Was Dr. Atkins right?

Had we followed his ideas how many of us would not be diabetics? Or at least more mild ones?

Would the proportion of fat and obese people in the USA (and Canada) be less than with the glorification of the low fat high carbohydrate diet?

These questions are only suggestions to start the blog. Any comments on the low carb vs high carb approach are welcome.

I don’t think the Atkins diet would prevent diabetes. But I think his diet is right for diabetics.
He said that excess sugar was responsible for heart disease and I agree. Most of us don’t eat deep fried cheeseburgers followed by a pint of Ben and Jerry’s daily.
My food pyramid is mostly vegetables, then meats/fish/eggs/tofu, then nuts, and oils like olive, walnut, avocado, or safflower. Occasional fruit.
When I go to the store, I bypass whole aisles of processed foods.

Think low on the food chain.

Great topic, Anthony!!

Dear Twix.

Sounds good. I think if you ate a lot of broccoli, cauliflower, sauerkraut, olives, avocado, nuts safflower and the occaisional kiwi or small orange, apple; it may not be pure Atkins but may still fly. I am about to find out how low you have to go to loose weight. The Canadian pyramid was heavy on bread, cereal, muffins etc. Probably copied on the American one. That my pancreas no longer supports that.

You are dead right until we know what causes the disease, it is impossible to say what would prevent it.

How is your struggle with metformin going. I was entitled to a new GP today He will do a liver and kidney function test. After that I could ask him for some more metformin and see if it does anything that can be measured. I feel like it is my fault that I cannot survive the stuff cause it could help loose weight. The only symptom I have with it is I feel dead.

Eating carbs doesn’t cause diabetes. If a person doesn’t have the genetic makeup that leads to it, they can eat whatever they want and stay healthy.

If a person DOES have the underlying profile, a low carb diet is very helpful, unfortunately, Dr. Atkins ruined his diet by putting his name on diet products with lying labels that were full of hidden carbohydrates. Thousands of people tried what they thought were “low carb” diets, saw their blood sugar skyrocket after eating a 20 gram “Atkins Bar” marked as having 2 grams of carbs, and concluded “low carb doesn’t work for diabetes.”

I will NEVER forgive him for doing that. In fact, if he had never branded the low carb diet with his name, we would have seen it become more accepted much earlier. The man was a loathesome fraud and the fact that his diet is decent got buried in the way he promoted it, and himself.

Dear Jenny.

That is interesting to read that the man himself may have done damage to a good idea for many people. Another of his ideas that I am not sure about is his disregard for saturated fats. With the alledged ketosis that somehow saturated fats are no problem. My endo raised eye brows over this otherwise he was NOT critical about low carb diets and even confirmed that many of his patients manage to loose weight on low carb. Could you enlighten us a bit about this? Others also feel free to add?

The number of overweight people might be lower, but I agree with the others that it won’t prevent diabetes.

The hardest part of doing low carb for me has been eating meat. Before diagnosis, I was a vegetarian for decades–whole grains, beans, tons of fiber, more than the recommended servings of veggies & fruit. I don’t credit this with being diabetic now, but who knows how long my BG was creeping up until I ended up in the ER. I ate far too much soy & now have thyroid problems to prove it.

To add to my torment my wife baked a fresh loaf of pure blood glucose. Even my furry friend was enjoying the smell although he is smart enough not to eat it. Actually I visualized the bread as a lump of my blood loaded with blood sugar. That turned me off from eating it. Grusome but try it works.

The cherries from Chile I could not resist even though they were slightly rotten as feature of living in our Rocky mountain wilderness, fruits and veggies are slighly rotten a lot of the time. . There is an old Slovak joke about cherries in winter: What would you like as your last meal before your hanging? Cherries. Be reasonable it is the middle of winter. I can wait.

I was oggleling the box of oranges in the garage.

I sympathise with Gerri it is tough doing low carbs.

The steak here is real good being in cow country. Wonder about the saturated fat, any ideas?

If you can get it, grass fed cattle have less saturated fat & a better lipid profile then grain fed. Hmmm, guess a high carb diet effects cows, too. Venison & buffalo also have less saturated fat.

I try to eat a lot of fish & as little red meat as possible.

The cattle up here are somewhat more grass fed and being in a cold climate also helps the lipid profile according to an old Encyclopedia Britanica. Here the sirloin steak is a lot leaner than t-bone or rib. We have a very good supply of lean pork and ham. We have our private trout lake for fish. Costco sells a good pickled herring than unfortunately has a lot of sugar. I agree that eating a lot of fish solves the cholesterol issue most Canadian hate fish.

That is the only problem I have when going low carb: How to find sufficient low saturated fat food? Cheese is a low carb food but most are loaded with saturated fat and thoses that are not taste like plastic. Is it time for statins?

According to a lot of new researchers, it’s high carbs that cause bad lipid profiles, not eating saturated fat. Low carb diets are high fat.

Dear Gerri.

That is interesting and kind of supports Atkins original position. I have a requisition for a complete blood test from my new GP. I will continue eating cheese for another week and then go and see if the lipids are any worst than my long historical record.

Dr. Dean Ornish was restrictive about saturated fats telling people not to eat more than 10 grams per day. Which will be hard to do on a low carb. Atkins said who cares? And some other diets and my Endo say to limit the saturated. And of course no transfats at all which most agree on.

Cant give you my lipid numbers in American units at the moment because ours are in mmol/L and I know the conversion factor for glucose and cholesterol and might be able to find out for triglicerides but HDL I have no clue. I know t my LDL/HDL ratio is over 3.5 and the Doc said better under 3. This was with past diets with 100 grams of carbs a day or more.

Any readers have any idea how to convert lipid numbers from international units to American one?

Don’t know how long you’ve been eating low carb, but you won’t see immediate results regarding your lipid profile.

A person can’t do low carb/very low fat without starving:)

Other factors at play, of course, beside what you eat. Thyroid problems also contribute to high ratios.

Dear Gerri.

I can drag my feet on the blood test and delay till the end of the month but I would like to know about the thyroid asap. If you cut out fat and carbs you can only eat protein and cardboard.

Dear Debb.

On my way to 500 lb I was eating so called health food cereal bars. The worst thing possible.

Dear Reders.

Well so far have lost at least 2 lb without any attempt at cutting calories just because the hunger is less. Insulin cut from 70 units to 55 with better BG control. Is this the beggining of a miracle or is it just the novelty that the body has not yet adapted? I have been on reduced carbs for 2 weeks how much longer should I wait to go for my blood test mostly interested in the lipids to see if the cholesterol situation gone critical? some people say it takes quite a while for lipids to stabilize. Any thoughts?

Great news–congratulations! That’s a wonderful decrease in insulin.

Hoping this is just the beginning of more happy news. You’ll continue to lose more weight & see your insulin doses correspondingly decrease. How many carbs per meal are you eating now? How many was it prior to reducing carbs?

I don’t know the answer to your blood test question, but my guess would be a couple of months.

Dear Gerri.

Before at least 100 g per day. Now I dont honestly know. I eat a bit of onion, a bit of bell pepper a lot of creamed cheese. So it is like 3+2+5+7+… = ? Small amounts that may add up to quite a bit over the day. You would be proud yesterday I threw a perfectly good multigrain toast into the garbage cause nobody wanted to eat it. Small amounts of carbs can be coped with a slice of bread no. If I think I may go low I prefer to eat a small fruit.

I can’t wait that long as I am allowed my yearly visit to my Endo in February and he is a one number man HA1c. Which if you want to keep you life simple is ok. Any Ideas what questions I should ask him? He does not volunteer anything but answers questions.

Cant seem to be able to do my Excel spread sheet anymore but I must that is the only way to tell

Am proud of you! Way to go!

If you don’t mind a suggestion, actually counting carbs will help. How do you know how much insulin to take if you’re not gearing it towards how much you’re eating? Logging what you eat (carbs/protein)/doses/readings is the best & only way I know to control & properly dose to get insulin ratios. Having this to show your endo is important.

You can do it the old-fashioned way with pen & paper if Excel is a pain. Know you’re an engineer & engineers have to make things complicated:) My father was an engineer.

So today, start writing everything to show your endo to help him help you come up with your insulin ratio.

Don’t know how it is in Canada, but here in the US the doc gives an Rx for blood tests. Then we take the Rx to a lab. Rx can be for months down the road. If it’s the same there, your endo can have some blood tests done now & a separate Rx for lipid later. Perhaps he can answer your question about when would be best to do this.

Will write later about questions to ask him. Gotta run now.

Dear Gerri.

Endo was not interested in logs this is why I stopped. Once you HA1c is below 7% He relaxes same thing for my eye Doctor no damage yet so he lost interest. Controlling the diabetes by controlling hunger and just observing the resulting blood sugar. I hear what you are saying for proper preprandial control one should analyze the carbs and a bit the proteins to estimate the insulin more correctly.

Presently I am running mostly on Latus 2 injections of 20 units each. And a bit of rapid: 1,2,3 or 4 units depending on the preprandial reading and how many carbs I eat. This is less than 1/2 of what I would before. Kind of controlling it on a basis of hunger prevention. The 2 hour postprandial correction I likewise do very sparingly to avoid causing hunger.

This is all very Mickey Mouse for an Engineer. The funny thing is the BG is better than before. average down about 10% and even the postprandial peaks much less.

Excel is better than paper because our house is so messy. It is less complicated because of the copy and paste feature. So once you have the Chemical breakdown of the food that you have eaten before you just type in the amount and the programme calculates the calories, carbs, protein, fats, saturated fats and fibre. Analysis of food readily available from the net.

Could idea to ask for a requisition and keep it for the future, essentially the same system here.

Send questions even for yourself. He is super patient about answering but will not volunteer too much.

So happy for your success!

My internist & endo are bears about logs. Endo gave me a form to complete, but some people just download their meters. I’m glad my docs were insistent about this because it educated me to what my body was doing & it soon became a habit to write everything down. I no longer log carbs because I eat pretty much the same amount day to day. I love my Eat Smart scale which calculates weight, carbs, calories, protein, fat, sodium, potassium & a host of other features that I don’t use. Very efficient. I record all readings, times & doses. This helped my endo to see my strange spikes & how he knew to change me from rapid acting to R.

How frustrating to have doctors who are lax & disinterested.

Interesting that you take so much Lantus, yet so little rapid acting. I’m afraid I don’t know much about Type 2. Type 2 is much more difficult, I think.

For your endo:
I want my A1c to be 5.0 & ask how do I do this? I told him my goal was to be as normal as possible & said that I wasn’t buying the “good enough for a diabetic” crap.
I’d ask, of course, about your doses & what your fasting, pre meal & post meal goals should be. If you don’t know this already, I’d ask why such high doses of Lantus & if less Lantus & more rapid acting would be better. Of course, I don’t know what your readings are:)
I’d talk to him about why he recommends certain brands of insulin for you. I’ve had my basal & rapid acting changed several times (before I was switched to R) to get better control. Don’t know if this is as much a Type 2 issue, but it could be.
My endo said I should go to a retinologist. He said an opthalomogist wasn’t enough & that they miss early signs. Perhaps you might discuss this.
Assuming that all endos give a physical checking feet for neuropathies, blood pressure, etc.
I always ask my doc about tests & more tests. If you haven’t had one recently, a 24 hour urine collection is important (recent discussion here about this).
I get my thyroid checked frequently & so many diabetics have thyroid issues.
Vit D deficiency is another good blood test to have. If you’ve never had one, or it’s been a while. a C-peptide test & antibody test would be helpful.
My dawn phenonmenon is bad, so this always a topic of discussion.

Hope this helps! Keep up the great work.