Diabetes Diet: Getting By With Low-Carb Fare

Gretchen Becker Health Guide
  • A comment to a recent sharepost asking how one could make sandwiches without whole grain bread got me to thinking, and I realized that the secret to good diabetes control is often being able to think outside the box.


    Richard K. Bernstein, an engineer who was able to reverse his own complications from type 1 diabetes by working out a low-carb diet that challenged the American Diabetes Association's ideas on diet (lots of carbohydrate and little fat), certainly thought outside the box -- and continues to do so.


    Derek Paice, another engineer but with type 2 diabetes, thought outside the box and came up with a variation on the glycemic index he called the substance glycemic index, or SGI.

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    Jenny Ruhl, who probably has MODY diabetes, has used her understanding of statistics to question the official conclusions from various clinical trials.


    Many patients are thinking independently and using their meters, rather than canned advice from professional groups or dieticians, to discover which foods make their blood glucose (BG) levels go up.


    Unfortunately, too many patients, often those without an interest in or an ability to seek out knowledge on the Internet, aren't interested in thinking outside the box. They want the doctor to give them a pill that will let them continue to lead their lives exactly as they have been doing for so long. If the prescription pills don't do the job, they look for "miracle cures" or herbs that they think will cure them.


    Instead, the patient who is successful at control often looks at previous dietary and exercise patterns and makes major changes where changes are needed. For example, if you've always eaten a huge slice of pie after Sunday dinner and you find that huge slices of pie make your BG levels go up, you have several sensible choices. (1) Stop eating pie. (2) Eat only a taste of the pie. (3) Find some way to make pie that won't make your BG levels go up.


    I have a pie crust recipe from Sharron Long's cookbook that uses almonds, protein powder, and butter and is quite delicious. For the filling, you can use cheesecake, which is low carb if made with fake sugar, or if you like fruit pies, you can use something like guar gum as a thickener instead of flour or cornstarch. Berries work better for most people than apple, in terms of BG control, but if you really feel you can't live without apple pie, you can limit yourself to a small piece.


    If you've always had orange juice, cereal, toast, and jam for breakfast and you find that this very high carb breakfast makes your BG levels soar, ask yourself if it's really necessary to eat special "breakfast food" for breakfast. Try making a little extra dinner the night before and eat the leftovers for breakfast. You may find you prefer such a breakfast, and it will probably keep hunger away until lunchtime.


    I've stopped eating certain foods and find that after a period of getting accustomed to the new way of eating, I don't miss them very much. In fact, it's much more fun to investigate new foods that I'd ignored in the past because it was so simple to whip up a huge plate of rice or mashed potatoes with some kind of protein on top.


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    If I feel the need for a sandwich, I can simply wrap most fillings in lettuce. Or I can make various kinds of low-carb pancakes that are tough enough to use to wrap fillings in (for example, egg and protein powder fried in a little oil). Or I can buy some low-carb wraps, my least-favorite choice because I think I'm sensitive to gluten and the low-carb products usually contain even more gluten than the regular.


    Or I can just have a salad instead of a sandwich.


    Thinking outside the box is a challenge. And challenges can be fun.



Published On: August 03, 2009