Long-Term Severe Carbohydrate Restriction Is Possible!

I got an email a few days ago from a blog reader, J.H. (I won’t give his name because I didn’t ask permission to publish his letter):

Dr. Parker — I’m a 65 year old male who has battled insulin resistance and pre-diabetes for many years. About 15 months ago I started pursuing a very low carb (20 grams per day) ketogenic diet, and my health has improved significantly. I’ve lost about 35 lbs (down from 265), and I have not found it difficult at all to stay on this regimen. You mentioned in an article (https://diabeticmediterraneandiet.com/ketogenic-mediterranean-diet/) that you don’t believe people can stay with it for more than 6 months and that most people can only last about two weeks. With all due respect, hogwash! I was fortunate enough to become a patient of Eric Westman at Duke, and he does an excellent job of teaching the ketogenic diet to his patients. Any overweight person should give it great consideration, and it’s just not that hard to follow.

Best regards, J.H.

My response was: “Congrats on a job well done! I wish all my patients had your discipline and commitment.”

I have great respect for Dr. Westman. He’s the c0-author of The New Atkins for a New You. I reviewed it in 2010. No clinical studies have compared the effectiveness of Dr. Westman’s diet to my Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet, which attempts to lasso the health benefits of the time-honored traditional Mediterranean diet while helping folks lose weight. The Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet is a key component of Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: You don’t have to know what ketogenic means to benefit from ketosis.

PPS: I have a non-diabetic version of the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet for otherwise healthy folks who just need to lose a boatload of weight.

low-carb mediterranean diet

Front cover of book


Filed under ketogenic diet, Prediabetes

6 responses to “Long-Term Severe Carbohydrate Restriction Is Possible!

  1. Here here! I’m a 70-year-old Type I diabetic who’s been ketotic since Dr Bernstein published his book 18 years ago. My HbA1c is 5.5% – no idea why avoiding dialysis, salami amputations, nephritis and retinopathy doesn’t motivate other diabetics, but it must have to do with useless diabetes educators …

  2. Jan

    Six years on a vlc diet. I’ve maintained a 75 lb weight loss and feel great. I love the food I get to eat and don’t find that it requires “discipline and committment”. It’s simply the way I eat and I don’t feel very good if I eat otherwise.

  3. Lisa

    I belong to an online community of type 2 diabetics who have been using the low carbohydrate, high (healthy) fat diet for many years with good results.

    I think The Low Carb Mediterranean Diet is a good choice for those with pre-diabetes, also for some with type 2 diabetes. Whether or not it works well depends on where your “tipping point” is with the carbohydrates. Some diabetics can tolerate 150 g of carbs a day, others need to stay in the 20 to 50 g carbs range. I probably eat 50 carbs a day because I eat vegetables with all meals and small amount of berries with breakfast, sometimes lunch too.

    I crossed over from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes 11 years ago. I chose not to take medication, nor do I take medication now.

    When I accidentally discovered that low carb eating significantly lowered my blood glucose levels – (animal protein; animal and plant based, healthy fats; above ground vegetables; some below ground such as garlic, onion, carrots, and beets; small amounts of berries) – I was told by my endocrinologist’s diabetes nurse that I had to eat more carbohydrates or risk brain damage. Unfortunately, I believed her – (it’s a myth). Blood glucose levels went back up. Discouraged, I stopped monitoring but continued to eat a reasonably healthy diet.

    Fast forward to early last year. I was re-diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and it had worsened. A1c was 9.9%. I had graduated to severe insulin resistance.

    I was in shock. Lucky for me, that same day I stumbled upon Dr. Richard Bernstein’s diet – (I’ve since read most of the low carb classics including Eric Westman’s contributions). I immediately started the diet, began walking 3 to 7 days a week, and for the next 9 weeks, I checked my blood glucose levels an average of 5.5 times a day. It changed the course of my life.

    The first week of the diet, my highest blood glucose level was 297 mg/dL. What follows are my average blood glucose levels for each week…

    Week 1 – 210 mg/dL
    Week 2 – 168 mg/dL
    Week 3 – 169 mg/dL
    Week 4 – 149 mg/dL
    Week 5 – 134 mg/dL
    Week 6 – 139 mg/dL
    Week 7 – 129 mg/dL
    Week 8 – 131 mg/dL
    Week 9 – 128 mg/dL

    Recently, more than a year later, I decided to see how my blood glucose levels compare now – (I check my blood glucose levels an average of 6 times a day)…

    Week 1 – 106 mg/dL
    Week 2 – 111 mg/dL
    Week 3 – 120 mg/dL
    Week 4 – 119 mg/dL
    Week 5 – 121 mg/dL
    Week 6 – 122 mg/dL

    Today, my fasting blood glucose levels range from 85 to 115 mg/dL.

    As you can see, blood glucose levels have recently gone up, perhaps due to it being berry season, but even so, my average weekly blood glucose levels are 11.5 mg/dL lower than my best weekly average last year.

    My last A1c in December was 5.4%. All health markers – (A1c, comprehensive metabolic panel, cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, blood pressure, C-reactive Protein, vitamin D) – are now within or just above the normal range. Walking gait normalized almost immediately. Mild neuropathy in one foot reversed within 6 months or so. Periodic feet swelling, an ongoing issue for 10+ years, is significantly better this summer. I have spaces between my toes now!

    Sixteen months on the diet, I can’t imagine eating any other way.

    Do I still have severe insulin resistance? Yes. If I eat a small, peanut butter cookie after a meal, my blood glucose levels will rise to 180, 190, or 200 mg/dL. (Happily, I can also knock a high blood glucose level down by up to 80 mg/dL by walking 20 to 60 minutes, so I rarely have a high blood glucose level for very long.)

    Could I improve my blood glucose levels by taking medication? Probably, but so long as I continue to enjoy improved or stable health markers, not interested.

    Will I ever need medication? Perhaps, but only if I my health markers worsen over a year’s time.

    What else am I doing? I attend weekly diabetes meetings and take nutritional supplements – (whole foods supplements when possible): a multi vitamin and mineral, cod liver oil (for vitamin A), B-complex, C, D3, K2 (MK-7), magnesium, fish oil, Alpha Lipoic Acid, CoQ10, and more recently, digestive enzymes. I previously took a soil based probiotic and Meriva.

    I test blood glucose levels in pairs: pre-bed and upon awakening, pre-meal and 1 to 2 hours post meal, and pre- and post-exercise. I make adjustments in diet and exercise as needed. And I buy the cheapest glucose test strips I can find so I can test guilt free. If money is tight, I test a minimum of 2 days a week, on a work day, and on a day off. It’s also helpful to note and avoid foods that spike blood glucose repeatedly.

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