PCF Ratios, an Observation

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2015-02-25 14:04:09 -0600
Started 2015-02-23 14:36:41 -0600

PCF is Protein, Carbohydrate, Fat ratios. It's a system that a member from long ago taught me in years past http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-discu... and I had kind of forgotten about it because I had not been able to successfully work with the percentages he shared with me. So I moved on from that.

He had said we should be 20% Protein, 50% Carb and 30% Fat. I could not really get my numbers where I wanted on this set of numbers. Anyway, now that I have been keeping track of my intake more seriously again, I am finding that my magic numbers run more like a true balance and have the best results on the day and the day after if I keep them all at about 33%. So really keeping my Protein, Carb and Fat intake all within 10 grams of each other, it seems to works best for me.

The key is also to keep my overall calories at a certain level as well. When I have good ratios, but too many calories it becomes an issue more on the following day and I almost always have a big liver dump overnight.

I have struggled with dawn phenomenon and a typical rise overnight of 100 points. Now that I am trying to keep this ratio, I am finding for the first time I have actually had some drops overnight. Nothing huge, but I have dropped almost 40 points which is WAY better than rising 100.

I am still learning and observing. Do any of you find you have similar balances or are yours different?

40 replies

TsalagiLenape 2015-02-25 14:04:09 -0600 Report

Hey that is great. Sounds like a plan of success. Right now I am smacking myself in the forehead. But I did get my Medical. :)

RosalieM 2015-02-24 10:33:24 -0600 Report

A guy gave me a ratio too but it was different. I can't remember for sure, I will see if I can find it, but I think it was Protein + fiber divided by carbohydrate. If the resulting number is less than 4, the carb effect is acceptable. I make low carb products and they all were below the 4. They are all high in fiber and some high in protein. When I tested them on my blood sugar, the rise was minimal.
I will try to confirm that I have it right when I find were I wrote that down.

GabbyPA 2015-02-24 11:28:01 -0600 Report

That is a different method I have not heard of before. I will have to run some of my days' numbers to see how they stack up with this method. I still have tweaking to do, so the fun never ends.

Dan360 2015-02-24 10:29:02 -0600 Report

The ratio of PCF may be important but I have been concentrating more on high fiber and getting good results on weight loss and glucose control. A high-fiber diet has many benefits, including normalizing bowel movements, helping maintain bowel integrity and health, lowering blood cholesterol levels, and helping control blood sugar levels. What do you think?

GabbyPA 2015-02-24 11:29:18 -0600 Report

I do agree. I work to get my fiber from my veggies, beans, and fruit. I am not eating grains so it does make it a little more difficult to get them in. I have to look into some of RosalieM's inulin ideas.

RosalieM 2015-02-24 10:38:15 -0600 Report

Hi Dan,
I don't just think I absolutely know for sure you are correct. Diabetics are missing out big time if they do not understand the effect of fiber on blood sugar. How do you increase your fiber in the foods you eat?

Dan360 2015-02-24 15:14:28 -0600 Report

Fiber One is one way. I believe in the brand. Another way is Metamucil when I don't get enough otherwise. I eat quite a bit of fruit and grains also.

NewSong53 2015-02-24 05:54:39 -0600 Report

Gabby, I followed your link and saw a few mentions of Toma and the website but not Toma's site. Could you give me the link for that? (Maybe it's there and I just missed it.) My fasting BG numbers are always my highest. I just can't seem to eat any bread except the diet type and definitely can't eat rice, potatoes or pasta of any kind. Tomato sauce is also out (although I haven't tried making my own yet). Single servings of oatmeal seem to be okay. I need to cut out the sausage (think that led to this morning's BG level). But I'm going to work at these ratios since we seem to have some of the same experiences — and also work on my portions. Thanks for sharing this information.

RosalieM 2015-02-24 10:25:24 -0600 Report

New song,
You don need to cut out the sausage. I have sugar free tomato sauce that I made from my own tomatoes. I ate it with out pasta, just meatballs.
It raised my blood sugar too much. The concentration of the sugars in the tomatoes is what did it. Tomatoes that have not been concentrated into tomato sauce don't raise blood sugar very much.

Fefe12 2015-02-25 03:52:48 -0600 Report

Have you tried a zucchini cutter? I use it instead of pasta. Pasta was hard to give up. I love spaghetti and make it often. I discovered I can take my salad greens, pour on some olive oil, salt and pepper and put in the microwave till wilted. Loved it. Then a friend turned me onto the zucchini cutter. Love it too. Now I have spaghetti anytime I want.

GabbyPA 2015-02-24 10:18:44 -0600 Report

It is not active any longer. He has been gone from here for many years, sadly. He did so much to really help me understand there was more to this than just carb counting. I miss him, but do not know where he has gone. He was from Canada, and I don't know if there is a way to find him.

rcmodelr 2015-02-24 04:23:19 -0600 Report

I'd agree… We ALL need to know how to work that into our diets especially considering all we'd previously known was Insulin/Carb factors for calculating Insulin dosages and figuring Protein and Fat along with Carbs introduces AT MINIMUM TWO MORE levels of calculations to perform that I don't think ANY currently available Insulin Pumps provide the option of including in the formula to calculate how much of a "meal Bolus Dose" we should be programming our Insulin Pump to deliver…

And it's even MORE DIFFICULT for those of us still on MDI to try including those added numbers in our Bolus dose calculations!!!

dclark0769 2015-02-23 20:47:17 -0600 Report

Show me how you are doing this. I am running high in the evening and can't seem to get them down. Don't snack per doctor, used to, and now trying to reduce my numbers.

GabbyPA 2015-02-24 10:30:22 -0600 Report

It was not an effort, but I found that when my meals were more balanced, I had better success. My morning numbers have always been a problem and since I have been keeping track again, I am actually getting some drops instead of rises, which for me is a flat out miracle. LOL

Here is a good day for me that helped me drop over night:
Breakfast: Mushroom Fritatta and dressed bean sprouts
Lunch: Skirt steak with green beans and cardumum carrots
Dinner: Salsbury steak with mashed cauliflower and gravy
Snack before bed: sunflower seeds

That equalled 1386 calories, 76 carbs, 68 fat, 82 protein. I am finding that when my PCF is within about 10 grams of each other I drop the next morning. This day, I dropped 60 points over night. Which is great considering I usually go up 100. When I start lower, I get better readings all day.

I have also found for me (and this is VERY individual) that when I keep my calories around 1400 or less I do best. If I exercise more that day, I might add some, but on days when I splurge or mess up and eat too much, even if the ratios are good, I go up at night.

Gabbiex1 2015-02-23 20:10:19 -0600 Report

HI, I haven't heard of this before…but then, I don't usually check into these forums. I'm going to check Toma's site and see what I can learn about this. I use Levimire at night and things have been good..lately, it's been a little 'bouncy'. I'm Type II with Stage III CKD and sometimes, it's very overwhelming. It seems that everyone here is so helpful and I think that's a very positive thing.

suecsdy 2015-02-23 16:37:06 -0600 Report

I think I try to keep a little higher on the protein side since I do not like veggies that much. I do have a protein snack at bedtime and most of the time my fbg is under 100.

Jibber Jabber
Jibber Jabber 2015-02-23 16:11:45 -0600 Report

Very happy to hear that your morning numbers are improving…My endo told me the key to getting my fasting numbers down was not to overeat protein…too many people on LCHF diets think they can eat all the protein they want..my morning numbers have dropped about 30 points since I started keeping my protein serving to no more than 6 oz…people often time forget that protein is also converted to glucose..and stored in your liver…if you don't feed your liver glucose it cant dump glucose…I know it is much more complicated than that..but if I try to explain it the way my endo explained it to me It will all come out like gobbly gook…

RosalieM 2015-02-24 10:47:59 -0600 Report

Hi Jibber,
I have increased the fat in my diet to cut back on protein. You gave us a link( that long video). The guy said fat spares protein which was the best thing I got out of it. As an older person I felt that I might not get enough protein, as old people lose muscle so much,but that fat spares protein message was the most important ti.

GabbyPA 2015-02-24 10:34:21 -0600 Report

I keep my proteins in the 3-6 oz range as well. It's easy to want to eat more because of the zero carbs. Thankfully, the calories help me keep the proteins in check a bit. And I eat the good fats like coconut oil, olive oil, butter, and nuts or seeds.

sweetslover 2015-02-24 17:29:46 -0600 Report

The calories can sure scare you away from a good sized piece of meat. :)

GabbyPA 2015-02-24 17:32:05 -0600 Report

OMG yes. I got the family a nice set of ribeye steaks a few weeks ago. It's a once in a while splurge. I usually buy a pack of 3 one for each. Then I used my trusty new food scale that tells me all the values of the meat....YIKES! I had half a steak which was still about 7 oz uncooked and it was over 400 calories. That scale saved my butt.

NewSong53 2015-02-24 05:56:07 -0600 Report

Wow! I have been going a little crazy on the protein. I'm going to start eating less of it and see what happens.

haoleboy 2015-02-23 17:08:02 -0600 Report

I think the reason a lot of people fail in their attempt at a low carb lifestyle is that they go crazy with the protein … I know several people that went on Atkins and took it as a free ticket to eat beef (in particular) in uncontrolled portions.

Jibber Jabber
Jibber Jabber 2015-02-23 17:27:18 -0600 Report

Well in some sense that is not their fault…because if you listen to a certain subset of doctors they will tell you eat when ever you are hungry and eat as much protein and fat as you want…the reasoning I guess is that protein and fat keep you full longer.and people will naturally eat less…but people just hear the eat all you want part and gorge themselves…but even I knew to stay away from too much protein…I wasn't doing 16 oz steaks…maybe I was doing 8-10 oz at meals..but when I listened to my doctor and stuck to less than 6..things improved dramatically…I remember my panic over having fasting levels in the 120's…all gone..

sweetslover 2015-02-23 21:13:00 -0600 Report

I remember a few months ago when I thought I would starve if I only ate 6 oz. of steak. Now, it really makes me feel full.

GabbyPA 2015-02-24 10:36:45 -0600 Report

Portion control is a huge thing and we are so messed up by what we see as regular portions. My step daughter is doing this with me, but she doesn't measure. I keep telling her, you cannot guess. Portion control is key and you are right, once you get used to the smaller portions, they can fill you up just fine.

sweetslover 2015-02-24 17:26:30 -0600 Report

I even went out and bought a new set of measuring cups so I always have clean ones to measure my portions. I'm a dork.

GabbyPA 2015-02-24 17:33:42 -0600 Report

Ok, that means I am extra dork. I have 3 sets of cups and spoons and 4 liquid measuring cups.

Jibber Jabber
Jibber Jabber 2015-02-24 14:07:22 -0600 Report

For me when I first went low carb I felt the need to "replace the carbs with protein"…maybe because my steak seemed lonely..lmao I don't know…but I do know I have been blessed with my new Endo…I wish everyone was as lucky…

GabbyPA 2015-02-24 14:27:07 -0600 Report

I know....that lonely steak is sad. But you add a little garlic butter and some nice veggies and I use small plates. That always helps me. Now, I also do not serve food family style. Each plate is filled in the kitchen and comes to the table portioned out. If you want more (if I made extra) you can get it, but it comes out as it should be. That has also been a big help to me. I used to pick at the serving bowls on the table. Not good, well, it was GOOD, but not good for me.

sweetslover 2015-02-24 17:28:00 -0600 Report

Serving from the kitchen is working for me, too. I also try to spread my food out around the plate to make it look like more. :)

haoleboy 2015-02-23 16:03:25 -0600 Report

33% is much more realistic … on an 1800 kcal diet that would be about 150 carbs per day.
For me … I usually hit about 10% from carbs

GabbyPA 2015-02-24 10:38:15 -0600 Report

I really want to drop it a little, but this is just something I stumbled on through my journal. I find all kinds of patterns when I keep one. I just had gotten lazy for too long and am so glad I am doing it again.

RebDee 2015-02-23 16:01:40 -0600 Report

Gabby: Thanks for the info. I will try to work out what my Protein, Carbs, Fat ratios are but I already know that I eat primarily portein (as ordered by my bariatric doctor), then carbs, then fats so it is bound to be different than what is suggested.

GabbyPA 2015-02-24 10:44:50 -0600 Report

That is why you have to find out what works for you and your numbers. I followed Toma's suggestion of a different set of percentages and it just couldn't work for me. Steve only uses 10% carbs...so he is also different. This just plants the idea that you can adjust your ratios and see how they help your numbers.

Type1Lou 2015-02-23 15:25:13 -0600 Report

Your results may make me want to try figuring out what my ratios are…I too struggle with Dawn Phenomenon.

GabbyPA 2015-02-24 10:43:04 -0600 Report

It took over a month for it to start working out. In January I started to see 3-10 point drops, but that could just be my meter. But lately, I have had almost a whole week of drops that were 30-60 and that helps me so much. Now if I can get my bedtime numbers way lower, I should wake up with good fasting numbers. Too often though, when I go to bed in a good range, I get a huge dump...this is where my chocolate covered bananas really seem to be helping...it's all just experiments and figuring things out. Then of course, it will all change! But that's diabetes, at least for me.

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