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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Low-Carbing for people with Diabetes - ADA says YES!

It is shocking that for so many years now, low-carbing has not been part of the vocabulary of people who have diabetes or of the diabetes educators out there - let alone the ADA (America) and CDA (Canada).

Curiously, I wrote my first two cookbooks for people with diabetes and the CDA bought thousands of my books. Yes, indeed those books contained the typical low-fat recipes and using Splenda Granular instead of sugar. It is important for people who have diabetes and who are overweight to lose excess weight, therefore, the emphasis on the low-fat, sugarless diet at the time.

Much later in my career I became aware of low-carb diets being more beneficial to treat diabetes. I learned of Dr. Bernstein (who incidentally manages his type 1 diabetes which he has had for over 50 years) and his low-carb diet and I learned of Dr. Atkins and his low-carb approach, The Eades doctor couple and Protein Power and that people with diabetes were improving their health dramatically, often no longer needing medication or insulin. Once I realized the truth of low-carbing being superior to high-carbing for people with diabetes, I immediately switched my focus to low-carb cookbooks instead. I'm very glad I did, because frankly the high carb bandwagon that I was on was certainly going to be a recipe for disaster later on. I was already struggling with extra weight and hypothryoidism, before I embarked on my low-carb lifestyle and I was not yet 40 years of age.

Although I cannot be called a Puritan, because I have occasional blow-outs or vacations where I will not necessarily eat correctly, I still go back to low-carbing every time and have strong views on the subject. It never ceased to amaze me what people with diabetes were fed in the hospital - e.g. mounds of mashed potato, glazed carrots, small portion of protein (often breaded) and peas, with a glass of orange juice and a big portion of cake for dessert. Wowzers! My dear friend, Jeanne, could not understand why her blood sugar was so high in hospital, but the nurse dutifully came round and gave her a shot of insulin.

When Jeanne would come stay with us for a few days over Christmas, her blood sugars would become almost normal. She understood that low-carbing was working at my house, but somehow the voices of the diabetes counselors overrode her own sense of reason. Perhaps also at her age it was difficult to change a lifetime of eating habits.

Anyway, there have been some amazing breakthroughs this year. The ADA has finally come out and said that low-carb diets or low-fat diets (high-carb by definition) may be used for weight loss, with neither diet being chosen as the better one (although you and I know which is the better one - stands to reason - if one has a carbohydrate metabolism problem then cut down on carbs). That is a big admission and I'm so happy about that. We wait upon the CDA to say the same.

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