The Diabetes "Starvation Diet"

By diabetesfree Latest Reply 2011-07-28 12:42:48 -0500
Started 2011-07-26 09:07:31 -0500

I ran across a book on Google last night titled "The Starvation Treatment of Diabetes". It was originally published in 1915 and is now in the public domain. Has anyone tried this diet? It might not be a cure, but makes for some amusing reading! The book opens…

"For forty-eight hours after admission to the hospital the patient is kept on ordinary diet, to determine the severity of his diabetes. Then he is starved, and no food allowed save whiskey and black coffee… The whiskey is not an essential part of the treatment; it merely furnishes a few calories and keeps the patient more comfortable while he is being starved."

17 replies

vonweidhaas 2011-07-28 12:42:48 -0500 Report

The article you mention sounding akin to a recent swede research where PWD's were placed on a very restricted caloric diet of 600 calories a day, fathom that! The trial was for 3 weeks. Everyone lost weight, who wouldn't. The interest this started is amazing as all participants in this medical trial no longer show any signs of diabetes after 6 months follow up. I on the other hand can barely maintain my calorie allowance of 1200. I stand 5'11 and am not a petite individual and am quite comfortable at sz 16. Presently down to size 20 after losing 2 dress sizes:)

dietcherry 2011-07-28 10:31:12 -0500 Report

Makes sense to me: the coffee was for energy and the whiskey was so you wouldnt give a blip about food! lol
Seriously, before I was diagnosed, I had NO energy and just wanted to sleep constantly so I understand caffeine being a remedy for lethargy then. And 100 years ago, alcohol was considered medicine! :)

MrsCDogg 2011-07-28 09:13:45 -0500 Report

It's no wonder people died so young back then! When they are diagnosed with diabetes, put 'em in the hospital and starve them into submission!! Geez!

diabetesfree 2011-07-28 09:19:35 -0500 Report

I wonder just how long anyone could survive on just whiskey and black coffee? I'm guessing that it wouldn't be too good for one's liver, at the very least.

Type1Lou 2011-07-26 13:48:49 -0500 Report

I believe this was the standard of treatment for Diabetes…very limited food, I mean, not the whiskey and coffee… before the discovery of insulin by Canadian scientists, Banting and Best, in the 1920"s (I think). Aren't we fortunate to be living now with all of the medical advantages, new medicines and meters and pumps and disposable needles and artificial sweeteners! Diabetes need no longer be a death sentence.

MrsCDogg 2011-07-28 09:59:07 -0500 Report

My dad and I were talking about that when we visited the cemetary where my mother is buried. There is an entire family of children who died within 10 years. Every couple years one of them would die. The oldest to die was about 17. There were 5 I think. I told my dad that I was so glad to have been born in this day and age. If I was born as those children were in the early part of the 1900's I would most likely already be dead due to diabetes. There is a good chance that no one would have known what was wrong with me either. Diabetes is a pain to have to deal with on a daily basis but I will do it as long as I am alive.

diabetesfree 2011-07-26 14:44:52 -0500 Report

Yes, I guess that I should be thankful for the needles. Then again, how much whiskey did they say? :-) Seriously though, I hope to live to see a day when all of the needles, pills, pumps and other things that we as diabetics have to live with now are thought of being just as archaic as we feel about the starvation diet today. It might not happen in my lifetime, but someday, I hope.

Type1Lou 2011-07-26 14:57:03 -0500 Report

Ditto to what you hope for. I grew up with a diabetic Dad in the 50's. He'd been diagnosed while in his early 60's and used U-40 Protomine Zinc insulin. There were no meters or HbA1c tests. He had to sharpen and reuse his needles (which were HUGE) and had to test his urine for a sugar reading. There was only saccharin as an artificial sweetener and not many, if any, dietetic foods. We have it so much easier now. I'm not saying that it's now easy to deal with…it's a constant struggle…but there has been a lot of progress and we may see a cure in our lifetime! Meanwhile, we cope as best we can.

MoeGig 2011-07-26 18:48:51 -0500 Report

That's the way it was in 1965 when I came down with Type 1. Huge needles. My arms and legs were black and blue and the only thing you could test was your urine sugar spillage. Today it is way easier and simpler to manage.

diabetesfree 2011-07-26 15:45:17 -0500 Report

Wow. I didn't even know that it was possible to resharpen needles! Then again, I guess that I grew up in the "disposable" age. My family members that had diabetes were not as fortunate as me in terms of lifespan. At least not the males. They all seemed to die at an early age. Hopefully, I will be the exception. I am so grateful that my Daughter has not shown any signs of diabetes so far. I hope that some kind of cure will be around before she is old enough to have to ever have to worry about it.

Type1Lou 2011-07-26 18:52:50 -0500 Report

Much of type 1 diabetes may be due to an auto-immune response in our bodies that destroys the pancreatic beta cells that normally produce insulin…so there may or may not be a genetic factor there. I developed mine at age 27, during a particularly stressful time in my life…who knows what triggered it? Other than my Dad, I'm unaware of anyone else in the family having diabetes, so your daughter may not have to worry. If more people ate a healthy diabetic diet, there might be fewer type 2 diabetics. There's speculation that much of our over-processed food and certainly our bad eating habits are the main culprit in the rise of type 2 cases. My Dad lived to be 81 and died in the mid-1970s. I was blessed to have my Mom until her 98th year…she died in 2005. May you have many more healthy, happy years ahead for you and live to see you daughter grow old! (When I turned 50, my Mom said she never thought she'd live to see me this old!)

Harlen 2011-07-26 13:20:51 -0500 Report

That would not work so well on me lol
I tell me no a lot lol lol
Tend to get mean when very hungry lol
Best wishes

ShellyLargent 2011-07-26 09:16:06 -0500 Report

I thought quackery ended with the Middle Ages…

diabetesfree 2011-07-26 09:25:29 -0500 Report

Not really. There are probably a hundred plus unregulated pills and potions currently on the market that claim to help diabetes. Most of them seem to come from China or other parts of Asia. Very few have any legitimate studies to back up their claims. Whiskey and black coffee probably have about as much medicinal value as a lot of stuff being sold in health food stores these days. Now that I think about it, a can of Four Loko would probably have about the same effect as whiskey and black coffee!

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