Tag Archives: low carb

Must read book if you are a diabetic

1bernsteinThe book is called, Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution by Dr. Richard Bernstein.

He has had type 1 diabetes for many many years and became a doctor in his late 40’s.  He did this because he learned a lot living with diabetes and turned his health around and the only way to publish what he learned and be listened to was to become a doctor.

When I heard about this doctor I thought to myself…”He should really know what he is talking about for he actually has the disease.”

I was right.  The book recommended almost everything I had discovered the hard way throughout my 15 years with diabetes except he lays out a precise management plan for normal blood sugars. I’m in the process of adapting to his protocol.  The top ideas I would recommend you from this book are the following:

1.  “The Law of Small Numbers”

Each time you administer insulin there is a certain margin of error regarding absorption.  Sometimes more gets absorbed by the body than other times.  If you eat low carb, you give less insulin.  This lowers that margin of error considerably.  So, hours after you’ve given insulin, instead of being “off” by a lot, you chance being off only by a slight amount every time, improving your overall glucose control.  I found this out on my own and was so happy to see it affirmed in this book.  Conclusion?  It truly makes life easier to omit most carbs.

2.  Frequent blood sugar checks

Dr. Bernstein recommends 5-7 checks a day.  This is assuming you have some sort of routine way of doing things.  I will go ahead and assume if you don’t have a routine about your day, you need to check  your sugar even more frequently.  I typically monitor 8-10 times a day.  Notice that this is because currently I have a very unusual schedule-I take care of my newborn twin infants round the clock and can only sleep and eat when a miracle opens a small window of time.  This hectic schedule calls for extra monitoring.  If I only checked 4 times in a 24 hour period I’d end up in the ER very soon from a low or I would eventually suffer the consequences from too many highs.  I prefer checking more often thank you very much.

3.  Exercise

This simply applies to all human beings.  We all require exercise.  Period.  If you have type 2 diabetes, your health will improve dramatically by exercise.

4.  Normalizing blood glucose levels heals you

This one is great.  Dr. Bernstein was falling apart.  His health was in shambles and by normalizing his blood sugar levels he literally reversed the overwhelming majority of the damage that occurred during many years of terrible glucose control.  Let us take a look again at that word: reversed.  I at one point suffered a year of annoying leg cramps as a result of getting my blood sugar back on track.  The pain was caused by my body repairing itself.  Finally when those leg cramps disappeared, so did all of the neuropathic pain in my feet.  Look out 4 inch heels!  Very exciting to say the least.

5.  You don’t need to use alcohol swabs prior to an injection or finger prick

I have only used alcohol swabs when in public for other people’s sake.  People tend to relax when they see you “sterilizing” (although alcohol doesn’t sterilize the skin).  Anyway, apart from those instances I never use alcohol to clean my injection site or finger stick site.  No harm ever came as a result in all my 15 years with diabetes.  Dr. Bernstein sets the record straight as a doctor telling us that no, you don’t need to use alcohol.  So save yourself the hassle and just stick or inject away!

6.  Unless you are obese or use large amounts of insulin, stay away from insulin pens

Insulin pens do not allow for quarter unit doses.  For many people, this means rounding up or down and either getting too much or not enough insulin.  I once used a pen that didn’t even provide half unit increments.  This was very annoying.  I had to try to pull the needle out real fast so that a small amount of insulin would come out as a I pushed the insulin in.  I definitely don’t recommend this unreliable method.  Soon after my trial with the pens I switched to simple reliable syringes and haven’t looked back since.

7.  Use glucose tablets to control low blood sugars

Dr. Bernstein recommends that anytime your sugar is low you use glucose tablets instead of candy or juice or some other form of fast acting sugar.  This was hard for me but, I do get the logic behind it.  His reasoning is this:  glucose tablets work faster AND they are always going to provide you the same measurable amount of carbs whereas sometimes with juice or candy you may overdo the amount (because mmm candy is good!) and subsequently suffer from high glucose after your low.  I know this has happened to many of us.  It sure has happened to me.  When I practice this rule, I do avoid a high blood sugar reading after the low reading, every single time.

So there they are.  For type 2 diabetics:  Dr. Bernstein’s book talks a lot about issues which would help you as well.  He goes into type 2 medications which I don’t know much about.  So for ANY diabetic, I definitely recommend you read this book!

Top 10 diabetes myths

 

Diabetes is certainly misunderstood.  What more, we diabetics have to deal with a plethora of myths people have acquired over the years about what it is we have.  There are even myths diabetics themselves believe.  Here is my list of the top 10 diabetes myths out there today (in no particular order):

Myth #10.  Being a diabetic is easier the longer you’ve had it. 

-I wish this were true!  But, its not.

Myth #9.  “Injections probably don’t hurt you anymore now that you are used to them.” 

-Oh dear.  This irritates me to hear because it is as if people think that time makes a person immune to pain.  It would be nice.  In fact, since I have 15 years of scar tissue built up, the injections hurt even MORE.

Myth #8.  The belief a type 1 diabetic can “cure their diabetes with diet”. 

-Another one I wish was true.  But, alas we must rely on insulin.

Myth #7.  The assumption a diabetic gave themselves diabetes by eating too much candy as a kid. 

-This is only 1 factor possibly influencing type 2 diabetes (as a lifestyle factor you could say).  As for type 1, we know it has nothing to do with it.  Yet, people still say that to me.  I just throw this back at them: “No that isn’t true, gee the public is still quite uneducated about diabetes…”

Myth #6.  Diabetics are very limited in the things they can do in life. 

-If you do the research, there are type 1 and 2 diabetic Olympian athletes, scientists, actors, rock stars, wilderness experts, etc.  Point being, diabetics can do many things if they choose to.

Myth #5.  Type 1 diabetics don’t live long. 

-Actually, many do.  Google the names Robert and Gerald Cleveland.  These brothers have had type 1 diabetes for more years than my grandmother has been alive.  And they are not blind nor in a wheelchair. 

Myth #4.  It is wildly believed you need a doctor to “manage your diabetes”. 

-Here is where I’m risking getting some criticism.  What you really need is to educate yourself all about your diabetes and manage it yourself.  A doctor cannot possibly hold your hand through every moment in life and unfortunately that is how often you have to make decisions regarding your diabetes.  So if you have the knowledge, then you can do what I do and be great at self-management.

Myth #3.  A good diabetic diet consists of plenty of slow acting or complex carbohydrates.

-This is where I totally disagree with the American Diabetes Association.  They recommend 3-4 starchy foods per meal.  New information is proving that low carb is best for type 1 so that less insulin is given-resulting in less errors and better glucose.  (works for me!)  And type 2 diabetics need a super low carb diet until blood sugars are stabilized.  Then, a low carb diet must be maintained in conjunction with other healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise.  This doesn’t apply to all type 2 diabetics, just a large number of them.

Myth #2.  An A1c of 5% is too low.

-My ex-doctor told me my A1c was “overkill” at 4.6%.  Thus, his “ex-doctor” status.  This is only too low if blood sugars are frequently very low.  Then you are risking going unconscious-or worse.  If the 5% is an accurate reflection of where your glucose stays most of the time, then 5% is NOT too low.  This A1c is ideal because it is considered to be in the “normal” range-for a non-diabetic person.

Myth #1.  Diabetics should eat and drink foods containing artificial sweeteners.

-This one is hard for people because of the great job the media does at telling us artificial sweeteners are safe.  Before being put on the market years ago, they endured extremely short and limited testing trials.  Since then, thousands of cases against artificial sweeteners have hit the courts.  Science is now proving they have very bad side effects.  ALSO, they do raise blood sugars-just not as much as natural sugar.  So if you consume a lot of a product with artificial sweetener don’t be surprised when your blood sugar is high.  You are not alone…I had a hard time giving up my diet cokes, too.

What are some myths you have encountered?

Why low carb works best for me

         

I’m all for fruit and whole wheat sprouted grain bread and brown rice. Yet, fact of the matter is, limiting even these great carbs works wonders! 

I don’t advocate for everyone with diabetes doing it.  In particular, I like to think that children shouldn’t be restricted as an adult might choose to do for themselves.  I have just found that personally, if I want better blood sugars, I watch carb intake very carefully.

Let me explain.

Every time we give insulin by syringe or insulin pump, a small varying percentage isn’t absorbed by the body.  Let’s say you gave 5 units of insulin to cover your moderate carb meal and your type 1 diabetic friend gives 15 units of insulin for a hearty plate of pasta with marinara sauce.  That certain percentage of unabsorbed insulin is greater in the 15 units your friend took than in the 5 units you took for your meal.  There is a likelihood you end up a little bit above or below your target blood sugar after eating because of the fact that we cannot perfect insulin dosing due to the amount that is randomly unabsorbed by the body.  The more insulin that is given however, the greater the margin of error we’re going to have to put up with.  So your friend will likely have a higher high than you or a lower low.  They might be right on target depending on their carbohydrate counting skills and luck .  However, they are more likely than you to have a 250 after eating.  Being 250 over 150 makes a big difference in the way you feel and in how fast you can lower your number.

If you feel fine with organic eggs, poultry, meat, nuts, and green veggies and don’t need carbs, then good for you.  I suppose that makes it much easier.  Many of us feel better with some carbs though, so in that case, just don’t overdo the portions and stay away from processed carbs.  I find that 20 carbs of sweet potato are not equal to the 20 carbs in a cookie.  The cookie, for me, requires more insulin since the sweet potato has fiber and a lower glycemic index.

If you’re an adult with diabetes.  I strongly suggest trying to eat lower carb and non processed food for a week and see how much easier glucose management gets for you.

The only way I can keep an A1c in the 5% range is this.  If someone else knows another way I’m all ears.  I do miss my sushi.