How sustainable is a low carb diet


#1

I recently started on a low carb diet after discovering that my blood sugar numbers were up, and that it would take a couple of months before I could see my endocrinologist.
So far so good, after a couple of weeks I am seeing random readings all below 180 as compared to a month ago when they were all above 250.
I remember that at the height of the Atkins craze a few years back one of the main arguments against that diet was that it was not sustainable. Typically people would lose a lot of weight in their first month due to loss of water that is bound by carbohydrates, and then it would grind to a halt. Also, people complained about the diet being plain boring, as in how many chicken breasts can you have for breakfast, lunch and dinner before you can’t bear to see one more plain chicken breast, or one more chunk of bacon and a boiled egg in a bowl of melted butter.
So I would be very interested in hearing about the experiences of those people who have managed to stick to low carb for a period of time - at least a year - and what adjustments they have made to avoid the ‘boredom’ syndrome’.


#2

Everyone is different. I personally eat 30 carbs per meal (which is 60-90 per day depending on if I eat 2 or 3 meals and I don’t snack between). I find this amount very palatable and while it doesn’t allow me to ‘eat anything I want’, I can find plenty of things I DO like - actually LOVE - to be happy and not feel deprived. Recently discovered Lily’s dark chocolate bars - the entire bar (which I rarely eat that much in one sitting!) is 8 net carbs! Even someone doing VLC could fit in some of that chocolate for dessert at each meal.


#3

Well, I have yet to get tired of bacon–LOL. Not sure I can. :wink:

But seriously . . . I found the first week or two to be a struggle. Since then it’s been fairly smooth. It’s a very individual thing, of course. I found that developing other interests (aside from food, that is) tended to shift my focus so that I no longer obsessed about it. Also, with time and experience, I’ve been able to introduce enough variety into the low carb/high protein/high fat regimen so that I’m not eating the same thing every day, or even every other day.


#4

I changed my way of eating to low carb in 2012. I’m coming up to my four year anniversary in a few months. I eat around 50 grams of carbs per day. I find it easily sustainable but I don’t get bored of food I like very easily. I eat eggs, heavy cream, yogurt, veggies, cheese, meat, fish, bacon, sausage, and nuts. I limit peanut butter, beans, and potatoes. I avoid or limit bread, rice, and noodles. I also eat blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

I didn’t find it hard to sustain at all once I started observing the dramatically good results on my blood glucose. I lost about 25 pounds and have kept most of it off. I think low carb is highly sustainable.


#5

It’s as sustainable as you want it to be. This is a question only you can answer.


#6

My diet is very similar to Terry’s with trivial exceptions, e.g., nuts. Also about the same number of carbs. 3 years and counting.


#7

Hi Vancouversailor,

While making any changes to your daily habits can prove hard, it’s just a matter of finding good recipes that agree with your body.

Starting with a daily target of ~50g of carbs per day is a good start. Some do better on 20g per day, but it’s easier to start around 50g first.

One common pitfall is relying on dairy too much for a fat source. Healthier fats from coconut, avocado and olive oil promote more weight loss than dairy. Brazil nuts and almonds are good too.

Best,
Frank


#8

Thank you for all the positive and helpful responses. It appears that the body of evidence in support of a low carb mealplan being part of a successful diabetes management strategy is now, to put it mildly, quite overwhelming.
It’s also notable that much of the earlier criticism of low-carb came not from people dealing with diabetes but non-diabetics looking for a quick and easy way to lose weight without having to make sacrifices in the way of exercise or reducing the amount they eat.
Personally I will be vamping up my activity plan to at least one hour a day of brisk walking, if for no other reason than one of mental health: it makes me feel good!. .


#9

i eat, about 20-30 carbs per meal, so it about 90 or more for me, i do snack between,

but i do find it hard, to sustain, at all, just the way i’m,.


#10

Heading into my 10th year Low Carb. After not too long, one figures out yummy substitutions and how to adapt favorite recipes using things like nut flours and stevia. It has even sustained me with A1cs in the low 5s through a nasty rapid weight gain when we didn’t catch my thyroid problem fast enough–weight that is hard to lose as my arthritis worsens. Here’s my blog on the subject. My enthusiasm makes me get a little carried away, but it’ll give you some ideas, I hope…


#11

I’ve been eating low carb for about a year now and I find it to be very doable. I actually enjoy cooking a lot more now than before when I only enjoyed baking occasionally and left all the cooking to my husband. Now I find that I get a lot more creative in my cooking because of the somewhat limited ingredient list, I get a lot of satisfaction from experimenting and coming up with new things to make. I’m not tired/sick of it at all.

I pretty much follow Dr. Bernstein’s recommendations and so I try to stick to about 30 grams a day though sometimes go up to around 50. I first started by completely omitting sweets, fruit, sugar, snacks, etc. Then switched to only using bread with 11 grams of carbs per slice, and limiting consumption of legumes and any complex carbohydrates as well. Starting in July, I omitted all bread, grains, legumes, starches, etc. I think going into it gradually really helped my body adjust to it, though it was hard figuring out my insulin doses for a while there.

My carb intake now only comes from vegetables and nuts. My last A1c last month was 4.9 so so far, so good. :slightly_smiling:


#12

I’ve been low carb for 10 years, give or take. It doesn’t help much to say that I am only bored if I want to be bored, but I believe that to be the case. Was I ever bored eating the same exact Sunday meal with pasta and bread? No, I embraced that meal as a tradition.

I have new traditions now. I don’t focus on what I cannot have, but on on what I want to have. I had Tibetan momo burgers yesterday, with Thai peppers, cilantro and shallots instead of onion. Because I felt like trying the shallots. I liked them enough that I’ll make them again. Good with sriracha sauce. Oddly enough I had them with a locally made vegan kimchi - no fish sauce. A weird and wonderful combination. I departed from the Asian theme with my salad - I am on a Greek kick, so feta, olives, and oregano were the featured flavours there.

There are so many cultures, with so many flavours. It’s been fun expanding my palate. It’s sometimes difficult to get ethnic food; Calabrian 'nduja, for example. This can be frustrating, or it can be motivation to get a proper meat grinder and make my own. On the other hand, a trip to the local Asian market is like being on an exotic vacation. Where else can I buy fresh daikon, frozen kaffir lime leaves, and real lemongrass?

I am blessed that my parents, who come from two wildly different cultures, both use spice quite liberally in their cooking. Because now I do, too. And there are so very many different spices to try. Not just the fiery hot stuff, but things like cumin, and coconut cream, ‘umami’ (oooh, I may bring an umeboshi plum to work for a treat!), all the different sours: lemons, sure, but limes - Key limes - and sour orange, and citron for its peel of all things. Or go German with nutmeg and caraway seed in a meat loaf. Have you tried spices like furikake? I almost forgot vinegar; I thinly sliced some kumquats and put them in a quart jar with cheap white vinegar. Left it in the refrigerator for a couple of months and then strained out the fruit, leaving a delicately flavoured vinegar that is pretty nice on salad, but also in a shrub I make with liquid Splenda instead of sugar.

It’s an amazing, wonderful world of flavour. I’ve had a lot of fun going to the public library and going over to the 641 section and bringing home random cook books just to see how someone else does it. The internet is another tremendous resource. Pick a country on the globe and look up recipes: ‘authentic new zealand recipes’ turned up some interesting stuff. I’m seriously contemplating a variant of the Italian ‘7 fishes’ meal to include one fish from each of the 7 continents. Because… why not?


#13

I’ve been LC for about 20 years. Bernstein for much longer. The most difficult part is eating out with friends, but I don’t do that often. I’m not tempted by carbs because I know if I ate a little I’d eat a lot.

I haven’t measured daily carb intake for a long time. Rather than eating one-sixteenth of some yummy carby food, I just eat certain foods and don’t eat others.


#14

I’ve been LC for 6.5 years. Lately I’ve been dreaming about eating carby favorites from the past like hash browns for breakfast or green chili stew. So far I haven’t given in because I know these type of foods absolutely wreck my blood sugar and I don’t like the number on my meter or the way it makes me feel.

I think if I was low carbing for weight loss I would probably have fallen off the wagon long ago, they call those carby foods comfort foods for a reason. But on diagnosis I could clearly see diabetes was killing me and that has kept me on the straight and narrow. It probably helps to be a bit OCD :sunglasses:


#15

I am five years in, eating about 100 carbs per day, and have no intention of changing my diet ever. My A1c has been a solid 5.4 5.5 and I eat anything I want. Well, my wants have changed. I don’t want to go blind, I hate feeling like crap and I like wearing a size 33 waist. Also, very rarely, did I say very very rarely do I have to chase my blood sugars.

This diet is as boring as you want to be (notice I did not say as you want “it” to be). Use your imagination. There are lots of low glycemic foods out there. Be creative. Explore spices, herbs and combinations of foods and flavors that are unfamiliar.

The big secret for me is to treat all those wonderfully delicious things like frozen yogurt, candy, any of those things that can send us over the edge, as a condiment and not as a meal portion. I eat frozen yogurt all the time almost every day. But, I can only have a couple spoonfuls and only if my blood sugar allows it with a meal (or following a meal). The thing is a lot of this stuff just doesn’t taste very good anymore. All of it threatens my well-being, and I know this. So by allowing myself to have access to these foods and to practice control with these foods I truly can eat anything I want.

When I first started this I went to a CDE and she told me that it was useless to go low-carb because it was physically unsustainable. Not only would I be incapable of controlling my impulses and my desires but it would be harmful to my body. ALL OF THIS IS A LIE. Carbs are not necessary to sustain life. They are not. You would have to be very careful and well-educated on the topic but you could get by not eating carbs at all. The same cannot be said about fat and protein.

Tlhe FDA recommends that all people, even those with diabetes, should get 45% of their caloric intake from carbs. Just remember, these are the same people that told you margarine is a healthy substitute for butter. And folks the list of FDA advice that is incredibly inaccurate is quite long.

Following a low-carb diet for the last five years has improved my health. It has improved my complications, neuropathy, retinopathy and gastrointestinal issues. I shudder to think where I would be today if I had not done this.


#16

Been doing LC for about 4 years. Was kinda boring at first when I wasn’t aware of the options but today its awesome. Finding low carb bread/chips/pasta/etc was almost enough to bring tears after missing it for so long. Also finding LC flour so now I can bake almost anything. Netrition and Linda’s Diet Delites have tons of LC options if looking for variety. Amazon sells the LC flour (CarbQuick), My carb intake is about 20 or less a day and I do switch it up for some complex carbs sometimes like quinoa or strawberries. I also do something similar to Randy5 only eating like a tablespoon of something or serving sizes very small.


#17

Flavors!..The complex flavors of investigating many cultures makes going low-carb so easy!


#18

No starches, no sugars including fruit/juice. Eat everything else and there is a world of food out there.


#19

ok I want recipes now, I love all these flavors too!


#20

I am a fan of cookbooks so that I easily can replicate recipes that I found I enjoyed, Through a free service called bookbnb I have built up a small library of low carb cookbooks. These I can either read on my laptop computer, on a tablet or I can convert them to pdf which can be read on any type of computer.
Here’s a list of the books I have accumulated through this service so far, all either free or for less than $4 each:

All-new Low-Carb Cookbook
Diabetes Cooking for Everyone
free-type-2-diabetes-book-taming-the-tiger
Glycemic Index Diet for Dummies
THE ULTIMATE 300 LOW CARB RECIPES

To subscribe to daily offers of cookbooks, other health books, fiction and what-have-yiou-nots, go to:

https://www.bookbub.com/home/

Note: You do NOT need a kindle reader ($140) to read these books, though you might find it useful if you are reading in the bathtub or other unusual places, but you can use the free Kindle app for PC, from Amazon, to read 'em all on your PC.