The low carb solution for diabetics

“In 2008, when Lucca was eight, he was admitted to intensive care and diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes. Nothing prepares you for this emotional, life-changing rollercoaster” – Vickie De Beer

When working mother Vickie De Beer’s life changed forever, she and leading paediatric dietician Kath Megaw set about ‘The Low-Carb Solution for Diabetics’ – and, in the process, developed an arsenal of the most effective systems and day-to-day strategies for practically dealing with diabetes.

Part emotive journey, part cookbook and part medical reference, and all bundled up in the care and love of devoted parents, The Low-Carb Solution for Diabetics is the fruit of their combined findings – at once personal and professional, and essential reading that effectively ‘closes the gap’ for families coping with diabetes.

Available at major bookstores country wide: R335

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What does a Low carb diet entail?

Low carb refers to the reduction of daily carb intake to 30-50g per day. Carbohydrates are replaced with protein, fat and fibrous vegetables.

The fats included in this diet are healthy fats like monounsaturated fats found in butter, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil and avocados; and polyunsaturated fats found in fish oils and also some animal fats like bacon and butter.

The purpose of a low carb diet for a type 1 diabetic is not weight loss but better blood glucose control – the carbohydrates are replaced with protein and healthy fats. Children need protein for growth, energy and brain development and the amount of protein taken in should not be restricted at all. Healthy fats form part of a healthy diet and are included in this diet for energy and brain development, but you must understand that this is not a ketogenic diet.

Why we made the change

We did the low GI carb-counting way of treating type 1 diabetes very diligently for five years. But even through constant testing and correction, Lucca always had unstable blood sugar. Highs and lows frequented everyday life even though we were told that we were doing a good job, that it was impossible for Lucca to have lower, more stable blood sugars.

I realised that protein can be a sustainable, stable source of energy for the body because it can be converted into glucose. Because it is converted into glucose slowly you reduce the amount of spikes in the blood sugar normally caused by fast-acting carbohydrates like sugar, rice, bread, potatoes and pasta.

You can bolus (inject insulin) for protein, which means that Lucca will still be receiving the insulin that his body requires.

Whereas protein is stable, carbohydrates are extremely unpredictable and unstable. Once you cut out carbohydrates from your diet, stable and more normal blood sugar is possible. The fact is, we do not need carbohydrates, they are not essential for our wellbeing and growth.