Another Diabetic Healthier and Leaner with LCHF

Before and with LCHF

Before and with LCHF

Here’s an example of what all the studies on LCHF mean in real life. I received an e-mail from Maria Persson, who lives in Kansas, USA. She’s had severe diabetes for a long time and wanted to share her experiences with LCHF:

The E-Mail

Hi,

My name is Maria Persson.

I started my diabetes career with gestational diabetes 15 years ago. Then it just moved along. Five years ago I had to start taking insulin, and as a very insulin resistant person the doses were increased to very high levels, which led to rampant weight gain. I thought that this couldn’t be OK – insulin wasn’t working, as I didn’t get any better. I started reading up on the subject and switched to an LCHF “lite” diet. (No bread, rice, spaghetti etc. and no low-fat products). I was able to go off the insulin within 4 days!! (I also lost 22 lbs (10 kg)).

I continued and got sloppier with what I ate, but in comparison with others I still ate very low-carb. (Two reasons for my metabolic syndrome are stress and a genetic background that simply don’t tolerate carbohydrates). I have kept my weight off, was a size 8-10, but also had the typical insulin midsection.

Right before Christmas 2012, I started to feel worse (I was taking a full dose of Metformin and a full dose of Victoza), so I went to the doctor, who ran all the tests. The results were; fatty liver, long-term blood sugar at 8.2, high blood pressure (have been on medication since I was 19 years old) bad liver and kidney numbers, high levels of protein and blood in my urine etc. The doctor’s advice was as usual, more insulin and more medications. I asked the doctor to give me six months without any changes in my medication.

I decided to make a radical change. My question to myself was – how could I, who have children, allow my health to be this bad at age fifty. Following a new crash course (I’ve known it all in my head, but have had difficulty implementing – a LCHF “lite” diet isn’t enough here), where I went through the web and the Diet Doctor in particular, but also the leading American doctors (I’m currently living in the U.S. for a three-year period), I set off.

In early June this year I went back to the doctor’s office and this is what happened in 5 months on a gradually stricter LCHF diet:

  • Long-term blood sugar 6.8  (I experience the dawn phenomenon, so my blood sugar is always higher in the morning than it is for the rest of the day, and often good in the evening. Would be interesting to hear your take on this). No insulin is needed. I’ve got a little bit longer to go before I can go off Victoza in the future.
  • Cutting the dose of blood pressure medication in half
  • No protein or urine in the urine
  • Liver and kidney numbers normal
  • Lost another 18 lbs (8 kg) and am now a size 6-8
  • Trimmed my waistline – lost  4 inches (10 cm) !!!
  • No digestive issues (used to suffer from daily diarrhea attacks in recent years)
  • Less wrinkly (I’ve received many comments that I look so much younger than my 50 years)
  • No mood swings (my husband and children are very happy)
  • Not a sick day (except one)

A scary event was when my sister came to visit and brought two bags of Swedish candy. I couldn’t help it, but ate both in less than a day. The day after I was bedridden with pain throughout the body and could barely move out of the bed.

Today, it’s easy to live on LCHF. To me this is not a diet, but a way to live a normal life free from disease. I now say to people who ask why I eat the way I do – “I’m allergic to carbohydrates and get very sick when I eat them”. It’s also gradually becoming easier to be stricter. I do understand that I’ll have to decrease the protein amount and increase the fat amount even more if I want to have perfectly normal blood sugar levels, and I will get there, but in my own pace, because what’s so great is that the cravings for food decrease more and more. Earlier, I “had to” eat a snack and always had to plan for bringing “snacks”, but now I can forget to eat, yet don’t see any kind of mood swings. I’m so much freer. I learn more and more and this is great fun. My life isn’t as focussed on food and planning anymore.

I wish all diabetics would give LCHF a chance for six months. The changes are so amazing that I think it’s criminal not to try it.

Maria Persson,

Great Bend, Kansas

Congratulations!

Congratulations on all your health improvements! And I agree that it’s close to criminal that more people with diabetes don’t receive support and advice on LCHF.

The positive changes that Maria Persson has experienced are typical for people who have had diabetes type 2 for a long time and then try a strict LCHF diet. If you start earlier, at the time of your diagnosis, or already when you’re prediabetic, people often experience even better results. It’s not uncommon for all symptoms to go away completely.

Hopefully, soon more and more people will experience this.

PS

Do you have a success story you want to share on this blog? Send it (photos appreciated!) to andreas@dietdoctor.com. Please let me know if it’s OK to publish your photo and name or if you’d rather stay anonymous.

More

Diabetes – How to Normalize Your Blood Sugar

LCHF for Beginners

Career Officer Challenges Doctors and Dietitians

Before and After Six Weeks on an LCHF Diet

“Hello LCHF – Goodbye Type 2 Diabetes”

“I am proof that LCHF makes you thin and cures diabetes”

How to Cure Type 2 Diabetes

Boom! The Impossible Happens Again

12 Comments

  1. Angelyne
    You might want to look into all the self experiments going on over at the freetheanimal.com site. They are experimenting with something called resistant starch. Resistant starch does not get digested so it does NOT raise blood sugar but it feeds our intestinal bacteria. Surprisingly they have discovered some blood sugar lowering effects from supplementing with this starch, even for long time diabetics. Might be just what you need it control your dawn phenomena.
  2. Jeff C
    What a fantastic story, congratulations Maria you look fantastic! My wife has had similar success since she joined me in eating LCHF about a year ago.

    One section jumped out at me, Maria wrote:

    "The doctor’s advice was as usual, more insulin and more medications. I asked the doctor to give me six months without any changes in my medication."

    Those short sentences summarizes much of what is wrong with the typical doctor/patient relationship. Physicians work for us, they are consultants we hire to assist with our health care. We We don't need to ask their permission for anything, particularly the allowance to take fewer drugs. Can one imagine asking their auto mechanic for "permission" to not rebuild a transmission? Does one ask their investment adviser for permission to sell certain stocks? Of course not, we ask their advice then act accordingly based one's evaluation of that advice.

    Maria's first-hand experiences is wonderful and undoubtedly a fantastic inspiration for many. I'm looking forward to when letters say things like, "I told my doctor I was going to take six months..." rather than "ask". We'll have truly turned a corner then.

    Reply: #3
  3. sten
    Well put Jeff:
    "Physicians work for us, they are consultants we hire to assist with our health care. We don't need to ask their permission for anything, particularly the allowance to take fewer drugs. Can one imagine asking their auto mechanic for "permission" to not rebuild a transmission? Does one ask their investment adviser for permission to sell certain stocks? Of course not, we ask their advice then act accordingly based one's evaluation of that advice. "

    The phrase we need to get used to is: " Ok Doc, I will get a few more opinions and then consider your advice". In most other walks of business several quotations/proposals for important jobs are reviewed. Or your health is not important ?

    Or ask doc if he can assist with low carb diet monitoring. If he says no, ask him if he knows any other doctor with such expertise.
    It is too easy for the wrong doctors to do serious damage to diabetics.
    If we hire them we can fire them.

  4. greensleeves
    Good start Maria! As to your dawn phenomenon, you also already know your answer: shift your protein intake. Eat more at lunch and less at dinner. You may have to reduce the amount of protein overall, but many do well just by shifting to eat only 2.5oz of meat or fish at dinner time and having a slightly larger lunch portion.

    Some find that as their fatty liver completely resolves, they can rebalance their protein intake again. :D But not everyone. You have to do what's best for you. :D

    Reply: #7
  5. Gay Corran
    I have a scientist friend who asks if there are any controlled trials ? He can't find any in the Journals. I assume he means referring to the efficacy of LCHF as opposed to the normal medical high-carb advice given for Type 2 diabetics.
    Reply: #6
  6. Zepp
    Its dependant of how long ago one want to search.. befor they was able to produce insulin, it was the only treatment!

    https://archive.org/stream/diabeticcookeryr00oppeiala#page/n7/mode/2up

    And after that they almost only done medical studies!

    Becuse drug companys dont doing diet studys!

    http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/5/1/14

  7. sten
    You wrote re dawn phenomen: "Some find that as their fatty liver completely resolves, they can rebalance their protein intake again." I for one tend to agree with that.
    But I am still puzzled by this as some long time low carbers claim it has to do with what they call "physological insulin resistance": All is well on a ketigenic or near ketogenic diet but the body raises bloodsugar overnight for "that" reason: "physological insulin resistance".
    The proof they say come from that some small amount of carbs night before(?) can get rid of it.
    I am leaning towards that it is all about sluggish blood sugar regulation. The "sensors and the controls" in pancreas are not reacting crisp enough as before metabolic syndrome. Just stopping carbs helps immediately but it may take years to get rid of the metabolic syndrome that causes the poor blood sugar regulation, or restores crisp regulation of glucagon and insulin.
    For instance, children treated with ketogenic diet for epilepsy would hardly have metabolic syndrome. Is it common among these kids anybody knows?

    If you are right, which I believe you are, the dawn phenomen is an important marker that indicates: 1/ still liver fat left 2/ visceral fat around (and in?) pancreas is left 3/ Visceral fat impinging function also on other organs is still left.
    Conclusion is that reducing protein intake is a short term solution that may help weight loss and if it also helps loss of remaining visceral fat it is the right thing to do. But what other ways are available?
    Also I think this "remaining metabolic syndrome" is the main cause of why in particular older folks like me have trouble getting rid of that last belly fat.

  8. Dr. Jason Fung
    The dawn phenomenon is related to gluconeogenesis (new glucose production from the liver). The so called counter-regulatory hormones (ephinephrine, growth hormone and cortisol) typically follow a circadian rhythm. They peak just before you wake up - around 4 am or 5 am. This is a normal phenomenon. It is thought that they prepare the body for the upcoming day by increasing blood sugar. The tern counter-regulatory refers to the fact that it tends to counter the low blood sugar of the preceding sleeping period by stimulating new glucose production.

    So these counter-regulatory hormones tend to spike around 4 am or 5 am and therefore stimulate gluconeogenesis in the liver. Liver makes glucose and therefore blood sugar is higher. That is why you notice the dawn effect even though you did not eat any sugar in the night - the body is producing it from the stores of sugar in the liver.

    In patients with insulin resistance, this effect is more pronounced and sugars tend to be a little higher. The implication is that sorry, yes, you still have some "remaining metabolic syndrome" left - as the last belly fat also indicates.

    The key is to lower insulin levels since a high insulin level is what leads to insulin resistance. Low carb, high fat is a good method of reducing insulin, but not the only one. High fiber, increased vinegar are other ways. Intermittent fasting is yet another way to lower insulin levels. They are not mutually exclusive, and you may certainly mix intermittent fasting with a low carb high fat diet for instance.

    Lower protein intake may also help since intake of protein, especially animal sources may also raise insulin levels. So lowering dietary protein may also be beneficial in reducing insulin.

    Dr. Jason Fung

    Reply: #9
  9. sten
    Hello Jason, thank you for your comments that I saw just now and will definitely help to clear this up for me at least!
    Because the last belly fat and remaining insulin resistance are two sides of the same coin when it comes to the Dawn Phenomenon, I now see clearly that anything that helps to reduce the last belly fat must also have a long term effect. Before I did look at reduced protein intake as "symptom removing" as it merely made glucogenesis impossible for the liver due to lack of raw material. But because it reduces the amount of BS available every morning also the insulin and associated potential fat building will then also drop, which therefore makes it a viable longer term approach!
    Same with exercise (high intensity intermittent) and intermittent fasting on LCHF.
    I noted that you also added in increased vinegar. Could you elaborate on the mechanisms here?
    At least it seems to me you have given me the final push over the tipping point to get rid of that last belly fat during 2014, thanks!
  10. Jennie
    Hi
    Just discovered this page on the Dawn Phenomeno! I had never heard of this term. Would this explain why my fasting BS was still high in the morning , but settles down to within a normal range after I have eaten? I have been eating a LCHF diet for many months, had an Hbca1 blood test, ( which came back not diabetic) due to other members of my family being Type 2 , and one Brother having had a Heart Attack at 46. I have a home testing kit and just out of curiosity tested my fasting blood at it was 6.2. After reading this blog on the Dawn Phenomemon I had a couple of Gluten Free oatcakes with butter on, and a mug of Almond Milk before bed last night. Blood sugar this morning 5.3!
    Would it be better for me to have something like this at bedtime, or maybe nuts to keep my Blood sugar from spiking overnight,?
    Still struggling to shift a few pounds in weight despite the diet.Never ever have the horrible hungry feeling shortly after eating which I always had on the old high carb low fat trash diet we were brainwashed into eating from the 1970's
    Any advice would be welcomed!
  11. bill
    My GP stressed from the outset that carbs were the enemy and encouraged me to severely limit them but also wanted me to limit fat in butter cheese and obviously cream because of their calorie content so not all GPs /doctors are saying what is claimed above.....so now its more fish,lean meat,green veg,salads,tomatoes,some oats mornings and my weight has fallen.Weight was a very strong factor in what she had told me and her partner does believe that control by diet or even reversal is possible with enough weight loss.This is what the Newcastle experiments are all about,the loss of 16% of body weight in 6 months WHICH HAS TO BE SUSTAINED......
    I have discovered that wholemeal bread was a cause of my getting fatter when i was trying to eat a healthier diet before with some setbacks when ill and couldnt prepare food.Now ive found that wholemeal bread is nearly all white flour!!! I am so furious with the supermarkets which are conning people.I now have one small slice of what is advertised as rye bread a day
    Reply: #12
  12. erdoke
    If both carbs and fats are limited your body is forced to utilize protein as the main source of energy. While this works to some extent, there are just too many bad side effects. We are not 100 % adapted carnivores and even typical carnivores go for the fatty parts instead of lean meat whenever there is a choice. Please refer to lions when pushed by hyenas, they quickly eat as much organ and other fatty meat as they can and leave lean muscle meat to the "crying dogs".

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