Low carb diet, Low fat diet, what do you think?

By jigsaw Latest Reply 2011-12-31 07:41:16 -0600
Started 2011-12-25 19:49:50 -0600

I stayed on a low carb diet for 16 years. I spoke with numerous doctors, a few registered dieticians and read numerous books on the subject during this period. Some doctors agreed with a low carb diet, some disagreed, and a few took a neutral stance. These doctors consisted of endocrinologists, interns, family physicians, and naturopathic doctors, all specializing in diabetes. Some of these doctors also employed diabetic teams and educators. While on this low carb diet, my bg generally stayed between 90 and 110. I did have a problem with my fasting bg 1st thing in the morning. It was anywhere from 130 to 160, but by 10am or 11 am it was within 90 to 110. My a1c has always been under 7 and is currently 6.1. I rode a bicycle anywhere from 10 to 30 miles a day at least 3 or 4 days a week, and incorporated some strength training. To this day, I have not been diagnosed with any diabetic complications. About 1 year ago I suddenly experienced severe constipation and cramps. I spoke with several doctors, got several different explanations, and still had the same problem. Next, I spoke with a team of diabetic educators and in turn an RD. The dietician told me I would alleviate and possibly eliminate the constipation with her recommended low fat diet. I took her advice, and it worked! I am currently and for close to a year now on a low fat diet. The constipation is gone. It was in part do to my meds also, but the new diet still overcame it. Simply put, my dietician believes that a greater variety of healthy foods, inreases the odds of getting all the nutrients that the body needs. Portion size is a big factor also. My a1c and bg have remained about the same. I enjoy much more freedom when it comes to food. Here is my point without much further detail. I believe that both low carb and low fat diets each have their advantage and place. It all depends on your circumstances at any given point in time. I don't believe I would change my diet previously or currently with the experience I have gained. WHATS YOUR TAKE ON THE SUBJECT?

30 replies

tntcaye 2011-12-29 00:21:45 -0600 Report

For me, I never lost weight on a low fat diet, I always did on low carb… Never had issues on either diet really! I have to get back on the low carb, my diabetics is crazy.. been diagnosed with type II secondary to hypo, so i go from 300 to 50 in nothing flat. Drs could not figure it out for a while. But noone has been helpful with diet.everything they say nothing helped… So i really believe everyone has to figure out themself for the most part. Peanut butter crackers is my best friend… lol

jigsaw 2011-12-29 10:15:04 -0600 Report

Actually, my low fat diet incorporates careful restriction of carbs also! As far as I know, one of the best ways to lose weight (but not easy to do) is by limiting calories with portion control. It is helpful with any diet regardless. OH, and peanut butter is addicting! LOL (-;

Nick1962 2011-12-27 18:33:20 -0600 Report

I think you’re right on point about certain diets having their place. One thing I’ve noticed is I seem to be “retraining” my body. Some things I ate without problems I simply can’t now. Not sure if it’s age creeping up on me or the new diet. After a year of doing well, I decided a treat was in order – one slice of pizza and one beer. I was uncomfortable for two days after. Then I remembered that’s how I used to feel all the time! No thanks. So between age and Diabetes, it’s a constant discovery process.
Each of us seems to be like snowflakes, which I think is why all these so called “diets” fall short. Way too general and not enough education involved to tailor to your own uses and benefit. It’s also why I love this site – folks here can zero in on something helpful in no time.

jigsaw 2011-12-28 13:24:37 -0600 Report

Nick1962———Thanks—It's amazing how much info is available here. I have learned some valuable info from quite a few of the DC members. I have even alerted some doctors favorably to the info from this site. Two doctors actually researched the info and modified their opinions in agreement as a result. For those members with sleep apnea, Sleep Connect is also an info abundant site. Not as many members yet, but growing with some terrific and interesting members.

Armourer 2011-12-27 01:12:23 -0600 Report

Low fat is fine. Had problems with it before DX in 1997. After that no problem because most of the fat foods I'm not to eat because of Diabetes. The low carb thing is very difficult for me, because I love bread! Now I eat one or two slices of bread a day that are 9g each. Basically try to avoid carbs. My body just doesn't processes the stuff very well. Exercise is a problem due to a back injury that locks up my back when even standing at the sink brushing teeth. I don't processes insulin well either and have gained 50 pounds in last four years. Keep truckin! To me your're doin' fine! My last A1C was 7.4, down from 10.4, three months earlier, but…I was on about a 700 cal. diet a day.

jigsaw 2011-12-27 07:04:36 -0600 Report

Armourer—A 700 cal. per day diet has got to take tremendous will power and determination! 10.4 down to 7.4 in 3 mos., is an amazing accomplishment. I hope you continue to improve and deal successfully with your back problem.

Armourer 2011-12-27 16:48:01 -0600 Report

Thanks. What is hard is seeing no weight loss which is greatly needed.

jigsaw 2011-12-31 07:41:16 -0600 Report

Armourer…Were you able to lose weight on a 700 cal per day diet? I felt like I was starving on an 1800 cal per day diet!

Ralph 2011-12-26 21:01:48 -0600 Report

I count my carbs every meal. It works great for me. I have also found out that I do better if I eat a bowl of ceral around 10pm. If I don't my BS is higher in the morming.

Type1Lou 2011-12-26 17:39:26 -0600 Report

I am a strong proponent of a low carb diet. It usually works for me. My last a1c was 6.4. I'm 5'3' and weigh 120 pounds. I try to limit my carbs to no more than 120 grams per day. For the past month, I've been under a great deal of stress and that has been wreaking havoc with my control…not because I'm eating any differently though. I've sought help to deal with the stress and will hopefully get back on track. You're so right that we all have to find what works for us each individually. It doesn't help that the experts are all over the place with their recommendations. Wishing you a healthier 2012!

jigsaw 2011-12-27 07:16:04 -0600 Report

Type1Lou…Stress affects my bg negatively also! I hope you find some helpful solutions! Keep up the good results with managing your diabetes. I hope you continue to share your results and gained knowledge!

Young1s 2011-12-26 15:44:04 -0600 Report

Very interesting Jigsaw. I was explaining in a discussion, how those of you who have been in this fight for a while, are still learning about the dos and donts of D, just like us newbies. Our bodies are constanly changing, so we must always be adapting with it.

I have a question. Has your carb intake gone up, down or is it the same (as with the low carb diet) now that you are on the low fat diet?

jigsaw 2011-12-26 18:24:07 -0600 Report

pcyoung38, That is a terrific question! My carb intake has increased to some extent. The reason is that I allow myself some whole grain, mainly whole wheat foods. On my low carb diet, that was a complete no no! As a matter of fact, I did not allow myself to indulge in any processed foods such as breads, cake, pizza etc. Practically no simple carbs with few exceptions. On my current diet, I am still very careful with carbs, and I still avoid simple carbs. The big differnce is the avoidance of mainly unhealthy fats to a greater degree, and an increase in fibre. I stiil eat mainly vegetables,low glycemic fruits, poultry and an occasional small piece of red meat. The new additions include foods like a small amount of whole wheat or rye bread, an occasional bowl of low carb cereal, a small side of whole wheat pasta or brown rice, low fat milk and low fat or no fat salad dressings etc. Portion control is also a major factor and part of my diet and helps greatly with control of my bg and weight. I mention this since I'm sure that many people have different and varied perceptions of what a low carb or a low fat diet consists of.

Young1s 2011-12-26 18:45:25 -0600 Report

Okay. So if your numbers and exercise routine are basically the same, then do you see /feel difference between the two in other ways? I mean besides the stomach issues that started years later with the low carb diet. Sorry to grill you just curious.

jigsaw 2011-12-26 19:42:08 -0600 Report

Actually, I am exercising less! Hate to admit it but it's true. I have more energy, I can stay up much later in the evening and I hardly ever have tired spells during the day. I appear to be less carb sensitive. I can ingest a larger amount of carbs without a large bg spike. No need to apologize pc, I hope I am being helpful!

GabbyPA 2011-12-26 07:41:55 -0600 Report

Amazing how our bodies change and can cause us to re-evaluate. The key is that you were willing to change when your body said something is wrong. That is the hardest thing sometimes as we find something that works and are afraid to go out and look around. Balance is always the key, and as we change in age and circumstances, that balance has to change as well. Good job!

digitaldoorbell 2011-12-25 23:04:26 -0600 Report

This is one of the most interesting posts that I have read on this site. I have read a lot about and adhere to a low carb diet. I'm not sure that low carb and low fat are mutually exclusive. The exercise that you're doing and have done probably speaks to your control also. I know for sure that I have learned a lot about food and nutrition since being diagnosed (about a year and a half ago). I honestly thought that I was eating healthy and compared to others that I know, I probably was. When you learn and read what's actually in the "food" that we ate, it's understanding why there are so many ill people.

It's interesting reading what works for others. Thank you for a great post.

Caroltoo 2011-12-25 20:35:54 -0600 Report

My diet was very low fat for many years. Eventually, I developed gall bladder stones and discovered either extreme on the spectrum (no fat or high fat diets) could cause stones. Other reading has brought me to my current position of watching my fat intake to be sure I am using the more healthy fats, but definitely using some.

As for the carbs, I find low carb much healthier for me. However, I think a really important point here is to say these are low carb because they are fruits and vegetables on the low end of the glycemic index. I am NOT talking low fiber and limited quantities. I love to eat and eat as much as I want, I just choose foods that allow me to do so without consuming many carbs. The only time I limit quantity is when I have a high glycemic index carb like beans. These I do with great caution because my normally well behaved BG can stay up for 36 hours or so after I eat them.

For example, my morning omelette usually also includes celery, asparagus, chop suey sprouts, boc choy, and spinach. Along with this I'll have a bowl of berries.

I've had doctors who recomended no fat/low fat and no carb/low carb. In my opinion, these recomendations followed whatever was the currently approved solution for general health and varied over the years as the medical perception of what is/is not appropriate also evolved.

My own perception is that the emphasis in the late 70's and 80's on eating up to 50% high GI carbs like pasta and bread is the main reason that I became overweight, developed insulin resistance, became more overweight, and developed diabetis. By going back to my earlier style of eating low GI carbs primarily, I am no longer overweight and have my BG under control with an A1c of 5.6.

We all say on d.c. that we are all different. I don't think it is so much a question of a "one size fits all" diet, but looking at a vast array of options, trying them out and determining what works for you, and then sticking to it as long as it works. When it becomes less effective, repeat the process and discover the next thing that works well for you. It's not just that I am different than you, it is that I am different from who I was 10 years ago also!

ngtowl117 2011-12-29 10:16:28 -0600 Report

I am amazed at all the 'new' information I get each time I read your posts Caroltoo! You give me a lot to think about and explore. Thank you.

Caroltoo 2011-12-29 15:41:44 -0600 Report

Thanks, ngtowl. For me, education is a focus of my life. I want to know the what and the how of things … so, of course, it trickles over into my health and eating patterns.

jigsaw 2011-12-26 18:50:20 -0600 Report

Caroltoo, We consume much of the same foods! I suspect that eating a balanced diet and utilizing any type of diet correctly, is more relevant then the kind of diet one adheres to.

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