Carb-Free Living; A Diabetic’s Decade Long Success Story
My first book of 48,000 words, focuses on how I, a type 1 diabetic for 32 years, successfully transformed my health through following a low-carb diet for over a decade. The pros and cons of following a low-carb diet for either diabetes management or weight control have been debated for many years now, particularly after the publication of the famous book by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution in 1999.
There are no significant publications that I am aware of from people who have followed a low-carb diet for a long period of time and recounted their results. I personally believe that to date, following a low-carb diet is the most realistic and effective way diabetics can control their blood sugars or that people can prevent obesity, which is a major contributory factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is rapidly becoming the world’s worst health epidemic, with cases climbing sharply around the world. Just look at some of these statistics:
• In the United Kingdom, approximately 2.9 million people are affected by diabetes. There are also thought to be around 850,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes.
• In the United States, cases of diabetes skyrocketed in states across the country between 1995 and 2010. In fact, the number of diabetes cases diagnosed in that time period rose by 50 percent or more in 42 different states — and by 100 percent or more in 18 states.
• Within 18 years, China is projected to have 130 million sufferers of Type 2 diabetes, the form of the disease in which the body stops responding properly to the hormone insulin. The disease is already killing 1.2 million Chinese a year because of kidney failure, heart attack and other associated conditions, it said in a recent report.
• “One in five people in the United Kingdom is classified as obese, a proportion which has tripled in twenty years. An astonishing 58 % of the adult population is overweight or obese, a report reveals.”
One of the biggest challenges healthcare systems are now facing is how to most effectively manage existing diabetics, and how to prevent new people from developing the disease. Through my personal experience, I believe that following a low-carb diet is the best way to achieve these aims.
Market- This book is ideal for diabetics and their loved ones, those who are obese, and are therefore at a high risk of developing diabetes, or healthcare professionals. The book has been written in such a way so that it could easily be marketed to an international audience, which I believe is crucial in order to maximise its market potential.
In addition, I believe there is high potential for spin-off low-carb cookbooks, television opportunities, online diet plans, and food marketing/co-marketing opportunities for this book. I believe the benefits of a low-carb diet are currently highly under-represented in the marketplace, and that the concept is long overdue for a re-launch.
The book contains the following chapters:
1. Foreword- Background on why I have written the book and what I hope the audience takes from it
2. How It All Began- The series of events which led me to adopt a low-carb lifestyle
3. Medical Community Support- How I adopted the diets recommended by two doctors who wrote books supporting the adherence to a low-carb diet by diabetics
4. The Diet- A more detailed description of the foods that I cut out of my diet to achieve significantly better diabetic control is provided, including the “7 Deadly Sins” of carb-laden food to watch out for
5. Diabetes Epidemic- How diabetes is a disease that is increasing in epidemic proportions around the world and how health care systems will need to promote changes in lifestyle management to efficiently and effectively control or prevent the disease.
6. Snacking- Questioning why many doctors want their diabetic patients to continually snack on carb-laden food throughout the day
7. The Skinny on Weight Control- How following a low-carb diet is one of the easiest ways to remain at or under your ideal “fighting weight.”
8. Carb Cons- An honest look at some of the less positive aspects of following a low-carb diet, and how these factors can be mitigated
9. Seeing Your Doctor As a Consultant- How I found that in order to manage my health effectively, I could not solely depend on my doctors’ advice. Instead, I combined their advice with my own reading and research.
10. International Diabetes Care- How diabetes care budgets around the world are likely to come under pressure, increasing the need for patients to rely less on professional healthcare, and more on lifestyle changes to manage or prevent disease.
11. Frequent Blood Sugar Testing- Why continual monitoring of a diabetic’s blood sugar levels are key to managing their disease.
12. Do Not Fear Low Blood Sugar- Why some doctors will encourage diabetics to keep their blood sugars too high, due to an extreme fear of their patients experiencing any low blood sugars, not just severe attacks.
13. Diabulimia- The eating disorder prevalent in many diabetics, particularly teenage females, which leads them to under dose on insulin to lose weight.
14. Exercise Every Day- How daily exercise, along with a low-carb diet is essential to improve the diabetic’s health.
15. Drinking- How drinking can be incorporated into the diabetic’s diet, recommended low-carb beverages, as well as the potential risks of alcohol consumption.
16. Results- A graph showing the medical results of my diabetic control after starting the low-carb diet. You can see how my HbA1c readings (the primary test used to gauge how well a diabetic is managing their disease) went from being poor to excellent.
17. Typical Daily Diet- This section shows what I eat in typical day, and how easy it is to make and access low-carb menu options.
Sample from Foreword—
Whether you want to manage your diabetes effectively or to lose or maintain your current weight, the goal of this book is the same. It is to demonstrate how following a low carbohydrate diet will allow you to achieve your desired results by simply modifying your eating habits to such an extent that you now control your own destiny, rather than having your food control you.
Please let me get started by telling you how I describe to a non-diabetic person what managing diabetes is like. This example is fictional, but please bear with me. What if I told you that you had to undergo a daily weigh-in where you had to hit a target weight within one ounce. You couldn’t be one ounce lighter nor one ounce heavier than the target weight or you would risk facing severe and debilitating health complications further down the line. I would imagine this could lead you to consider all the various factors that could slightly modify your weight. For example, you would need to take account of:
– the amount of food you had eaten in the past few days, down to very specific portion sizes and calorie counts
– how much you had to drink over the past couple of days, also down to very specific sizes/weights (to assess water weight and caloric intake)
– how much salt you had ingested (if there are effects of water retention)
– how much exercise you had done lately (to measure the amount of calories burned through exercise and how much muscle mass you may have built versus fat burned, as muscle weighs more than fat)
You would then need to, with precise accuracy, measure all the factors above, as well as new factors that you found out over time had a slight effect on your weight, and incorporate these into your daily routine. Your typical non-diabetic could easily go crazy trying to achieve such stringent targets on a daily basis, in addition to juggling all the other non-health related pressures of their life.
Although the scenario I have just described above is fictional and is solely being used as an analogy, managing diabetes is not too dissimilar to this example. The ultimate goal of maintaining good health as a diabetic is to ensure blood sugar levels stay within a narrow range of values, day-in, day-out. This minimises the long term risk of developing serious diabetes-related health complications including blindness, amputation, cardiac issues, and nerve damage. In order to keep ever-fluctuating blood sugars in the optimal range, all sorts of factors need to be considered by the diabetic several times daily, such as:
– illness and/or other medications taken
– daily routine
– monthly hormonal cycles (for females)
– the rate of digestion of food
I refer to the monitoring of these factors as my “second full-time job”, that I have to manage on an hourly basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After successfully juggling these factors for the past 31 years of being a type 1 diabetic, I have learned quite a few things. These are things I would like to share with you in this book.
I hope that some of my observations, whether you agree with them or not, will help you at least learn more about how another diabetic has managed her disease. If you (or a loved one) are diabetic, and are finding the management of your disease very challenging, or ineffective despite following your health care professionals’ advice, I hope this book can at least give you some alternative opinions to consider.
When I say I have “successfully” managed my diabetes, what I mean is that: a). I am still on this planet and in good health b). I have achieved HbA1c results between 5 and 6% (according to the NGSP/DCCT scale; please see the Appendix for how this relates to IFCC values) for the past decade c). I do not have any major diabetic complications d). I live an extremely busy, yet happy and fruitful life where I have not let my diabetes conquer me or damper my spirit.
I believe there are several factors you need to take into account to successfully manage your diabetes. I am a type 1 diabetic, so although my book will more specifically relate to my experiences of relating to this form of the disease, I think the majority of this read will also be applicable to type 2 diabetics.
I have found that one of the most important factors in successfully controlling diabetes is your diet. Contrary to the advice of many health care professionals and diabetes organisations, I feel that following a diet that is very low in carbohydrates is one of the most important things a diabetic can do to successfully control his or her blood sugars. In addition, I believe that there are many other health benefits that come with following this type of diet, such as lower cholesterol and lipid rates, and weight reduction. You can found out more about my experiences of following a low carbohydrate diet for over 10 years in the following chapters.
Before you read this book, I must point out that I am not a doctor, nor have I had any formal medical training. This book will consist of my observations and personal experiences of managing my disease over more than three decades and how I went from being a very poorly-controlled diabetic with little hope for my long-term future, to one that is now optimistic that there is a long and healthy life ahead of me. If any of my opinions of optimal diabetes management are ones that you would like to consider including into your own care regimen, I would urge you to discuss any changes you may want to make with your team of healthcare professionals.
I hope you have an enjoyable read and are inspired to win the battle against diabetes and remember to always take time out to pat yourself on the back for each day you have successfully lived with your disease..
Robyn Michelle Barr
2 Midfields Walk
Tel: 01444 870187 (H)
This post was written by Robyn