The Low Carb Diabetic



I was first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes almost 45 months ago. I was given a meter, test strips and shown how to determine my BG level. I was given no advice on diet other than a faded photocopy of the (infamous) NHS guidelines on diet. Alarmed that I was given medication for blood pressure and cholesterol but nothing for the chronic disease of diabetes, I immersed myself in an intense period of reading the diabetes literature.

Using the test strips I quickly discovered that the usual menus were producing alarming spikes in my BG levels post breakfast, lunch and dinner. I then attempted to minimise the spikes by ‘portion size’. However, in order to achieve my target post meal BG levels the portion sizes had to be ludicrously small and it was clear that such an approach was going to leave me hungry and irritable after meals

In order to appreciate the problem I give below a sample of some of my BG testing.

One banana causes me an average rise in BG of 1.90 mmol/L.
One slice of wholemeal bread causes me an average rise in BG of 2.00 mmol/L.
100g of plain pasta causes me an average rise in BG of 2.60 mmol/L.
100 g of fried rice causes me an average rise in BG of 3.00 mmol/L.

I decided to eat only those food types that contained less than or equal to 6g carbohydrate per 100g of food type. An example of the changes brought about by the decision is given below.

For breakfast replace the wholemeal toast with toast from one of the many lowcarb breads or a cheese omelette.
For lunch replace the fried rice by ‘cauliflower’ fried rice.
For dinner replace the pasta by broccoli, cauliflower cheese and spinach.
For fruit replace a banana by raspberries.

In considering such replacement it is important to realise that the replacements represent only a small sample of the food types (see any good “carb counter” book or website” for food types satisfying the criterion of less than or equal to 6g carbohydrate per 100g of food type.

To see an example of the advantages such replacements can bring I give below a further sample of some of my BG testing.

100g of broccoli causes me an average rise in BG of 0.20 mmol/L.
100g of cauliflower causes me an average rise in BG of 0.10 mmol/L.
100g of cauliflower cheese causes me an average rise in BG of 0.50 mmol/L.
100g of cheese omelette causes me an average rise in BG of 0.01 mmol/L.
100g of raspberries causes me an average rise in BG of 0.60 mmol/L.
100g of spinach causes me an average rise in BG of 0.12 mmol/L.

It is clear that I can replace 100g of high carb food types with combinations of 100g of several low carb food types and achieve lower spikes in BG levels.

However, there is the question of nutritional levels. Does the above replacement example result in a net gain/loss of essential nutrients? With this in mind and with the aid of the website: ... cofids.xls

I determined that there are large gains in dietary fibre, calcium and nutrient intake and concluded that with a low carb diet I am in little danger of constipation (more dietary fibre) osteoporosis (more calcium) or scurvy (more vitamin C).

Now after 45 months the low carb lifestyle has become second nature. We no longer measure the weight of the food types selected for a meal but can judge the quantity necessary to keep my BG levels below my target levels.

The result has been 45 months of HbA1c below 5.4

Some recent posts submitted by the team members on the benefits of low carbing for lowering blood pressure, BG levels, weight loss. Subsequent posts will deal with the issues of lowcarbing and statins and saturated fats.

“Low-Carbohydrate Diet Better Than Weight Loss Drug Orlistat at Lowering Blood Pressure With Weight Loss”

“Pharmacology researchers link high-carb diet to Type 2 diabetes”

“Weight loss and LC: Time to stop denying the science”

“Low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes”

“Low-carbohydrate diet in type 2 diabetes. Stable improvement of bodyweight and glycemic control during 22 months follow-up”

“Healthy Low Carb Eating Explained”


My name is Alison and I am a grateful T2 diabetic. I was diagnosed just over 3 years ago. For some 5 years prior to the diagnosis I had neuropathy happening in one foot then slowly the other became numb. When I had my first HbA1c test done it was 5.9 so when I saw an endocrinologist he felt that other factors were in play but said that an average does not tell the whole story and ran more tests. Other than a deficiency of Vitamin D3 there were no remarkable results. The endo read the riot act to me and told me I had weight and cms to lose and to get my morning fasting figures down from 6.2-3 to under 6.0 added Metformin to my reflux, statins and BP meds. As I left his rooms he said I should not eat carbs.

I was annoyed at the whole scene, diabetes, medications and a doctor giving me instructions as if was incapable of making valued and informed decisions. How could a person survive without carbs? He obviously did not know a great deal about nutrition, I thought. A couple of weeks later I found a book on 'Reversing T2 diabetes" and though I knew this was not possible I bought it and found that Sandra Cabot's recipes had very few carbs. Immediately I started to lose weight and when I returned to the endo for a follow up visit 3 weeks later I had already lost 3 kgs and my blood glucose readings were improving. The endo told me to keep on doing whatever I was doing and come back in 6 months.

I soon discontinued the reflux medication I had been taking for about 10 years as I cut the carbs, found the Atkins book on Diabetes and the weight continued to fall away. I was now reading extensively on the net about low carbing, viewing forums and absorbing all the information I could. Then I came across Bernstein and ordered his book and was now getting fasting BGs of 4.2 and my blood pressure was well under what my target should be. I discontinued my medication slowly including the statins though at a routine diabetes check with my GP she thought the endo would not be happy with me stopping meds without his permission. By eating the Bernstein way I was find new, tasty recipes and I had reluctantly stopped eating all fruit, except berries.

At my follow up appointment with the endo I had lost around 10 kgs with 5 more to get to his target and had a few more centimetres to lose from my waist and my A1c was now 5.0. He was OK with me stopping the meds with the exception of the statin as he said that my cholesterol had gone up slightly and shook my confidence somewhat so I purchased the statins. Knowledgeable posters on low carb forums put research my way and some of these studies indicated that total cholesterol figures might get slightly worse when embarking on a low carb eating plan before improving. Within a few weeks I stopped the statins taking courage that what I researched would prove to be correct and it did!

My last A1c was 5.3 and I have now returned three consecutive readings in the non-diabetic range while I remain medication free. Total cholesterol is now is 4.97 with chol/HDL ratio at 2.5 all achieved by the low carb lifestyle. I supplement with D3 daily as do all my family now and my last result was excellent. I am passionate about the food I eat and have five large raised bed, no dig gardens in my back garden with every imaginable green vegetable, herb and berry growing in them as we in Australia experience the hottest summer in 150 years tempered with floods and cyclones up north which will cause the prices of produce to increase dramatically.

My BG meter only gets used every so often when I try a food that is an unknown but I always do a fasting reading to keep a close watch on how my pancreas is coping. Over 12 months I lost 20 kgs and settled into a weight loss of 18 kgs which was 3 kgs more than the endo suggested but I was calling the shots now with my health and he acknowledged that I knew what had caused my diabetes and also now had the knowledge and the commitment to attain non-diabetic figures. So I realise that I am grateful that I got the wake-up call that is a diagnosis of diabetes. Fortunate am I that I was diagnosed in time to give my pancreas a rest on medication and at the age of 59 years I look forwards to creating a vegetable garden that Eden would be envious of and to be able to help others find better health through low carbing



This story describes the diet that I've gradually adopted over the last two years to successfully deal with my non-insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetes.

I'm a sixty-six-years old non-insulin dependent Type 2 on Metformin. I was diagnosed nearly ten years ago in the very early stages with a fasting level of 7.2 (130) and an HbA1c of only 5.7%. My situation slowly progressed - i.e. deteriorated - for eight years by following the "do not test" and " eat plenty of starchy carbohydrate" advice that is so often given by healthcare professionals to type 2s in the UK. Even though my progression was relatively slow, around seven years later my HbA1c eventually reached 9.4% and my GP started to prescribe Metformin (1000mg per day) - and then around a year later he doubled the dosage to 2000mg because my HbA1C was still at 8.5%.

At that stage and against my Doctors advice, I started to test and by doing that soon came to understand the effect that different foods had on my blood glucose levels. By using that information and gradually changing my diet over the last two years, I have fully reversed my Type 2 diabetic situation. Today, all my numbers are better than they were at diagnosis - in most of the cases by a massive amount. If I went to the doctor today then by the most-commonly-used diagnostic tests - fasting blood glucose levels or HbA1c - they would say that I did not have diabetes. Moreover, any symptoms of diabetes that I had experienced have all disappeared.

Basically, the main thing that I've done is to cut out almost all the starchy carbohydrates - e.g. cereals, bread, potatoes, pizza mainly but I'm also very careful with rice and pasta too. In my opinion this has been by far and away the main reason for my dramatic improvement in blood glucose levels.

My HbA1c has dropped from a high of 9.4% to in the 5s the last six tests - and a lowest-ever of 5.0% last time. I'm hoping to take it below 5% very soon. In November I stopped using Metformin altogether.



My diabetes was diagnosed by chance in 2009, when my GP asked me to have a fasting blood test due to raised BP. This came back at 7.1, I was asked to have another one which came back at 9. I have since found out that another blood test in 2006 showed a fasting level of 6.6, but for some reason I was never informed I was pre-diabetic. Knowing what I know now my sugars would have been running wild during that time. I had been overweight for many years but always active, people often said I should have been skinny as I was always busy, but at the time of diagnosis I weighed more than 16 stone  and whatever I did, it didn’t seem to shift. I also ate lots of fruit; sometimes seven pieces a day, granary bread, pasta and rice, plus fruit juice. I was literally welcoming diabetes but didn’t know it at the time, had I known I was pre-diabetic I might have done some research and avoided becoming a fully paid up member of the club no one wants to join. Just before diagnosis I remember having a really ‘carby’ day when I felt so sleepy and my feet were burning, as if on fire, couldn’t get rid of it for over a day, I am sure these were the effects of very high sugars. Looking back I often felt sleepy after lots of carbs, but put it down to a demanding job and life.

I had no real advice on diagnosis, just told to ‘eat a healthy diet’. I have a friend who has been type 2 for a long time and I knew you were supposed to check your blood sugar. I asked for a meter and was told I would be given one by the diabetic nurse when I saw her eventually. Meanwhile I did some reading online, was devastated to find out the implications of uncontrolled diabetes and felt my life was over. However I was lucky that within less than a week I had found this site and also Fergus who I emailed about his lowcarb bread. That was the beginning of hope for a healthier future for me. I cut out carbs drastically, when I got my meter I found that just one piece of Burgen bread sent my blood sugar to double figures, as did one weetabix and a drizzle of milk. That was it; I knew that there had to be something odd about the standard dietary advice if I wanted to get good bs control.
At my first hba1c, after 2 months of strict lowcarbing, it was at 7.2, I know it would have been much higher if it had been taken at diagnosis. My hba1c has since dropped gradually, my latest being 5.4. My bloods are good, kidneys perfect, my hdl cholesterol is 48% and triglycerides are 0.5. I eat cream, butter and cheese etc. I have also lost more than 4 stones in weight. I feel much better and look it too. People always ask how I did it and can’t believe it sadly when I say I don’t eat many carbs but I do eat fat. I was always a keen cook and after initial despair at what was I going to eat, I now relish the challenge of adapting recipes and inventing new dishes which fit into my new lifestyle.

My GP says that he can’t remember a diabetic in the practice with such a low hba1c for a long time, but is very evasive when I ask about the madness of the standard dietary advice, and I am just told the famous mantra....’If it works for you...’ If it works for me why not for others? I know that ‘we are all different’ but the present dietary advice to eat lots of carbs, particularly when many are also told not to test is madness, testing is essential for everyone, only then do you find out what you can or can’t eat.

My family has a history of glaucoma and I have an annual eye check to ensure my eye pressure hasn’t increased. My job involves working with children with a visual impairment and I am well aware of how precious sight is. Interestingly my eye pressure had risen the year before diagnosis, but after 3 months low carbing it had dropped and earlier this month when I saw my optician he couldn’t believe how much further it had gone down. I told him that I was convinced that it had gone up due to high blood sugars and that it was now much improved due to good bs control, which he thoroughly agreed with, another bonus.

Who knows what is around the corner, but all I can say is that at the moment life is good, I am healthier than I have been in years and have made some wonderful friends who I am convinced have helped to save my life.



My name is Kate, a lively 63 years young, living in Cornwall with my husband and dogs, lots of family and grandchildren close by. My Mother, who sadly died in June this year, aged 92 had Diabetes Type 2, was not overweight and until Alzheimer's changed her life, was fit and healthy. I have always been aware that because my Mothers Mum, my maternal grandmother also had Diabetes, it was not unlikely that I would also develop it at some stage. I have always prepared healthy food but admit to maybe enjoying my food too much!

I have also suffered from high BP throughout my adult life, another legacy from Mother, plus Hyper Cholesterolemia, same source, which means that without help, my body does not deal with cholesterol efficiently and so it lays stored, I have been taking statins for some years now and generally have no ill effects, I also take Atenolol and Ace Inhibitors for an erratic BP. Three years ago, a routine blood test showed elevated levels of sugar and so I took a Glucose Intolerance test, the results showing Pre Diabetes. I was given very little advice, just handed a booklet to read, no tea and sympathy ! Because at that time, I didn't know any better, I followed the advice in the booklet, eat plenty of starchy carbs, which I did and soon noticed the weight gain! 

I spoke to my Doctor who said not to worry, carry on doing what I was doing, so carry on I did !  We then moved house and had to change Doctors and shortly afterwards, my new Doctor ordered blood tests to check on my liver function due to the statins, the results showed a high blood sugar and so the test was repeated two weeks later, the BG was even higher this time and an HbA1c showed 8.8, definitely Diabetes !  I was devastated, I felt betrayed and angry and from that moment on, I decided to take charge of my own disease and destiny, embarking on a read, read and more read programme, it soon made perfect sense that the carbs were the culprit ! My newly appointed Diabetes nurse was aghast at my new regime of low carbing, "On your own head be it" were her words !  Pretty soon, she had to eat her words as the BG began to fall without the help of medication and although I wasn't grossly overweight, my body became toned and healthy at a near perfect 9 stones. The HbA1c result after 8 months was 5.7 and at this juncture, the nurse no longer had an argument, indeed she began to ask me about my regime, taking notes whilst I sang the praises of low carbing, what sweet irony !! Its no use being bitter, I try to be resolute and embrace my new way of life even though there are the odd times I come close to falling off the wagon, but so far I am clinging on for dear life !





In 2003 I weighed 95kg. At 1.83m and large-framed I felt comfortable with myself but knew I was overweight. However, during the period 2006 – 2008 my weight slowly increased to 125kg and I was also exhibiting the familiar symptoms of diabetes – fatigue, frequent urination and thirst. I was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic in March 2008. Upon diagnosis, my test results were as follows.


Weight 125kg    HbA1c 8.2%    BP 167/105    Total/HDL Cholesterol 2.99


In the first three months after diagnosis I read extensively about the effect of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels and decided upon a low carbohydrate dietary approach in an attempt to achieve normal blood glucose levels. I decided to drop rice, pasta, potato, bread and pastry/baked products from my diet and replace them with more meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, dairy foods and nuts. (This website provides examples and illustrations of tasty and nutritious carbohydrate replacements). Since then all my quarterly HbA1c have all been below 5.5 without the aid of medication and my weight has dropped back down to 95kg with fatigue, frequent urination and thirst gone. My latest annual review results are as follows.


Weight 95kg    HbA1c 5.3%    BP 120/80    Total/HDL Cholesterol 1.9


I really do believe that the low carb diet is the simplest and most effective method of reducing and stabilising blood glucose levels.


I have had type 1 diabetes for 27 years. For the first 20 of those I had gradually worsening health - increasing blood glucose, insulin use, hypoglycemia attacks and weight. I followed an approved diet based around starchy carbohydrates and low in fat.

In 2000 I began trying to reverse my decline by restricting carbohydrates in my diet and replacing them with more meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, dairy foods and nuts, although I received no encouragement from my doctors in using this approach. The results have been remarkable.

2000: HbA1c 7.6%, BMI 29, HDL 1.7, LDL 2.4, triglyceride 0.7, daily insulin use ~80 units

2008: HbA1c 4.7%, BMI 22, HDL 3.1, LDL 1.8, triglyceride 0.5, daily insulin use ~ 20 units

I have always tried to look after myself, staying physically active and working hard. I have never consciously reduced my calorie intake. I believe all diabetics should be made aware of the potential benefits of such a diet before deciding how to deal with their condition.


Hi Eddie

Thanks for the reply and all the advice over the past few months. Since I posted the original request for info I have had all below 6 readings , mainly 5.6 .I would still like to be lower and so am considering upping the metformin as I've never had any of the gross side effects I have read about! At the moment I take 2 x 500 per day. As for carbs I am quite unscientific in my approach. I look at the carb content and if it is over 5 per 100 I don't have it! I suppose I average below 60 carbs per day , My BS was in the 20s when I was diagnosed and was in the high teens following the dietician's advice and starting metformin. The low carb advice from yourself and others on saw them fall into single figures and down to the 5's in a matter of days. The other effect was a weight loss of a stone and a half in 3 months, Can't ever understand how people can get so vitriolic about low carbing when it is so blindingly obvious how and why it works!

Keep the Faith



I was diagnosed a type 2 diabetic in March of this year (2008). Before this date I had never been ill in my life. Over 40 years of playing golf and a very active work schedule had kept me reasonably fit. Three years ago I was tested for diabetes and was given the OK the reason for getting tested was because this illness runs in my family. Around three years ago I stopped playing golf due to business commitments and to save time started eating a lot of take away and supermarket ready meals etc. Over three years the weight went up and up. Then I started to get the familiar symptoms and went out and got a B. G. meter, result 26. So down to the doc's and the usual routine followed. Metformin 3 x 500mg etc. cut out the sugar. For two months I tried the dropping the sugar and the usual advice of keep eating carbs. like bread, pasta and spuds etc. with every meal, result a B. G. number never better than12. I knew this number was not good.

I started low carbing and my numbers plummeted within a few days. I have stayed low carbing and the results below speak for themselves.

28 March Weight 15.5 stone B.P 160 over 140 blood glucose 26.4 trigls 2.7 HbA1c 11.4
26 August Weight 11.5 stone B.P.115 over 76 blood glucose 4.7 trigls 1 HbA1c 5.90

I would suggest that every diabetic tries this at some stage, you having nothing to lose but in my opinion a great deal to gain. With the exception of weight of course.

More friends stories coming soon


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