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Need to gain weight - how is it possible on low carb diet?

Discussion in 'Newly Diagnosed' started by andyR57, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. andyR57

    andyR57 Prediabetes · Newbie

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    This is my first post. I have been recentky told by my GP that I am pre-diabetic with a hbc1a reading of 43. The GP says I should restrict carbs - not low but limit of 50g per meal [150 a day]. That seemed reasonable until I started looking at labels. The problem is I am not over weight and I exercise afair bit. I need about 2000 calaroies a day but just cannot get them on 150g carbs a day. I have monitored carbs and calories for the last 3 days and sticking to 150g carbs I average 1200 calories a day so already lost weight. I love fruit {banana 25g and an apple 25g which I am already restricting and this just seems plain wrong to me}. I also eat and like most vegatables [which I was told are ok] but was told to restrict potatoes. The only way I can see to get more calories is to eat loads more meat (but fat content} or better still eat loads of nuts [good fat]. I appreciate on low carb diets the loss of calories is compensated by calories from natural fats but it just seems wrong in my mind to be stuffing lots of fat down my throat when I have spent the last 50 years avoiding them. Feel really confused, frustrated and at the moment really isolated. Sorry for the moan - any suggestions would be most welcomed.
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  2. bulkbiker

    bulkbiker Type 2 · Expert

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    Sorry but the last 50 years of diet advice has been ill advised and not based on good science.. at least that is what a lot of us have found. Meat and nuts are good eggs, avocado, olives.. I have butter on veg and double cream in coffee. I also avoid root veg and limit myself to 20g of carbs per day on average.. your 150g would have me piling on the pounds. Fruit is also not so great but I would have a few raspberries again with double cream or full fat yoghurt as a treat.
    With your pre diabetic reading of 43 you probably won't need to change much so treat yourself to some bacon and ditch the toast and cereal....
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  3. Kristin251

    Kristin251 LADA · Expert

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    Add an avocado and some nuts to replace the calories. Adding loads of protein wouldn't be the answer as excess protein converts to blood sugar.

    Avocado is the healthiest natural fat there is in my opinion. I eat one a day and has done great things for my lipids. However I am ULTRA low carb.
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  4. Jaylee

    Jaylee Type 1 · Moderator
    Staff Member

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    Hi @andyR57 ,

    Warm welcome to the forum!
    The only way to clearly gauge what effects any of the carbs are doing to one's BG levels is invest in a blood test meter?
    It's the best weapon you can use in the day to day managment of the condition.

    Tagging in @daisy1 with an info sheet.

    Also tagging in @Bluetit1802 & @AM1874 with their take on it..

    Don't feel isolated.
    Good luck!
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  5. Daibell

    Daibell Type 1.5 · Expert

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    Hi. First forget calories as they have little meaning for most of us most of the time. Continue with the low carb diet and have enough fats and proteins to keep you feeling full. Fats are not the problem we have all been educated to believe and proteins are fine in sensible amounts. 150gm/day of carbs is OK unless you put on too much weight which is unlikely. If your blood sugar stays high then the carbs might need to be reduced a bit and some meds started such as Metformin. Tropical fruit is best kept small in particular bananas.
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  6. Bluetit1802

    Bluetit1802 Type 2 · Oracle

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    Hi and welcome,

    It is carbs that raise blood sugar levels. The less of them you eat the better your levels will become. The worst ones are potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, breakfast cereals and anything made with flour. Fruits are also difficult. Bananas are the worst (instant glucose). Berries are the best if eaten as part of a meal with either double cream or full fat yogurt.

    Cutting the carb calories means you have to make up the deficit from fats and protein. There is no other way. It may mean keeping a food diary for a while and counting grams of carbs, fats and protein. Using the scales, increase the fats until your weight is stable and where you want it to be. It would also help enormously if you buy a blood glucose meter so you can test out your food choices and tweak them accordingly. (testing before and 2 hours after first bite is best, and attempt to keep any rise in levels below 2mmol/l, ideally less than 1.5mmol/l) To be honest, being without a meter is working blind.

    It is very possible to maintain weight on a low carb diet (I have done just that for nearly 3 years now) but I have to eat fats.
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  7. Liam1955

    Liam1955 Type 2 · Master

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    Hi @andyR57 and Welcome to the Forum :).
  8. AM1874

    AM1874 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @andyR57 .. and welcome
    Managing and controlling your diabetes (or pre-diabetes) through exercise, diet and testing your Blood Glucose seems to be the best way forward for many people. For me, committing to an LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) lifestyle and testing 3-5 times a day seems to be working and you'll find that there is a wealth of info, relevant advice and positive support about LCHF on the forum ..

    I see that @Jaylee has already tagged @ daisy1 for you and I suggest that you read up on the Low Carb Program in the information that she will soon be sending you. You might also find the discussion on the Low Carb Diet forum helpful .. and the following Diet Doctor websites which will give you all the info that you need on what and what not to eat ...
    Low Carb Intro and Information and Low Carbs in 60 Seconds
    It;s important to remember that, despite what you have been told for the past fifty years, there is nothing wrong with fat .. it is your friend ..

    It is also important that you get yourself a test meter and, for this, the following websites might help:
    for the SD Codefree meter, which costs £12.98 or:
    who distribute the TEE 2 meter, which is free.
    I have both which I alternate for comparative purposes and I have never found any significant difference between them.

    Unless you are prescribed a meter and test strips by your doctor (unlikely), the costs of testing comes down to the ongoing charges for test strips and lancets. Make sure that you tick the appropriate box on the on-line order form and you won't pay VAT on the cost of your meter or strips.
    For the SD Codefree, the strips are £7.69 for a pack of 50 and there are discount codes available for bulk purchases:
    5 packs x 50 use code: 264086 .. cost is £38.45
    10 packs x 50 use code: 975833 .. cost is £76.90
    For the TEE 2, the strips are £7.75 for a pack of 50 .. there are no discounts currently available for bulk buys
    I'm testing 3-5 times a day which works out at around £10 to £12 per month for either of the two packages above but, more importantly, I know what my BG levels are .. and I can now manage them

    Hope this helps
  9. ickihun

    ickihun Type 2 · Expert

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    I've had to test and see. Experiment safely and make my own conclusions about my severe insulin resistance and why I can lose weight safely and slowly now I'm on sufficient insulin injected units. My own insulin isnt enough for my now 19 and a half stone (was 22st) 40yr+ diabetic body.
    I added weight with high fat, no matter how low my carbs were as the protein was being converted to glucose in carbs absence.
  10. daisy1

    daisy1 Type 2 · Legend
    Staff Member Retired Moderator

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    Hello Andy and welcome to the Forum :) Here is the Basic Information we give to new members and I hope it will be useful to you. Ask as many questions as you want and someone will be able to reply.


    Diabetes is the general term to describe people who have blood that is sweeter than normal. A number of different types of diabetes exist.

    A diagnosis of diabetes tends to be a big shock for most of us. It’s far from the end of the world though and on this forum you'll find well over 245,000 people who are demonstrating this.

    On the forum we have found that with the number of new people being diagnosed with diabetes each day, sometimes the NHS is not being able to give all the advice it would perhaps like to deliver - particularly with regards to people with type 2 diabetes.

    The role of carbohydrate

    Carbohydrates are a factor in diabetes because they ultimately break down into sugar (glucose) within our blood. We then need enough insulin to either convert the blood sugar into energy for our body, or to store the blood sugar as body fat.

    If the amount of carbohydrate we take in is more than our body’s own (or injected) insulin can cope with, then our blood sugar will rise.

    The bad news

    Research indicates that raised blood sugar levels over a period of years can lead to organ damage, commonly referred to as diabetic complications.

    The good news

    People on the forum here have shown that there is plenty of opportunity to keep blood sugar levels from going too high. It’s a daily task but it’s within our reach and it’s well worth the effort.

    Controlling your carbs

    The info below is primarily aimed at people with type 2 diabetes, however, it may also be of benefit for other types of diabetes as well.

    There are two approaches to controlling your carbs:
    • Reduce your carbohydrate intake
    • Choose ‘better’ carbohydrates
    Reduce your carbohydrates

    A large number of people on this forum have chosen to reduce the amount of carbohydrates they eat as they have found this to be an effective way of improving (lowering) their blood sugar levels.

    The carbohydrates which tend to have the most pronounced effect on blood sugar levels tend to be starchy carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, bread, potatoes and similar root vegetables, flour based products (pastry, cakes, biscuits, battered food etc) and certain fruits.

    Choosing better carbohydrates

    The low glycaemic index diet is often favoured by healthcare professionals but some people with diabetes find that low GI does not help their blood sugar enough and may wish to cut out these foods altogether.

    Read more on carbohydrates and diabetes.

    Over 145,000 people have taken part in the Low Carb Program - a free 10 week structured education course that is helping people lose weight and reduce medication dependency by explaining the science behind carbs, insulin and GI.

    Eating what works for you

    Different people respond differently to different types of food. What works for one person may not work so well for another. The best way to see which foods are working for you is to test your blood sugar with a glucose meter.

    To be able to see what effect a particular type of food or meal has on your blood sugar is to do a test before the meal and then test after the meal. A test 2 hours after the meal gives a good idea of how your body has reacted to the meal.

    The blood sugar ranges recommended by NICE are as follows:

    Blood glucose ranges for type 2 diabetes
    • Before meals: 4 to 7 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 8.5 mmol/l
    Blood glucose ranges for type 1 diabetes (adults)
    • Before meals: 4 to 7 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 9 mmol/l
    Blood glucose ranges for type 1 diabetes (children)
    • Before meals: 4 to 8 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 10 mmol/l
    However, those that are able to, may wish to keep blood sugar levels below the NICE after meal targets.

    Access to blood glucose test strips

    The NICE guidelines suggest that people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should be offered:

    • structured education to every person and/or their carer at and around the time of diagnosis, with annual reinforcement and review
    • self-monitoring of plasma glucose to a person newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes only as an integral part of his or her self-management education

    Therefore both structured education and self-monitoring of blood glucose should be offered to people with type 2 diabetes. Read more on getting access to blood glucose testing supplies.

    You may also be interested to read questions to ask at a diabetic clinic.

    Note: This post has been edited from Sue/Ken's post to include up to date information.

    Take part in Diabetes.co.uk digital education programs and improve your understanding. They're all free.
    • Low Carb Program - it's made front-page news of the New Scientist and The Times. Developed with 20,000 people with type 2 diabetes; 96% of people who take part recommend it... find out why
    • Hypo Program - improve your understanding of hypos. There's a version for people with diabetes, parents/guardians of children with type 1, children with type 1 diabetes, teachers and HCPs.
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