High Carb, Low Fat vs Low Carb, High Fat

By orodeo1973 Latest Reply 2012-09-08 12:06:12 -0500
Started 2012-08-23 11:23:41 -0500

Help. I am learning to eat all over again as a diabetic. I have had diabetes for a while, but am now out of control. My problem is whether or not fat is a high factor over carbs. I was told to watch my carbs because they raise my numbers, but does having high fat do too much? I exercise almost everyday (training for a marathon). I really need help on controlling my very picky diet with my sugar levels. Anything would be great. Thanks

35 replies

MAYS 2012-09-07 23:28:38 -0500 Report

Hello, and welcome to the family!
These links may interest you concerning food, nutrition and carbohydrates:





I hope that this helps you, if I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.


MrsCDogg 2012-09-03 16:08:45 -0500 Report

I find that I do better with keeping my sugar down if I include plenty of the healthy oils in my diet. I prefer virgin olive and sunflower oils. I am still a butter lover but seem to do better if I keep my butter intake a bit lower. Maybe that's just my body reacting weirdly.

orodeo1973 2012-09-03 22:17:44 -0500 Report

Oops. I wasnt fnished. I have doing a lot more of watching my sugar intake but not doing as well.

orodeo1973 2012-09-03 22:16:37 -0500 Report

MrsCDogg, i use fat free or lite butter because I Too love butter. I cant a lot of olive oil for it turns my stomach inside out.

Set apart
Set apart 2012-08-30 05:57:15 -0500 Report

I like to stick to a low carb diet like others here. My diet does include lots of veggies, with small portions of fruit, and always have protein with what I eat! I like plums, (all the berry family), and apples are a must! Everyone can give you ideas as to how to eat, but what I've learned is what works for one doesn't necessarily work for all! In the last year I've learned that taking all these ideas and incorporating into your program usually works, but not always! Some foods can spike your BG and you'll learn which they are by checking. I've eliminated potatoes, corn, white flour, rice, pastas, snow peas, and other things from my diet! Although I still eat carbs, I try to think of it like the first people who walked the earth and were able to survive on what was available to them! I also eat a lot of the same foods, works for me! Good luck!

orodeo1973 2012-08-30 06:24:43 -0500 Report

I am finding the same things. Bravo for cutting those paticular things from your diet. Those are patricular things that i have a hard time giving up just yet. Rice is like a main staple in my life. Im part asian and grew up eating it more than anything. I have done as the others and you suggested, eat soem then test. I have come to realize that some of thethongs i used to eat while dieting, although lower calorie and such, make me sick to my stomach and spike my sugars. So, thats bums me out but i think it could be better. I am finding a new and interesting life change. But it getting better. Thanks Set Apart

Set apart
Set apart 2012-08-31 05:44:23 -0500 Report

Like you there are some things as pArt of my culture that were hard to give up. I am Hispanic and those homemade tortillas and sopapillas along with other foods were hard to give up. White flour tortillas were part of every meal growing up. I now eat carb chopper tortillas and will limit to maybe one per day! :-)

orodeo1973 2012-08-31 06:27:57 -0500 Report

I also love tortillas. We do not have carb chopper ones here. Its a small place and hard to find many "diet" items that are close to home. Do you ever make any of your cultural items? We make refried beans and corn tortillas, also salsa and pico. This way i control how its made and what its made with.

Set apart
Set apart 2012-08-31 06:42:00 -0500 Report

I also eat refried beans, I've also substituted quiona for rice when I make spanish rice. I still watch the portion, but its a lot better for me! I make my own salsa, and eat a lot of the same foods, just smaller portions and without the breads like sopapillas, etc…

Pharmacist George
Pharmacist George 2012-08-25 01:52:47 -0500 Report

Hi orodeo1973,

First of all I congratulate you for your big achievement of training for a marathon. The mere fact that are involved in regular physical training regardless of the outcome will do a whole lot of good for your body and especially in diabetes control.

Don’t feel that as a diabetic you are any than none diabetics. Actually everyone’s food recommendation are the same. The American Diabetes Association recommends the following macronutrient distributions per meal: 50 – 55% of calories would come from carbs (mostly complex), 30% from fat and about 20% from protein. Those are the same recommendations for everyone as well. I will show you how simply you can achieve that goal and have a balance meal and reduce portion sizes all at the same time.

I would definitely not exceed 30% of fat off your total daily calories because that fat will become belly fat and that fat can be deadly in numerous proven ways and a major contributor to causing and worsening diabetes.

One other key advice is to raise your intake of fiber because of its long list of health benefits including sensitizing your body to respond to insulin and reduce insulin resistance. You have to keep in mind that Your body functions on regularity and for someone who has diabetes a meal distribution that’s ideal for your blood sugar is to have 3 main meals and 2 snacks in between.

This can be simplified by using the plate method for meals which I recommend in my books “Lifestyle Makeover for Diabetics and Pre Diabetics” and “Lifestyle Makeover for Couch Potatoes”. The first lady Michelle Obama is now recommending this same method and named it “My Plate”.

It goes as follows: Divide an average size plate into three sections: one half and two quarters. Fill the half section with vegetables raw, cooked or as a salad, fill a quarter with either lean meat, lean chicken, lean pork or fish. Fill the remaining quarter with high fiber carbohydrates such as 2 slices of whole grain bread, or brown rice, or whole wheat pasta, or a medium baked potato with skin (you can add a smear of butter or sour cream if you like). Your main goal is to have a balanced meal that includes a variety of all the important elements of a sound nutrition without “dieting”, feeling hungry or being deprived of any food.

As for snacks you can have a fruit and small amounts of nuts or almonds or vegetables and little bit of your favorite salad dressing.

Another critical way to lower your blood sugar is to raise your daily fiber intake to up to 30 or 35 grams and I’ll show you how you can reach this amount with just a couple choices which you can consume for breakfast or as a snack: 1) Fiber One bars by General Mills or Fiber Plus bars by Kellogg’s have each 9 grams of fiber, they are delicious and a great way to start your morning. 2) “Double Fiber” by Oroweat or by Nature’s Own brands contains 5 to 6 grams of fiber per slice.

You can create a delicious lunch sandwich with a couple slices of these breads smeared with mustard, include lean ham or any other choice of lean deli meat or poultry, a slice of cheese then loaded it up with lettuce and tomato slices. This sandwich will yield about 12 grams of fiber.

With regard to training make sure you check your blood sugar before training since ideally it needs to be between 70 and 110 mg/dl. Hope this was hopeful. Take care.

orodeo1973 2012-08-26 17:53:39 -0500 Report

Thank you for your response. I am printing this to study it closer. I do have an eating problem, mainly that I am picky. But i am have a past problem of bulimia that got me in a lot of trouble. My husband is watching me because of this. I am grateful to have him. Aside that, i have never eaten enough veggies to make even one cesaer salad in my life. I really do well with stats, or numbers and you provided me with something I can use. Thank you.
I am still trying to understand the many complexes of different carbs and fats and what they each do. I might have to find your book. I appreciate your time.

jigsaw 2012-08-26 10:21:29 -0500 Report

My dietician seems to agree with much of what you have said here. For the most part, I do follow a food plan that incorporates much of what you have pointed out. I have been doing well with very good blood glucose mgmt, and I am now in my 18th year of diabetes!

I would like your input on what I am about to say. Everything I do with my food plan is tempered by the fact that I take insulin and Metformin. Without these meds, I would not be able to follow my dieticians food plan, or yours which is very similar in concept. Without insulin, I could not even eat one slice of Natures Own wheat bread, or a small baked potato without a substantial bg spike!
Yes, some people in the early stages of diabetes can eat properly and as you are recommending even if they do not need medication. Others, and because of the stage of diabetes that they are in, can only eat a healthy diet with the aid of medication.

Many specialty diets such as low carb/high fat diets may help for a short period of time, but they are generally not balanced food plans, at least not by ADA standards. I believe on a long term basis, they may be harmful as a result.

So, this is my point. There are people with diabetes that base much of what they eat mainly on their bg response. This may be ok for some, but I don't think it's the way to go for many. If you need medication,and don't take any, but are maintaining you bg #s in a normal range, then you are probably short changing your nutritional needs. Simply cutting carbs, as an example, and by itself without proper guidance can be very unhealthy long term, even if your bg appears to be well managed.

So at what point should a person with diabetes be taking meds? I think there is major confusion for some with this question. Most likely the one with the correct answer is a good doctor that specializes in diabetes. Also a registered dietician is very helpful for many when it comes to a good food plan.

The reason many people with diabetes cannot eat various foods is because of there diabetes. Some cannot even maintain a healthy food plan without excessive bg hikes. To simply compensate by lowering or eliminating carbs without professional guidance, especially if medication is needed , is a major and dangerous mistake.

George, your take and opinion on this, or anything you might add would be helpful for many, I'm sure. I hope to be helpful in clarifying this situation, that appears to be an issue of confusion, and conflict, for many.

Pharmacist George
Pharmacist George 2012-08-28 10:30:38 -0500 Report

Hi Jigsaw
You’ve made a very valuable point that the vast majority of people with diabetes struggle with and I will help clarify this confusion. You are right many people take matters on their own and make inappropriate choices on their own before consulting with their doctor or pharmacist and that’s detrimental to diabetes control

Most people think, as you stated, that they can bring their sugar under control by skipping a meal, a category of nutrients such cut carbs and may beef up their intake of proteins, fats or skip medications or stop taking their medications altogether. Their actions are reactive and they can’t achieve blood glucose control as long as they behave in this manner and not address Pro actively ALL ASPECTS OF DIABETES CONTROL AT THE SAME TIME.

This is what I’ve been telling people in my posts over and over and focusing on the basics of diabetes control. I’ve help numerous patients for 26 years during my pharmacy practice regain control by sticking to the basics of the framework of the Five Action Steps that I’ve incorporated in the book that I authored for diabetes.

Here’s your answer Jigsaw. Here’s a valuable word for you and everyone else to remember about glucose control and it is REGULARITY. I am not talking only about bowl regularity but to your entire body. You’ve surely read my posts and you probably read me again and again recommending consuming balanced 3 main meals and 2 snacks, raising physical activity, raising fiber intake and how to go about doing so, cutting back on sugar (not because of diabetes but because it turns to belly fat), losing weight using the Two Step approach, cut back on saturated and stick with 30% total fat and making small sustained changes. Also, I’ve written a ton of posts and articles about medications and the importance to take them properly, quitting smoking and managing stress etc….

A Key factor is that all of those critical elements need to be IMPLEMENTED AT THE SAME TIME. After a short period of time of 2 to 3 weeks from implementing all these favorable lifestyle choices that are critical factors to diabetes control then those actions PROMOTE REGULARITY IN YOUR BRAIN. Only when you’re at this stage that you can achieve lasting blood glucose control and you become in charge of diabetes and not vice versa.

Again all these factors need to be implemented at the time. Fiber and physical activity are major insulin sensitizers when you incorporate them in your daily lifestyle they do wonders to your diabetes control. After a while of doing all these favorable lifestyle factors your blood glucose won’t spike from the smallest snack because you would have achieved regularity.

Due to daily physical activity your muscles take up the sugar from your blood, you may drop in weight but the most important issue is that with these actions you are keeping your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol under control and that gets you to avoid diabetes complications.

This is when you become in the proactive phase of managing diabetes and only at that point that you can expect to avoid diabetes complications, enjoy the best quality of life and regain normalcy to your life. That’s the key to winning over diabetes.

I cover all these issues and the framework of Five Action Steps in detail in my book. I hope that answers your inquiry. Take care.

jigsaw 2012-08-30 06:54:38 -0500 Report

Thanks George! I find that your recommendations fall right in line with the medical team that I trust the most. Whats more, my personal experience is that they work just as you describe!

I will look for your book and read it, as I'm sure it might fill in some blanks, and keep me well informed. I hope many others will read it too, as I find your info is right on the money!!!

Pharmacist George
Pharmacist George 2012-09-05 13:38:23 -0500 Report

Thanks Jigsaw I really appreciate your kind comments and I am sure my book will be helpful to you and person with diabetes because it has all the tools to help every one with diabetes regain control of diabetes and enjoy the best quality of life. Let me know if you have further questions. Take care.

Nick1962 2012-08-26 18:34:58 -0500 Report

Jigsaw, as usual you're right on with your points. I thought that once I found a diet that works, that would be it, but not so. It does require constant attention and tweaking here and there. Big negeative for most of us is that we either can't afford, or don't have access to the profesionals we'd need to micro-manage our condition and diets. For me, in a city of over half a miliion people, just going to such a professional would be time prohibitive unless I were unemployed or retired. That said, a lot of us are really guessing.
You bring up the point of "eating to your meter". I typically do this, but as you've said, that's not the whole picture. It's one thing to keep the numbers in line, quite another to get the proper nutrition while doing it.
One question though why do you state "To simply compensate by lowering or eliminating carbs without professional guidance, especially if medication is needed , is a major and dangerous mistake."? I get the medication part, and frankly you can't completely eliminate carbs from your diet, but considering most americans are consuming 3x the recommended daily values, why would lowering carb intake be a mistake?

jigsaw 2012-08-26 22:32:55 -0500 Report

Eating to many carbs, and for that matter not eatiing healthy foods in a balanced fashion is simply another area of the same subject. For a person that eats to many carbs, ( commonly in the fom of junk food and empty calories ) as many do, then reducing carb intake certainly makes sense. Eating the correct percentage of carbs relative to protien, fats, fiber etc., is the key to eating healthy. Your brain as well as the rest of your body will not function well if your carb intake is not sufficient. Additionally, you could be doing damage in the long run as pointed out in the following link.

Having diabetes eliminates the body from utilizing carbs in an efficient manner. This in turn also makes it difficult for the body to absorb and utilize the nutrients that are needed to maintain health in some cases. Guessing at the amount of carbs to consume, or simply going by bg readings on a meter, is not going to let you know if you are eating a healthy diet, and getting the nutrients that are needed to stay healthy. Being well informed on the subject certainly helps!

I'm about ready to hit the sack, so here is one link that I thought had some good info. I'll be happy to discuss this subject in more detail when I'm more awake. Here is the link:


orodeo1973 2012-08-27 18:36:14 -0500 Report

Thank you for the link. It was interesting. Opened my eyes with more information and put me back in a conflicting spot. I have so many other problems that im afraid of making the wrong choices. Hmmmm. But i did enjoy reading it!

jigsaw 2012-08-28 10:14:45 -0500 Report

I guess we all have our learning curve to go through. It's just a matter of time and experience for things to start falling into place. The learning part is endless however!

Nick1962 2012-08-27 10:39:51 -0500 Report

There’s no debate here that drastically cutting carbs is not healthy. I did it to lose weight, and now that I’ve dropped about as much as I’m going to, I’ve eased up on the restriction a bit, and find that my BG’s stay in line. My weight had as much to do with my numbers as did what I ate.
I guess my question was…how does one know what a good level is? I mean sure we can go and look at all those sites that say your carb level should be X% of calories, but that is such a generic number it’s almost meaningless. For most of us, micro-managing food at that level takes the fun out of eating. In the linked article, it’s suggested that average daily calorie level be 1200-2000 in a 12 hour period. Seems reasonable, but there is no way, as a desk jockey, I could maintain my weight loss at that calorie level consuming 60-65% of those calories as carbs, even getting in an hour of exercise daily. Nor would I feel good doing it. A 30 year old might, but I just don’t have that metabolism anymore. So for me, the only way I know to make sure I’m eating correctly is first, look at my meter, second, pay attention to how I feel, and last, look at my blood tests. And of course act on the information I get.
The article was good, but from a non-daibetic standpoint. The risks listed are all very real, but I had to do some extreme cutting to get me into ketosis, and at that point I didn’t have any energy so I knew to eat more, which is I think a common sense approach most of us low-carbers follow. So more to my point, going “low carb” for most people nowadays really just means bringing their carbs into a more realistic level.

orodeo1973 2012-08-26 21:43:33 -0500 Report

I have been trying many different meals. I am such a picky eater that i have trained myself to eat the samethings over and over. My biggest culprit it pasta and pizza…breads as well. I am slowly learning that evenwith my meds,i really have to wtch everything. I want to lose weight, i want to gain strength, i want my sugars under control, and i want it now. That will be my demise! I know my thinking is wrong. I am working on that patience. But in all my thinking, i am one who researches and listens to the advice of others. Through my question I find other questions and great answers. Thank you to all who have responded.

Nick1962 2012-08-27 10:44:17 -0500 Report

Eating the same things over and over isn't a bad thing. It's one of the ways I've managed to keep my numbers consistent enough that I don't need to routinely test (though I still do). Obviously you know you have to pare back on some foods and once you do, you'll see better results. You've already hit the nail on the head regarding patience, but once you get the ball rolling, you'll be suprised at how quick things will happen.

orodeo1973 2012-08-27 18:33:22 -0500 Report

So i just wanted put out there that I use the free program on sparkpeople.com you put in your goal weight, diabetes program, heart healthy program, age etc.it gives you a recommended diet. I put in my own meals. This forces me to read labels. If anyone is interested, my sign in is orodeo73. Put me as a referral. This program had diet, exercise, goals. Its free to use. You only pay for things you want to buy. I have been on this site for many years and never paid for anything.

But on another note, one of the reasons i eat the same thing is because i track everything. I get tired of putting in new things. And like you said, im comfortable with the blood results i get conststently.

Nick1962 2012-08-28 07:55:49 -0500 Report

Any program that keeps you on track is useful. Lots of us need the structure so congrats for finding something that works. I'm with you - I tested everything and got really tired of it so I just fell into an eating routine that I knew kept me in line. There are those unexpected lunches and dinners still, but by and large the longer I can stay level, the better I can absorb those little bumps in the road.

Type1Lou 2012-08-24 14:32:51 -0500 Report

I agree with Kirla and Nick that lower carbs are critical in gaining good BG control. I tend not to watch my fats because I have no high cholesterol issues…so far. So, if you control and lower the carb intake, you should see better BG results.

orodeo1973 2012-08-24 15:11:54 -0500 Report

Thank You. It seems the majority rules that lower carbs are my most important. I do have high cholesterol, but I think that I can watch it better with carbs and like Nick had said, it will all fall into place. I was just stressing the difference and wasn't sure.

Kirla 2012-08-23 13:01:59 -0500 Report

I found that eating a low carb, high fat diet worked great for me. I was able to get my numbers down from the 300-400 plus range to almost normal numbers in about 4-6 weeks. A1C went from 14.1 to 5.9 in less than 4 months.

Fat makes up about 60% of my diet with protein and carbs making up about 20% each. By following my diet I was able to get off meds and have had pretty good control for over 3 years now.

Fat doesn’t have much impact on my blood sugar. I have to keep the saturated fat to less than 10% of my diet. Otherwise my cholesterol starts to spike over 200. Most fats come from vegetables, seeds, peanuts, almonds and walnuts. I do eat meat most days but try and keep it to 3-4 oz’s per serving.

If your doing a lot of exercise you might be able to up the carbs a bit. Everyone needs to find what works for them. Your balance of carbs, proteins and fats might be different than what other people can eat.

This is what I post for people having a hard time controlling their blood sugar. It’s what worked for me. It may or may not help you.

Feb 2009 I was diagnosed with a fasting blood sugar of 366 and A1C of 14.1. Started to eat a salad every day at supper. Also started to eat lots of low carb vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers, spinach, pickles and sauerkraut. Started to drink 8+ glasses of water every day.

I then bought a meter and started to test my blood sugar before and after each meal. At first I was testing 2 hours after each meal and when my numbers dropped a lot I started testing 1 hour after meals. I test 5-7 times a day. I cut back or eliminated foods that spiked my blood sugar more than 50 points after eating.

By testing I found that foods like bread and most foods made of grains along with pasta, rice, corn, potatoes, oatmeal, cereals, chips, crackers, cakes, cookies, candy, soda, fruits, fruit juices, milk and most foods that contain more than 5-6 net carbs per serving as found on the package label all spiked my blood sugar. Some people can cut back on these foods and some people like me have to stop eating them.

After about 6-8 weeks my blood sugar readings were almost normal levels.

I found by reducing and eliminating high carb starchy foods helped me a lot. By adding small amounts of chicken, beef, pork or a hard boiled egg to my meals helped reduce blood sugar spikes also.

Good luck

orodeo1973 2012-08-23 14:08:54 -0500 Report

Kevin, thank you for your story. It was inspirational and very helpful. I can take a little of what everyone is saying and put it together to come up with something useful for me. I have been watching my carbs and later realized by testing my sugars what were the no-no foods. Like you, starches kill me, but I have a hard time giving them up completly therefore I reduce. I might end up pushing them out over time. I am not a salad eater though. I have a hard time keeping it in my mouth since I am a texture eater. I am still trying to convince myself its ok, but I guess I'm not ready to do it. Thanks.

It seems so far that watching my fats are not the biggest thing to worry myself over. So, I think I will work on looking at my sugar levels along with my carbs and proteins. Still looking for other stories.
Thank you!

Nick1962 2012-08-23 11:49:23 -0500 Report

In my experience, I found by controlling the carbs, the fats tend to fall in line. If you're as restrictive as me, the bulk of your fats will come from proteins. It doesn't hurt to watch them, but carbs and sugars are the primary concerns.
My rule (again mine only and I'm pretty restrictive) is that no single food item I eat should be more than 7 grams carbs, 7 grams sugar, and contain more than 7 grams protein if possible (777 rule).

orodeo1973 2012-08-23 11:52:59 -0500 Report

That is a very good rule. I am not as restrictive, but do have some limitations on my daily intake on them. I never really looked at sugar intake. I guess I should. LOL.
I think I have been really focused on the carbs, but not so much the sugar and protein. I guess I have a lot to learn. Thank you.

Nick1962 2012-08-23 11:57:08 -0500 Report

Yeah, I was suprised at how much sugar there is in things, and far that goes in helping with the numbers. Best of luck with the marathon!

Nick1962 2012-08-23 19:39:34 -0500 Report

Thanks, please do! I like to hear the success stories. Speaking of which, pay attention to what Kirla (Kevin) has posted above. He has a very comprehensive plan that mirrors mine in most respects (I'm just to lazy to write it out).

Next Discussion: Diabetic friendly menus »