High-Carb Runway: How to Start a Low-Carb Diet Without Reducing Carbs

This last week I had four people ask me the same question: What’s the easiest way to go low-carb and stop these blood sugar swings?

Most people plunge in by cutting out all the pasta, the fruit, the bagels, the cheese cake, the garlic bread, the fruit juice, the pancakes, the colas, the french fries, the waffles, the popcorn, the ice cream, the pretzels, the chocolate, the rice, the Cheerios… and realize they haven’t much left to eat.

Days follow as they go mad with hunger. One type-1 diabetic told me that she was turning into a skeleton following a low-carb diet.

Not just Nicole (my type-1 diabetic wife) but also myself and our eight year old son, Jonah, have followed a low-carb diet for two years. We’ve all maintained normal weight. The low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat approach has neither turned us into skeletons or elephants.

The trick is replacing the carbs with something better.

I typically recommend that type-1 diabetics starting a low carb diet should just go on eating the same amount of carbs they always have. Lets not start this journey with self-sacrifice and deprivation.

Instead of pulling the carbs out of your diet, I suggest pushing them out.

You need calories. If you’re not getting them from carbohydrates, then you need to get them from protein and fat.

Here are three easy steps a type-1 diabetic can take to start a low-carb lifestyle:

1. Eat three meals a day. Preferably five hours apart. E.g. 7am. 12pm. 5pm.

2. Eat at least four ounces of animal protein at each of those meals. If you’re extra tall (or hungry) than five, six or seven ounces. Animal protein includes foods such as fish, chicken, eggs, cheese, beef, lamb, goat, duck or pork. Some people even like kangaroo tails.

3. Eat at least 4-6 tablespoons of butter (or lard or tallow) at each meal.

One might want to follow this approach for at least 30 days before consciously reducing carbohydrates. Eat those protein and fat meals first. Then eat whatever carbs you feel like. Chase that salmon down with a chocolate sundae if you must (not recommended).

Protein will diminish your desire to devour cupcakes. Fat will fill you up like pasta cannot. I think most people will find their carbohydrate intake naturally decreasing before the thirty days are up.

Thinking outside the type-1 diabetic matrix,
– John C. A. Manley

P.S. I think there are many factors that should be adjusted before a type-1 diabetic starts lowering their carbohydrate intake. For example, if your basal insulin dose is too high, there’s no way you can lower your consumption of ice cream without falling unconscious. If you would like some one-on-one coaching to help balance your blood sugar please contact me.

P.P.S. We haven’t found that type-1 diabetics need to go super-low carb to obtain a HgbA1C under 5.5%. I explain more in Carrot-Eatng Type-1 Diabetic Maintains 5.2% HgbA1C and Millet Experiment: Keeping Blood Sugars Stable After a Bowl of Porridge.

About the Author: John C. A. Manley researches and writes about alternative treatments for type-1 diabetes and its many complications. His wife, Nicole, of 15 years has had type-1 diabetes for four decades. Together they have lowered her HgbA1c below 5.5%, regained thyroid function, increased kidney function and reversed gastroparesis. Read more about their journey out of the T1D matrix or subscribe to their Diabetic Dharma blog..