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Evermont

Sustainability of low(er) carb eating

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VeeJay
When you eat low carb (60-100 carbs a day) are you suppose to watch how much fat you take in and do you still count your calories? Just wondering. I would like to do low carb but not sure how to get started. I want to do it right.

 

Not necessarily. Keep the carbs low (under 60 net grams per day - or lower for some of us), eat moderate protein, and fill in the rest with good fats (not transfats, for instance).

 

I know we've been taught for the last few decades that fat is bad. That's being proven incorrect. Actually, fats are good... as long as you are not eating high carbs. Fats do not affect your blood glucose levels.... carbs do. Fats will not spike insulin ... high carbs will. Fats won't cause you to produce excess insulin .... high carbs will and that excess insulin is what causes you to gain weight, to have high cholesterol, and contributes to high blood pressure.

 

The reason for eating only moderate amounts of protein is that your liver will convert excess protein into glucose. Sort of counter-productive to eat a lot of protein.

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pkdarlin

My A1c is 6.7 and I want to get it down to 5 or somewhere around 5. I take Metformin and guess I would have to adjust my carbs to my meds. I don't think it would be much adjusting cause Metformin is not keeping it where it needs to be. I really don't want to go on more Meds so think I will give low carb a try. I will just test a lot to see what it is doing. Thanks for your help. I will try 60 carbs a day and see how it works for me. Might have to raise it a little, I'll see. I have 60 pounds to lose and want to get it off.

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jwags

I think the best way to start a low carb diet is to start off with something like Atkins or South Beach. When you get used to the lower carb then you could transition to Dr Bernstein's diet. Atkins has a diet out for diabetics, now.

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samorgan

You shouldn't "need" to reduce Metformin because allegedly it cannot cause lows unlike insulin and some other meds. On the other hand, it is very likely that you can jettison it because you probably won't need it's help once you find the right diet.

 

My advice is to not focus solely on carbs. As you reduce carbs, you have to replace them with something. There are only two choices: protein or fat.

 

To the extent you replace them with protein:

 

1) You will need to reduce carbs even lower to get the same result, since protein also contributes to BG, especially when in excess of what you actually need for cell repair, etc.

2) If weight loss is one of your goals, you will be less likely to succeed.

3) There is potential for kidney damage, especially if there are any existing problems

 

The average protein consumption is 16% of calories. It is highly consistent (unlike fat and carb consumption which vary more widely). I would definitely suggest keeping it below 20%. This means that most carbs you reduce need to be replaced with fat at the ratio of 9g carbs:4g fat. This takes some effort, especially in this "market" with all the foods denuded of natural fats filling the shelves.

 

Download the ketogenic ratio and use this as your guide for the expected impact of any particular CPF mixture on BG.

 

 

My A1c is 6.7 and I want to get it down to 5 or somewhere around 5. I take Metformin and guess I would have to adjust my carbs to my meds. I don't think it would be much adjusting cause Metformin is not keeping it where it needs to be. I really don't want to go on more Meds so think I will give low carb a try. I will just test a lot to see what it is doing. Thanks for your help. I will try 60 carbs a day and see how it works for me. Might have to raise it a little, I'll see. I have 60 pounds to lose and want to get it off.

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deeleigh

The average protein consumption is 16% of calories. It is highly consistent (unlike fat and carb consumption which vary more widely). I would definitely suggest keeping it below 20%. This means that most carbs you reduce need to be replaced with fat at the ratio of 9g carbs:4g fat. This takes some effort, especially in this "market" with all the foods denuded of natural fats filling the shelves.

 

I've seen this said around here a bit, that fats need to be increased but protein does not. Can you give a few examples of what fats are in food? I'm having trouble even imagining anything other than meats and cheeses, and I don't want to increase my protein levels too high by eating too much meat (and there's a certain amount of carbs in cheeses so I'm not sure how to balance that). Specific high-fat foods, or a rundown of a typical daily diet for a high fat/low carb diet would be great!

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MCS

I really do not count carbs so any answer would be a guess. I do know what foods work for me. I suppose the only carbs I do count are on store bought boxed items, never seen a label on a green pepper yet.

 

I still have room for tweeking my diet though. My in between snacks are mostly nuts of various sorts and when I need to lose weight I simply cut back on them. I can gain or drop 7-8lbs in a week, it is kinda of odd. But to the OP, yes my diet is highly sustainable, I quite enjoy it as a matter of fact, you see I like to eat.

 

Son and daughter are now asking me for some of my recipes, they want to reduce thier carb intake as well.

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princesslinda
Can you give a few examples of what fats are in food?......Specific high-fat foods, or a rundown of a typical daily diet for a high fat/low carb diet would be great!

 

Here's a thread you might find of interest:

http://www.diabetesforums.com/forum/dieting-and-nutrition-diabetes/39716-low-carb-daily-diet.html

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foxl

Here is a thought: Low-carbing is more sustainable for me, than the high-carb roller coaster ever would be. Just popped into mind.

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deeleigh

Thanks Linda. I've been looking through that thread but it's slow going, there's a lot of bickering back and forth. And it still seems like most people are eating protein to get their fat? I'm just wondering what other sources of fat there are. Avocado's are all I can think of.

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jwags
I've seen this said around here a bit, that fats need to be increased but protein does not. Can you give a few examples of what fats are in food? I'm having trouble even imagining anything other than meats and cheeses, and I don't want to increase my protein levels too high by eating too much meat (and there's a certain amount of carbs in cheeses so I'm not sure how to balance that). Specific high-fat foods, or a rundown of a typical daily diet for a high fat/low carb diet would be great!

 

Things like peanut butter, almond butter, coconut oil, heavy cream, real butter, nitrate free bacon are great sources of fat. I add a little Coconut oil to almost every meal. My carbs change depending what I am doing for the day. If I am staying home I eat pretty low carb 20-30. If I am going to be away from home or playing tennis for a couple of hours I will make sure I have about 20-25 carbs just to make sure I don't go low. Even though metformin is not supposed to make you go low lately I do go into the low 70's and even 60's some days. So before heavy exercise I will carb up just a little, but I still use sprouted gain bread with coconut oil and almond butter.

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samorgan

As you check foods or products, look for more grams of fat than grams of protein (along with very low grams of carbs, of course). Ignore saturated vs. not.

 

 

I've seen this said around here a bit, that fats need to be increased but protein does not. Can you give a few examples of what fats are in food? I'm having trouble even imagining anything other than meats and cheeses, and I don't want to increase my protein levels too high by eating too much meat (and there's a certain amount of carbs in cheeses so I'm not sure how to balance that). Specific high-fat foods, or a rundown of a typical daily diet for a high fat/low carb diet would be great!

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deeleigh
Things like peanut butter, almond butter, coconut oil, heavy cream, real butter, nitrate free bacon are great sources of fat. I add a little Coconut oil to almost every meal.

 

Thanks this is what I was looking for!

 

Now for the high-fat crowd, does almond butter, cream and butter really make up such a large part of your diet? What I'm getting at is, I've seen a lot of debates here where people make it very clear they eat no more than 20 percent protein, so where is the 60 percent fat they're consuming coming from? It can't just be butter and cream can it? I'm sorry I'm just a little confused by this, because it still seems like most of the day's calories are coming from protein.

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samorgan

I've checked mine repeatedly by entering a day's food into a site like FitDay.com and verified that as percentage of total calories, my typical day's diet is:

 

6 - 10% from carbs

15 - 16% from protein

Remainder from fat

 

Remember, this is percentage or proportion ("zero-sum"). Decreasing carbs alone increases the share of the other two without eating any more of either. I find I just have to avoid foods which are too protein-heavy vis-a-vis fat to maintain balance. I avoid chicken breast nearly completely, but I'm OK with thighs, wings, etc. Most beef sold in [non-Mexican] grocery stores is way too lean except for a few cuts like boneless short-rib, etc. Also most fish have to be limited or they will upset the balance. Lobster is OK as long as it dipped in lots of drawn butter with lemon!

 

 

 

Thanks this is what I was looking for!

 

Now for the high-fat crowd, does almond butter, cream and butter really make up such a large part of your diet? What I'm getting at is, I've seen a lot of debates here where people make it very clear they eat no more than 20 percent protein, so where is the 60 percent fat they're consuming coming from? It can't just be butter and cream can it? I'm sorry I'm just a little confused by this, because it still seems like most of the day's calories are coming from protein.

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stardustshadow

I watch my carbs like a hawk. Mostly because I am trying to lose weight. I eat 20 or less (somedays about 10) per day.

 

I have lost 52 pounds, although my weight loss has been SLOW for several months, something I am very frustrated with, considering how good my BG numbers are.

 

I think that this lifestyle is absoltely sustainable. You do eventually lose some of your taste for the higher carb stuff. Personally, I try to keep it varied. I read recipie sites, and I experiment. I cook most things at home, from scratch. I also find (or try to find) low carb replacements for foods that I miss, like desserts. This helps me feel less deprived while staying on plan. It was hard to adjust to low carb in the beginning (not to mention my diagnosis) but now I feel like I have adjusted very well. I am pretty convinced that this is a healthier way to eat for everyone, even non diabetics (maybe not as low as my low carb, but cutting out a lot of sugar, wheat and junk could do most people some good!).

 

My favorite new invention are low carb peppermint cups (like a peppermint pattie!). I have a hankering for some of that coconut bark with peanuts though! That sounds great...maybe I will make that for the weekend.

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jwags

Even though I don't count exactly I use a ratio similar to Salim. I'll eat 10-15 grams of carb, 15-20 grams of protein and 20-30 grams of fat. If you look at the labels on things like almond butter, you see it doesn't take too much to get over 20. Every tablespoon of fat like butter, olive oil, coconut oil has 14 g of fat.

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samorgan

Many people find my discussions too complicated. Although I don't count and measure (or use any "portion control" - I hate the very word) - what I describe is more after the fact looking back at a day's diet and analyzing the macro-nutrients. Thinking about it, I came up with a much easier rule of thumb:

 

Grams of protein equals twice the grams of carbs, and

Grams of fat equals twice the grams of protein

 

So, for a very strong ketogenic diet (KR = 1.77), the following resembles my usual diet:

 

50g carb

100g protein

200g fat

 

Total calories: 2400 (I like to eat and NO WEIGHT GAIN at this level or even higher, so why not?)

 

carbs: 8% of calories

Protein: 17% of calories

Fat: 75% of calories

 

Ketogenic ratio: 1.77

 

If you want to eat a little less:

Carbs: 40g

Protein: 80g

Fat: 160 g

 

Gives 1920 calories and the other numbers are exactly the same.

 

Or:

Carbs: 30g

Protein: 60g

Fat: 120g

 

Gives 1440 calories and the other numbers are exactly the same.

 

This makes picking foods and planning meals pretty simple, I'd say.

 

So, if you want to maintain excellent control with a diet like this, before you put that extra 10g of carbs in your mouth (e.g., a small date or a few raisins), think to yourself: "Do I really want to add another 20g of protein and FORTY grams of fat to today's menu?"

 

I don't know about you, but that definitely motivates me to just STEP AWAY! With so much satiety going on, the thought of adding that much food is pretty daunting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though I don't count exactly I use a ratio similar to Salim. I'll eat 10-15 grams of carb, 15-20 grams of protein and 20-30 grams of fat. If you look at the labels on things like almond butter, you see it doesn't take too much to get over 20. Every tablespoon of fat like butter, olive oil, coconut oil has 14 g of fat.

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jwags

I think a lot of us after awhile stop counting. We know what foods and fats work for us. I also find my carbs will change on the time of day. I can eat the exact same thing at 8 am and 3 pm and get two total different spikes. Today I was lazy and just made my sprouted toast and had it without significant fat. I got a hug spike of about 60 points. Later in the day after a 3 mile walk I had the same toast but added almond butter. The spike was very small. So it is important to know your body and how it works.

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samorgan

Actually, I've noticed that cheese varies widely. Some have more grams of protein than fat. I have to stay away from those. Others, especially French varieties and those labelled "double cream" or "triple cream" have much different ratios. I just bought a three-pack of some "double cream" cheese with flavors like garlic, chives, etc. from Costco. Each two tablespoons has 12 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein and <1g carbs. It tastes really good like a fancy dip (minus the chips of course). When I eat things like beef which has more protein than fat or eggs which are closer to 50/50, I need things like this cheese to set it right.

 

 

Remember that cheese is half fat/ half protein.

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gingercake

Okay, I have been thinking about this a lot.

I've done low-to-moderate carb eating since DX two years ago. I had really great results with that. I wasn't really counting all of the time, but I'd say I was just trying to keep carbs below 60-70/day. Around December, I think, I decided to attempt to go primal/paleo, just totally eliminating grains, legumes, and sugar. I was not counting carbs but eliminating whatever grains and legumes I was still eating, I imagine it went down around 30, likely lower much of the time. I go to the gym a few days a week and take long walks the other days.

 

Here's the deal:

Cholesterol/lipid #s great, weight keeps going down, blood pressure good, bg numbers JUST OKAY. And now, when I have a splurge meal (raaaarely) that is carb-heavy, my bg goes WAY higher than it used to and takes days and days, sometimes weeks, to come down. Back when I was eating 60-70 carbs including some grains and sugar sometimes, this did not happen. I would get a spike from a high carb meal but bounce back pretty quickly.

 

Now what I'm wondering (and I know no one can answer this):

- Is this change because my pancreas is really flaming out and just doesn't have much left to give?

- This is my main concern right now: am I experiencing this thing I've read about where when you eat very low carb/ketogenic, your body sort of "forgets" how to use glucose for fuel so when you do take in a bunch of carbs your body won't switch back from burning fatty acids for fuel to using up the glucose - something that I've read can be remedied by adding moderate amounts of carb back in until your body kicks back in with the glucose-burning systems. This makes some sense to me as I remember back at Thanksgiving I was eating more carbs, and I remember eating this whole grain roll that would now probably spike me to 250, and being 115 not long after.

- Or perhaps I'm eating more/too much protein now and extra glycogen piling up in liver. I'm only 5'2", 130, and have a fairly sedentary job so my protein needs are probably not that high.

- Or perhaps all of the above.

 

All I know is, I do not wish to guarantee to myself or anyone else that I will NEVER eat a high-carb meal again. And again, I rarely do. But the weeks-long anguish of getting the numbers back down and the work of depleting the glucose in my liver (going for multiple long walks or exercise sessions in a day, eating half the food I normally eat, etc) is DEPRESSING and anxiety-producing, which I know doesn't help.

 

So this question of "is it sustainable?" has been nagging at me. Today I'm starting to consciously add some carbs back in, up to 60 or 70, to see what happens over the next couple of weeks. Very possible my numbers will stay up. But maybe they won't, and I'm feeling sort of desperate. If I can't figure this out this year, next stop: insulin, I think. Or maybe doctor will want me to max out metformin first - I'm nearly there. My A1C in October was 5.8. I'm having it done again tomorrow and I'm predicting something close to 7. We'll see.

 

Anyway, any thoughts or experience on any of this?

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