Protein in your diet...

Melissa Dawn
By Melissa Dawn Latest Reply 2010-08-26 22:09:19 -0500
Started 2010-08-05 21:13:50 -0500

I met with a dietitian on Monday to discuss ways to tighten up my control of my diabetes (particularly with plans to become pregnant in the near future, but that's not a necessary component to this discussion). I already have pretty good control, but it can always be better and I thought reviewing carb counting and such would be helpful.

It's been at least 9 years since I last met with a dietitian… probably more than that, (maybe as long back as it was when I was diagnosed) but we'll pretend that I met with them when I was a youngster. This dietitian told me that they had changed their mind about protein since I last met with someone. Then, protein was not something they really accounted for. Now, its a major factor.

The biggest thing she talked about was creating a 2:1 ratio between carbohydrates and protein. Carbs are still a necessary part of anyone's diet, since they fuel the body — but for a diabetic, protein is needed to keep the blood sugars taking big swings. The dietitian said that by keeping 1 gram of protein for every 2 grams of carbohydrate in my diet, it would keep the swings much smaller.

As much as I've been able to do it, I have noticed that my blood sugars are less swingy. The problem for me is creating that balance.

I'm not a carb hoarding sugar monster. This isn't an issue of me loving my sweets too much. It's just that I'm not fond of lots of high protein foods… nor do I want to expand my waste line with foods that while high in protein, are also high in fat. I've looked into beans, I'm switching my diet to foods created from whole wheat (high in fiber and protein — both good things), but few of them have the 2:1 balance naturally (or better still, high in protein, low in carbs and fat). If I eat beans, the protein is good — but the carbs in it make it impossible to eat… something else.

So here's the discussion: Do any of you maintain a 2:1 balance? If so, how do you manage it? Am I looking at a future of protein powder (yuck in my mind) or snacking on lunch meats? Even if you don't maintain a 2:1, what do you do for protein aside from the regular items of meat, cheese and eggs? Since a lot of diabetics die of heart disease, its important to keep the lower fat, lower cholesterol in mind. How do you handle it?

6 replies

Armourer 2010-08-26 22:09:19 -0500 Report

I don't eat meat. This makes protein a big problem for me. I've finally done is egg whites with one yoke for omletes. I eat cheese & peanut butter but this is high in fat (not good for me). I eat cottage cheese, but I have a love hate relationship with it. What really has saved me is substituting Quinoa where most would have rice. Quinoa is a complete protein, doesn't have taste except whatever it is cooked with. I eat this at least once or twice a day. The protein shake thing doesn't work for me, spikes my BG. And most carbs that diabetics can eat, I shouldn't but can if I do carb counting with insulin. Costco carries the product in a 4 lb bag which last me about 3 weeks. Good luck!

Anonymous 2010-08-12 11:45:51 -0500 Report

I was uncontrolled for many years, recently went on the pump and have now learned that my kidneys are starting to not process proteins as they are supposed to. I have had to cut down on protein now. Just something to keep in mind…

SkipT 2010-08-06 12:38:37 -0500 Report

I am always amazed by dietitians who tell people that carbs are essential. Not really. There is a thing called neoglucogenesis in which the body will take protein and convert it into glucose that the body can use. I eat minimal carbs (30 grams a day). I have a very physical job (sometimes lift a total of 1 to 2 tons a day in 150 lbs increaments. I exercise with weight training and running. I never have an issue with fatigue do to energy shortage. I am 62 years old by the way.

Melissa Dawn
Melissa Dawn 2010-08-08 21:46:57 -0500 Report

Even if they aren't essential (she said I could do with less) I still like them — so cutting them completely isn't something I'm going to do… its hard enough to add protein to my diet. To go all protein is unnecessary and unwanted in my situation. :)

GabbyPA 2010-08-06 09:24:15 -0500 Report

I have never heard of the 2:1 ratio. That is something new to me.

This is a quandary to be sure. Your look into beans is really not so bad. You also get fiber in there and that helps curb the carbs to some degree. I like hummus (home made) and toss beans in salads a lot. I just don't eat additional carbs with them. I try to use veggies instead of chips if I am eating hummus. Snacking on lunch meat is okay, but you then are dealing with sodium and all kinds of weird preservatives in there. You can get better choices of lunch meats and it takes some looking, but if you wrap up a pickle with some lunch meat it is quite good and makes a nice snack.

You can get into the egg beaters type of thing to add protein. They are not really too bad, but a little pricey compared to eggs.

I used protein powder in my fruit smoothies. I have never looked at the ratio of that. But I use strawberries, a little banana and coconut water along with protein powder and sometimes I toss in chia or flax or green foods. I like the vanilla and sometimes I do a coffee one with chocolate powder. Get a little moca fix.

Melissa Dawn
Melissa Dawn 2010-08-06 10:06:52 -0500 Report

Sounds like you're already doing pretty well with the protein. One idea I tried this morning was instead of a closed face sandwich, I had an open face sandwich (with eggs — but it would work with other sandwiches too). I cut my carbs in half without having to increase my protein. A little messier, but it worked out okay.

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