Low Carbohydrate, High Fat, Atkins type diet should be the first step in treatment of all diabetics, both type one and two. Numerous studies and practice experience testimonies have confirmed this. See Eric Westman’s second video below. The most comprehensive review of the data supporting using LCHF to treat diabetes was cited in the tremendous article by R D Feinman PhD per this link:
The LCHF diet consistently lowers glucose and A1C. Dr. Westman cites numerous cases where his patients were able to get off all medication including insulin within weeks and in one case in days, see his second video below. The number emerging is that over half of all diabetics who go on the diet come off most if not all their diabetic medications. Although the diet is high in fat including saturated fat, the diet consistently lowers triglycerides and raises HDL, the two most important lipid markers correlating with risk for heart disease. Also contrary to what one would think it is diets that are low in fat and high in carbohydrate such as the American Heart Association Low Fat “Heart Healthy” diet that increase blood saturated fat levels, thus increasing cardiac disease risk. Low carb, high fat diets to the opposite ie lower blood saturated fat levels. Phinney and Volek showed this. See their videos and books cited below. In addition, low fat diets lower HDL, “good cholesterol,” raise triglycerides, and even though they lower LDL, “bad cholesterol,” they convert most of that LDL cholesterol to the small dense or truly dangerous form of LDL cholesterol. Low carbohydrate diets, on the other hand, which in some cases will raise total and LDL cholesterol, convert the LDL to the large, buoyant, harmless form of LDL cholesterol, thereby lowering risk of heart disease far greater than low fat diets will. Dietary saturated fat consumption which will increase in most low carb diets also has never been shown to increase risk of heart disease in numerous studies. All this is covered and referenced in detail in the above linked article, as well as in Nina Teicholz’ tremendous book, “Big Fat Surprise, Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese belong in an Healthy Diet,” as referenced below as well as linked to a video of hers below.
Why carbohydrate restriction rather than total calories or fats?
In a nutshell: It’s about insulin. Insulin has two main functions. 1. It enables glucose to enter cells so they can utilize it for energy. 2. It promotes the deposition of fat into the bodies fat stores. The higher the insulin level, the more fat is deposited into and locked into fat stores. Carbohydrates are the primary food type that stimulates insulin release. Eating foods very high in sugar and refined carbohydrates causes significant spikes in insulin levels which not only cause more storage of the food you just ate into fat, but also adversely affects your liver and muscle tissues over time causing these organs to become resistant to insulin. This insulin resistance then requires the pancreas to secrete more and more insulin to overcome this resistance which leads to higher and higher insulin levels which leads to more and more deposition of fat into fat cells resulting in obesity as well as metabolic syndrome which entails diabetes, hypertension, and vascular disease, ie heart disease and strokes. See Gary Taubes “Why We Get Fat” below. Eventually the pancreas is no longer able to keep up with ever increasing insulin resistance in the liver and muscle and sugar levels start to rise causing diabetes. The only way to reverse this and get insulin levels reduced to the point where they no longer keep fat locked into the fat cells is to lower the primary food type that causes insulin to rise, carbohydrates. If carbohydrates are removed from the diet or drastically lowered, the insulin levels begin to fall, eventually falling to the point where fat is no longer trapped in fat cells and is released into the blood to be available to be used by the body for fuel. Your brain can’t tell if this fat in the blood came from something you just ate or fat stores. This is why you aren’t hungry on a low carb diet. Weight loss results. In diabetics this weight loss improves insulin sensitivity resulting in improvement and often reversal of diabetes. See Eric Westman, MD below. Basically, with a carbohydrate restricted diet, you are reversing the basic causes of obesity and diabetes namely sugar and carbohydrates raising insulin which causes fat deposition and storage. Years of eating foods high in carbohydrate especially sugar and refined carbohydrates, with resultant high spikes in insulin, over time causes the development of insulin resistance which leads to chronically elevated insulin levels and resultant metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Cutting carbohydrates reverses all this.
THE DIET—QUICK START:
Limit all sugar: sweets, desserts, sodas, sweet tea, and juice, all juice! Liquid sugar ie sugar sodas and juice are absolutely the worst offenders in causing obesity and diabetes. Fructose, half of the molecule sucrose in table sugar is a main cause of fatty liver.
Limit starches and starchy vegetables: bread, potatoes, rice, noodles, corn, grains, flour, beans (baked, butter), peas, butter beans, field peas, corn bread, grits, cereal, fruit (yes fruit), and milk.
What you can eat: meat (any kind: beef, pork, poultry, fish, lamb), eggs, cheese, nuts (1 to 2 oz per day), and “green vegetables” ie broccoli, cauliflower, collards, okra, cabbage, squash, lettuce, tomatoes, string beans, onions, mushrooms, olives, pickles, etc.
It’s called low carb, high fat for a reason. You replace carbohydrate calories with fat calories (not protein). This diet keeps you in ketosis for enhanced weight loss and performance, as well as cancer fighting properties. See books and video references below. Add butter to vegetables and dry meats instead of gravy, which has flour. Cook collards and turnip greens with ham hocks, fat back, pig tails, and bacon grease like your grandmother did. Eat regular not lean meat and regular ground beef, not lean hamburger.
It’s ok to fry food in healthy fats like lard, butter (grass fed if you can afford it–not margarine), beef tallow, (again like your grandmother did), or coconut oil rather than artificially processed vegetable oils like corn, safflower, soy, canola. The vegetable oils, except olive, avocado, and coconut, are too high in omga 6 fats and are harmful, cause cancer. That’s right, the opposite of what the government has been telling you for the past 40 years, namely to substitute saturated animal fats with polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Well it was the wrong advice. See Nina Teicholz below. Just don’t batter the food first. Remember nothing with flour.
Grass fed beef and dairy, ie butter, is best. Higher in omega 3 oils, vitamin K2, more natural.
Milk has carbohydrate namely lactose so it needs to be limited. Watch the carbs 11 to 12 gm per 8 oz portion. If you do drink some milk make it whole, not reduced fat. Fat free milk causes far more weight gain than whole milk.
Yogurt is made from milk and the label will list the carbohydrate content of the milk it was made from, again 11 to 12 gm per 8 oz serving. But yogurt is made with active bacterial cultures which ferment the lactose to lactic acid hence the bitter taste and, as a result, the carbohydrate content is not the same as the original milk. That is, it has been reduced by the bacterial fermentation.
What about alcohol?– beer: way too much carbohydrate; wine: better but limit; hard liquor: ok, very little carbohydrate in hard liquor.
What about diet drinks? — Best to limit these too. The brain senses sweet and sends a message to the pancreas to release insulin and the insulin then drives ALL the calories you just ate, carbs, fats, and proteins into your fat stores. It’s best just to drink water.
Try to keep total carbs or at least net carbs (total carb grams minus fiber grams) under 20 grams per day.
Test urine daily with urine keto sticks to be sure you are in ketosis which usually correlates with weight loss.
Key books to read:
1. Any version Atkins diet books, esp “New Atkins for New You” By Eric Westman, Steve Phinney, and Jeff Volek.
2. “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes
3. “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Tubes
5. “The Art and Science of Low Carb Living” by Phinney and Volek.
6. “Big Fat Surprise Why Butter Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet” by Nina Teicholz.
7. “The Great Cholesterol Con” by Malcolm Kendrick.