High Protein Diets---good or bad?

By jigsaw Latest Reply 2014-01-18 19:11:38 -0600
Started 2014-01-09 12:58:11 -0600

The more informed we are about what we eat, the more likely we'll make better choices. For the record, I am not stating my opinion concerning any diet in particular. I do have opinions on the subject, especially when it comes to myself. My intent is to simply post some information that might be useful for some members.
An informative link:

106 replies

Dawesyally 2014-01-18 03:19:28 -0600 Report

i personally have had great success so far with following a high protein diet. i eat 5times a day with protein only snacks between main meals. i have bread or other starchy carbs/ fruit in the morning and the carbs for the rest of the day are veg/salad. With this i have lost 17kg the past year. my HbA1c has gone from 7 to 5.1 in that time. This may not work for everyone. i do have 1 free day were i have pasta/ rice or potatoes.

Nick1962 2014-01-18 19:11:38 -0600 Report

Sounds exactly like what I do, and have had the same success. Lowest A1c so far has been 4.9, but holding at 5.2 now.

theladyiscrazy 2014-01-16 09:03:19 -0600 Report

What I have found is there is such a WIDE variance of opinion on the topic. Really a wide variance on just what diabetics should or shouldn't eat. My experience, thus far, is there is NO one set "diet" for everyone, especially for diabetics. Even if we are all diabetic, we have different types of diabetes and different underlying causes. Plus, some of us may have additional issues to consider (food allergies, sensitivities, other major illnesses). I am finding that wheat is a HUGE culprit that will raise my sugar levels, even with carb counting. I can eat the same amount of carbs in fruit/veggies and not have the spikes I do with wheat. So, that is something I have to limit or delete. I also think it affects other things with me and I just may have a sensitivity to it. I am also looking at corn and certain dairy products that may be problems for me. Yet I know other diabetics that can have these products and there is no issue for them. I think it is a lot of trial and error to find what works for each. For some, it may even be a combination of programs melded together.

jigsaw 2014-01-16 15:14:55 -0600 Report

You bring up some excellent points for consideration. Trial and error is often the criteria. Generalizations are not to be confused with specific individual responses!

101 Diabetics
101 Diabetics 2014-01-16 13:31:58 -0600 Report

Like Joyce said, I don't have a problem with wheat at all, and I drink whole milk.

So each one of us have different tolerances.

I listen to others and what they say is working for them, some things I try, and those things sometime work for me or against me.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-01-16 11:55:10 -0600 Report

I totally agree with you which is why I always tell people who have medical questions to speak with their doctor. Diabetes is not a one size fits all disease and what works for one person may not work for anyone else.

I don't have a problem with wheat. My problem is with multi-grain items. There is something in the grain that gives me an allergic reaction so I avoid them.

Each one of us have got to stop relying on what other diabetics are doing and work on finding out what works for us individually.

What I find funny is the milk thing. Drink low fat 1 or 2 % milk. I only drink whole Vitamin D milk. Yet when I get to the supermarket all of the whole milk is gone and all that is left is the 1-2% low fat milk. Makes me wonder if people found out it isn't as healthy as they want us to believe.

theladyiscrazy 2014-01-16 17:59:22 -0600 Report

I think sharing what works for each of us does help. If someone is new or struggling, it can help give ideas they might not have thought of and can try (or even discuss with their doctors). For some of us, the doctors aren't much help beyond the dx. So, trial by error is the best course. Ideas help fuel the trials. I would never have thought it was the wheat if I hadn't spoken with someone else and decided to drop it for a little and then try it again. Also tracking meals with and without wheat (again, same carb level). Interesting indeed.

Yeah, I know on the dairy but here there is usually still plenty of whole. I don't drink milk as I never have. I find I can tolerate cottage cheese, and cheeses, but not the liquid or ice creams.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-01-16 18:59:31 -0600 Report

lady what I am saying is never take medical advice from anyone but your doctor. Your friends, family, and Dr. Google do not have your medical history.

Doctors are not suppose to hold your hand through your diagnosis. A good doctor gives you the tools. You still have to learn how to use them. You still have to self educate. The more you self educate the better you and your doctor can work together. You have to keep in mind that none of us has a doctor who is our doctor exculsively.

The sharing of information is good and even this comes with common sense. You can't think that because someone is doing something that what they are doing is going to work for you.

There are no miracle cures and you have to use trial an error to determine what is or isn't going to work for you. I learned a lot through trial and error and I did not depend on anyone to help me do this.

MoeGig 2014-01-15 13:34:17 -0600 Report

Hi Jigsaw, being a long time Type 1, the only way I can lose weight is to go Atkins (hi protein). I gained 18 pounds over the summer/fall and now am determined to get back down to normal. It'll take me a couple months, but it's the easiest way to do it. When on this diet, I don't have to take humalog and I cut my Lantus from 20 to 15 and all my tests during the day are 80 to 100 with no lows and no highs. I know I'm gaining weight by the quantity of humalog I have to take to cover the carbs I'm eating. The main thing I do when on this diet is drink a lot of water (because you're thirsty) and to give the ketones a medium to leave the body. Look, it just works, and I think it's fine. Once I've reached my goal, I bring the carbs back in very slowly and still try to maintain a relatively low carb diet. I've been T1 since 1965 and have had no complications…I think my diet strategy has been a key to this success. Have a good day.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-01-16 11:59:05 -0600 Report

Good job Moe, it sounds like you found what works for you. So many people want to simply give up because they are tired of taking their shots or pricking their fingers. In my opinion when you give up you are a quitter and quitting on life is not an option for me.

As jigsaw said you have been at this far longer than me. I am a T-2 and I plan to be as healthy as possible. I will never let diabetes win.

jigsaw 2014-01-15 16:48:06 -0600 Report

Sounds like you've got the right combo for yourself. I had been on the Atkins back in time also. The results were excellent. I think the fact that you use it as a temporary tool to help lose weight is terrific. The fact that you are doing well for quite a few years is proof in itself, that it's a good match for you. Congratulations on avoiding complications for so many years! That is an accomplishment worth recognizing, and besides, your one of the few that have done it for a longer time then I have. Don't get me wrong though, I'm working on the next 20 years currently!

101 Diabetics
101 Diabetics 2014-01-15 10:21:19 -0600 Report

This is a very good discussion. I have learned quite a bit here.

jigsaw, keep up the good work!

jigsaw 2014-01-15 16:59:18 -0600 Report

Thankyou 101! It's pleasing to hear that you are learning hear at DC. I really believe that this site has the potential to be as good as we make it. I have found the info and people here to be amazing. I'm glad that you have come aboard.

sugarfreesweetp 2014-01-15 08:46:10 -0600 Report

Before insulin was what it is today, diabetics were put on an ALL protein, no carb diet to prolong their life. It's always been my understanding that it can be good for diabetics. I have never tried it because I am a vegetarian - so getting enough protein in my daily life is already a challenge.

BUT I do have to say that I tried a raw food diet for about 3 months last year, where I ate almost entirely raw vegetables, and vegetable juices. In those three months my blood sugars were the best they had ever been in 19 years with type 1 diabetes. My average on my glucometer got down to 110 and I literally cut my insulin doses in half. My energy levels were also higher than ever.

Unfortunately it is a very hard diet to maintain long term. I really missed carbs, and it was impossible to go out to eat with my friends. I intend to do it again periodically though, and based on my experience, I would recommend trying it.

mike v.
mike v. 2014-01-15 08:53:09 -0600 Report

I think I'm going to try that. I can't get my sugar below 160 lately.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-01-15 22:23:06 -0600 Report

Mike I agree with jigsaw. Before doing the raw veggie diet, I would speak with a nutritonist. Diabetes is not the same for everyone and not every kind of diet works for each person. I got mine down with medication, diet and exercise. It wasn't easy but I stuck with what I had to do to get where I am today.

I just changed my entire diet yesterday. Can't wait to see what the results will be this time next month. Good luck to you.

jigsaw 2014-01-15 09:56:15 -0600 Report

Mike, I don't know much about what your food plan consists of, or the type of meds and exercise you utilize. I do know that for most of us, it is possible to successfully manage our diabetes with accurate information, determination, and positve action.
I would definitely recommend considering a registered dietician for advice, if you haven't already. It's a great step to take!

sugarfreesweetp 2014-01-15 09:14:42 -0600 Report

Great! Just do a lot of homework before you get started! You have to make sure you take in all the proper nutrients while you do it and supplement if you need to. If you give it a try I would love to hear all about your experience on it. When I did it, I kept looking for other diabetics to learn from but didn't find a lot. I started a few discussions in other forums at the time about raw juicing just to put my own story out there. I felt like my experience was SO good that I had to share it with people! I was surprised not to find more info about diabetics and raw diets and juicing on the internet at the time.

jigsaw 2014-01-15 09:47:04 -0600 Report

Congratulations on gaining control of your blood glucose!
I'm glad you mentioned nutrients! I believe the biggest risk to going on some diets, is being mis-informed, and not getting proper nutrition as a result. There is a great deal of good info mixed with bad info concerning diets. Can be very confusing, and risky, if your not accurately and well informed. That is why I strongly recommend a registered dietician regardless of what diet or food plan one chooses.

sugarfreesweetp 2014-01-15 21:36:48 -0600 Report

It is really true. A lot of people try diets because it is the "fad" diet of the moment, without really fully understanding the diet. My biggest issue with following any popular diet is that people tend to not take personalization into account. When I became interested in raw foods and juicing, I did tons of research because I wanted to make sure it was healthy - But I also didn't follow anyone's plan exactly. I personalized the diet to work for me. No 2 bodies are the same and therefore, I don't see how any 2 people can diet in exactly the same way!

jigsaw 2014-01-16 15:31:20 -0600 Report

It sounds like you've been very thorough with your research. However, there are those of us who are not as careful as you appear to be. I personally know people who think they are on a specific diet, and yet they are not really following some of the critical concepts necessary. The big difference is that they are not modifying the diet to fit their needs, but in fact they are simply not following the basic concept entailed.
You seem well informed, but there are those that are not. Additionally, I believe the expert opinion of a dietician is usually a very helpful safeguard and in some cases, even critical.

sugarfreesweetp 2014-01-16 18:17:04 -0600 Report

I absolutely agree. But I have had varying degrees of luck with dietitians. I have been to some that I learned a lot from - and others that I felt could learn more from me than the other way around. So shop around and find a good one! I can only tell people about what worked for me - but I would never recommend that anyone ever start a diet without a thorough understanding of what they are doing, why they are doing it, and the specific needs for their own body. A lot of people with type 2 diabetes are able to maintain good numbers with healthy diet and consistent exercise. I have type 1 - and healthy diet and exercise are equally important for me, but no matter what I do I will always need to be on insulin - so I have tried a lot of different methods over the years to figure out what works best for me and ways to reduce the number of times I have to take shots. For me, raw food and juicing did wonders that other things did not. I know it won't work for everyone. If I wasn't a strict vegetarian I would probably try some form of atkins, but it would be tough

jigsaw 2014-01-16 18:45:22 -0600 Report

Well, I beleive we are on the same page. I agree with your reply, and it appears very reasonable also.
Congratulations on your success, and I sincerely hope you experience continual success.

Anonymous 2014-01-14 12:58:20 -0600 Report

I have been counting carbs for years! (Diabetic for 47 of 48) . Counting carbs will become second nature once you start . There are books with carb menus and you can google the carbs for most things as well. Remember you still have to watch calories as well. You will get to the point where you can look at your plate wnd know how many carbs are there as well! Good luck to you!

Copperchef 2014-01-11 15:14:26 -0600 Report

The U.S. diet book market is 60.9 billion a year!!! Wow. How come we all are not diabetic free, svelte, gorgeous and healthy?? I guess it has to do with the fact that we are all different.
New Year, resolutions, right. I have a friend who is going to start a cleansing diet before he starts his low carb high protein diet. What??? The only cleansing diet I know about is the one you do before a colonoscopy and thank
god you only have to do this every 5 to 8 years.
I trust no diet book author. You do not need to be anything but money hungry to write a diet book. The books all spread the same words.. Balanced diet, avoid overindulging, eat sensibly, exercise on a regular basis for 30 minutes each time and get plenty of water and rest.
If you are an actor or an actress, write a diet book, people will buy it cause they will think your an expert.
This is a subject that really has my hackles up. Just because there is so much more to it, and as consumers we are being duped.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-01-11 16:27:26 -0600 Report

You hit the nail on the head. Add that to the supplements they now market on tv that doesn't do a thing for you.

The problem is people are too gullible and will buy anything because some celebrity said she/he uses it, advertised it or wrote it. At one point it was something said about making it illegal for celebrities or other people to advertise products they do not use. I never heard anything else about it.

People do not understand that many celebrities have personal Chefs to cook their meals and personal trainers to work with them on a daily basis. Something the average person cannot afford.

I agree, diet books and fad diets all say the same thing "lose weight and live a longer healthier life". If you have common sense, you don't need to read a book to tell you that.

jigsaw 2014-01-11 15:46:34 -0600 Report

You've put it so precisely! I am also leery of diet books. After all, what could be the authors motive? That's why I throughly believe the advice of GOOD doctors, dieticians and nutritionists is very appropriate.

Glucerna 2014-01-12 16:21:55 -0600 Report

I think that some people are so desperate to lose weight or improve their health that they'll try just about anything. Often I hear from people that they hope a new diet 'works'. I tell them that it's not the diet plan that produces results; it's their resolve to change their usual habits around food. I'm glad to hear that so many folks here look past popular books and figure out what truly is beneficial for themselves. ~Lynn @Glucerna

Jan8 2014-01-11 15:28:25 -0600 Report

We've been duped for years. All you see in every magazine is another diet.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-01-11 16:28:34 -0600 Report

We all haven't been duped, those of us who don't buy those books and magazines know that what is in them isn't always accurate information or that the information is the same only worded differently.

Jan8 2014-01-12 06:59:26 -0600 Report

I just take a look at the mags at the grocery check out . I don't even pick one up. They're really disgusting.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-01-12 13:25:57 -0600 Report

The only magazine I buy from time to time is Diabetic Living. Other than that, I don't buy or read magazines.

jigsaw 2014-01-11 15:58:23 -0600 Report

Yep, It's as if they're are trying to brain wash us. After all, who would ever think that by simply learning to eat properly, many of us could be so much healthiier! LOL!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-01-11 16:29:37 -0600 Report

I agree Jigsaw. Now I have to run out and spend hundreds of dollars on cosmetic products that will make me look 20 years younger…LOL

Jan8 2014-01-13 12:42:01 -0600 Report

Lol Just Joyce. I'm laughing but it's not funny. The cosmetic industry is huge !

jigsaw 2014-01-11 17:37:09 -0600 Report

Well Joyce, I'm lucky, I don't have to go out and spend hundreds on cosmetics. If I did, you know how that would make me look, and certainly no one would notice if I actually looked younger! LOL

jigsaw 2014-01-12 14:54:34 -0600 Report

You can rest assured, I won't! Many moons ago, I became aware of the opposite sex. I have been thanking the Lord for his greatest gift to man ever since. After all, only a female could drive me totally insane, raise my bloood sugar, and yet, I still remain madly in love! Go figure…

jayabee52 2014-01-11 12:16:56 -0600 Report

I have used a high protein low carbohydrate meal plan and lost 65 lbs in about 5 months, I've followed basically the same plan (with modifications due to my need for dialysis) for about 4 yrs now and have been able to keep the weight off and manage my diabetes without the use of diabetes medications. Whether that is good or bad I guess that is not for me to say (LoL)

RedShine 2014-01-12 23:43:12 -0600 Report

I stay away from carbs, and stick to proteins and vegetables as much as possible. Makes my blood sugar easier to manage, and helps save insulin.

jayabee52 2014-01-13 04:47:03 -0600 Report

if you eat veggies, Red, you don't completely stay away from carbs. Because I don't know of a veggie which doesn't have carbs. But to avoid the higher carb veggies (and other simple carbs and sugars) is always a good thing!

101 Diabetics
101 Diabetics 2014-01-11 15:17:03 -0600 Report

jayabee52, That is exactly what I am aiming for: To get off my medication!
The doctor prescribed: Januvia 100 mg, once daily.

That is not bad to take one pill, but it would be better to take none!
ALL prescription medicine has some side-effects, and I don't need more problems.

Sugar Nana
Sugar Nana 2014-01-16 11:45:26 -0600 Report

Me too. Im on Metformin 2x per day which I can handle. My goal is to stay as far away from insulin as possible and as long as possible! However I need the motivation to slap me in the face!

jigsaw 2014-01-18 12:18:27 -0600 Report

Ah hah! Caught ya on that one! I'm referring to your post about how we stay motivated. For you, it's a slap in the face, for me, I kick myself in the butt. LOL!

Jan8 2014-01-11 09:03:46 -0600 Report

I think with a high protein diet you don't get enough of the carbs needed for a diabetic diet.

jigsaw 2014-01-11 14:00:48 -0600 Report

With certain hi protein diets, and under certain conditions, that could be the case according to the Mayo clinic. They also mention that a hi protein diet can be beneficial for some people.

jayabee52 2014-01-11 12:12:37 -0600 Report

"you don't get enough of the carbs needed for a diabetic diet" ? Could you expand and explain that please Jan?

jigsaw 2014-01-11 13:39:59 -0600 Report

There can be cases where carb restriction is extremely limited by hi protein diets. I'm not saying that it applies to all hi protein diets, or to your food plan for that matter. It is a point at hand worth considering however. I'm sure that hi protein diets are fine for some people under the right circumstances, but like most diets, not good for all.
As a point of information, here is a link from the Mayo clinic that explains it.

jayabee52 2014-01-11 14:28:42 -0600 Report

Howdy Jigsaw.
Some of the info on that website is to my mind questionable. As a person who needs dialysis to live I am quite often asked in the clinic if I am getting enough protein. In the runup to dialysis my kidney Dr asked me that as well. so when they say "A high-protein diet may worsen kidney function in people with kidney disease because your body may have trouble eliminating all the waste products of protein metabolism."

while maybe true at the lower levels of CKD, is not necessarily true at CKD stage 4 or stage 5 (end stage renal disease - needing dialysis) . By that time it is vitally important to keep one's protein intake up to maintain one's muscle (and weight). To assist with removing one of the wast products of metabolizing Protein mentioned in the article, I must take a "binder" which binds the phosphorus in the foods I eat and passes them in my stool.

jigsaw 2014-01-11 14:55:33 -0600 Report

As I am aware, I know you are diligent when it comes to researching your choices. Actually, you answered a question that I had concerning kidney disease and hi protein diets, before I asked. The info that you have posted is very interesting and worth storing for future reference.

Jan8 2014-01-11 13:28:21 -0600 Report

I'm supposed to have 48 carbs with each meal .I was under the impression that a high protein diet included only veggies.(or fruit)

jayabee52 2014-01-11 14:10:12 -0600 Report

No, not at all, Jan. Both fruits and veggies contain carbs. They have been called "complex carbs", and I use those to comprise my carb count for the day. It is the "simple carbs" which I studiously avoid, like breads, pastas, potatoes (actually starch), rice, and anything made with a grain (for various reasons).

Protein is found in meats, seafood, peanuts and beans.

Jan8 2014-01-11 15:32:40 -0600 Report

It boggles my mind. The whole thing. I cheat only occasionally but boy do I pay for it !

Red-Sox-Rich 2014-01-10 19:29:53 -0600 Report

I am not sure if it is a swear word here or not but…Atkins.
My weight loss of 74lbs. on this diet helped me to break the carb cycle then but I put it back on after a while.
Agreed that each person is different and what works for one may not work for another. As my pounds were melting off my Doc just said keep doing what you're doing.
Granted I had no high cholesterol to deal with so it was a good choice then. I will wait to see what my new numbers are and then determine (along with my Doc) if it is a good idea.

jigsaw 2014-01-11 07:28:40 -0600 Report

About 20 years ago, a blood test determined my triglycerides to be a dangerously high 750. I was probably pre-diabetic, although that had not been determined at that time. I went on the Atkins diet shortly there after and started an exercise plan consisting of aerobic and strength training. Within approximately 9 mos, my triglycerides dropped down to 80! I was not on any meds at that time. The Atkins diet was not as well known back then, and my doctors said it was genetic in my case. One Doctor told me that even with meds, I would not be able to get my triglycerides below 350-400. Well Red-Sox-Rich, he was mistaken. When my blood test results came back with triglycerides at 80, his mouth dropped and he said "keep doing whatever you are doing". Shortly after, I was diagnosed with diabetes. I continued a modified version of the Atkins diet for a few years, and adjusted my carb intake as necessary. My blood glucose was well contolled without meds. I maintained an a1c of 6.0 with a combination of the Atkins diet, and exercise for a few years. Eventually, I had to take oral meds, to maintain good blood glucose control.

The Atkins diet did wonders for me. It was the best thing that I could find at that time. I am not saying that it was the best way, just that it was the best way that I knew of back then. It helped keep me off medication, by helping me control my blood glucose and triglycerides. I didn't have a weight problem. Bottom line, I did much better with Atkins, then I did with my previous eating habits. I actually spoke with doctors at the Atkins center. They assured me that by cutting carbs, my triglycerides would drop as much as 60%, and they were correct!

I am no longer on the Atkins diet, but I do utilize some of the Atkins concepts. I monitor my carbs carefully. I also work with dieticians from time to time. Over the last 20 years, I have maintained an a1c of 6.0 with little variation. No complications thus far, and I feel good. The Atkins diet served its purpose for me, as far as I'm concerned.

I have read and posted some links by reputable sources that suspect low carb diets to be a poor choice, long term. I suspect that they are referring to the risk of long term low carb dieting. The question for me is, where do you draw the line as to what is too low carb and for what period of time, if it becomes unhealthy. There will always be controversy concerning diets and diabetes. I would imagine that as long as you are being guided by professionals such as doctors, dieticians, diabetic educators, and your own body, you will probably do fine.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-01-10 21:05:53 -0600 Report

Red, sometimes when we diet, our body can adjust to what we are eating and come to a complete stand still. You always have to keep tweeking it to keep things moving along. My doctor told me the same thing. I was doing good losing weight then he sent me to a nutritionist. I gained back half the weight I loss. She upped my calorie intake because she didn't think I was eating enough. I loss all respect for the woman. She did not read the notes the doctor sent her. He was livid and I refused to return to her.

Thankfully, I have two neighbors who are certified nutritionist and one built my meal plan and they both tweek it for me. Now I am at a point where I am not gaining but not losing. Time to change the meal plan again.

Jan8 2014-01-11 13:35:11 -0600 Report

How really disgusting to have a nutritionist make you gain weight. god thing you have such wonderful neighbors joyce.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-01-15 22:19:50 -0600 Report

Jan I was in the exam room and the nurse brought in this huge chair. I am thinking to myself what in the heck is that for. The door opens and there is this woman leaning in the doorway huffing and puffing and red in the face. I called for the nurse. I thought the woman was going to pass out. Turns out it was the nutritionist. She had to weigh at least 400lbs. She could barely walk. Her feet an legs were swollen to the point one leg was bandaged. She was sweating profusely. I asked her if she was okay. She said she was and proceded to change everything the doctor had set in place. I worked in a building on one corner and the doctors office was on the other corner. My co-workers and I were walking to the supermarket during lunch about a month later. This was the last time I saw her. She was being carried out of the building on a stretcher and loaded into the back of an ambulance. I asked about her when I next went to the doctors. All they said was she was alive in a nursing home. This woman looked to be in her early 30's.

Red-Sox-Rich 2014-01-10 21:12:28 -0600 Report

Very true J. Joyce. We can't assume what worked before will get us through this time. Just like in sports you have to adjust to the situation as you stated . Thanks !

jigsaw 2014-01-11 08:11:27 -0600 Report

Diabetes is a progressive condition, and our bodies are forever changing. I have been adjusting my food plan, exercise and meds sporadically, and whenever necessary for years.