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Friday 7 September 2012

My experience with a low carbohydrate diet by John

I was first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes over 4 years ago. I was given a meter, test strips and shown how to determine my BG level. I was given no advice on diet other than a faded photocopy of the (infamous) NHS guidelines on diet. Alarmed that I was given medication for blood pressure and cholesterol but nothing for the chronic disease of diabetes, I immersed myself in an intense period of reading the diabetes literature.

Using the test strips I quickly discovered that the usual menus were producing alarming spikes in my BG levels post breakfast, lunch and dinner. I then attempted to minimise the spikes by ‘portion size’. However, in order to achieve my target post meal BG levels the portion sizes had to be ludicrously small and it was clear that such an approach was going to leave me hungry and irritable after meals

In order to appreciate the problem I give below a sample of some of my BG testing.

One banana causes me an average rise in BG of 1.90 mmol/L.
One slice of wholemeal bread causes me an average rise in BG of 2.00 mmol/L.
100g of plain pasta causes me an average rise in BG of 2.60 mmol/L.
100 g of fried rice causes me an average rise in BG of 3.00 mmol/L.

I decided to eat only those food types that contained less than or equal to 6g carbohydrate per 100g of food type. An example of the changes brought about by the decision is given below.

For breakfast replace the wholemeal toast with toast from one of the many lowcarb breads or a cheese omelette.
For lunch replace the fried rice by ‘cauliflower’ fried rice.
For dinner replace the pasta by broccoli, cauliflower cheese and spinach.
For fruit replace a banana by raspberries.

In considering such replacement it is important to realise that the replacements represent only a small sample of the food types (see any good “carb counter” book or website” for food types satisfying the criterion of less than or equal to 6g carbohydrate per 100g of food type. 

To see an example of the advantages such replacements can bring I give below a further sample of some of my BG testing.

100g of broccoli causes me an average rise in BG of 0.20 mmol/L.
100g of cauliflower causes me an average rise in BG of 0.10 mmol/L.
100g of cauliflower cheese causes me an average rise in BG of 0.50 mmol/L.
100g of cheese omelette causes me an average rise in BG of 0.01 mmol/L.
100g of raspberries causes me an average rise in BG of 0.60 mmol/L.
100g of spinach causes me an average rise in BG of 0.12 mmol/L.

It is clear that I can replace 100g of high carb food types with combinations of 100g of several low carb food types and achieve lower spikes in BG levels.

However, there is the question of nutritional levels. Does the above replacement example result in a net gain/loss of essential nutrients? With this in mind and with the aid of the website: ... cofids.xls

I determined that there are large gains in dietary fibre, calcium and nutrient intake and concluded that with a low carb diet I am in little danger of constipation (more dietary fibre) osteoporosis (more calcium) or scurvy (more vitamin C).

Now after over 4 years the low carb lifestyle has become second nature. We no longer measure the weight of the food types selected for a meal but can judge the quantity necessary to keep my BG levels below my target levels.

The result has been over 4 years of HbA1c below 5.4



Anonymous said...

Another good news story. Thank you for this John, I've only been low carbing for about 8 months now but I will be continuing, I'm getting more and more convinced it's the only way for me


Anonymous said...

John many thanks for sharing this excellent article with us and the detail you go into, I enjoyed reading it.
I am a strong believer in the low carb way. For me that's between 40 and 60 carbs a day. I do think it very important that we should all spread the word as much as we can.
I am very fond of this saying, it's one my mum used to use, 'from little acorns oak trees grow.' I hope the low carb oak tree keeps growing over the years and matures into a magnificent learning tree, sadly it is needed more than ever these days with the continued increase in diabetes, obesity etc.

Thank you once again for sharing your story


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Like Grace I found the detail you went into was excellent.

Since discovering this blog and reading other 'low carb' items on the inter-web I feel it is the only way for me to go. My numbers are now in the high fives but next time I'm sure it will be lower.

Thanks to everyone for sharing good news and advice like this.

From a low carb convert