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October 28, 2016
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The Case for Carbs

In response to my post about no longer taking insulin, a reader commented: "I don't understand why you are still eating carbs if not eating them keeps your blood sugar down." That's a very good question and one with a complicated answer.
When I was first diagnosed, I went to see a dietitian, who told me I could eat whatever I wanted, in moderation and in the right combination. She gave some examples that sounded great in theory but just didn't work in the real world. Imagine my dismay when my blood sugar clocked in at 250 two hours after eating two slices of white toast with peanut butter and half a banana with a glass of milk.
I continued to modify my diet, working hard to get my blood sugar to that magic 140 at the two hour mark. I tried different combinations from the dietitian, went whole grain, cut out refined productions, eliminated corn syrup, cut out fruit, cut out milk and eventually gave up on carbs entirely for about two years.
I was living a carb-free existance and loving it. The Atkins wave was cresting. Splenda was starting to become increasingly popular. It wasn't too hard to stick with. And my a1c was under 6 with little effort on my part. All I had to do was not eat any carbohydrates. No fruit, no milk, no bread, no potatoes, no pasta, no starchy veggies. Just meat, cheese and leafy greens.
Then one day, I developed an eye twitch. It was terribly annoying. So bad that I mentioned it to my doctor, who suggested it might be a vitamin deficiency. You see, when you cut a lot of foods out of your diet, your not getting all the nutrients that you should. I took multivitamins and other supplements, but some things really can't be replaced by a pill.
I started slowly adding more healthy carbohydrates into my diet, a little fruit here, some milk or yogurt there, whole grains. The eye twitch stopped. Yes, my blood sugar went up, but not terribly. My post meal numbers may have been higher than 140, but I truly believe it's important to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Can you imagine how exciting it was to eat an orange again? I personally need to eat fruit to feel alive! The key, for me, is to keep it to healthy carbohydrates in moderation. It's a very delicate balancing act and its not always easy to find those "healthy" carbs when your eating out.
No carb was a pretty easy lifestyle too, once I got the hang of it. I just did not eat carbs, and therefore I was not tempted by the bread basket at a restaurant or a cupcake at the office. I simply did not eat carbs. Now those things become a little more challenging. Still, I don't think no carb is a healthy way to live, at least not for me.

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