Saturday, June 03, 2006

Should I Take A Chance On Low-Carb?

I received a cry for help e-mail today from a diabetic woman who is 5'1" tall and weighs 229 pounds. She told me she earnestly wants to lose weight after failing time and time again on a low-fat, high-carb diet. To make matters worse, she recently paid a dietician $60 to put her on a 1400-calorie per day diet which only resulted in a two-pound weight loss.

Needless to say, she admitted to me that she's hungry, "miserable," and desperately wants and needs to lose weight. After reading my blog and seeing stories of people who have been livin' la vida low-carb and then for some reason trying another way only to experience weight gain, this dear soul wants to know what to do because she said "I'm there, too!"

"The most success I have ever found in weight loss (and I can speak from much experience in trying) is the low-carb way.

She lost nearly 25 pounds in 2005 thanks to the low-carb lifestyle and has seen her weight creeping back up again. I don't know why she stopped low-carb, but she is now asking what she should do about her weight.

"Should I take the chance of doing low-carb again?"

I told her that I would pose this question to my readers since we have such a wide array of readers who have either experienced tremendous weight loss and improved health (like me!) because of this way of eating or works directly with overweight and obese patients on implementing a low-carb strategy to help them control their weight.

My advice to her was to never stop hoping for weight loss and to let that motivate her to become the success she so desires to be. I KNOW she can do it and low-carb can help her get there. What say YOU?

6-3-06 UPDATE: A man with diabetes who is relatively new to livin' la vida low-carb wanted to share with my reader the amazing success he has seen so far.

I started a low-carb diet in February, after being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. The Dr. and the Dietician wanted to promote their Food Pyramid scam, but after reading Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, and Diabetes book, there was no way I was going to do that.

Four months later, I am 55 pounds lighter, my waist is 8 inches smaller, and I work out 6 days a week. I haven't felt better in years. Better yet, my diabetes is in full control. I'm going in for lab work next week, but anticipate my A1C should be in the low 5's (it was in the 11's). I have 50 more pounds to go, but have moved in the OWL mode, so I'll be happy if I continue to lose a pound a week or so. This is a lifestyle change I anticipate keeping for the rest of my life.

WOO HOO! Now THAT is a great testimony about how low-carb living can change your life. Anyone else?


Blogger Gary said...

I am surprised that a dietitian would put a diabetic person on a high-carb diet. To the best of my knowledge, medical professionals have prescribed low-carb diets for their diabetic patients for decades. My first cousin is an insulin-dependent diabetic and the only time he ever eats or drinks anything with sugar is when his blood sugar is too low. His blood sugar may fall too low if he miscalculates and gives himself too much insulin for the amount of food he eats at a meal.

I am not a health professional, but everything I understand about blood sugar, weight gain, and insulin points to limited intake of carbohydrates, especially carbohydrates that are quickly assimilated, that is, carbs with a high glycemic load. (Note that glycemic load takes into account both glycemic index plus fiber content. The speed with which a carb is transformed into blood glucose is a function of both the kind of carb (simple or complex) and the amount of fiber in the underlying food or drink. The more fiber, the longer it takes for the body to assimilate the carb.) Carbs with the high glycemic load are those low in fiber and high in simple sugars.

The role of insulin, in both diabetics and non-diabetics alike, is important in weight gain and loss as insulin plays a major role not only in the assimilation of glucose into body cells for energy, but also in the conversion of glucose into fat and storage in fat cells when other cells cannot use any additional glucose. Conversely, the pancreas also produces a hormone with a complementary role to insulin - glucagon. Glucagon is released when there is insufficient glucose in the blood and glucose is not readily available in its stored form, glycogen, from the liver or muscles. Glucagon is stimulated through the ingestion of protein and enables fat to be released from fat cells and converted by the liver into glucose. Conversely, carbohydrates will stimulate the pancreas to release insulin, which is fat-storing, and inhibit the release of glucagon, which is fat-releasing.

Additionally, swings in blood glucose, the result of a high-carb diet, will also result in appetite swings. When a normal person eats a lot of carbs, especially a high proportion of carbs in relation to proteins and fats in a given meal, there is a resulting large release of insulin. The insulin acts quickly to force glucose into the cells for use as energy - but it clears the blood of glucose excessively with the result that the person may experience low blood sugar soon after such a meal and feel the need to eat again, though the body doesn't need the additional calories. No wonder people on a high-carb, low-calorie diet are hungry all the time! No wonder they don't lose weight!

Now, if all this is much too technical for you - or even if it isn't - a low-carb diet benefits both diabetics and those who want to burn fat. Such a diet minimizes the release of insulin or the diabetic's need to use more insulin, and it promotes the release of glucagon and the release of fat from fat cells for use as energy in an environment of a stabilized blood sugar level. So how a diabetic could possibly be advised to adhere to a low-calorie, high-carb diet is a mystery to me, and most health professionals I know would never think of advising such.

6/03/2006 1:34 PM  
Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...

Sadly Gary, The standard diet given to diabetics is a high carb low fat one. This is mandated by both the American and Australian Authorities. They won't be able to sell so much synthetic insulin otherwise!

On the topic,
I have found Low Carb still requires a lot of determination, patience and persistence. The weight loss does ended up slowing down to a steady rate. It's not a magic pill, but it's a heck of a lot easier than High Carb Low Fat!!!

6/04/2006 3:56 AM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...


You are 100% right on the money here, of course, but the sad fact is that, for example in the UK, indeed the standard diet for diabetics is still a low-fat, high-carb diet. Nobody is interested in GI or Glycemic load for that matter - they see that as "low carb nonsense". Heck, even the website of the ADA urges diabetics to consume STARCHY veggies, because, it says, "they are good for you".

Of course science has known since the 1930's that diabetics do much better on a low-carb diet, and that it will indeed prolong their life and limit and even stop or reverse glycative damage. Yet, here we are, a full 8 decades later, prescribing, in all our magnificent stupidity, the absolutely and utterly WRONG diet to diabetics. With full Government and "health" authorities blessing, mind you! And Big Pharma grinning in the background.

What a world huh? I realize that cynicism is a slow poison, but personally, I would not trust ANY health authority or Gov't for that matter to even tie my shoelaces.

6/04/2006 12:36 PM  

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