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The never ending debate on low carbs

Discussion in 'Type 2 Diabetes' started by HpprKM, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. HpprKM

    HpprKM Active Member

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    I am not a low carber, however, I do try to moderate the amount of carbs I eat and buy low Gi food where possible. The whole topic confuses me so very much, there are people who swear by it and practically jump on me when I say I do not low carb! But, for instance on this very site, there are instances of the downside of low carbing and its negative impact on your body ie.
    featured on this week's newsletter under
    where it is written that
    - however, it is also written that
    . As one of the 'slimmer diabetics' this is makes sense as I am slim and am a T2, but it then seems to me that most of the low carbing information seems to be aiming at weight loss or control, and since I do not have issues with either of these, I am really not sure where I should be standing on the subject of low carbing. Also, many of the foods our bodies seem to need naturally contain carbs, and as the above mentioned feature states -
    and then goes on to say that cutting down on carbs can be a good idea in some instances but never completely!

    So can someone please tell me why so many people are advocating low carbing? Also, not wishing to appear too dumb here - what foods are considered to be starchy carbohydrates, would this be bread, porridge, potatoes, bananas etc? Then what foods are non starchy carbohydrates - aside of the obvious sweet bars etc?

    Yes, I have posed many questions in one post I know, but I really want to get to grips with the best diet possible, and I know that many people are going to say that I have to eat and test my sugars after eating to see which foods work and which don't for me personally, and I agree that makes sense, but an inkling of where to start would be nice - or do I just try my normal diet ie I eat porridge for breakfast, I have tried alternatives but I get so hungry so quickly after anything else that I feel I need porridge with fruit each day. Also, why do I feel so guilty at not low carbing and yet, instinctively I feel it is not going to be the right thing to do, it gives me the sense of depriving my body of much needed food it just does not seem natural to me!

    If anyone can get their head around all of the above, or even any of it I would much appreciate it. I think the confusion I feel is outlined in this post! Also, as a 'slim' T2 I realise that most of my fat is around my stomach and I know this probably the cause of my diabetes but I cannot lose any more weight (hovering between 8. 6 and 8.9 at 5'5" in height, as I would look skeletal in all areas but my tummy :roll:

    Many thanks for anyone having the patience to plough through this long-winded post but I am really :?
  2. carty

    carty Well-Known Member

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    I know how you feel I too am a slim or in my case skinny type2 and I find the ballance to keep BGs down and not fade away is a nightmare ,but I know from testing that carbs put my BGs up big time For instance I can tollerate 2 slices of Burgen with cheese for breakfast but last week I thought that I would have a a bacon sandwich for lunch instead of having egg with my bacon so I had 2 more slices of Burgen and the BGs were at 11 after 2 hours when they would normally go back to around 7 That is just one instance .DB is no fun is it :cry:
    CAROL
  3. HpprKM

    HpprKM Active Member

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    DB is no fun is it


    No carty it isn't - I just want to know the best way to deal with it, it seems I could research, read, test forever and never get the answers I need! The really great thing about this forum is that others understand - and give advice :)
  4. HpprKM

    HpprKM Active Member

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    Carty - re: skinny, I have also been called skinny - but that I feel is mostly by larger people! Seems nothing is right, too thin, overweight - look at how people are pulling poor Kate to pieces over being skinny, it would be the same if she was overweight LOL
  5. carty

    carty Well-Known Member

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    Yeh but I am REALLY skinny all 7 stone of wrinkles :lol:
    CAROL
  6. Sue o2

    Sue o2 Active Member

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    I'm not going to go through everything co's to be honest i dont really understand it all, all i know is my HBA1C was over 9.5 this time last year, and my doctors wanted to up my medication, and i didnt want that, so by reading this forum and the advice about carbs i decided to cut my carbs, bread potatoes and pasta being the main ones, so was doing it to get my levels down, and im happy to say that its made a very big difference to my numbers, i know longer hit the double figures and have got my HBA1C down to 6.0 and the bonus is ive lost some weight too, and no longer feel bloated and dropping off to sleep all the time, i seem to have much more energy these days, i dont say im on any kind of diet ive just changed the way i eat for the good of my health and have had my medication reduced :D
    everyone is different though and whats good for me might not be good for someone else, but how i am today is how i want to be for the rest of my life :D

    Sue
  7. HpprKM

    HpprKM Active Member

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    Ok I concede that you are really thin, my mother was always really thin and lived to 87, her average weight most her life was 6.5 stone! But she was very petite, although around 5'5" in her younger days :D Though I agree the wrinkles show more when thin, my arms are starting to show saggy skin and they are thin!
  8. HpprKM

    HpprKM Active Member

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    Ok I concede that you are really thin, my mother was always really thin and lived to 87, her average weight most her life was 6.5 stone! But she was very petite, although around 5'5" in her younger days :D Though I agree the wrinkles show more when thin, my arms are starting to show saggy skin and they are thin!
  9. HpprKM

    HpprKM Active Member

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    Ooops- sorry for double post, it came up with submit again and I did!

    Sue, just want to say what a wonderfully positive comment this is 'everyone is different though and whats good for me might not be good for someone else, but how i am today is how i want to be for the rest of my life'. I my only complaint is lack of energy, not sure if that is due to age or db!
  10. ailz

    ailz Active Member

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    I was finding it difficult to control my blood glucose at a level under 7 with my 'normal' diet - porridge, rice, potatoes - not much pasta 'cos I've never been very fond of it - but after finding this site I started testing (again -even though my doctor said I didn't need to) and discovered that these 'healthy' carbs were the very things that were putting up my blood glucose. So I started looking at cutting them and found Viv's diet. I now try to stick to under 60 grams - not that I succeed every day - of carbs a day and to avoid any that put up my glucose level.

    Starches are things like grains and potatoes (bread being made from grain) fruit, some veg and (I think) nuts are sugary carbs. It used to be thought that sugars went straight into the blood, where as starches took a lot longer; this has been found to be false. Some starches are digested straight away and get into the blood stream immediately, others don't. Our bodies - each individual one - reacts differently to any other with its speed and consequence of digestion of food.

    We don't eat protein, carbs and fat - we eat food, most of which is a mixture of at least 2 of the 3. We then put foods together adding more components - I've found that by adding protein to fruit - cheese and an apple - I can tolerate it better than an apple - which will put my bg up - alone. Or fruit and cream - fat, protein and carbs. Doing this I can lose weight - I know you don't want to. It's about mixing food, I think, and sorting out what you like that doesn't make you ill - by messing with your bg - or whatever.

    Ailz
  11. pianoman

    pianoman Active Member

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    Nicely put Thanks Ailz. I agree that there seems to be too much focus these days on "nutrients" instead of whole food -- like our Grandparents generation ate. As folks with Diabetes we do have to watch for those foods which raise Blood Glucose levels but your advice on mixing foods is well taken.

    And as for "losing weight" on low carb I suspect that many fall into the trap of thinking that it must be "low carb AND low fat"... try replacing the energy you were previously taking in from carbs with energy from natural fats and you may find a better balance, along with improved Blood Glucose levels. Make sure your protein needs are met; so as to prevent muscle loss

    But try not to focus on these as nutrients, instead look to whole foods that already contain these in natural quantities -- it is the highly processed and manufactured "food" lining the shops, in brightly packaged boxes (many proclaiming their "health benefits") which we do well to avoid.
  12. catherinecherub

    catherinecherub Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    The thing that still puzzles me is how do we define a low carb diet as there are so many variations and it means different things to different members. I prefer carb management which means eating carbs at a level that suits you personally.

    Not all Type 2's are overweight and so diets will have a different agenda for obese, normal and the skinnier types amongst us.

    Then there is the question of fat consumption. This again, is an individual option. There may be health reasons why a person does not want to consume too much fat, it may be a person's preference. I cannot tell you what is right for you and nobody can tell me what is right for me.

    Whatever you chose is something you need to stick to that is right for you that enables you to feel healthy and also to manage your diabetes. We have to eat to live and so there is not much point in following something that you do not find palatable and that you have difficulty sticking with. Mealtimes should be a pleasure and not a chore.

    As has been said many times before, your meter will decide if the option you chose is right for you.

    This article is quite controversial in some diabetic circles at the moment but does deserve a read.

    "Different diets work for different people. Each person's success is based on how well he or she can realistically integrate a diet into daily life".
    http://www.diabeteshealth.com/read/2011 ... etes-diet/
  13. LittleGreyCat

    LittleGreyCat Active Member

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    Trying to work my way through your post and comment along the way.
    By the time I have finished there will no doubt be loads of posts covering the same ground :)

    Until recently I would have described myself much as you do yourself above.
    I am possibly at a watershed at the moment and still trying to work out what my recent diet changes imply in the long run and if they are sustainable.
    I have been pressured (electronically) in the past by some people who are evangelical about low carbing, carb counting and almost continuous testing but have ploughed my own furrow doing what I have been comfortable with.
    However I seem to be working my way into the low carb camp (which is not necessarily a comfortable place to be).

    I can't locate this bit ATM - I unsubscribed whilst travelling abroad and have only just subscibed again (thanks for the reminder).
    I am effectively low carbing at the moment but I am not carb counting.
    I am just cutting out certain foods.
    The only vegetable I am cutting out is potatoes; I eat everything else including starchy vegetables such as sweet potato. However I tend to eat a mixture either as roast veggies or in some kind of stew, usually with beans and pulses included.
    I also eat mixed salads regularly.
    Therefore I don't see that my current diet is lacking in antoxidants or fibre.
    I am not eating fruit for the last few days which is one area of concern but I think that raw salads and cooked root vegetables should keep me going with fibre and antoxidants.

    This I can definitely relate to.
    I have been just above then just below the BMI line between normal and overweight over the last three years with my weight gradually reducing.
    I tried reducing my carbs with the aim of getting my weight down and this seemed to work, however it was not until I started losing weight off my tummy that I saw a significant improvement in my BG figures.
    I dropped from a 38" waistline to a 34" waistline and this seems to have made a big difference.
    Whilst in NZ we regularly watched http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mehmet_Oz on the Dr. Oz show and one thing he was very vocal about was the omentum which is the area of fat which wraps itself around your internal organs.
    This is alleged to be closely involved with insulin resistance in T2s and waist measurement is often more important than overall weight in working out if you need to lose weight.

    Answer yes to your list.

    Hmmm.....this is where I get to the uncomfortable bit (for me, certainly).

    Things I have gradually reduced or cut out:

    (1) Where possible, anything with significant sugar especially glucose and sucrose. First action on diagnosis and something of a no-brainer. However this does include fruit so this is a hard one to stick to completely.
    (2) Anything made from/with flour. This includes bread, pastry, pasta, cakes. Bang goes the Mediteranean Diet.
    (3) Anything which is mainly a plant store for starch; well, at the moment this is potatoes and all cereals including rice although I am still tempted by brown rice. I still eat some starchy root vegetables where there seems to be a better fibe/starch ratio.
    (4) I've just cut out baked beans which are lowish GI but highish carbs and up till now have formed part of my big breakfast.

    Ah! Now we get to the real crunch bit :)
    The only way I have been able to cope with dietary change is to cut out foods, not have just a little.
    In cutting out various high carb foods I have found that for days afterwards I have had really strong cravings for the food that I have cut out - as though my body was demanding something it required.
    However if you view this as an addicition to a particular food stuff then I think you can get past it and the cravings will go away. They did for me but everyone is different.
    So to my mind what your body is saying to you is probably not a demand for something essential but withdrawal symptoms from something it has got used to.

    Your main problem stated above is that unless you have porrage for breakfast you feel hungry soon after.
    [You are probably one of the lucky ones - if I have porrage for breakfast I am starving within an hour or so.]
    You don't say what you have tried instead of porage.
    I have found that the "full English" is the answer to my daily diet - it keeps me going for ages without feeling any hunger.
    [2 bacon, 2 eggs, large tomato, mushrooms, portion of meat (steak, burgher, sausage), 1/2 tin of beans (now replaced by sliced courgette).]
    During the day I have "protein snacks" with tomatoes and sometimes other salad stuff.
    These seem to keep my appetitie under control.
    [Protein snacks tend to be cold chicken wrapped in bacon, cold sausasages wrapped in bacon, ham wrapped around cheese. You may sense a theme here.]
    In the evening I have protein and salad (often fish such as tuna) or some kind of "beany stew" or a chili or dahl. I have been having rice with this but again I am trying not to at the moment.
    Sometimes I have this for lunch as well/instead.
    I find that the high protein diet makes me "bungo" unless I make sure I eat meals with plenty of beans and pulses included.
    I have been using a square of plain chocolate to stave off cravings in the evening but just recently I have found that the Serrano ham from Lidl is a really good tasty snack as well as an excellent appettite supressant.

    I would not worry about your body image too much - if you feel fit and have enough energy then "looking skeletal" is not a problem.
    As long as you are eating a balanced (yeah, what is that?) diet then you should be fine.
    Your regular diabetic check ups should identify if there is any problem.
    So yes, you can lose more weight if you are carrying an excess around your stomach and this may well be good for your short and long term control.
    I note that you say you have good control and your profile says that you are on Metformin.
    One target might be to try and achieve good control without the use of Metformin. :)

    If you feel your arms and legs are too skinny then that is lack of muscle.
    You can always up your exercise and look really buff 8)

    Phew!
    Got through to the end.

    So - my BG readings have just dropped from the 7-8 and above (last HbA1C was 7.1 due to poor control whilst on long term holiday) to around 5-6 with some readings below 5 (which is a major first for me). I was getting readings around 14 when I was first diagnosed.

    I suspect that the change may be due to my elimination of the remaining "white carb" items from my diet although I have upped my exercise as well.
    I seem to be getting a bit thinner but I am not losing weight so assume that I am adding muscle.
    This again is thought to be a good thing for BG control as the muscle can take more glucose out of your bloodstream just to maintain itself.

    I now have a list of things I don't eat which is far longer than the list of things I do eat which makes walking through a supermarket an interesting experience - 90% of the shelf space requires me to avert my eyes ;-)

    My wife keeps saying that I shouldn't lose any more weight because I am getting skinny but I am still near the top of my BMI range (not that BMI is an accurate guide to healthy weight but it is a useful approximation).

    I would like to lose another few pounds but am not making much progress at the moment.

    So - I hope all the above has been helpful in aiding your understanding of one view on low carbing.
    Everyone has their own view and many differ very strongly but I suspect that in coming years the establishment will come to embrace low carbing for diet in general and diabetics in particular.

    Just please don't anyone prove that alchohol is bad for you.
    That might be one step too far.

    Cheers

    LGC
  14. viviennem

    viviennem Well-Known Member

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    Hi HpprKM

    Don't feel guilty! There's no need whatsoever for you to go low-carb if you can keep control of your blood glucose levels on the diet you're following now. Don't let anyone put pressure on you.

    I am low-carb because I have a lot of weight to lose; the diet suits me, and I haven't had a single BG reading over 7 in the last 2 months. M y last HbA1c was 5.3. It works for me.

    Because carbohydrate causes blood glucose levels to rise, it makes sense to me to limit my carbohydrate intake to control the blood glucose level.

    The carbs I avoid, which in your case I would portion-control, are potatoes and anything made with grain or grain products - eg bread, pasta, rice, baked goods, biscuits etc. Bananas, as you mention, are high starch; try the kids' size Fair Trade ones, and test after - they may be okay for you! As usual, we are all different, and some people can get away with porridge or even certain types of biscuit - which is where the testing come in!

    The 'good' carbs are in green leafy vegetables, salad veg, etc - have a look at my 'Modified Atkins DIet' on the Low-carb Forum for a short list of low-carb veg. Also some fruits - all berries, plums and apricots are the obvious ones, while banana and grapes are at the 'very occasionally' end of my scale. Get a carb-counter book, if you haven't already, and have a read through it to identify the carb levels of unprocessed foods. You can eat more of the lower-carb ones, and use portion-control on the higher-carb ones.

    As for processed foods - well, I wouldn't eat a pizza, but I might occasionally have a small slice with a salad; ditto for quiche. I can eat fish and chips very occasionally, but with very few chips! I eat supermarket ready-meals occasionally, but buy only the lower-carb ones.

    If I go out for a meal, I relax my rules a bit but don't usually have pudding, I go for cheese and biscuits instead. Fortunately I don't much like sweet things anyway!

    You should know, by the way, that both Daisy1 and I are guzzling strawberries and cream at the moment as if there's no tomorrow :oops: . I'm sure Daisy won't mind me telling you :p .

    You don't have to deprive yourself on low carb. If you don't need to lose weight, if you can eat more carbs than me, and by portion-control keep your BG levels down - good for you, and - I'm jealous! :lol:

    Which is maybe why some people are trying to make you feel guilty? :shock:

    Hope this helps :D

    Viv 8)

    PS Just read what CC and LGC have posted - nothing I disagree with on either!

    LGC - alcohol will stop you burning fat when very low carbing; your body runs on alcohol instead for a while, so you won't lose weight :lol: Most alcohol is low-carb but high calorie - one way of keeping weight on :shock:
  15. LittleGreyCat

    LittleGreyCat Active Member

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    Just to note one flaw in my master plan.
    Beans and pulses are also essentially carb stores which kind of undermines some of the theory.

    One other thing I note that I missed.
    There are two (only two?) different issues over carb usage.

    One is BG control which involves keeping glucose out of your bloodstream.

    The other is fat control. I suspect that if you can take carbs but not get high readings then you may be skipping the carbs through your blood stream and into your tummy fat.

    Cheers

    LGC
  16. noblehead

    noblehead Forum Regular

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    Hi HpprKM,

    Remember the poll Ken (Cugila) conducted that asked members 'How many Carbohydrates do you consume per day'.... well the findings were rather interesting!

    A low-carb diet what I was led to believe when I joined the forum was 50g or below per day, of the 273 members that voted only 23% said they ate less than 50g of carbs, 10% said they ate 51g-75g, 31% said they consumed 76g-130g and 22% ate more than 130g of carbohydrates, the rest (14%) said they didn't count carbs, so working on the assumption that a low-carb diet is 50g or below there is no need to feel guilty that you eat a moderate carb diet given that most members follow what I would call a moderate carb diet.

    The best diet for anyone who has diabetes is the one that works for them, that is they maintain good bg levels and are satisfied that they are getting all the nourishment that their body requires, the low-carb/high carb debate is becoming rather boring but I thought I would post the above just to show you that we are indeed ''all different'' and no one has to follow a set diet dictated by someone else.

    Best wishes

    Nigel
  17. wiflib

    wiflib Active Member

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    What I found interesting about the OP was the fact that although someone may look slim, they may not necessarily be healthy. I remember a documentary a few years back that compared a skinny (BMI around 18 I think) bloke to a rather large rugby player type who was obviously carrying quite a few extra pounds. The skinny blokes body fat was quite high, the fat blokes quite low. They put this down to the amount, or lack thereof exercise.
    And as a former fatso who is now almost seven stones lighter and well on my way to skinny, I wonder if it will ever apply to me?
    I eat no starchy carbs and have not done so for over three years. No bread, pasta, flour, potatoes, rice, pastry, cakes and suchlike and hardly any fruit. BS and lipids are 'unbelieveable' according to my GP. And yes, I have fallen of the wagon a couple of times, but suffered for it.

    One of the major problems I have with carbs is the craving and addiction to them. I've tested, I can take a slice of rough bread but dear Ged, the craving is simply awful and I'm fighting it for days.
    My guess is that those of us who can portion control their carbs and all their food have never been obese, but of course, you can prove me wrong!

    wiflib
  18. daisy1

    daisy1 Moderator

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    Yep - and see fasting thread to see what it did to my levels. I thought you could have as many as you liked :( I'm also eating lots of raspberries and double cream at the moment.
  19. viviennem

    viviennem Well-Known Member

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    Amazingly, they don't do much to my levels! but it's only about 10 strawberries and lots of cream! :oops:

    Only once a day, though! :D

    Viv 8)
  20. Daibell

    Daibell Well-Known Member

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    Hi

    I am also an 'under-weight' Type 2 together with around 10-15% of Type 2s. Although the diabetes mechanisms may be different, the problem is the same i.e. a BS which is too high. I hate the term 'starchy' carbs as it has little meaning in practice. A carb may be starchy before processing, but may end-up as highly refined flour with a high GI rating and too quickly converted by the body to glucose. I prefer the terms simple/complex or high/low GI as these relate more closely to the end effect on BS. Many of us find that we need to control portion sizes of bread, pasta, cakes etc as these can contain refined flour although I do buy a low GI bread loaf. At least being slim you can add fats to your carb intake to keep up energy intake without worrying too much about weight gain. Note that there are many websites which list the GI rating of different foods to help you track down the better carbs. Good luck.

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