What the Carb Wars are really about

I've been noticing, in the discussions of various types of "low carb" regimens, that the population of online diabetics tends to divide in a predictable way. In the pro-low-carb camp are almost all successful T2 diabetics, since the first thing that T2 diabetics NEED TO DO, if they are going to be at all successful and especially if they are not on meds yet, is lower their carb intake, sometimes quite drastically, and exercise. There are also some very successful T1 diabetics in this camp, who have chosen to eat low-carb in order to minimize their exogenous insulin intake.

The people in the other camp--the ones saying "you need carbs to survive and for your brain to function," or "you're going to blow out your kidneys," are almost all T1 diabetics. There are also some insulin-dependent T2 diabetics in this camp. I sometimes pick up a vibe that people feel they have been cursed enough already with this autoimmune disease that they most certainly did not bring on themselves, and so they don't feel like they should suffer any further deprivation by having to eat low-carb.

I find it sort of ironic that people (not necessarily on these boards, but out there in the world) like to point to people who develop type 2 diabetes, and accuse them of having had a lack of willpower for eating the very way that many Type 1 diabetics prefer to eat! That is, to eat a "normal" number of carbs, or a "standard American diet" number of carbs. If you're genetically programmed to develop T2 insulin resistance, the only way you're going to be able to avoid it is to eat low-carb.

In sum, I'm really proud of the people here on this site who are able to display the will power to buck the bad advice of the ADA, the temptations posed by the restaurant industry, the commercial food industry, and people who don't have the willpower to make dietary changes themselves, in order to eat to their meter. Good job, guys.

Sunny & Terrie have it right.

I believe the amount of carbs a person eats is only a part of the equation and should be adjusted based on the level of activity. Low carb or high carb or medium carb should be part of the solution. I don’t think people should be told that low carb is the only way. i think low carbers should tell the rest of us the daily activity level to see if low carb is something that can be done.

Another way to avoid it is stay very active. Low carb is NOT the only way. It is the only way for you.

Yeah, the .05 percent of type 2 diabetics who are long-distance runners or cyclists or mountain climbers for a living probably can ingest more carbs and maintain an A1C in the normal range without medicine. Thanks for reminding me of that very important subset of the population here at TuD.

Frances, no one mentioned doing those things for a living. But some people do them as regular workouts and do them for an hour or more per day. Those people, whether type 1 or type 2, will need carbs to burn or will go dangerously low/pass out during the course of a workout.

I saw so many red riders last year who came from all walks of life. You don’t have to be a pro athlete and I think more than .05 percent actually control numbers with exercise. It does not have to be extreme. all in moderation. just spend a solid daily hour and it will do wonders.

T1 and T2 are really completely different diseases. The symptom, high blood sugar, is the same but we get there in completely different ways. To further complicate things there is variation within each type. Add in different ages and activity levels and you have a recipe for misunderstanding.

The best advice I got was set goals for control and then eat to your meter. If your activity level permits it and you are able to achieve your goals, why not eat more carbs? But by the same token don't dis me for the path I have chosen to meet my goals.

A little less dogmatism and a little more understanding is indeed in order.

sigh I miss the old days of YMMV

YMMV covers it all

Of course carb requirements differ based on activity level. But many (many many) of us have sedentary jobs requiring us to sit in place, for long times, to get to work, while at work, and to get home, and many of those same people put in amazing amounts of overtime.

The idea that we can "just get more physically active" is laugh out loud funny.

The very infrastructure of our society, internet, telephone, computers, electric power, water, natural gas, transportation, all of it depends, for its existance, on folks in sedentary jobs pulling lots of overtime. The next time you get on line to check your bank account balance, or turn up the thermostat and warm up the house, or turn on the lights and television, please remember to thank heaven that so many thousands upon thousands of people have not decided to just go get a more physically active life.

So for us, a low carb diet with as much activity as we can sneak in between the office and the train home at night, that is what we can do. And if your lights go out or server crashes, how content will you be with the explanation that we knocked off early to take a walk so we can eat some ice cream.

I work in the IT industry and put in my share of insane amount of hours. When I get home instead of getting on the internet after working 10 hour days I get on my stationary bike. Again its what works for people. I may be dead tired from work but it's not unusuall for me to be on a stationary bike at 1 am. Sometimes I cant sleep and a good 5 mile ride puts me to bed. So some of us that are keeping those servers up and running and the wonderful phone apps do make an effort to get some activity in a long day. Again that works for me I am sure one day i will be too tired. But in my family we make work outs a priority. To us its like food. I wont skip a day without eating. By the same I wont skip a day without getting at least 30 minutes worth of excercise.

If I am at work and having a long day. I will go outside and walk for 30 minutes. Everyone i work with knows that moving is a priority in my life. I tell people up front if I dont get my exercise in you wont get your software cause I'll be dead from high blood pressure, high cholestoral and diabetes.

Its not uncommon either for me to have late night meetings were I am on a stationary bike. People I work with have gotten used to that because they know I am more productive when I am balanced.

Thank you PatientX for injecting that nugget of wisdom.

Thanks Emmy. I know that one day I may have to hang the bike. I am blessed every day that I can get on it because it could be my last. I try to live my life like it may change in any second cause that is how my diagnosis came. Looking back I was not fine before diagnosis but after it was not the same.