Counting Carbs

Dietician working on diet plan for weight loss and right nutrition concept. Source: BS

Canada urgently needs a diabetes strategy – just not necessarily the one that Diabetes Canada would have us believe is the right path

The following information is from Diabetes Canada – Basic carbohydrate counting for diabetes management. The charts and recommendations are EXACTLY as outlined in their PDF file available from the Diabetes Canada website

Following the information provided by Diabetes Canada, I will discuss briefly my own take on what this actually means, in the context of intermittent fasting and the low carb lifestyles recommended by Dr. Fung in his Diabetes Code.

STEP 1 Make healthy food choices

  • Enjoy a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat milk products, and meat and alternatives at your meals. A variety of foods will help to keep you healthy.
  • Use added fats in small amounts. This helps to control your weight and blood cholesterol.
  • Choose portion sizes to help you to reach or maintain a healthy weight.

STEP 2 Focus on carbohydrate

  • Your body breaks down carbohydrate into sugar (glucose). This raises your blood sugar levels.
  • Carbohydrate is found in many foods including grains and starches, fruits, some vegetables, legumes, milk and milk alternatives, sugary foods and many prepared foods.
  • Meat and alternatives, most vegetables and fats contain little carbohydrate. Moderate servings will not have a big effect on blood sugar levels.

STEP 3 Set carbohydrate goals

  • Your dietitian will help you set a goal for grams of carbohydrate at each meal and snack. This may be the same from day to day or may be flexible, depending on your needs.
  • Aim to meet your target within 5 grams per meal or snack.

STEP 4 Determine carbohydrate content

  • Write down what you eat and drink throughout the day.
  • Be sure to note the portion sizes. You may need to use measuring cups and food scales to be accurate.
  • Record the grams of carbohydrate in these foods and drinks.
  • For carbohydrate content of foods, check the Beyond the Basics resources, food packages, food composition books, restaurant fact sheets and websites.

STEP 5 Monitor effect on blood sugar level

  • Work with your health-care team to correct blood sugar levels that are too high or too low.

My take on the information provided above by Diabetes Canada is that it is great information, as far as it goes… Which means that I think that there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Trust is a dangerous game.
—via Quotes ‘nd Notes

VARIATION 1 Make healthy food choices – just not the ones implied

Enjoy a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat milk products, and meat and alternatives at your meals. A variety of foods will help to keep you healthy.

Diabetes Canada

This is only one point of view, and one that isn’t necessarily all that helpful, especially since built into the advice are prejudices about the virtues of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low fat. From my reading in the recent past I am now vitally convinced that the international obsession with starch and sugar based foods (ie: vegetables, fruit, and whole grains) is the fundamental CAUSE of the current epidemic of diabetes. Included in this obsession is the unproven argument against fat and meat.

Recent articles and books on the subject suggest strongly that the prejudice against fat has directly led the world’s health practitioners and public health authorities to make recommendations that have strongly affected whole populations into wrong minded and dangerous eating habits.

So the first point is almost right. Just totally wrong about low fat, oh, and about having a healthy mixture of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Generally one considers that the first items listed in a list of recommended items should be the items encouraged and supported as the primary source of dietary energy. And this would be WRONG! Sugars and starches should never constitute more than about 10%, maybe 15% of your daily calories. The rest should be made up of proteins and fats, as your primary source of dietary energy for life.

And portion sizes are really important – mostly to keep the amount of starches and sugars to the lowest possible levels, to allow the body to use fat as a primary sources of energy, leaving dietary sugar and starches to supplementary roles.

VARIATION 2 – Don’t trust traditional dieticians or doctors to give you good dietary or lifestyle advice.

Don’t trust you dietician to set goals for you, especially regarding carbs, sugars, fats and protein. Most dieticians today have been trained in a world where fat and protein (especially from red meat) have demonized and starches and sugars elevated to saintly status. Most cook books, dietician training materials, and schools are teaching the same poisoned information that has led us into the diabetic disaster that is underscoring modern lifestyles.

If you want to continue to fight with obesity and diabetes, then follow the Canada or US National Health Strategies, because doing so with take you down the same path as millions of us who are now suffering from severe diabetes, and other side effects of this advice and governmentally supported policy.

On the other hand, if you want to get off the Merry Go Round, and start to live a healthy, happy life, start to adopt what is considered to be a radically reduced diet of sugars and starches. Take your primary sustenance from meat, butter, eggs and fat, or even from vegetables rich in fat. Sugars and starches should be considered as purely luxury items, to be consumed sparsely, and in consideration of their potential for causing harm

Fast Changes

At the end of another week of three 36 hour fasts, I’m contemplating how much my life has already changed, and how much it may still change, as I continue my fasting and attack on diabetes.

Changing your lifestyle is the first key to beating diabetes

First of all, I currently weigh about 30 pounds less than when I started on the low carb high fat program. Fasting started about two weeks later, after I took the time to consult with my endocrinologist about how to manage my blood sugars during my fasting. We had already switched to two different types of insulin, long acting and fast acting, and I’m using the new meter that tests all day long, so he felt that the risk of a dangerous low could be managed.

Secondly, I now know that fasting isn’t really all that hard, for me. I suspect that motivation is a huge part of this, but fasting seems pretty straightforward to me now. Take care of my insulin and blood glucose levels, otherwise just don’t eat. Anything. Instead of it being hard, it’s been pretty easy, and the results so far are gratifying.

Weighing myself every day has become a lifetime habit. Getting my weight to a better levels is one of the keys to improving my diabetes, blood pressure, arthritis, and many other inflammatory problems and diseases.

I made the change to my lifestyle on July 10, and began fasting near the end of the month. It’s now the end of the first week of September so I’m approach two months into the program. My insulin levels are lower than ever as are my glucose readings. I take half of the prescribed dose of long acting insulin these days, and no fast acting insulin at all on my fasting days, and about three quarters of the previous prescibed dose on my non fasting days.

The biggest concern is keeping my blood sugars high enough not to end up in a coma from hypoglycemia from having too much insulin in my system and lowering my blood sugar too much. In more than 20 years of trying to manage my diabetes low blood sugar was never ever a remote possibility, even after being on insulin, as my blood sugars were always higher than desireable.

I recently made two new holes in my belt to keep my pants from falling down, after moving from the last belt hole at the other extreme. I didn’t measure my waist when I started because I was too embarrassed to admit how big I had become. Now I wish that I had because I’m shrinking fast.

When I started this fast, I told myself that I would stay the course for three months, and then re-evaluate where I’m at then, from a health perspective as well as general feeling perspective. I also said that I would be happy if I were to get my weight under 200 lbs or 90 KG by the end of the 90 days of fasting. Today I weigh 217 lbs, down from 244 lbs on July 10th. I believe that I will achieve both goals, at which time I will commit to the next phase of this program.

I wish I could say that there have been no negative effects of fasting. It’s a little early to make that statement. What I can say is that there haven’t been any, so far.

Children and diabetes

I’m current working through the discovery that diabetes and obesity are the evil twins of post-second war American policy in health care and diets. If you read about the history of high carb, low fat diets you soon discover that the United States, and the rest of the world, were conned years ago, about the benefits of high carbs and the dangers of fat, any fat, but especially fat from animal sources. These policies were initiated by the National Health authorities to try to reduce heart disease but instead have led to several generations of increasingly unhealthy populations.

We are taught all the wrong things, for good reasons but terrible outcomes.

Children don’t eat too much. But their choices are influenced by what they are taught by their parents as well as what they see in the media, and on social media. All of the sources of information are tainted by misinformation pumped out by a combination of well meaning but uninformed dieticians, medical doctors, school authorities, health boards and urged on by corporate interests who make money selling foods based on this advice. Eating foods that inevitably bring on obesity, as surely as clouds bring on the rain, is dangerous. Childhood habits encourage the eating of carbs and sugar, rather than healthier alternatives.

Our generation is perhaps the last generation that needs to be poisoned by the demonization of fats and the promotion of carbs and sugars. The recent book by Dr. Jason Fung, the Diabetes Code, should be must reading for everyone responsible for feeding themselves, but especially for anyone responsible for giving advice on healthy eating and living.

Fasting for my life

I’m current engaged in intermittent fasting. That is I fast three days a week for 36 hours each day of fasting. I thought it would be hell. I was wrong.

I’ve previously blogged about why I’m fasting. It’s a part of getting rid of diabetes from my life, in as much as that is possible. It’s a part of a change in eating habits that started in my childhood and led me to becoming a Type 2 Diabetic before I was 40 years old.

Prior to starting the change, on July 10, 2019, I weighed in at 244 pounds (111.13 kilograms), about 80 (36 kg) pounds above my ideal recommended weight of 165 (75 kg) pounds. Even that is more than the Canada Health Guide suggests would be my healthiest weight. The guide suggests that I should weigh between 145 (65lg) and 165 (75 kg) another 20 pounds (9 kg) less.

Whichever weight guide I use the real point of this fast is not really about weight, or even the Body Mass Index. (I was at 45 BMI when I started this.) It is about my diabetes and my obesity. Losing fat is precisely the point of this exercise, in that it is fat, particularly around the waist and in the internal organs that is the source of insulin resistance itself, the precursor and the cause of Type 2 Diabetes.

According to Dr. Jason Fung, in the Diabetic Code, one of the most effective ways to reduce and eventually eliminate diabetes is to fast on an intermittent basis for sufficiently long enough for the body to attack and consume the fat in the liver, the pancreas, and the other internal organs responsible for regulating insulin production and diabetes. My 36 hour fasting periods are recommended by Dr. Fung, along with a much reduced carbohydrate load on the days I do eat. By doing the fast it is suggeted I will cause my body to start using the fat accumulated in my internal organs, even before I lose significant weight from elsewhere in my body.

Periodic fasting can help clear up the mind and strengthen the body and the spirit. Ezra Taft Benson

Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/ezra_taft_benson_556127?src=t_fasting

So what is it like? Fasting three days a week for about a day and a half each time? It’s not hell! That much I can say. I have found that I don’t really miss eating on my fasting days, although food is very much still top of mind. I’m constantly reminded of the fact I’m fasting by the smells and sights of food being consumed and promoted.

Truthfully, on my non-fasting days I have more problems with food than on the days I don’t eat at all. It is hard to make the adjustment to eating meals with substantially less carbs and sugars than I am used to. There are whole types of foods that used to be my main diet that I no longer eat, including things like pasta, potatoes in the form of french fries or chips, bread served at every meals, desserts like donuts which I used to eat at lunch every day.

And even at that, I don’t really miss the high calorie carb and sugar foods like pop and cookies. I quickly figured out that the low carb diet didn’t mean that I have to go hungry, but simply means that I fill up on other things that don’t cause my liver to produce more insulin and convert more sugars and carbs in more and more fat. I’m eating more fish, meat and fatty foods like avocados. Until now I have never thought of eggs as healthy, or as a main source of protein and fat, in a good way.

I’m having to unlearn bad food habits, both in the sense of things I now avoid, as well as things I eat more. My diet is getting more interesting and diverse, because no longer do I use sugar in food to make it palatable. Sugar is fine is small doses. Really small doses!

I still eat potatoes. Really small potatoes, and not deep fried. And only a small amount of potatoes with my dinner meals, if any at all. Same with rice and pasta. Same with really sugary fruits, like my standard apples and bananas. Now I eat a lot of salads, with my meat or eggs or fish or vegetable proteins.

This is my fourth week of fasting three times a week, for 36 hours each time. Oh, and by the way, I am losing weight and fat around my belly. So far my belt is now on the smallest hole setting. I’ll need a new belt soon, as I keep going.

The first couple of weeks on my changed diet, even before I started the fasting part, I lost 10 pounds, and I immediately lost another ten pounds in the first three weeks of fasting, But my weight has been static for a few days after that initial success. For the past five days my weight has been going up and down about five pounds. Hopefully I’ll break through to a new low soon and quit cycling. But whether or not I’m losing weight quickly or slowly I know that I’m pushing my body to clean up the fat in my liver, and that’s the whole point of this.

I’ll be touch, as I continue this journey where I’ve never gone before.


Fasting: For my health’s sake

I started an intermittent fast a little over a week ago. By this I mean that three times a week, for 36 hours in the row, I don’t eat anything.

Nothing.

Nada.

On the days between my fasting, I eat less than 150 carbs including sugars, but mostly avoid anything with added sugars. I do eat some fruit in the form of berries, apples, bananas, and other fruits, but no more than two servings (basically half an apple is one serving).

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My plan is to do this for at least three months, or until I don’t need to do it to get rid of my diabetes. I’ve had diabetes for a long time, and have been on insulin for about 10 years or so. I’ve been told all of my life that diabetes is incurable, but treatable with diet and exercise. My doctors have always told me that it is a progressive disease. Over time it gets worse and worse. Which it has in my case. That is, gotten worse and worse.

My doctor and I decided to try the new patch and Free Style Meter, along with long lasting insulin and fast acting insulin. Basically my previous insulin regime had caused me to increase my weight to 245 pounds. I’d already been diagnosed as obese by my family doctor for more than twenty years, and I’d never weighed more that 220 prior to going on insulin. This new meter and new type of insulin is supposed to be an improvement over the previous mixed insulin (Humulin 30/70). The doctor said that he hoped that it would lower my AIC by reducing my base blood sugar to 7, and cause my blood sugar to fall to 10mml within two hours of eating, after taking fast acting insulin.

He felt that the change in metering by blood sugars and changing to two different types of insulin, might result in better A1C after ninety days.

Wow! Was he surprised when he saw me after 90 days, during which I’d only had the meter and new meds for about three weeks. My AIC was down from 9.9 to 8.1. My weight was down to 234 pounds from 244. My blood pressure was stable. This represented a major change in direction. For the first time in 20 years of having diabetes my weight was going in the right direction without me having to spend a month in the hospital. My blood sugars had also dropped so that my every day blood sugar range was then 5-8 mmls routinely, with only periodic spikes up to 9 or higher.

In the past I would have been ecstatic with these results, but reading Dr. Jason Fung’s “Diabetic Code” has taught me that not only can diabetes be controlled, it can be beaten altogether. But only by following a regime that allows the liver and internal organs to cleanse themselves of internal fat, will I get rid of diabetes for myself. And that regime is intermittent fasting. As the doctor indicates in his book there are many ways to achieve the results desired by different fasts but he recommends the fasting schedule and routing I’m following.

Close-up of female nurse showing heart shape with hands isolated on white background

Starting eleven days ago, I have been fasting, and following Dr. Fung’s advice. And yes, it’s been a bit of a challenge. But mostly convincing my family and friends that I’m not out of my mind and am endangering my life with such a radical change, and so quickly.

This is my fifth day of fasting, and I couldn’t be happier with my results, even after such a short period. My blood sugars have gone down and down, now typically in the target range of 5.8 to 7.8 every day. I now control my insulin, reducing the amount given to the amount needed to maintain my blood sugars in the optimal zone. On fasting days I take a 20 unit shot at midnight, and during the day watch my blood sugar coast along at 4.5. I’m almost ready to cut it again. But before I do that I think I will cut out one of my oral medications first, and set what effect this has on my sugars.

Diabetes is controllable and probably to a degree that it is no longer evident at all. But even if all I could hope to achieve was my current results, I would have been very satisfied with myself.

But I’ve just started.

So, my faithful reader, keep reading. I keep shrinking, and getting healthier.

Ending Diabetes

A couple of months ago I started to seriously revisit all the prescriptions and medications I am taking, by examining all the fact sheets on each prescription drug, particularly as to their side effects. Oh MY! did I open a can of worms when I did that! I would never have guessed that my doctors are quite supportive of my challenge to my existing regimen of treatment.

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My family doctor suggested I get my pharmacist to do a careful analysis of all of them, and make some recommendations as to how I might reduce the sheer number of drugs I’ve been taking, as well as to eliminate those which might be exacerbating some of my side effects. My pharmacist suggested that I could end up getting rid of virtually all my diabetes and related medications by the time we complete this review.

So, far from being discouraged after my initial review, I felt quite enthusiastic about challenging the status quo, and moving towards more control of my health, most particularly my diabetes.

A few weeks ago I wrote about changing how my insulin is administered as well as how it is monitored every day. My endocrinologist prescribed me new forms of insulin, one long acting and one fast acting. I also finally got the new patch, which allows me to monitor my glucose levels on an ongoing basis. Despite a bit of struggling with learning how to use the insulin, without plunging myself into a diabetic coma, it soon became clear to me that I was gaining a huge amount of control of my sugar levels, merely by having an effective biofeedback loop, combined with insulin which could be provided only when needed, and only the amounts needed at the time to control the blood sugar.

Wow! Was I surprised.

Suddenly, in a matter of only two or three weeks I discovered that I could bring my blood sugars down a lot, and not just my fasting sugars, but all of my blood sugars. I discovered that what I put in my body, other than the drugs, has a huge impact of my blood sugars.

Coincidentally, at about the same time, my son Donald, gave me a book, The Diabetes Code, by Jason Fung, MD. This book, which I have reviewed earlier in my blogs, was also a revelation. For the very first time I read about a treatment program which proposes that diabetes is NOT a lifetime sentence to a progressive and destructive disease. Instead, it is a preventable and treatable consequence of lifestyle choices within an individual’s personal control.

And even for someone with long term diabetes, after years of treatment and drugs, with many negative physical problems directly caused by diabetes, diabetes can still be beaten.

Step One. Understand that almost everything we think we know about a healthy diet is simply wrong, and out of date. In a sense, the modern type 2 diabetes epidemic is a creation of modern science in a willing collusion with food manufactures and dieticians. Prior to the last forty years Type 2 diabetes was a relatively rare disorder. In the past forty years, however, it has exploded to becoming one of the number one causes of serious illness and death. Nobody is saying that it is being done on purpose by someone, however, even if someone deliberately set out to destroy public health, all around the world, they couldn’t have done a better job of ruining millions of lives and destroying the health and well being of almost the entire population.

Step Two. Reexamine what Type 2 Diabetes actually is, rather than what health professionals have been saying for the past forty years. Type 2 Diabetes is basically the body overdosing on carbohydrates and sugars, over producing insulin in a vain attempt to force the body to use the excessive amounts of sugars being forced into the system, and systematically creating Insulin Resistance, by trying to get insulin to do a job it is not designed to do – which is to take the constant overdosing on carbohydrates and sugars, and force the cells of the body to use ever more and more of the sugars. Doing this eventually destroys the liver, and packs the liver with excessive stored energy in the form of fat. The fatter the liver, the less effective it becomes at managing the body’s blood sugar levels. Stuff too much sugar and carbohydrates into a body and eventually the body becomes diabetic and obese. Dr. Fung calls the disease Diabesity, combining the words Diabetes and Obesity into one word that describes the condition responsible for the modern malaise that is destroying so many.

Step Three. It is curable, or at least treatable. Not with complicated and expensive prescriptions but with the simplest of instructions, albeit difficult to follow for many. At the simplest level, stop eating that which is killing you. At least stop eating a potentially fatal dose of it every day of your life. It will require a major change in dietary habits, starting with today, and continuing for the rest of your life.

Step Four. Reset the diabetic system of your body. Although simply reducing carbs and sugars radically will bring your sugars (and your weight) down if followed with a certain amount of discipline, what it won’t do, according to Dr. Fung, and his research, is undo the damage done to your body from overeating and overusing carbohydrates and sugar for many years prior to diabetes being diagnosed.

What’s happened, most importantly, is that the body has over-stuffed the critical inner organs, the liver most critically, with fat converted from all the excess sugar and carbs eaten for a lifetime. The fat in the liver is hard to get rid of, even by extremely consistent reduction of carbs and sugars. And it is this fat in the liver that makes you insulin resistant. So getting rid of it as possible is essential for a long term “cure” of diabetes. Dr. Fung believes that intermittent fasting may be the only way, or at least the most likely way, to force the body to eliminate the fat in the internal organs that is most directly responsible for insulin resistance.

Woman Power Walking — Image by � MM Productions/Corbis

So, to make a long blog just a little bit shorter, I’ll get to the point. Fasting is a way to radically improve my health, by busting the elevated fat out of my “fatty liver”. So starting today, with my first 30 hour fast, I am undertaking a systematic program of combining a low carbohydrate and sugar diet with 36 hours of fasting, three days a week.

I’m planning, initially, to pursue this program for three months, in consultation with my endocrinologist and careful planning of my insulin and drug therapies. I’m to monitor my blood sugars all day long with my new meter, and adjust my insulin, up and down as needed to maintain my blood sugar in the healthy target zone of 5.8 mMl t0 7.8 mMl over the twenty-four hour day.

One last point. Do radically reduce carbs in your diet, whether you’re a diabetic or not, because if you are eating too much sugar and carbohydrates, you are now or soon still be a diabetic.

DON’T do this fast without medical consultation and supervision if you are a diabetic on insulin. I have had six dangerously low blood sugar events in the past three weeks, after never having had one in more than twenty years of diabetes. Because I monitor my blood sugars with the Freestyle patch and meter, on a regular basis, I know quickly if my blood sugars are going too low, and have taken corrective steps immediately, which means eating or drinking a high sugar content food, so immediately raise the blood sugars out of the danger zone.

While I am fasting the doctor and I have developed a strategy for administration of my insulin, to ensure that I don’t have any of these extremely low blood sugar events. So please don’t try this without medical advice and support.

So if you’re following me, and want to know how it goes, add follow and I’ll let you know.

The Diabetes Code: Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally

I’m reinventing myself again. My goal is to eliminate or radically reduce prescription medications for diabetes, and a whole host of inflammatory diseases caused by the same thing that causes diabetes. 

Change doesn’t come easily when one is used to surrendering autonomy to the medical profession and simply being the obedient patient. It is NOT SAFE to simply trust that doctors know what is best for us. We already know this, but it is no surprise when we obediently follow their advice. Like everything else in life, you need to check the information out for yourself, and ask a lot of questions.

It seems that diabetes is actually caused by the thing that is supposed to cure it – insulin. In his book, The Diabetes Code, Dr. Jason Fung has coined the word diabesity – combining the words diabetes with obesity, to indicate that diabesity is caused by excess glucose in the body stored as fat, particularly in the internal organs, particularly the liver. There is a cycle in the body, controlled by the liver, that triggers the production of excessive blood sugar and results in insulin resistance.

Too much sugar and the body develops insulin resistance because the body simply can’t absorb any more sugar into the cells. To make matters worse, the medical profession prescribes increased insulin, or even just metformin, which helps the body to try to consume even more sugar.

Dr. Fung’s prescription for the elimination of diabetes is contained in a book called the Diabetes Code. Read it and weep, but understand that it calls for regular fasting to reset the diabetes cycle. 

This week I’m seeing my endocrinologist, and am going to be seeking support to follow Dr. Fung’s program. I’m curious as to what he will say.

Will he continue to prescribe insulin, Janumet, and Invokana to address my extreme diabetes? Or will he support a major lifestyle readjustment along with a fasting program to eliminate the disease altogether, eventually? I have already started to substantially reduce my carbohydrates and sugars in preparation for the revised program, and have already lost over 10 lbs in just under ten days.

I started writing about my diabetes and this journey several months ago, when I decided to review the prescription medications and their side effects, as a result of finally getting fed up with being sick, and seeming to get worse and worse and the years roll by.

With the encouragement of my middle son, Don, I began to look at diet as a major issue in my illnesses, as well as my diabetes. Sure, I went to many diabetes dietician clinics years ago when I first became aware that I was a diabetic. They always talked about reducing carbohydrates and sugars, and using diet and exercise to control my weight, and therefore help control my blood sugars.

As noted by Dr. Fung in his book, diet and exercise programs have been a massive failure, all over the world, in controlling or preventing diabetes or obesity. There are many reasons for this failure, but the medical professional continues to support this old and tired cant, that doesn’t actually work. I think the real reason that nobody wanted to actually examine diabetes and obesity with new eyes is that the old views are very profitable, to the pharmaceutical industry, the vegetable oil industry, even the health and diet industry itself.

But you’d have thought that somebody would have noticed that it didn’t work. And finally somebody has.

Anyway. Wish me luck on this new direction in my journey to solve my diabetes, and eliminate the side effects of so many medications by eliminating my need for them at all.

Finally, my wife Katherine has been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in the past month, and has begun the journey through this ugly territory as well. Hopefully we can solve the riddle of the disease for both of us, and she never has to go through the years of pain and agony I am experiencing as a result of having poorly controlled blood sugar for the past twenty five years.