Low-Carbohydrate Diets Can Work for Diabetes

Barbara Nelson, CDE, of Boise, Idaho, recently noticed that many of her patients were using the book “Sugarbusters!” for their dietary guidelines, usually at the recommendation of their health care providers. She wrote in asking for our thoughts on this book, and we got the following answer from Joy Pape, RN, CDE:

I’m sure you are not alone in noticing that patients are following a lot of different meal plans, many quite opposed one to another. I and other educators and physicians I’ve spoken with have seen many people follow “Sugarbusters!” and do very well. It teaches some basic principles that are easy to comprehend for many people, and allows them to regulate their blood sugars and lose weight as well as improve their lipid profile.

Patients report that when they follow this plan they see results and learn how certain foods, especially carbohydrates, affect their blood sugars. I had one person come to my clinic recently stating that when he followed “SugarBusters!” he did great, and lost 30 pounds.

The questions we should ask include: Is it working for that particular person? How do we know? Is the person satisfied with the particular meal plan? How does it work into his or her lifestyle? Is it something that person is comfortable with? Does it meet the goals of Medical Nutrition Therapy? These goals, according to Diabetes Care, Supplement 1, 2000 are:

  • to restore and maintain as near-normal blood glucose levels by balancing food, medications and activity;
  • to provide assistance in obtaining optimal lipid levels (cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, and HDL);
  • to provide adequate calories for obtaining or maintaining reasonable weights for adults;
  • to treat the acute and chronic complications of diabetes;
  • to improve overall health through optimal nutrition

We are fortunate to have the technology available to be able to assess these parameters for safety and efficacy, such as weight, HbA1c and blood glucose-including post-prandial blood glucose, blood pressure, lipids and renal function.

Using these parameters we can then work with the patient to make adjustments as needed so that person has an individualized meal plan that will work into his or her lifestyle and meet the goals of Medical Nutrition Therapy.

Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, CETN
Joy Pape Health Consulting
Columbia, Missouri

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