Paleo Hacks for Newbie/Diabetic

by (369)
Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 13, 2011 at 10:43 AM

I have been researching paleo nutrition for a while, have always carried a great deal of weight, and the only way I was successful in the past at taking it off was a very low carb diet. (Atkins)

While eating horribly, I recently developed symptoms which I discovered were indicators of diabetes (including neuropathy/retinopathy), ran out, got a couple of blood sugar monitors and found I was in the high 200s blood sugar wise.

The next day I went on a crash carb killing regime, eating nothing but fatty meats, eggs, bacon and salad vegetables, drinking gallons of water and set an appointment to see a physician to get treatment. I have trimmed off about 30mg/dl per day. 4 days later, my post meal blood sugar is 149. So I am getting a handle on the problem.

I think the philosophical and scientific basis for a high fat, moderate protein, low carb approach to nutrition are sound, and I will be scouring this site and available literature to optimize my diet, as going blind is really not my idea of a good time.

What I'd like to know from any other diabetics on this forum is what have you found to be successful that I can implement immediately that might differ from say an Atkins approach to nutrition?

20411 · September 13, 2011 at 1:29 PM

I didn't find cinnamon useful and it has a few carbs per gram, so your mileage may vary - but you may want to try it.

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5 Answers

5801 · September 13, 2011 at 1:10 PM

I would (and did) eliminate all grains, fruit, beans, and sugars from my diet.

Then anytime I ate, I checked blood sugar. If what I ate raised my sugar beyond my goal, I halved the portion of the offending food the next time I ate it. If the offending food, at a reduced portion still raised blood sugar, I eliminated it.

I also started taking 20 to 30 minute brisk walks after dinner and started lifting weights. I was skinny fat and putting on a little muscle stabilized things almost overnight.

15603 · September 13, 2011 at 11:49 AM

I would suspect that you might want less protein than typical for Atkins. Above that which is necessary for purely structural needs, protein is going to be turned into glucose anyway, keeping your blood sugar at a steady (but possibly too high) level. 1.2-1.7g/kg is supposedly the necessary range of protein on a low carb diet. Of course the plus of a higher protein diet is that it is highly satiating, so it might allow you to eat fewer calories and burn more of your body fat, than if you were to eat more fat in place of protein. Of course, if you're already eating 'moderate' protein, you may not need to change anything.

You might also want make sure you're getting sufficient magnesium, omega-3 and vitamin D necessary for insulin sensitivity and maybe choline as well. Obviously exercise would be good too, independent of weight loss, to deplete your muscles of stored carbohydrate and make them more insulin sensitive.

20411 · September 13, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Atkins is an approach for weight loss that can be useful for diabetics - but it is not specifically designed for diabetes. Dr. Bernstein's approach (Diabetes Solution) addresses diabetics directly (also low carb) with a focus on controlling blood sugar levels.

Neither approach addresses food quality, inflammation, reversing fatty liver/insulin resistance (or leptin resistance). Paleo/Primal/Ancestral does. I would recomend picking up the Bernstein book (maybe from the library) as it has a lot of specific useful information for diabetics. If you follow the advice of David Moss and mth, you should be well on your way to restoring a healthy metabolism.

Most important other than keeping carbs low: eliminate fructose (liver damage leads to insulin resistance), eliminate vegetable/seed oils (high omega-6 is inflammatory - more insulin resistance) and eliminate gluten grains (inflammatory and other problems). Only high fat dairy, like cream and butter, the rest are insulinogenic. Avoid nuts for now and eat some fish. Vitamin D, sleep, exercise (walking is great) and manesium are all really important. Did I mention magnesium?

Assuming you are overweight, it is pretty important to take some off. the excess fat tissue adds to inflammation and insulin resistance just by being there. Caffeine also increases insulin resistance. Vitamin C, cigarrettes (nicotine) and niacin can also raise blood sugar somewhat. Just note that heavy resistance training or HIIT (like sprints) can increase blood sugar levels (this is a temporary effect) as glycogen is dumped under heavy exertion. It will actually help with insulin sensitivity over time.

6889 · September 13, 2011 at 1:20 PM

I would also add cinnamon to your diet. I usually just sprinkle some in my coffee. Cinnamon is known for helping blood sugar levels.

20411 · September 13, 2011 at 1:29 PM

I didn't find cinnamon useful and it has a few carbs per gram, so your mileage may vary - but you may want to try it.

15013 · September 13, 2011 at 2:21 PM

If you haven't, I'd also recommend you check out Jenny Ruhl's Blood Sugar 101.

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