Mary Alice - 18741
By Mary Alice - 18741 Latest Reply 2016-09-12 08:35:40 -0500
Started 2008-07-05 13:28:48 -0500

I have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and have been put on Metformin ER, 500mg once a day to begin with.
In reading different messages and concerns, I have seen several comments on other sites that one has to be careful and watch carbs when taking this medication.
Can anyone tell me why? What effect does it have on carbs, or vice versa? I have seen comments, but nothing that explains it. I am trying to watch what I eat and follow cooking and dieting guidelines and have done fairly well so far, loosing 15 lbs. in my first 2 months. I worry about the "carb factor" and Metformin. Can someone help me, please?

13 replies

JP - 14811
JP - 14811 2008-07-06 09:48:59 -0500 Report

I just found this regarding Metformin and how it works.
Metformin appears to work in three ways. First, it decreases the absorption of dietary carbohydrates through the intestines.

Second, it reduces the production of glucose by the liver.(2) The liver uses the raw material in your food to create a reserve supply of blood sugar. When your body experiences stress, the liver releases the reserve glucose to supply your brain and muscles with an immediate source of energy to cope with the stress. Glucophage suppresses the production of this reserve fuel.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, metformin increases the sensitivity of muscle cells to insulin.(2) Insulin is the hormone that delivers glucose into your cells to be burned as fuel, or stored. Many type 2 Diabetics have "insulin resistance", a condition where excessive amounts of insulin are required in order to get blood glucose moved into cells, where it belongs. Glucophage helps your body to transport glucose with relatively less insulin, thus lowering your insulin levels. Chronically high levels of either glucose or insulin in your blood contributes to obesity, heart disease, infertility, and certain cancers, as well as the development of diabetes.

JP - 14811
JP - 14811 2008-07-06 13:13:37 -0500 Report

Another thing I just read about Metformin and carbs is that if you don't eat enough carbs you are at higher risk for Lactic Acidosis. Hmmm that could explain why 6 years ago I got so sick from it.

So my take from all of this is that you should eat the carbs but controlled serving sizes.

*Judy (JP)

PS I'm not looking up anything else on this I promise LOL

Mary Alice - 18741
Mary Alice - 18741 2008-07-09 15:38:12 -0500 Report

LOL, JP, believe me, I don't think anyone would complain if you did look up anything else! As far as I'm concerned, you can reply any time you want, and share anything you happen to look up! Thanks again for this information.

kdroberts 2008-07-09 15:47:11 -0500 Report

Do you have a link for the source of the low carb + metformin increases the chance of lactic acidosis? Did it explain why? I've not heard that before so it's interesting. I'm not really sure how it would work though, I thought lactic acidosis was from a build up of metformin in the body.

kdroberts 2008-07-11 00:55:37 -0500 Report

Thanks. The forum posts don't seem to say anything concrete. I think that unless it comes out on a mass scale I'm thinking it's probably not correct. Metformin and it's predecessors have been around for so long that if this was the case I would think it should have been picked up on by now.

Jenn9-NOLA 2016-09-12 08:35:40 -0500 Report

Read "Good Calories, Bad Calories". Doctor spent 5 years researching this book, and had no idea where it would take him. No preconceived notions.

DiabetesDiva 2008-07-09 16:02:41 -0500 Report

JP, you are a diabetic goddess! Thanks for providing such insightful information. I learn from you everyday. As the saying goes, "Knowledge is power".



Millie57 2008-07-06 02:44:52 -0500 Report

JP has explained the carbs relationship with Diabetes very well. However, if you still have doubts or questions ask your doctor if you can attend a Diabetes Class and they will explain some ways to watch and measure what you eat. That could be a start. However, if you have time Google Diabetes and there are many informative websites. That is how I came across Diabetes Community.

Wishing you great Health and prayers.

JP - 14811
JP - 14811 2008-07-05 14:27:10 -0500 Report

Hi there and welcome. I've never heard about carb AND metformin being a concern. All Diabetics or pre-diabetics as you said should watch carbohydrates in their diet as they turn to glucose (sugar) when digested and if you eat too many of them your blood sugar will rise. Based on your diagnosis you should be controlling them and spreading them out over the entire days meals. There are many websites that can help you with that. Simple carbohydrates are what you need to avoid or limit. Sugary sodas, juices, candy, cakes, etc… if you are going to have them you need to include them in your carb count for that meal.
Whole grains, starchy vegetables, and fruit are the best carbohydrates to eat. Potatoes, corn, peas, and starchy beans are included as carbohydrates, not vegetables (most people aren't aware of this). Pasta and rice are other carbohydrates that require portion control. There isn't anything that you can't eat, there is no special diabetes diet. Whole grains and starchy vegetables, veggies, fruit (limit them to 2-3 servings per day as natural sugar can also cause a rise in blood sugar), lean meats, and dairy are the basics. Serving size is important in all food types but each of us is individual in how we manage our diabetes. Some eat 5-6 small meals a day, some 3 meals and snacks in between. As a PreDiabetic, I'd guess a dietician would tell you to eat 3 meals a day and eat snacks in between of fruit or vegetables. I'm sure this is more than you wanted to know - sorry about that but it's important to balance your food and eat a healthy diet. Everyone should eat the way we do and get some daily exercise not just people at risk for diabetes. So back to your real question (I get side tracked lol) it's not the metformin that causes the need to control carbs, it's the blood sugar levels.

*Judy (JP)

GabbyPA 2008-07-06 01:39:06 -0500 Report

JP, you need to conduct a class for us. You have so much to share and it is always great. Bravo!

Mary Alice - 18741
Mary Alice - 18741 2008-07-09 15:35:24 -0500 Report

Thank EVERYONE for their input to my questions. They have been very helpful and I have a lot of information I didn't have earlier, which is helping me tremendously! JP, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us - you are awesome!!! I also appreciate your follow up reply; maybe that was what I had read regarding Metformin & carbs - it makes sense doesn't it. I want to thank every one of you for making me feel at home and welcome to this group. It's a good feeling to know there is a place to go for friendship, information, recipes and moral support.

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