The best diet for a type 2 or pre-diabetic to control their blood glucose is Very Low Carb (VLC). How many grams of carbs you eat will depend on your degree of Insulin Resistance (IR). Your meter will tell you. Then, the number of carbs you eat will be up to you. How much do you want to mediate your condition? Do you want to put your diabetes in remission, or do you just want to let your doctor manage it as you go on with your old diet?
In the last 16 years I have tweaked how I eat a lot. My doctor started me “cold turkey” on Atkins Induction (20 carb grams a day). I few years later I switched to Richard K. Bernstein’s 30 grams a day (his 6-12-12 program). I transitioned to LC-HF (low-carb, high-fat), then to VLCKD (“keto”), and finally VLC with lower protein and moderate fat, to allow my body to burn its own fat, while I fasted or had one-meal-a-day (OMAD) and was “fat-adapted.” All of these Ways of Eating have one thing in common; the basic precept is Very Low Carb.
Besides always being fundamentally Very Low Carb, it has also always been Moderate Protein. It is not high protein as some would have you think. People who say “high protein,” are thinking negatively in two respects: 1) They think “high protein” is harmful to the kidneys and 2) they are afraid to call it or think of it as “high fat,” which it is. High fat, especially saturated fat, they think, is harmful to the heart, which it is not.
With respect to PROTEIN, a moderate level means from 15% to 30% protein, depending on the carb and fat calories. Mine has been 20% for many years. Second, only a diet that is higher than 30% protein of total calories (including body fat burned), might be harmful to the kidneys and then only if you already have kidney disease.
Fear of FAT is not supported by sound science, as the world is just now coming to realize. We have all been unwitting subjects in a 60-year, world-wide, low-fat, public health experiment. In this respect, I hope you’ve noticed that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines have quietly dropped the “30% and lower” target for fat in their recommendations. You probably didn’t notice that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee told the full committee that “cholesterol is…no longer a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.” Cholesterol accompanies saturated fat in animal foods, and you no longer are being guided to limit your CHOLESTEROL to 300 mg a day! Eat eggs! Eat shrimp! Enjoy!
Unfortunately, the Guidelines still focus – in fact they have doubled down – on the dietary recommendation against SATURATED FAT, found mostly in animal products (butter, ghee, lard, tallow) but also in coconut oil. They – ahem, the United States Department of Agriculture, the co-authors of the Dietary Guidelines with another government agency, HHS – want you to “shift from eating solid fats to oils,” specifically the highly processed grain and seed oils grown, manufactured and “baked into” foods, literally and figuratively, by American AgriBusiness. Anyone see a conflict?
Basically, a diet that is very low carb, moderate protein and high fat – or moderate fat if you are fat-adapted and need to lose more body weight with fasting or just calorie restriction – is going to work for you to manage your blood sugar and to lose weight without hunger. When my doctor started me on Atkins Induction 18 years ago, for weight loss, it worked. But we were both surprised that I had hypos for a week until my doctor told me to stop taking virtually all the anti-diabetic meds he had me on. I still take Metformin. And eventually I lost over 180 pounds!
My blood lipids also improved dramatically, cutting my triglycerides by 2/3rds and doubling my HDL-C. And, with weight loss, my blood pressure went down, as did my systemic inflammation levels (hsCRP). I am so much healthier today than before, and I feel so much better. It all began with VERY LOW CARB. It is the basic precept for type 2s.
My apologies to my regular readers of this blog. I’ve told this story many times; however, since my columns cover a wide range of subjects and aren’t indexed, the majority of my readers find me through a “Google” search. If that includes you, I hope you will return often and make this one of your favorite sites, or even become a “follower” and send a hyperlink to a friend. I accept no ads because I have no products to promote or sell – only nutritional advice and encouragement for type 2s and pre-diabetics.