Low Carb vs Not Low Carb - let's stop the vitriol

I’ve been approached by various members and friends of the organization recently saying that TuDiabetes has a “low carb slant” to it. “Hogwash,” I’ve said. But am I right?

I’ve been a member of this community for 7 years this month (woo-hoo). We have always had an active and vocal group of LCers. I have been impressed with the results that my friends doing low carb see and I’ve always felt that I was an ally of the Low Carbers and the Bernsteiners. I’ve read the books. I know what does and doesn’t work for me. I don’t eat low carb, personally. I don’t eat particularly high carb either. I just eat for my body and my life. We are so fortunate to have choice in how we manage our diabetes.

What I can’t get over, however, is the saddening feeling like there may be members of our community who feel like their way of eating is not welcome here. We are NOT experts on nutrition and we are a community where no one should feel alone. And that includes the silent majority.

And as to the slant of some of the conversation, it’s painful to me to see organizations who work tirelessly for the benefit of people with diabetes - some of our greatest allies - dragged through the mud because they don’t embrace a particular nutritional method with public position statements. We need to be better than that, friends. You do not influence organizations or policymakers with anger and libel.


II do see that people here are sometimes strident about it, but it I think it’s more rooted in defensiveness because LC has been resisted/rejected by the diabetes Powers That Be. I know Joslin has been anti-LC, which is why even though I love my Joslin endo I don’t really like to get into talking about diet there. I’m more-or-less an LCer myself, not so much as a doctrinal matter but mainly because I find carbs such a pain to deal with. Some of it is ingrained from having done 20 years on R/NPH, which strongly indoctrinated me in shunning the stuff (“You can’t have it except when you HAVE to have it!”) and I’ve never been comfortable eating carb-y stuff even after finally switching to MDI and more recently a pump. I’ve felt pressure the other way from the treatment establishment, so I actually appreciate the reinforcement from some people here. As long as they’re not doctrinaire about it (which maybe one or two of 'em are).


Sigh…I’m always sorry to see this crop up as an “issue”…“If you wish to treat diabetes ‘by the book’—you must write a new book for every diabetic.”

Low carb works for me, but there is no reason in all this crazy world to assume it will work for everyone–or needs to! We would all like to “live long and prosper.” However we can get there successfully is a most excellent path of our own making, with help from others as needed.

I believe that we all need to pay close attention to carb-intake and for most of us that means moderating how many carbs we eat to some degree. Period. When asked, I enjoy sharing the recipes I have adapted…

We have been through this before, more times than I care to remember. Sorry to see it happening again. I do think Dr BB makes a good point. Most low-carbers arrived at that position by struggling against all kinds of dire warnings from their medical teams…Blessings on us all, however we make our way through this labyrinth of self-care…


As someone new to blood glucose problems I’ve never felt like low carb folks pushed their eating style on me since joining Tu. Perhaps they just have more discussions about it, i.e. how to do it, what to eat, how much, etc. I’ve learned a lot from everyone here then applied it to what works for me. Personally, I have a hard time going super low carb like Bernstein advocates after years of also being gluten free but it’s clear from my meter what happens to my blood glucose (both highs and reactive lows) if I overdo carbs and sugars so I have to figure out what works for me. We all do, which is one thing everyone here seems to agree about!


Yes, you are right! IMO some people are too sensitive and need to learn how to read between the lines …

I am far, far away from being a low-carber and sometimes wonder about starting a high-carber thread. I have refrained because (in part), I recognize that what I do works (mostly) for me and therefore, has little applicability to most of the people here on TuD.

For those who are shying away from TuD because of its “slant”, I would challenge them to dive a bit deeper into the site and the forums. There is a huge amount of info stuffed into these pages.

I get a lot out of reading the low carb threads because I am by no means perfect, and while I am not about to go low carb (did I mention I love cookies?), I DO get some good ideas from them. PLUS, I get a charge out of seeing my fellow club members obtain great results by following a protocol that works for them [INSERT “HAPPY” here].

Yes, NOT experts on nutrition, but as @Terry4 has stated on many threads, we ARE experts on ourselves.

Our doctors and our large expert organizations that are working to understand this chronic condition are hugely valuable, but they can suffer from not being able to see the wide variety of trees that make up the forest. It can be helpful to always remember that science is a lot like rust … it never sleeps. Therefore, until diabetes is fully understood and eradicated, absolutist statements are best avoided.


Kudos @YogaO for finding a workaround to avoid those really hideous emoticons on the new platform. Just give me a plain-text smiley any day!

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To Mellissa and the TuDiabetes community –

I understand the tired reluctance that many here react to anything to do with using a low carb way of eating as a method to treat diabetes. This community has been torn by heated discussions over the years and I, for one, do not want to return to that.

First I would like to set some context to explain where I am coming from and to help the newer members of this community.

The context

For many years the medical community and the three-lettered diabetes advocacy and medical professional organizations have used their various platforms to discredit a low carb way of eating as a viable method to treat diabetes. They used their organizational power to argue against any patient, doctor, or other medical professional that might consider a low carb diet as a reasonable plan to moderate blood sugar. They said that low-carbing was dangerous, unsustainable, and bad for your heart.

In the face of this almost universal medical community agreement about using low carbs as a way to treat diabetes, a small and growing contingent of people with diabetes experimented using a low carb way of eating to keep their blood sugar in check.

My low-carb experiment

I began my low-carb experiment three years ago inspired by fellow TuD member’s success. Like many before me, I found that for the first time in my 28-year struggle with type I diabetes, I started to gain the upper hand. For the first time in my adult life I lost weight without trying, cut my daily insulin dose in half, and had blood glucose control that didn’t think was possible for a person with diabetes.

Once my euphoria about this great personal discovery started to wear off, I began to ask some hard questions. If this method worked so well for me, why didn’t even one doctor, dietitian, or other medical professional mention this to me as a possible means to control my blood sugar?

My years in diabetes crisis

Before my low-carb discovery, I spent several years caught in a web of diabetes crisis. The relative control that I felt for the first 25 years was now gone. Insulin didn’t work like it did before. I was gaining weight. Even exercise didn’t seem to have the same effect. My digestive system was acting up and my blood sugar was on a 24-hour per day roller coaster. I was constantly working to bring down skyrocketing highs and pulling up from steep dives into some scary mind numbing lows. I was tired, brain-fogged, and miserable.

I went through three endocrinologists in five years. I consulted dietitians, certified diabetes educators, and started to look for help online. Not one peep from any of the medical professionals asking me if I considered limiting my carbohydrate consumption. Not one peep!

My response to low-carb critics

I think this borders on medical malpractice. Prior to my crisis time, there had been bubbling controversy on this topic from time to time. The mainstream medical community investigating whether there was any kernel of truth to using carb limits as a viable tool for diabetics remained enthralled with low-fat high-carb status quo. At the same time, these mainstream practitioners and their various advocacy groups chose instead to ignore and marginalize.

“Vitriol” is defined as bitter criticism with an implied meaning of inappropriate over-reaction. It may seem like that to the diabetes advocacy organizations and their spokespeople. They have no idea the extent of the damage that their advice has done to this community over the years. They appear to me to wish to just sweep this dirty business under the carpet and just “go along and get along.”

Accusations do not create healing

This is not how fences get mended on a personal or even organizational level. When you harm someone and wish to repair the relationship you use the only method that’s worked since the beginning of mankind: acknowledge the wrong you did, apologize, ask forgiveness, and make a commitment to not do it again. It’s the lesson any parent of a five-year old tries to give their offspring.

Using words like “vitriol, anger, and libel” is not the language of apology and forgiveness. And I don’t expect this wound to heal well. I have no illusions that the harmful actors in this social injustice will ever own up and take responsibility for their misdeeds.

Don’t blame diabetics

I will not, however, allow them to paint the low-carb movement in the diabetes community as unjustifiably angry, vitriolic, and purveyors of libel! This is a classic blame the victim tactic and it won’t work.

I am justifiably angry about their past and present actions. They should have known better, especially as the years and decades rolled by. Many of these organizations were and are enmeshed in crippling conflicts-of interest. They are often compromised by the by the money of Big-Parma and Big-Food.

It will take time and perhaps a new generation to take over, one without the fresh memory of this transgression. My anger has cooled over the years and I don’t hold it very close. Anger, I know, is corrosive and not conducive to good health.

If the other players in the Diabetes Community want to forge a strong alliance with the patient community then I suggest they own up to their role in low-carb misinformation and the demonization of low-carb adherents. They need to recognize that as the science moves away from them, take responsibility for past misdeeds and seek to move on.


I am new to the forum, and I started a thread recently to invite a topic about low carb eating so I could learn more about it. And I did…A LOT! I’m not sure if that thread was the basis of this thread’s intent… I hope not.

I found the discussion enlightening, and never felt pushed to do anything. I thought everyone (in the thread I know about) was very respectful. One of the qualities I have been appreciating about the forum is its wide diversity and knowledge.
Happy day, everyone


Just post a picture of a brownie, cookie, cupcake or anything carbolicious…and pair that with proof of your flat Dexcom line over the next few hours…the low carbers go wild. I know because it happens to me. What I do know is that one can eat high-carb, normal-carb, or low-carb and have an A1C in the 5s. It’s about dosing insulin and watching the CGM and reacting accordingly, but many of the low carbs think their way is the only way and won’t stop trying to scare people who have found a way to eat, live, dose that doesn’t ostracize them from mainstream society.


Just a question. It appears to me that the hi carb low carb issues is really a t1 or t2 on insulin question.
As now a well controlled t2 after 6 years, I still use “eat to your meter” approach if your numbers are good eat it, which for me results in a lower carb diet. Other than the initial discussion of carb at the education class no one has ever told me to eat so many carbs, they just want my numbers, we discussed how it got that way, changes I might need etc.
are you (except Judith ) all t1 or on insulin. The conversation would make more sense to me
For me high carbs equals high numbers no way to adjust except exercise

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This is an interesting topic @Melissa_Lee and I’m glad to see that a lot of interesting topics have flown out of the topic.

I think that Tu food threads can get very easily taken over, or maybe tend to be massaged in the direction of lowcarbism by people who 1) have had excellent results from low carb approaches and 2) are very prepared with lots of links, anecdotes, tactics, recipes, etc. to help people who are interested learn about this. The rest of us, myself included, don’t really have any sort of “organization” to take them on, other than to say, eat nachos and post pics of CGM lines or whatever. And I cheat by exercising a lot so my results don’t count for scientific purposes. Which is not to say others don’t exercise but w00t, 60 mile bike ride yesterday= a pretty flat line today, including fried chicken, a brownie and 1/2 of a key lime bar thing last evening. And some rice salad. And chips and salsa…oh well, enough of that…

I was a bit perturbed by the vitriol, as @Melissa_Lee put it, about Hope Warshaw’s voluntary participation in a discussion. I think that doctors, CDE and dietitians get their recommendations from doctors but, of course, in the US at least, and probably most other countries, it’s not “a” doctor, but a group of doctors, the AMA, the AADE, the NFL, oh wait, not them, but whatever organizations put out any guidelines about diets and also diabetes management.

The other community I’ve hung out in that has a great interest in food and nutrition are some workout groups online, through Beachbody (P90X, etc. It’s not a pyramid marketing scheme but they are great workouts and I’m not a dealer so I’m not “selling” it…but they sponsor communities, private groups, provide inboxclogging notifications, before/ after pics, the whole 9 yards. And people get great results. But they start with calories. I ran a Bernstein diet “test” through “lose it”, being very generous tossing 4 oz of chicken in twice (lunch/ dinner) and 3 eggs at breakfast and came up with 763 calories, which isn’t enough as, during WWII, it as considered enough by the Nazis to feed camp victims. Obviously, I’m an indulged suburban punk and the solution might be to simply toss in another few G of protein to get the calories up but the reason I left the “Beachbody” groups was when I saw a diet plan that included a breakfast of 6 egg whites and 2 eggs. I love eggs but really? Eek. But they are getting great results. Just like the low carb folks here.

They take what seems to be a reasonable number of calories 1500, 1800, 2500, whatever, and break it down by macronutrient ratios, 50/30/20, 40/40/20, “zig zag” (back and forth between the first two…) or whatever. This approach seems much more sensible than Bernstein’s approach. I could toss more veggies or nuts into the “Bernstein” model but I’m already at 37G of carbs, way over what he allows in his 6-6-12G of carb diet. Which, FWIW, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone follow.

I’ve perceived there’s some animosity to “insiders” (maybe that’s not the right term?) so that when someone like Hope Warshaw volunteers to come chat about eating in restaurants, which some of us do, occasionally, members, many of whom I’m very close to, say they “see red”, allege a history of “bad dietary advice” (ok, I have not read any of her books but I don’t read books about food, I eat food…), accuse her of leading us over cliffs, etc. I have ignored dietitians advice before and don’t get all that much advice from docs, although my PCP likes what I’m doing and is always happy to chat about food. I am always pretty happy to chat. I’d rather see us welcome guests in a friendlier manner.

Sorry for the rant but that whole thing seemed a little weird to me.


Just returning to the conversation of the OP which is Low Carb vs Not Low Carb - let’s stop the vitriol. I love the topic title, probably because I simply love metal!! It took no time at all for the thread to take a turn away from the poignant point. I was taught to eat for nutrition and balance and still do that. But for this gig - Please pass the brownies and a glass of low fat milk while I watch the vitriol spiral and twirl!!


Just got my CGM this past month, too, and WOW! does it make a difference, @Denise9! If I change nothing but that and the types of insulin I use, I know my A1c is going to improve. It wasn’t “bad” before at 6.8, but I have much tighter control now with the information I get from the CGM.

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I can only say that, Melissa, if you read any new posts from any person who talks about their difficulties with food, the primary recommendations are low carb, low carb, and low carb. I don’t think that is my imagination.

Even those who do not claim to be low carbers will state that they are moderate carbers, around 50 to 60 gm or so. That is low carb to me!

As someone else said about looking at other topics, I focus a lot on the pump talk and non-food stuff. I wish there was more pump and cgm talk, in fact.

I think that the nature of a forum like this is that very well disciplined folks are attracted to it. Folks who are OK with a lot of effort to maintain normal A1c. I admire them but can’t emulate them. A lot of the regulars here exercise, eat low carb, and check their BGs a lot, even with cgms. Note that I saw “a lot” but that is not saying how many or even most.

I have no problem with low carbers, since it works for them, but sometimes it would be nice for alternatives to be addressed without a lot of lo carb rebuttals.

A moderate carb thread was attempted on another forum (some may know about it) but it was shut down by admin after a few months.

I am not even asking for that or any accommodation. As long as I am welcome here, I will just continue deep breathing over the lo carb promotions (!) and focus more on the other issues that I do enjoy. Again, if you can do the lo carb, more power to you. I won’t even mention that some diabetics have kidney disease that prohibits high protein.


I’m relatively new here and have not experienced anything like you have stated. Although, I should be clear that lively debate is informative to me. In the end, am an adult who can make her own choices and can speak up if offended. One of the nicer things about TU is we are conversational and like family … sometimes things get heated. Is that really so awful? I feel like these “friends of the organization” have come into our living room telling us what we can and cannot say. I have yet to meet a family who doesn’t get into it now and again. My 2 cents.


I think it is very funny that one of the popular threads on the front page right now is: How many grams of carb do you eat per day and why?
Guess how many responders reply below 50gm vs 50-100 vs over 100?!! All very pleasant comments, just funny that it coincides with this question.


The day after big exercise a heaping serving of carbs doesn’t spike your blood sugar, @acidrock23? I know you’re super thoughtful about dosing insulin, but you sure you’re not a closet MODYer, friend? :smile:

I haven’t had the tests! I suppose my A1C results are atypical but, other than that, I have occasional excursions to like 300+, maybe once every year or two, something odd happens to blow it up and that will happen but I don’t know if that would disprove MODY. I don’t think that c. 37-55U/ day is a “low insulin requirement?” But, of course, I’m not a doctor @niccolo! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I was mostly just teasing, and agreed you’re not as obviously a MODY-2er as I was. Perhaps one of the other variants, but I know much less about them. If you went stone cold off insulin, but kept eating decent carbs, how bad would your numbers be? That was the acid test for me…it took two days for my endogenous insulin to really bounce back after 12 years (!) of suppressing it with insulin injections, but now my spikes look more pre-diabetic than diabetic.

My BG tends to elevate very quickly if I reduce my basal rate. I wouldn’t ever not take insulin. I’ve had very few, like a handful of “weird pump incidents” since I started pumping in 2008. In 2011, I was running, like 14 miles and it was super hot and humid and I got a “BUTTON ERROR” message which I didn’t know what it meant, only that the pump started bleeping with a couple of miles to go and no buttons on the pump did anything, which as alarming, so I finished up, I don’t recall exactly what my BG was but I got to my car, called Medtronic and they were like “your pump needs to be replaced, we’ll send you one” and I was like somewhere, high 200s or 300s or something by the time I got home. Then we had a day trip to LA from SD a couple of years later. My pump was a bit low, maybe 25-30U or so but I was like “that’s plenty…”. I don’t recall what happened but we got to LA (Kodak Theater Tour…) and my BG was through the roof, like 280? I’d noted it drifting up on the way up but figured “no biggie, IOB” but it just ran away so I kept pounding it with boluses all day but didn’t get it down, it wasn’t responsive until maybe down to 140 or 170 or something so it was “working…” but I’d run out of the insulin in my pump, no backup so no food. I had some salami at Cafe Urth and that as about it. I had one illness hyperglycemic, no 300s but 200s and, again, it wouldn’t come down. That was after xmas 2013, a strange illness, GI stuff and horrible joint pain that raged while I lay in bed, I dropped a celebrex at like 2:00 PM after dealing with it all day and then the pain went away and my BG fell back in line.

I’ll stick with T1!

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