San Francisco Bay Area resident Patrick Totty writes about his experiences living with type 2 diabetesSee all posts »
I’m entering the fifth week of my experiment with a low-carb diet and a renewed exercise regimen to see if I can put off starting insulin therapy. I started with the high hope that I could drive my fasting numbers down far enough to avoid starting on the drug.
But my numbers are telling me that a more realistic hope is to keep my blood sugar low enough to require only small doses of basal insulin to control it. (My four-week fasting figures are below.)
My reasoning is based on the experience of Dr. Richard Bernstein, whom I’ve mentioned here before. He’s a type 1 diabetic who has long advocated a low-carb diet in combination with small doses of insulin to maintain control. Despite having been diagnosed with type 1 for more than 60 years, Dr. Bernstein manages to keep his blood sugar consistently in the 80s and 90s.
He contends that rather than adopt a lifestyle where you can consume large amounts of carbohydrates as long as you “cover” them with large doses of insulin, it’s better to shun carbs where possible. The result is a much lower blood sugar starting point that requires less insulin to drive down.
I know that fasting numbers tell an incomplete story. During the day, my numbers often climb into the 160s and 180s after a meal, and even after a vigorous walk. The pattern I’ve been seeking is a basic fasting number, which seems to be settling around 150 mg/dL, with post-meal readings that average 20 to 30 mg/dL higher.
So now the wishful thinking part of me, as scientific as it has portrayed itself to be, realizes that it’s time to get ready in earnest for my insulin instruction class on July 17. Once I take the plunge, I intend to pull a Bernstein and see if I can keep my blood sugars controlled with the minimum possible amount of insulin.
That’s a separate experiment and I’ll let you know how it goes.
Four-Week Fasting Figures:*
Start: Fasting reading on June 12 of 211 mg/dL
- High reading: 205 mg/dL
- Low reading: 138 mg/dL
- Average: 167 mg/dL
- High reading: 159 mg/dL
- Low reading: 127 mg/dL
- Average: 142 mg/dL
- Average for the 2 weeks: 155 mg/dL
- High reading: 166 mg/dL
- Low reading: 134 mg/dL
- Average: 145 mg/dL
- Average for the 3 weeks: 152 mg/dL
- High reading: 152 mg/dL
- Low reading: 130 mg/dL
- Average: 141 mg/dL
- Average for the 4 weeks: 149 mg/dL
*I take 2,000 mg of metformin daily.