I've been reading a lot of the threads here and see a lot about a low carb diet. However, I have a question or series of questions. First let me start out on this premise: Let's say I am a type 1 diabetic (how about that, I am!) and I know my I:C ratio is 1:20 as an example. As long as I give myself proper insulin for the carbs I don't have a problem with my BG being out of control after meals regardless of whether I have 200 carbs a meal or 60. In this type of situation, what is the benefit to me as a diabetic, not just general health benefits anyone could get, from being on a low-carb diet? In essence, I'm doing what my pancreas would normally do and dose for the meal (although my pancreas was much more efficient and precise of course).
If this is a hot-button issue here then forgive me, I don't intend to open up a can of worms. My books from Dr. Bernstein and 'Think Like a Pancreas' are still on their way, so maybe they will answer this question. I've just seen a few people here who seem to feel very guilty that they were still "living like they didn't have diabetes and dosing for the meal." If you're BG's are in check and your otherwise healthy and doing okay, why is this a problem? Again, we're discounting the benefits anyone could get, and focusing on why it's beneficial specifically for diabetics.
NOTE: I DO count my carbs religiously (I don't see how that could be optional as a T1) and try, in general, to eat fewer than I did before I was diagnosed. Also, the ratios and scenario above do not fit me, they are just setting the stage for the discussion.
I'll chime in first. One benefit would be lower carbs would generally mean lower insulin doses and therefore if a mistake were made it would be less severe. Is that all there is though?
Yes this is true...also I would say the more insulin you use, the more sugar that is being pulled out of your blood stream, the more fat that insulin is going to pack on you. So if you are wanting to stay in decent shape, the low carb diet helps. I am new to this, but I feel like a healthy diabetic diet (type 1 that is) is EXACTLY like a healthy diet for someone without diabetes. Keep everything proportioned and you should be fine. If you are any kind of active, you NEED carbs, they are energy. If you are trying to lose weight, cut carbs, if you are trying to gain weight or are participating in activities that require a lot of physical exertion, increase protein and carbs.
Your thinking is correct though, IF you dose correctly, it shouldn't matter (as far as blood sugar is related, actual health is a total different story). In my opinion it's just like a person without diabetes. If they want to go eat 200 carbs per meal, go right on ahead! You just better be ready to run a half marathon per day or be prepared to gain quite a bit of weight.
I certainly agree, if you're physically active and involved in athletics you need those carbs to keep your body going. Let's face it, carbs are one of major energy sources our bodies use.
I don't know that I'd say the more insulin you take the more sugar it's going to pull out and fat it'll pack on. If I were to order a baked potato as a side instead of cooked broccoli (we'll assume they're both naked to make it easy) then I just about tripled the amount of carbs compared to the broccoli, but didn't increase the fat. My insulin needs go up, but there's no extra fat to be absorbed. DV amounts for broccoliand potatoin those links. High carb doesn't necessarily equal high fat. However, when it does this may actually be the case. I couldn't really say.
The little (very little) bit of research I did before asking this also showed that typically people lose about the same amount of weight going low carb as when they go low fat. But I'd also agree that a healthy diet in general for a diabetic is going to be the same as a healthy diet for a non-D. Such a balancing act to be healthy in general!
Just to clarify, I'm not trying to attack you here at all, so please accept my apologies if it has come across as such. I know things can come across worse when typed out than when you can actually hear the person say it.
True, but that totally depends on your activity level. I see carbs as things that float out there for awhile. Carbs turn into glucose, and glucose is energy. If you eat more carbs, which make more glucose, and you do NOT exercise, what is that glucose going to do? It is going to be stored as fat. Carbs are great for highly active people. But if you don't plan on exercising or moving around, and you eat a lot of carbs, you won't use all those carbs, and they then will be stored. If they are not used, where do they go?
This is why when you want to lose weight you go low carb. Now you burn all the little amount of carbs that are fresh, and when there is no more, the body goes to the "old" carbs, which are stored as fat, and burns them, hence the weight loss. I am not advocating low carb, but just like insulin and anything else, it is a balance.
I think any time that someone keeps a food diary or somehow watches what they're eating, they will lose weight... I think it forces you to watch your portions, etc... just my humble opinion..
I think this is mostly only true when you are over consuming total calories. If you are ONLY eating what is required then the glucose will go in to the cell and be used for normal body function.
The one thing Atkins or Bernstein like diets hang their hats on (as far as weight loss) is that insulin is a hormone that tells your body you are fed. When you are fed then you have energy to store- our main source of storage is fat. The idea being if you are injecting a bunch of insulin you will always be telling your body it is fed and thus be more apt to store energy as fat. What I noticed for myself is that Bernstein type diets tend to drop my total caloric consumption which in turn leads to weight loss. It was JUST as effective (for me!) to cut back my total calories and still consume carbs.
All that being said that doesn't take away from the fact that the less insulin you are injecting the less chance of making a mistake and theoretically the less wild swings in blood glucose. I spent three months trying to get Bernstein diet to work but I could never consistently expect my liver to convert x amount of protein and fat into x amount of glucose. When I limit carbs I CAN count more easily and expect ALL that carb to turn to glucose. Long way of saying lowering my carb intake was more effective for me than Bernstein.
This is all very good information. I was assuming that awg was exaggerating (or at least I hope he is) when he said 200 carbs per MEAL, therefore I might have exaggerated a bit on the half-marathon. However, I would love (or hate) to see a diabetic try one of those diet plans. I seriously doubt that at 600+ carbs a day (unless you are Michael Phelps) a type 1 diabetic would be able to maintain weight. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't want to test it!
Yeah, well as far as distance running goes, you definitely have more experience than me. I just thought of a hard exercise, and half marathon it was! Being a football player my whole life, all of our workouts and games require very short burst of high intensity, which is the exact opposite of you distance runners. My diet transition once I stop playing, (which is happening this summer, finally hanging up the cleats!) is going to be a challenge. Finding out the amount of carbs I need for my "new" exercises and daily activity was going to be hard before, now add diabetes to that transition and I feel like I am having to completely start over. LIke everything else with this disease, I guess I am in for a lot of trial and error....
Yeah, the 200 a meal was definitely an exaggeration! It was just to get across the point for the scenario that no matter the carb intake, dosing properly keeps BG in range. 200 a meal would be a wee bit on the excessive side. ;-)