Why High Carb Diets Alone Dont Work
Lets start with the peptide hormone insulin.
Insulin is a regulatory hormone that allows the body cells to take up glucose, which it needs for energy metabolism and blood sugar balance. Obviously, type I diabetics dont produce enough insulin! Hence, they take insulin supplements via injection or insulin pump. Whether or not you have Type I diabetes, higher doses of insulin will facilitate fat storage , an obstacle for weight loss.
Clearly, if you have type I diabetes, your blood sugar fluctuates as you increase the number of carbohydrates you consume. Obtaining 55 percent or more of your total daily calorie needs from carbohydrates increases the doses of insulin you need to take.
Higher insulin doses and free active insulin in the body can increase carbohydrate metabolism from foods you consume and from your glycogen stores in the muscles. These increased insulin levels all day long do not allow much time for the body fat to be burned and metabolized. Bear in mind that insulin instructs the body to store fat and burn glucose or glycogen for energy.
This scenario wont be ideal for someone with type I diabetes or an active individual aiming to have a slimmer body composition.
Consuming carbohydrates, particularly before getting active, can lead to a surge in insulin levels, causing the body to burn carbohydrates exclusively and do a bad job of depleting our fat cells. Sometimes, a high carb diet will offer enough energy.
Diabulimia: Skipping Insulin To Lose Weight
What might seem like a magic bullet for weight loss could have killer consequences.
A dangerous eating disorder is affecting thousands of teenage girls and women with type 1 diabetes. Sometimes called diabulimia, the common practice of skipping or reducing insulin to lose weight is putting lives at risk.
We think more than 10 percent of young women with type 1 diabetes are regularly omitting insulin to control their weight, says William Polonsky, PhD, a diabetes educator and chief executive officer of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute in San Diego. But since its a secretive disorder, the percentage is probably much higher, he says. A recent report in the World Journal of Diabetes estimates that between 30 to 40 percent of teens and young adults with type 1 diabetes skip insulin after meals in order to lose weight.
What Is Diabulimia?
You wont find diabulimia in medical books because its not a recognized condition. Its a term now used in the media to describe the eating disorder bulimia among type 1 diabetics.
Bulimia is a disorder in which a person eats and then purges, usually by vomiting or abusing laxatives. In diabulimia, the tool used to purge calories is simply to cut back on insulin. Its extraordinarily successful and quite addictive, says Polonsky. But it can harm you terribly in the near-to-long term. It is so scary and hard to treat.
Diabetes: The Insulin and Weight Loss Connection
That is, until you consider the frightening consequences.
Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis At Age 44
It wasnt until Regina visited with a third doctor that she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes , and would require exogenous insulin.
She consulted with a dietician about the right way to eat for type 1 diabetes, and was recommended a conventional low-carbohydrate diet to manage her blood glucose.
Regina endured the low-carbohydrate diet for about 1 month, but quickly she began gaining weight, and started to think that there must be a better way to live and thrive with type 1 diabetes. Not long after, she found Mastering Diabetes online.
Immediately, Regina joined the Mastering Diabetes Program and began following a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet.
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Preparing Healthy Food Options
Adjust Your Insulin Doses Sooner Than Later
Even though you wont see the scale budge significantly for 3 or 4 weeks, you will see your insulin needs decrease quickly the moment you start trying to lose weight.
Cutting or reducing junk food, alcohol, and processed carbs can lower your insulin needs after merely a couple of days .
Getting daily exercise when you were not exercising before can lower your insulin needs almost immediately!
And then, when you drop those first couples pounds , youll see another reason to reduce your background insulin doses.
How will you know? Low blood sugars.
If you dont react quickly to your bodys demand for less insulin, youll exhaust yourself trying to prevent and treat the lows.
Then youll be frustrated with how often you have to eat unplanned snacks to treat the lows.
And youll want to give up.
But, dont give up!
Be proactive and make slight reductions in your background insulin dose during that first month. And by slight, I mean never reducing your doses by more than 1 to 2 units per day and remember to give a few days to see the full effects of that reduction.
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Weight Is A Sensitive Issue For Many People And Getting To An Ideal Healthy Weight Is Easier Said Than Done But When You Have Diabetes There Are Huge Benefits To Losing Weight If You’re Carrying Extra Weight
Youll have more energy and youll reduce your risk of serious complications like heart disease and stroke. Losing weight can help with your diabetes control too. And if you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight could even mean going into diabetes remission.
But millions of people with diabetes find keeping to a healthy weight a huge struggle. You’re not alone in this, there’s support out there to help a good first step is to ask your healthcare team for help and advice.
On this page:
- Weight loss surgery.
Avoiding Or Limiting Certain Foods
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When Is It Time To Adjust Meal Boluses
The trickiest part of reducing meal boluses is that having a low after you eat doesnt necessarily mean the adjustment should come from your meal bolus. This is why its important to first reduce your basal rates, as Smith described.
However, if you do feel like most of your lows are coming after eating, your insulin-to-carb ratio could need a big change if youve gone from eating heavier, carb-loaded meals to healthier meals with more vegetables, lean protein, and so on, explains Smith.
For example, if you used to always eat a huge sandwich for lunch and now youre eating a salad, you may not need the same ratio anymore because the meal isnt as high in fat and starch.
Making a change in your IC ratios would start small, much like the 5 to 10 percent reduction in basals. If your current IC ratio is 1:8 , you could make a slight reduction in your insulin dose by increasing the carbohydrate grams to 1:10, resulting in less insulin for the meal.
The process of reducing insulin doses to account for changes in your day-to-day habits is a very delicate juggling act. One week you may need to make that 10 percent adjustment, and then the next week or two you may see no changes.
What we all know for sure, however, is that frequent lows mean youre getting more insulin than you need. The tricky part is determining exactly how much more and when.
How Diabetes Is Harmful
Most people dont really understand the way diabetes works, but a firm grasp of how it affects your body chemistry will help you better control the disease.
Your body is made up of millions of cells, and these cells use glucose as their energy source. Your body gets glucose from the food that you eat.
After a meal, your body secrets a hormone called insulin into your blood insulin works as a signal to let your cells know that glucose is on the way to feed your cells. But, for people with diabetes, the signals that tell the cells to absorb the sugar are defective, or the body does not make enough insulin. As a result, high levels of glucose remain in the blood, which is thought to alter the structure and function of many different types of cells in your body. This is why diabetes can cause so many different kinds of serious illnesses if not controlled.
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Doing Exercise And Physical Activity
Background Context: My Story
So before I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes I was quite thin , and one of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes is weight loss, so that exaggerated my weight loss further. This meant that when I started using insulin, I naturally gained some weight alongside it.
I had put on extra weight when I was at university and decided I wanted to lose that weight. So, this is about what I did.
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Losing Weight With Diabetes: What Prevents It And Causes Weight Gain
I recently was included in a discussion on a Facebook group for athletes with diabetes about how hard it can be to lose weight through exercise. While I would never claim to have all the answers on this topic, here are some ideas about what can make you gain weight or keep you from losing weight with diabetes, based on my decades of professional and personal experience with diabetes and weight management, and what you can do about it.
My former graduate student with type 1 diabetes went on an insulin pump and promptly gained about 10 pounds, even though his blood glucose control improved only marginally. Why did this happen to him ?
The best way to balance your insulin use and your body weight, in my opinion, is to be physically active to keep your overall insulin levels lower. Its easier to lose weight, too, when youre taking less insulinor releasing less of your own if your pancreas still does that.
Having said that, I have to say that what you choose to eat has a huge impact on your insulin needs as well as your body weight. My graduate student found that by doing frequent dosing with his insulin pump, he was eating more overall, just because he could without having to take another injection with a needle. Just because insulin use can make it easier for you to eat cake and other formerly forbidden foods doesnt mean that you need to eat them!
Lack of Physical Movement
Keep Track Of Your Goals And Progress
Writing down the details of your weight loss journey helps you set healthy targets and notice patterns. Youll be able to appreciate your progress over time, as well as notice when your diet might have gotten a bit off track.
Try jotting down all of the foods you eat, including the serving sizes, in a journal every day. Not a fan of pen and paper? Try one of the many free apps. Its a good idea to weigh yourself at least once a week, per your doctors or diabetes educators recommendation, to keep track of your progress. You might also want to write down when you exercised, what you did, and how you felt after.
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How To Lose Weight With Diabetes And Hypothyroidism
Diabetes and hypothyroidism are problems associated with your endocrine system, a network of glands that plays a role in many important body functions. And its important to keep at your healthy weight-scale if you are a diabetic or/and have under-active thyroid. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to lose weight and keep it off.
What Makes A Balanced Low
As we have seen both high fat and high carbohydrate diets have their advantages. Hence, the nutrient timing and food combining aspects of Ideal Proteins Alternative plan, designed specifically for Type 1 diabetics, combine the two diet approaches better and is even more effective for weight loss when you add activity to the picture.
The trick is to time insulin, which is the same as timing proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Insulin has an enhanced effect at different times of the day and particularly during activity.
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Exercising While Fasting Is Better
The best thing to do is to perform the workout in a fasted state and with little food to make you feel full and sustain you for the activity.
For individuals with type I diabetes, the key factor to consider before getting active is the amount of active insulin in their body from basal rate and boluses. If insulin is in the system, a certain amount of glucose would need to be consumed to prevent blood sugar from crashing. Since synthetic insulin acts for about 3.5 to 4.5 hours, some planning may help time your meal and when you will be active.
Exercising First Thing In The Morning Or Before Dinner
Old-school diabetes education has told us to exercise after eating in order to prevent low blood sugars, but this will drastically prevent your body from burning fat for fuel. Why would it need to? You just ate 400 calories your body can burn that up instead.
When you exercise first thing in the morning before eating, and with a stable in-range blood sugar youre actually going to burn fat for fuel because your body is still in a fasted state.
The moment you consume calories, your body will switch over to burning glucose for fuel.
This is something bodybuilders have been doing for decades in an effort to burn body fat without sacrificing muscle mass.
If you cant exercise in the morning, you can create a fasted environment by not eating past 3 p.m., and exercising at 6 or 7 p.m. before dinner.
The fast-acting insulin you took for your last meal at 3 p.m. will be largely out of your system. As long as your basal/background insulin is properly fine-tuned, you should be able to do a cardio workout without seeing any significant change in your blood sugar.
Strength-training workouts can sometimes spike in your blood sugar. If you see that happening consistently, then you know you may need a small bolus of insulin at the start of your strength-training workout.
When I used to lift weights in the morning, I took 1 unit of insulin to counter the glycogen breakdown from my muscles and liver.
Be patient, though. It takes easily 30 or more days to see the scale budge.
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