I want to lose weight but I find it difficult as a Type II to consume a low-carb diet and avoid lows. What can I do?
Losing weight can be challenging enough without having to deal with or prevent low blood glucose at the same time. While it’s certainly fine to cut back on your carbohydrate intake (especially refined carbs, like white bread, white rice and white pasta), eating too little carbohydrate can have its drawbacks. First, you still need some carbohydrate in your eating plan, even when you have diabetes. Carbohydrate is the main fuel source for the body, and carb-rich foods, like whole wheat bread, fruit, beans and lowfat milk, provide many other important nutrients that you won’t get from eating just protein and fat. Second, cutting back too much on your carb intake can very likely increase the risk of low blood glucose, as you have experienced. My advice is to aim for at least 45 grams of carbohydrate per meal and 15 grams of carb per snack. I’d also recommend that you talk with your healthcare provider about decreasing your dose of diabetes medicine as well, as you likely will need less as you cut back on your food intake and (hopefully) exercise more. Finally, focus on an eating plan that you can stay with longer-term, rather than one designed to lose weight quickly. Lower-carb eating plans are appealing because people often find that they both lose weight and lower their blood glucose and A1C (all good things), but then they can’t sustain the low-carb eating for very long. The result is that once they go off of the diet, they quickly regain their weight and their blood glucose levels creep up. You might consider meeting with a dietitian who can help you with a plan that you can follow long-term and that is more suited to your food preferences and lifestyle. Your doctor can give you a referral to a dietitian in your community.