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Sat, Sep-08-01, 01:34
Hi everyone! I am a type 1 diabetic. Actually, I've had diabetes now for over 25 years and I'm sorry to say that I've been a very bad one:( .

It's really taken it's tole on my health and I am now finding that I am unable to keep my blood sugars under any kind of control without the use of the low carb way of eating.

I use the insulin pump, and test at least 7 times a day, but more like 8-10 times daily. The problem is, that even with this wonderful technology, I'm bouncing around with low blood sugars of 20-30 then, within a few hours I'm unable to bring them back down below the 400's.

I've decided that it's imperative that I turn to a low carb way of eating, but feel terrible when eating this way. I am completely energyless, can't focus or carry on a conversation and am feeling nauseated most of the time. I have little or no appetite and really can't stand the thought of another bite of protein. I think the problem is that I'm a total sugar and carb addict living on cookies and bagels for over 4 years now.

My question is, does it ever get any better and has anyone else been through this sort of thing. No one else I know that is doing the LC way of eating has had such severe reactions, but then again, there are no other diabetics that I know of either.

Please help if you are able, I really could use some advice and experiences of others that have walked this same road.


Sat, Sep-08-01, 08:57
Welcome to lowcarb.ca Tami!

Congratulations on trying to find out more information that will bring you better health.

How long have you been low carbing for this time around? Generally by the end of the 2 week induction period, you should be feeling pretty good.

I noticed in your profile that you have not indicated if you have read andy books on LC so I strongly advise you to get a copy of Dr. Bernsteins Diabetic Solution to get information on the ins-and- outs of LC from a diabetic perspective.

It is possible that you may not be eating enough. Can you tell us what you've been eating? We may be able to give you some pointers.


Sat, Sep-08-01, 13:15
Thanks for your reply. I have read Dr Atkins many times and also have tried low carbing several times, but given up after about 4-6 weeks of no energy and feeling sick most of the time.

Here is a typical days eating:

Egg and cheese omelete for breakfast

snack of cheese and salami

Lettuce sandwiches for lunch filled with roasted chicken or turkey, mayo and cheese. If I'm really out of it and need a little boost, I add 2 or 3 grapes, no more than that.

Dinner would be roasted chicken or beef, salad, and sauteed veggies.

Evening snack would probably be a few cheese cubes or meat of some variety.

I have also read Protein Power Plan and Somersizing. I started out with poor health to start with, but this seems to be really making me feel even worse. I'm thinking that it's probably the sugar withdraws because I'm telling ya, I am a total and complete sugar addict. Which is crazy considering the diabetes, but there you have it :(

Thanks again!

Sat, Sep-08-01, 16:01

While I don't suffer from diabetes, I do know how you feel. I have been on Dr. Atkin's diet quite a few times and this is only the second time that I've lasted more than a few days due to feeling poorly. I am also a HUGE carb addict (bread & sweets plus I'm Italian so that doesn't help ;) ...pasta plz :( ) and so it has been hard for me to make the switch. The first time I did Dr. Atkin's diet was about 4 years ago and I was very successful and lost about 50 pounds in a little under 3 months. Unfortunately I did not stick with the healthier eating due to my large addiction to carbs. I tried the diet again about 4 more times but couldn't do it because I felt shakey, nauseated and like you, couldn't concentrate on anything for the life of me! Unfortunately I gave up each time because I couldn't stand the side-effects from the loss of carbs.

Well this time that I'm on it, my husband is here right along with me which is a great help. He's doing the diet too, and working out with me at the gym. He has helped me a lot to stay positive and I think that was part of my problem. I was afraid because when we started doing the diet again (6th time for me) I got sick all over again, almost exactly like you described. For me though, once I could get through the initial week or so, I really felt a lot better. I found that a lot of it was psychological for me and I had to change the way I was thinking. I found that constantly thinking about how I couldn't eat any of the things I loved really was wearing me down. I had to rethink things a bit and concentrate on what I was doing for my body and for my health and I really started to feel a lot better after that. I am suprised that after 4-6 weeks on the diet you don't have any energy. My energy level always increased greatly if I could get through that first week.

Everything that you are eating sounds exactly what I eat as well. I don't know if your lethargic feelings would come from your Diabetes. Have you talked to your doctor at all about these diets? As far as your sweet-tooth is concerned, I have a great little tip that helps me a lot. I buy fat-free pudding (which is also sugar-free though they don't really advertise it much) and make it with whole milk (and not skim like the recipe). Add a little whipped cream on top and it is WONDERFUL and is quite low in carbs. It helps me a lot with my sweet tooth, especially when I can't stand to take another bite of protein ;). Another thing that I do is buy Hershey Bites. 16 of them is 22 carbs so if I'm dying one day for chocolate or something, I'll grab 2 little bites out of the bag and that's less than 3 carbs!

Because of the weightloss of mine and my husband these last few weeks, my husband's father is considering starting the diet. He also has Diabetes which was originally why I was reading these posts. I was trying to find out a bit of information for him :). I have always heard/thought that Dr. Atkin's was good for people with Diabetes but then when you get the Ketone sticks that you have to test with, the instruction booklet talks about how having high Ketones is bad for people with Diabetes. What do you feel about this? It's a little conflicting and confusing to me!

Good luck to you, Tami. I hope that you can find your balance between eating healthier and feeling good :).

Sat, Sep-08-01, 18:55
Thanks for your reply to my post. I think that I have tried this way of eating so many times that I too, like you, kind of psych myself out before I even begin.

Yes, I have discussed this with my doctor. Due to my poor diabetic control and the issues that have began to plague my body due to this, he is all for the low carb way of eating.

I can sooooo understand your carb addiction. Man, can I ever. I'm not over weight which is amazing considering the way I used to eat. Sheesh. I truly believe that this is a big factor in why I'm feeling so lousy.

As far as the ketones in the urine being bad for diabetics, according to what I understand it's really not a problem unless there is also acid present. This would be what is refered to as the extremely dangerous condition known to diabetics as ketoacidosis. Very serious, very dangerous.

I'm gonna try and stick to this way of eating and just let everyone know that for a few more days they probably won't be able to expect a whole heck of a lot from me. And thanks a bunch for the pudding idea. I love it!


Sun, Sep-09-01, 18:35
Hi Tammi :wave:

I don't know a lot about diabetes, except that u can pass out altogether - one of my workmates did once - if u don't take charge and help yourself.

I do know about mood swings ... in some ways it is similar 'cos there is the vicious cycle of low blood sugar, depressed and moody, more insulin, carb craving, high blood sugar, mood swinging to the positive.

Induction was quite hard for me too but I felt better on the Atkins from day one despite the withdrawal symptoms. Stay with it, get whatever support u need to do that.

Soon things will begin to look very different.

Saffyrre is sooo right. A lot has to change in the mind first ... or at the same time as u go along.

Take care. We are all behind u on this. YOU CAN DO IT.

Lisa N
Tue, Oct-23-01, 19:33
Read something in a low carb cookbook (of all places) that if you feel lousy when you are low-carbing it could be due to a sensitivity to a chemical found mostly in red meat and eggs called Arachidonic acid. (Of course, it's also normal to feel lousy the first 3-5 days you are on low carb due to carb withdrawal.) The "cure" is to take EPA oils (fish oil) capsules with any meal that contains red meat or eggs. The article in the book said that this is such a good fix that you should feel better within 15-30 minutes of taking them if that is your problem. Why don't you feel that way unless you are low carbing? High levels of carbohydrate mask the sensitivity. Can't hurt to give it a try...fish oils are good for you anyway! :D

Mon, Oct-29-01, 23:30
Hi TamiRabbit,

Welcome! I understand what you're going through, it happened to me too.

I'm a Type 2 diabetic and I never got the energy boost that everyone on LC gets. It wasn't until I read some threads here about the need for supplemental potassium that I had any idea what was wrong.

1st: I hope you take a multi-vitamin. Any Forte or Super one will do, sugar & starch free, of course. While I'm onto supplements, a calcium/magnesium supplement is essential too.

If you are drinking lots of water (and you should be) for the proper elimination of excess ketones, then your body is becoming depleted of potassium. The easiest way to up your potassium intake is to buy No-Salt or Half-Salt (salt & spice section of your grocery store) and use it in cooking or sprinkle on at the table, just as you would use salt. This is more pleasant than dissolving some in a glass of water & then drinking it. Blech!

EPA oils(fish oil) or Essential Fatty Acids, as suggested by Lisa N.
These are excellent for anyone to take for good health. Our body cannot make this nutrient & we must consume it in our diet or by supplement.

Lack of potassium causes headaches, achiness, fatigue, muscles aches (and in my case, grumpiness). After a day or so or using potassium chloride you'll start to feel better.

Personal anecdote: I started Atkins Mar 26, began using Half-Salt about 5 or 6 weeks later. Began to feel better, more energy etc. The first week of June I was out of town on vacation & didn't think about taking Half-Salt with me (silly me didn't even think about buying some where I was). Day 8 I was flying home, I began to feel really tired, achy, grumpy etc. Just plain miserable! I'd had a great holiday and didn't know what was wrong with me. 4 whole days later I finally figured it out & restarted using No-Salt. I hope to never make this mistake again (& my family may just disown me if I do :p ).

I don't know if potassium depletion is your problem or not, but No-Salt is worth a try.

I hope this helps you, and please post again if you have any more questions, or even to report back how you are doing. I believe that low carb is the only healthy way to eat for a diabetic, and it may take a little tweaking to find the optimum for you. IMHO, supplements are critical to successful LC WOL!

:wave: Ruth :wave:

Mon, Nov-05-01, 23:58
I am type I on a pump also - I just started the diet and quickly found that I need a square wave bolus for the large amount of protein and fat. Have you needed this? It has only been a week on the diet so Im not sure how I will feel long term. I do know that if my blood sugars are not in control, I feel lousy. Low carb or not.

Lisa N
Wed, Nov-07-01, 15:35
Just an observation. If you're a diabetic on medication and eating low carb, I would personally recommend working closely with your doctor and/or dietician to adjust your medication needs as you go. Unless you've been doing it for a long time, you should never adjust your meds without talking with your doctor first. Insulin dependent diabetics may be the exception because they are used to adjusting their medications daily, but even they should consider consulting with their doctors because this way of eating is drastically different from the standard diabetic diet that most medication schedules are tailored to. People are unique and react differently to low carbing; some people's medication needs decrease dramatically, some only a little. Also...if your doctor is not "low carb friendly", I'd really recommend finding one who is; it makes this whole process a lot easier if you don't have to fight the medical establishment while you are fighting your metabolism! :D

Fri, Nov-16-01, 11:48
Yeo Tammy Rabbit:

I'm not diabetic, but I need to watch my insulin levels to deal with a potassium related muscle membrane problem.

One thing I notice is that you are eating a LOT of salty foods--lunch meats, salami, cheese. Sodium and potassium need to be kept in balance and in a prehistoric diet, potassium was probably higher than sodium. It sounds like you've got the scale tipped way the other way. So, I agree that you might want to consider using a potassium salt substitute, or adding some potassium supplements from the nutrition store.

You didn't mention if your blood sugar was better controlled on Atkins or if it is running low. I probably don't have to remind you that when you cut carbs, you may need to adjust your pump to prevent low blood sugar and lack of energy.

Also, have you been checked for related problems such as low thyroid or a low grade infection? These are obvious possibility that your doctor can rule in or out pretty quickly.

The idea of adding fish oil sounds good too. I recently saw a great deal of EPA capsules at Sam's Club. You might try eating more olive oil or adding some Flax oil. Oils and fats are neutral on insulin and supprisingly can burn well (give you energy) without raising your blood sugar levels. I kind of like them on a blah stomach becaues they have lots of calories and don't take up much room. Other's may feel they oil is a little heavy on a sick tummy. You decide.

Keep after it and I believe you'll stumble on the missing pieces to your low energy blues.

Best wishes,