lose 60 lbs on various diets — Vegetarian, Lower Carb/Low Fat, Weight Watchers, and a few I made up myself. The results was a slow weight loss and increasingly high blood glucose levels. In 2005, I was put on two insulins, Levimer (slow acting) and Novalog (fast acting). Even being on metformin and these insulins, I struggled to keep my blood glucose levels down and kept gaining weight from the increases in insulin. My overall cholesterol was high and I was gradually feeling the effects of neuropathy in both of my feet. Needless to say, I was a mess.
Before I get to how I came around to the LCHF diet, let me tell you about my own experiences with dietitians and nutritionists. The current ADA standard guidelines are 45 gm of carbs per meal for women and 60 gm for men. It is suggested that you eat 3 meals per day plus up to two snacks per day (15 gm for women, up to 25 for men). I was told to eat low fat and lean proteins. I could chose from whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, fruits in moderation, low fat dairy, and of course lean mean meats like chicken and fish, to go easy on beef and pork, not to eat too many eggs, and use oils like olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil and margarine, definitely no butter and as little animal fat as possible. Saturated fats was a no-no. Mono and Poly fats were the way to go.
The effects of this diet were devastating! Not only did my blood glucose levels stay high (175-300 on average), but my cholesterol continued to climb, my hair became brittle and began falling out, my skin was ultra dry, I began having severe joint pain and the pain in my feet from neuropathy was excruciating!
Just a note: I did not overindulge in cakes, cookies, candy, pies, white breads, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc. I ate a few of those, according to the guidelines, in moderation. I was told that if I wanted a sweet, to save my carbs for such things. If I wanted rice, switch to brown — I did so. If I wanted pasta, switch to whole wheat — I did so. If I wanted potatoes, eat sweet potatoes — I did so. If I wanted bread, switch to whole grains — I did so. As long as I stuck to the 45 for meals and the 15 for snacks, I would be okay. I was NOT okay! And I have NOT been okay for the last 14 years eating this way.
On August the 27th of this year, I decided to make a drastic lifestyle change in hopes of saving what’s left a good life for myself. I began doing some extensive research into Low Carb eating. I’ve known for a while that eating fewer carbs helped my blood glucose levels. I’d already begun to cut back on carbs, eating on average of 50-75 gms per day, as opposed to the 150-165 gms as recommended by the dietitians and nutritionists. I was still doing the low fat and lean meats. I stayed hungry all the time and craved carbs like crazy! This led me to further research and lo and behold I came up with the solution: High Fats! But not just any kinds of fats — coconut oil, olive oil, butter, avocados, and animal fats (I will discuss fats further in another post). I also learned that when you lower your carbs, you must add fat! My carbs are now 20 gm per DAY or lower. I’ve continued to eat the leaner meats, in moderation.
The results have been amazing! My blood glucose is in the “normal” ranges now (80-140) at any time during the day and as of today (9/2/15), I’ve only been on this WOE for 7 days! I will be making a post later about my observations from the first 7 days of this diet, so stay tuned for that. I have no idea how this is affecting my cholesterol, my A1c or if I have lost any weight. I will be seeing my PCP on Oct. 1st and will post my lab results then.
I do recognize that the LCHF WOE is NOT a fad diet. I will have to eat this way for the remainder of my life if I want to maintain healthy weight and glucose levels. I am in this for the long haul.
Note of Caution: It is not recommended that Type 1 diabetics eat a LCHF diet due to possible low blood sugar readings.