High protein diet, did it work or not?

So, I was hoping people would share their stories with my on the low carb/high protein diet with me. Did it work for you? Did it come to a point that it failed for you and you had to go on meds? I don’t think I can do it long term and am worried. I’ve had bad side effects from metformin and Januvia. My last A1c was 7. 1 and my doc wants me to go on meds, probably Invokana.


I have always been on Metformin (Diaformin) and moderate low carb. I don’t eat high protein though. Limiting carbs and exercising has good effect on your blood sugar, but many T2s still need medication of some kind.
Asking for an extended release form of Metformin could help with your side effects to this drug.

Thanks for your reply Pastelpainter! Yea, unfortunately I was taking the extended release form of metformin. It didn’t upset my stomach, it gave me horrible muscle aches and joint pains. Very disappointing because it worked well for the sugars. So did Januvia. I have very strange reactions to drugs and allergies. I think I am going to join a gym tomorrow. It wasn’t this bad when I was swimming last summer but my fasting was still too high at 140-170.

I ate low carb, 30 carbs a day, for 11 yrs. It was fine, my total insulin dose was about 17 units. I am a type 1 dx 1959, so have no working beta cells.

Now I eat a very low fat vegan diet and about 300 + carbs daily. I take 23 units of insulin and I exercise much more than I did before.

Many type 2’s can eat like this lose weight, and stop all their diabetic meds. They seem pleased with the ability to eat lots of fruit. See the Mastering Diabetes website if you want more information.

I switched to this way of eating because I wanted a change, and I am happy with my choice. I feel better and have more energy.

Good luck to you.

Many T2s are on insulin therapy. You could talk to your doctor about this.


Do you mean high fat? I have never heard of high protein low carb. High protein is bad for your kidneys. Each person is different so the only way know if it works for you is to try. Sounds like you need meds as well and to use insulin etc. I have not heard of eating a high carb diet, whether vegan or not, being ok for type 2 on no meds.

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Dr. Bernsteins protocol is high protein/low carb and he’s been on it for 40 plus years.


Everyone is different. I am new to this, t2 diagnosed for about a month, a1c 9.7. I’m still formulating a strategy on how to address my problem. I’m 6’2", 225 right now and I’m doing high protein almost no carb and low fat in an attempt to loose weight first. I have read that weight loss makes everything work better. I’m on Metformin twice a day. I take BG before and after eating. I’ve lost weight before on the high protean diet and I felt fairly good at 230 but now I need to get down to 200 at least to see how it effects the t2. To complicate things I just had a cataract surgery so I can’t exercise for a while. Some people love a plant based diet, some go extreme carnivore. Bottom line, if it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work. High protean works for me.

I was diagnosed with T2 3 years ago. At the time I was morbidly obese (6’0 and 313 pounds), had BP high enough that serious consideration of a trip to the ER was given, and sedentary. I live on the 3rd floor of a walk up and I would be huffing and puffing climbing the stairs. I was given the pat on the back and a bottle of Metformin.

I researched and with great skepticism and frank doubt, gave low carb/high fat a try. It was like hitting a reset switch for my body. Within 6 months my A1c dropped from 8.5 to the low 5’s. On an 1800 calorie a day diet in which I found I could eat enough to be satisfied, I lost over 50 pounds and had to buy new pants. My BP was much better (with some medication).

After 3 years, I now weigh 212, My A1c is in the 4’s consistently, my BP is under control. I have become active and fit. I can walk, run, and cycle (my passion) as much as I want to and more. I run in 5K and 10K and have some century rides under my belt. I went from a size 44 to a size 36 in pants. I have long since ditched the Metformin and mt doctor has called the diabetes as “in remission”. Skepticism or no, the results are documented.

I emphasize that I eat low carb and high fat. There is protein in my diet but I find the fat provides the energy I need and keeps me satiated.

If you could explain what you think will not work over the long term, you might get more help. If it is variety, I eat way better now than I ever did. All those starches are actually pretty boring after you discover the things you can do with proteins and fats.

Given a choice between Chinese Roast Pork and potatoes (which I love), I will take the pork now lol…


Great story, great job @Mike_M3 ! I too was sceptical of LCHF (Keto) when I first was exposed to it a year ago. But after 6 months, I can say it’s the best type 1 diabetes decision I ever made (head of #2 Getting a pump and #3 getting a CGM).

But as you said, everyone’s metabolism and circumstances are different. That’s why some drive American cars, while others prefer German or Japanese. Whatever works and makes you happy.

Dr. Bernstein was not high-protein it was high fat as far as I recall I didnt do super high-protein with it anyway maybe because it didn’t work for me. actually Dr. Bernstein sucked big time for me so I stopped since I was having constant lows and spikes anyway as well as starving. What I do now is much better for me.

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Very interesting Mike! My experience with my doctor was very similar. Thank God for the Internet. This is what I wish my Doctor had done. “You are type2 diabetic but don’t panic. You have likely been this way for quite some time. (My last doctor’s visit was 20 years ago.) Here’s a Glucose Meter…(insert instructions here)… for the next week I want you to change nothing, eat your normal diet and with your normal exercise just like you have been and check and log your BG before and after meals. On week 2 cut out as much sugar as you can, no cokes no sweet tea and log your blood sugar. week 3 I want you to start Metformin and log your BG.
Week 4 here is a diet…(insert diet of Doctor’s choice)…log your BG and come back to see me at the end of the week and we will discus what your log has told us.”
I wish I had a base line of my BG before I started treatment and something to compare the effectiveness of the Metformin. At least I knew enough to trash the diet (low calorie, low fat) right off the bat.

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Dr. Bernsteins diet is absolutely high protein. He specifically uses protein as his main energy source with whatever fat is in the food he eats. Not low fat but not trying to increase the fat to 65-75% like the keto diet does. I’m halfway through his book right now after viewing many of his youtube videos over the past few years. The only thing he limits (food wise) is carbs with the caveat that you keep the amounts of protein and carb steady for each meal to reduce variability.

Depends what you want to define as high protein. My protein target is somewhere between 1 - 2 g per kg of body weight, typically in the middle of that range. I define that as moderate protein.

I use insulin (about 30 units a day) and low carb, moderate protein, and the fat the comes naturally with the food (I still have plenty of body fat that needs to be lost so I don’t need extra food fat). My last a1c was 4.8; I don’t have lows. I don’t have highs. I don’t worry too much about diabetes most of the time. So this way works for me.


High protein is bad for kidneys though, anyway the diet didn’t work at all for me.

Dr Bernstein prescribed to me high protein diet. I am from India where grains are our main diet. All grains have about 60% min carb. I tried meat./eggs for few weeks and started getting sick, because my body was not used to it. So, I modified the Dr Bernstein menu to suit me: 50% of my meal is veges and 50% carb. But after every meal I walk 30-45 minutes to burn those carbs, It worked for me for 10 years. I am 73 now with a1c 6.2-6.4. 10 years ago it was 7.4.


It sounds like people have different approaches to lowering their A1c that works for them. I like my carbs. I might have to amp up the exercise and go on some meds.

Thank you for your replies!! I appreciate hearing your stories.

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Jean - the first question you need to answer to yourself is are you willing to spend a little money.

If so what I would suggest is go back to your Doc and get a script for the Libre and get at least a 2 week glucose profile (AGP) which is one sensor. Saying you have an A1c of 7.1 doesn’t really mean much.

While getting the AGP, log everything you are eating/drinking and times during that 2 weeks. You will then use this to profile against the AGP. This will tell you when you spike, what your baseline is, how high you are spiking and how long it takes to get back to baseline. At this point we don’t even know your baseline. A non-diabetic is about 85.

The big promoter of metformin in the U.S. 25+ years ago was Ralph DeFronzo. He has now flipped on metformin and says its the biggest waste of time in T2 treatment. Why? Because it starts the current treat to fail approach which is currently practiced by most doctors. The current ADA standard of care is a “treat to fail” approach. Ralph now believes beta cells can be saved and will regenerate. IMO, Ralph is correct.

The problem all diabetics face is they are not producing enough insulin for their body’s needs. It would then seem to make sense to augment the body by taking additional insulin. There are a ton studies done over the years on early insulin intervention. The best way to stop T2 progression and potentially gain some beta cell regeneration is through early insulin intervention.

The problem is, is taking most insulins requires needles and they have the risk of hypoglycemia even the RAAs. This led Ralph down the path of taking a GLP-1 and Actos as a combined therapy. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/40/8/1121.full.pdf

IMO Ralph has the right idea by saving the beta cells but the best approach is to go right to the afrezza. The chance of a severe hypo with afrezza is very very small and it provides the body with what it needs which is insulin and offloads the beta cell stress providing the potential for regeneration. It also shuts off sugar production by the liver while eating.

The problem is neither the afrezza or GLP1 will be covered by insurance as a first step. The GLP1 has now moved up in the 2019 standard of care so you might have a chance of getting that covered but if you are willing to even fund 3 months on the afrezza, thats what I would do before the GLP1. Three months was the typical time of the early insulin intervention studies.

IMO stay far away from the SGLT2s. To many toes have been lost and if you see the AGP using them you will see they do not solve the main issue which is after meal spikes and you want to get below 140 asap. Right now you are averaging 157.

Thanks for the discussion George. I am going to talk to my doc about the GLP-1’s since I have failed metformin and Januvia due to bad side effects.

The docs are sure pushing the SGLT-2 drugs though. I thought they disproved the amputation thing? I feel horrible for the folks. I see commercials from lawyers for these drugs but they pretty much do that for all drugs…

This really depends on individual circumstances. High protein works really well for those who do a really large amount of physical exercise, especially resistance work. I eat an unconscionable amount of protein (1g per lb of lean body mass, so about 170g per day for me), low carb (25-50 depending on activity), and moderate fat (whatever I get). Why?

Because when I ate low carb, high fat, I lost a ton of weight and lost muscle mass as well as body fat. I continued to lose muscle mass when my body fat got down close to 10% (which in my 40s, as someone who hasn’t competed as an athlete in more than 15 years, was far lower than I or my doctors wanted me to be). Doing heavy resistance work and eating very high protein (a bodybuilder’s diet, basically) has allowed me to maintain weight, keep my A1c and BG relatively stable (around 5.0, +/- a couple tenths), and actually regain a bit of muscle and strength.

Truly, we all have to find what works for us and our individual lifestyles. High protein doesn’t damage the kidneys if you use all the protein you eat for muscle growth and maintenance. People get into problems if they: a) already have kidney problems, which isn’t uncommon in diabetics; or b) are eating more protein than they can realistically use biologically, in which case the protein is either converted to glucose or excreted. That last part is where problems for kidney issues can happen.

If you’re really active, high protein low carb (Bernstein’s method) can be really good. If you’ve got kidney problems or are more into cardio (or even sedentary), low carb high fat can work really well. Some people even do well on plant-based, high carb diets. That part never worked for me :slight_smile: