Separate names with a comma.
I recently read The Obesity Code by Dr Jason Fung, recommended by a few on this forum, which was a great book. Thank you forum!
Given I started my reading on low carb diets back in the 1990s with Dr Bernstein and have built up quite a collection over the years, it is surprising I hadn’t discovered the book before. It explains the science of eating and insulin resistance really well and also the history of the current official dietary advice. And why it is flawed.
He also makes the point that people with less money have higher rates of obesity. Mainly due to carbohydrate rich and processed food being relatively cheap.
I had a look at all the £1 offers on Tesco this week to check this out. Of the approx 750 items on offer, around 500 were in food categories I avoid on a low carb diet - biscuits, crisps, pasta and fizzy drinks etc. Wow!
The cheapest dried pasta at Tesco is 500g of spaghetti for only 20p. By contrast, the cheapest chicken is £1.49 for 750g of drumsticks. Both are popular as a base for a family meal for 4, with the addition of a sauce and some vegetables, but what a difference in price. And nutritional value!
Wheat production is subsidised which will help explain the low price for pasta. Jason seems spot on when he comments that governmental dietary advice has been driven more by politics and business than science.
A lot of people on this forum eat Greek yoghurt, rather than the standard natural yoghurt, on a regular basis as it typically contains more protein and less carbohydrate/sugar. I was on holiday in France last week, enjoying a tasty Danone 'Greek style' yoghurt for my breakfast when I realised I had no idea what defines a yoghurt as being Greek! So I did a bit of googling and discovered there are no rules about what can be called a Greek yoghurt. And different brands and types vary hugely in the amount of protein and sugar in them.
Take my favourite brand of natural yoghurt, Yeo Valley. Per 100g it has 5.1g protein and 5.6g carbohydrate.
Their Greek Yoghurt has 5.0 g protein and 5.3g carbohydrate. So it isn't any better!
I therefore got my reading glasses out this weekend to study the nutritional labels in the supermarket and have now swapped to Fage Greek Yoghurt, which has a whopping 9g protein and only 3.8g carbohydrate.
And in case anyone is interested, proper Greek yoghurt is made by straining out the whey (the liquid from the milk curdling) so the end result is thicker and with less sugar. Many Greek style yoghurts have added thickeners such as corn starch and gum to create that Greek effect but these do not offer the nutritional advantage. This is probably what I was eating in France, although I had thrown the outer sleeve away before I got to eating it, so was in blissful ignorance!
Anyone else found any good natural/Greek yoghurts with high protein levels?
I had my first pizza in 6 years this week. My pod buddies at work were all going out to celebrate Xmas and I didn't realise until I got there that pizza was the ONLY thing on the menu!
It was a very thin base and after a few bites, carried away with the ambience and good cheer from my colleagues, my good intentions to only eat the topping vanished. And I ate the lot. And washed it down with a glass of prosecco! At least I passed on the (carb laden) beer....
I try and take one day at a time and not stress about occasional dietary blips too much, but I slept really badly that night. And woke up feeling really bloated and with puffy eyes in the morning. So I won't be doing that again.
How do others cope with Xmas temptation and the desire to be sociable at this time of year? Any tips welcome!!
Just wanted to share my dinner this evening as at times I really can't believe such food is so good for my health!
Stay warm in the snow everyone...
On my T2 diabetic journey, which started over 6 years ago, I learnt very early on how good exercise was for me. And by exercise I mean any kind of movement that gets me up from sitting.
Our bodies aren't designed for all the sitting we typically do in today's lifestyles. Exercise can make a real difference to blood sugar levels by facilitating our cells to actually use blood glucose for energy, thereby countering the negative impact of insulin resistance. IR can result in blood sugar being squirrelled away into fat and making us feel tired and lacking energy.
In one of my important 'aha' moments all those years ago, my blood sugar was 11.2 after eating a meal with a few too many carbs. Not good. So I went for a short cycle ride in the sunshine, for no more than 30 minutes and measured by blood sugar again when I got back. Down to 6.7! And boy did I feel better.
Since then, I try and make sure I get at least 30 mins of exercise a day. It doesn't really matter what it is, as long as it gets me moving & gets my heart rate up from sofa level. And it doesn't have to be done all in one burst, so sometimes I do a couple of shorter walks in a day, to fit around my commuting and working.
'Exercise' can be such a daunting word to some, with all the associations of gyms, Lycra and well toned abs. But I would heartily recommend doing something everyday and establishing this as one of your core habits. It could be as simple as an after dinner walk round the block (off for one of those now!) or dancing around the living room to some music. Any kind of moving about can really help manage your blood sugar levels, supporting your diet.
I have found that keeping an eye on my waist is a really important thing for me to do. And so simple!
There is a great rule of thumb that a persons waist should be no more than half their height. So for someone short like me, at 5’’4’, that means my waist should be no more than 32 inches. Or 1.6m high means a waist of 81cm max - for those that work in metric.
When I let my carb levels creep up, and my BG levels increase, my waist is the first thing to suffer. It is noticeable after only a couple of days with more carbs than I normally eat, that my clothes feel tighter and I am more spongy round my middle. I now use this as my best daily indicator of my diabetes control.
I do still test my bloods, but only on a periodic basis, as I no long need to do it every day having found the diet that works for me. And I hardly ever weigh myself as my waist gives the game away sooner. When this happens I get back on my regime, putting a stop to any carb creep that may have been happening and skipping the odd meal to get back my waist back.
From the research I have done and my own experience, I believe the GI concept is deeply flawed and should be ignored.
It is also an approach that has never really been accepted by the more enlightened dieticians. For other dieticians, it actually provides a way for them to continue to recommend high carb diets and the misguided ‘eat well’ plate.
GI numbers come from feeding normal (ie non diabetics nor glucose intolerant) people 50g of a single ingredient eg bananas and their blood sugar is then measured after 2 hours. Glucose is the reference ingredient at 100 on the scale and foods that create a higher blood sugar than this will score more than 100 and those that cause lower blood sugar levels are below. So in theory, the lower the number the better. But research has shown that eating low GI foods does nothing to improve the health of people with normal blood sugars.
There are several major problems with this approach:
· The results don’t reflect real life or a real bodily response - it tests each food in isolation when we don’t eat foods by themselves.
· It doesn’t evaluate the body’s response at times other than 2 hours.
· GI has been developed based on the responses of ‘normal’ people, not those who bodies struggle to deal with sugar & carbohydrate.
· It doesn’t tell you how much insulin is needed to deal with the food – this is key, as insulin turns excess blood sugar to fat and insulin levels should be minimised for those that are insulin resistant which is common in T2 diabetes.
If you follow the GI approach Snickers bars are a low GI food, coming in at 55. Lower than a relatively sweet root vegetable, like parsnips which have a GI of 97. Vegetables also have other goodies in them – vitamins, minerals, fibre etc which have positive effects on the body. Pizza is one of the lowest GI foods, due to the fat with the pizza base slowing digestion of the carbs so it takes longer to spike blood sugar. But not sure any nutritionist would recommend eating pizza on a regular basis!
The key thing that matters, for those looking to control their blood sugar, is the total carb content of their meals and how that individuals blood sugar responds to eating this food, when eaten normally with other foods.
In my view best to ignore GI.
One principle that has worked for me over the years, as I manage my diabetes with a low carb diet, is to eat more colourful food. They say you eat with your eyes so attractive food is important. But beyond this, a lot of carbohydrate heavy food can be very boring looking. Beige even! A colour I have never been a fan of…
Think of a typical party buffet of sausage rolls, bread rolls, scotch eggs and sandwiches. Very lacking in the greens, purples, reds and oranges of salad and vegetables. I have been known to pick the cucumber out of sandwiches, throw away the bread and eat all the salad garnish, when presented with such an array at a lunchtime meeting at work! Now, my plate of food just does not seem right if it isn’t full of colour.
Even those starch heavy, below ground, vegetables such as parsnips, sweet potatoes or onions are generally less colourful that those grown above ground in the sunshine, that we can eat with more abandon. Think of the joys of spinach, broccoli, tomatoes and peppers.
Focusing on having a range of colours on your plate, also means you will be eating a greater variety of foods and therefore more likely to be getting a good range of vitamins and minerals.
I think eating the rainbow is a great rule to adopt, if you want to limit your carb intake and eat more healthily.
As a child, I was taught to clear my plate at mealtimes. But this was in the days before carbohydrates became the staple of our diets, there were no fast food outlets (apart from very bad Wimpys!) and we didn’t think to snack between these meals. As our culture and diets have changed, with food and carbohydrates now aplenty, those of us pre-disposed to diabetes can often struggle to contain our eating. Still clearing our plates and eating too much, too often.
Biologically we were never designed to eat so much and have so many carbs. We lived very successfully for 2 million years as hunter gatherers and for people with ‘diabetic’ genes there was evolutionary advantage to being able to eat a lot in times of plenty. So we could keep going, from our fat stores, when food was scarce. But in our society today food is always around and plentiful. So those fat stores hang around for the famine that never arrives…
We therefore need to make a conscious decision to avoid the continual temptation of food. One way I have done this is, on top of adopting a low carb diet, is to train myself over the years to become a light eater. Changing my default setting to always choose small sizes and putting less on my plate.
I really like food, and trying different things, but I always eat from a plate to focus on what I am eating and avoid grazing. I do still clear my plate as my childhood habit is hard to break. But I start small and aim to leave the table feeling like I could eat something else, rather than feeling stuffed full. And my default answer to someone offering me seconds is always ‘no’!
I eat 3 (small!) meals a day, avoid snacks and wait 5 hours before eating anything again, to let my blood sugar go down between meals. If I am tempted to eat when I really don’t need to, I distract myself by going for a short walk, drinking a cup of tea or getting stuck into something that absorbs my attention. The ‘hunger’ will often then go away, especially if it is a craving triggered by higher blood sugar levels.
When food shopping, I plan my meals ahead and make a list, so I only buy what I need. I make my lunches for work with any leftovers, so there is no compulsion to polish off everything I have prepared. This also means I waste very little food and spend less. Win, win!
I don’t always manage to stick to my own rules, but this is how I try and eat, that I thought I would share in case it helps others.
What tips and tricks do other people have to help you eat only what you really need?
6 years ago I switched to a low carb way of eating, losing 2 stone and ‘reversing’ my type 2 diabetes. I thought people might be interested in my story, as inspiration for those newly diagnosed or when the going gets tough.
My mother was diabetic, my grandmother was diabetic, my brother is diabetic and I had gestational diabetes when pregnant which involved taking insulin. It seemed inevitable I too would become diabetic. 6 years ago in my 40s, I finally faced up to my creeping weight gain, tiredness and niggling health issues to get checked out and was not surprised to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
My mother had a major heart attack in her mid 50s, through undiagnosed diabetes. She was lucky to survive and I did not want the same thing to happen to me. I wanted to be around to see my kids grow up. I started reading up on the science and adopted the low carbohydrate diet, contrary to conventional medical advice, as I believed this was the best way to control my condition.
Within 6 months I had lost 15kg, got my BMI down from an overweight 28 to a normal 22 and reduced my HbA1c, from 7.9%/63 down to a normal 5.5%/37. As diabetes is diagnosed at anything over 6.4%/47, I was told by my GP that I was no longer officially diabetic. Hurrah!
6 years later this is still the case, demonstrating that the low carb approach is a sustainable way of eating and living. Not just a ‘diet’ for a short period of time after which the weight goes back on. Without this way of eating I would still be over-weight and no doubt on a raft of diabetic medication by now…
Over the years I have read many, many books and articles on diabetes and diet, and have become truly evangelical about the low carb way of eating - boring my family and anyone who will listen about the perils of the conventional modern diet for those with a diabetic pre-disposition or tendency. I have a genetics degree and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for a couple of years after graduating, so I understand science. This has helped me work through the conflicting, confusing and inaccurate advice out there, to identify the changes I needed to make to my lifestyle for my long term health.
I have a long-standing bet with my GP that diabetes does not have to be degenerative. So far I am winning!