Metformin and Low-carb diet

Hi guys,

I’ve just been put on Metformin and I am toying with the idea of restricting my carb intake even more.

Currently I’m trying to bring it down to about 20g of carb per meal at most - but am finding it a bit difficult.

I choose primarily low-GI carbs - multigrain bread, basmati rice, rice noodles (occasionally) and wholemeal pasta (very occasionally). If i am having veggie carbs like corn, I either limit the amount of carbs i have or don’t have them completely. I incorporate a lot of veggies into my diet and try to have fruit regularly.

I’m quite nervous about how carb intake is going to affect my sugars while on metformin. I’ve decided to stick to my usual diet first and make adjustments from there. Is that a good idea?

The diabetes nurses told me I still can have carbs, just pick low-GI items and watch the portion size. Is it silly to intend to go on a no-carb diet? I toyed with the idea for a while, but I also want to watch the amount of fat I take in. And I did hear that the Atkins diet is pretty unhealthy.

Is anyone on metformin and a low-carb diet? Or would anyone please give me some advice? I’m feeling quite lost this time.

For today my sugars were pretty good.
I’ve managed to stay within 4-6mmol the whole day, inclusive of post-prandial testing. But since I’m still new to the drug, could things worsen?

Hey Daena:)
I’m on Fortamet. It’s the generic of Metformin.
In the past 3 years of doing the big “D” on my own. I learned alot by constantly testing.
I’d like to suggest you read a book called “Eat To Live” From my own experience if you stick with it; you can put your numbers under awesome control. sigh… I slipped my numbers when I started messing that diet up with a mix of “doing my own thing.”
He has a vegetarian diet for 6 weeks and then lets in meats etc. It does work.
What I like about his book is that he explains why things do work as well as why some things dont work. I got my book from Electronics, Cars, Fashion, Collectibles & More | eBay for under $6.00 including shipping. It was worth every cent to have it all laid out for me.
I think now that I’m under a dr care I will try to go back to Eat To Live with not so much slipping. ( just a need for some new recipes.)

Low GI doesn’t work for me any better than high GI. Every carb you eat requires insulin to be disposed of. Unless you have a robust second phase insulin response, which most people with type 2 lose, you will have high blood sugars after eating Low GI stuff, just pushed out into the future.

Metformin works great with a low carb diet. And the LC diet eliminates a lot of the gastric side effects, too. In fact, Metformin and LC is a great way to lose weight, too.

Does your diabetes nurse HAVE diabetes or is this something she read about somewhere. I ask because the stuff health people tell each other is so often drawn from research with normal people (for whom low GI stuff will lower blood sugars).

You don’t need a “no carb” diet, but 20 gm or less is about right. I used to stay under 15 because 20 would push me pretty high.

The Atkins diet is not unhealthy. The recent study that measured it carefully compared to other diets found it improved lipids and blood pressure UNLIKE the low fat diet. What is unhealthy is combining fat AND carbs. If you cut the carbs you can eat 70% fat and lose weight and improve lipids. I did it for 6 years. It really works.

Go read “Protein Power”, by Dr. Eades which will explain the whole thing to you and calm your fears. There have been so many out and out lies published about low carb dieting all of which have been shown to be lies thanks to research.

jenny, thanks once again! i’ll make adjustments to my diet as i go along. i can’t exercise everyday, sadly, because my classes usually run the whole day and i am drained by the time i make it home.

one thing i want to clarify - is 20 grams of carb you mentioned per day or per meal?

Hi Daena - yes - DO IT! Metaformin & low Carbs. I’ve been doing it and had great success. If you can find Dr. Bernstein’s “Diabete’s Solution” book please buy it - there’s a link to it on the book page here in this group. He goes into why low-GI carbs don’t work - they still jack your blood sugar. And he’s a Type 1 diabetic who’s an MD - been one for 30 plus years and has advocated low-carbs long before Dr. Atkins was around. And he never got any complications of diabetes and has pulled many people back from the brink. He also explains how Metaformin lows your “insulin resistance” and helps to preserve your beta cells. Actually, you are lucky to be on it - I had to change doctors and literally BEG for it! (see my blog on my page) So, quit all the bread, rice & noodles, corn too - time to say goodbye to them I’m afraid - go low carb and LIVE. You will see your sugars normalize fast and it’s the best way. Really. Also there’s a good link to a website here - - it’s where I got the info on going to Metaformin

I’ve been on metformin since mid-May. My carb intake is 45 carbs a meal and 15 carbs for snacks (two snacks a day at most). I don’t seem to be able to stick to a meal plan, if I go any lower on my carbs. My sugars are doing better now that I’m on 1500 mgs of metformin a day. I take 500mgs at breakfast, dinner and before bed.

Good luck to you! I think you’ll do great!!!

Per meal!

DeeVa, I’ve decided to slowly reduce my carb intake. Don’t want to do it drastically. My endo gave me Metformin straightaway, so I guess I am lucky. But she does have a reputation as one of the best diabetes specialists in the hospital so I trust that she knows what she is up to! :slight_smile:

DeeVaKC … I’d love to read your blog but can’t figure out how to do so! I went to your page but can’t find a blog hyperlink. Will you help me figure this out?

I was told that Medformin does not really cause low blood sugar for one who has relatively normal blood sugrar ranges. For example, if I have 160 bg and you have 140 bg it is to my understandsing that medfromin will lower your blood sugar by a greater percentage then me. Your glucose level may go down to 145 where as my blood sugar will go down to 135. It is best to go to a pharmacist and get the data.


I’m not so concerned about hypo’s because I am no longer taking insulin injections. I’m more concerned about going high. But that has not happened yet, so phew! so far so good. numbers still looking pretty.

I have been on Metformin for about 6 months and think it is helping but I am still trying to manage my sugars better so it is hard for me to see a difference when on it and not on it. I am currently on a 60g/30g carbs per meal/snack (3 meals, 3 snacks) 20g carbs seems really low for me but that is just my experience. I would have an extremely difficult time dropping to 20g per meal. It is hard enough for me dropping my milk intake. I use to drink about 1 gallon of milk every 1.5 -2 days. My dietician put a stop to that quickly.

Good luck

I’ve been taking metformin for about 5 years now, and I’m trying to go as low-carb as I can stand – around 30g per meal, less than 100g per day – even though my diabetes educator wants me eating closer to 200g! I take 850mg metformin 2x a day, along with glipizide (so I’m worried about lows… can’t reduce carbs any further) and that’s about as much as I can tolerate – any more and I end up nauseous all day.

You really have to do what works for you. If you are happy with under 20g per meal, it’s going to work. If you have to struggle with it, it won’t.

Many people combine metformin and a low carb diet.

It’s probably the very best approach to improving your health. In addition, when people stall out on a weight loss low carb diet, quite a few have reported losing weight again when they add metformin to their regimens.

Some diabetes drugs, like Byetta, require that you eat carbs to be effective, but Metformin does not.

In short, go for it!

Dear Daena,

I’m a T2, using insulin, Lantus, and metformin., glipzide.

I recently started Atkins diet and my sugars, LDL, HDL, and Bp have all improved. The induction phase of this diet has almost zero carbs. You can slowly add low GI carbs. It is PC to say that Atkins is too high in fat and unhealthy. However; speak to many who have been on the Atkins plan(honestly) I have found that the results are positive.
In a span of two weeks I have cut back on my insulin and may have to stop using my Lantus.

You are your best patient so track your own results. I do exercise 3-4 times week. I have had problems of my blood sugars going too low since starting diet. I am making insulin adjustments and some carb intake for the low blood sugars. I did have blood sugars at 250 and higher on food pyramid…went on low carb aand I feel that I am getting it under control.

I recommend that you get an endocronologist and dietician as part of your team. My GP was not the best way to attqack this disease. Find a team that insists that you get your bdl’s below 120. Read the blogs and educate yourself.

This disease takes lives and damages everything else. It doesn’t do anything positive. I’ve had a 3 way bypass due to T2…Be aggressive…love yourself enough to keep your health an important factor…

Good luck,

Thank you for the advice. I’ve settled into a pretty good low-carb diet. My numbers still remain between 4-6mmol most of th time, with the odd reading above 6, usually because I forget to take my medication! I also work out frequently and I stay pretty active. I do agree that I am my own best patient and yes, my endo insists that my blood sugar stays under 7 at all times (unless I am sick, but that is part of my sick day plan) and for best results, recommends that I keep it under 6 (100mg/dl) at my stipulated testing times (before meals and 2 hours PP).