I belong to quite a few low carb, meat eating Facebook groups. Some of the members are diabetic and have adopted a Ketogenic eating plan to normalize blood sugar. Others are eating a low carb high fat (LCHF) diet for reasons like weight loss or because they feel more energetic or it solved gastrointestinal problems, etc.
I eat the diet mainly for controlling my diabetes and it really has pretty much normalized my blood sugar. I also feel great eating this way.
I have this one consistent problem with the diet that has become my nemesis! It is the thing that keeps tripping me up over and over again! It is protein! Yup, protein!
I am not like any other diabetic and another diabetic isn't going to be exactly like me so I want to say that first! Everyone has to find out what works or doesn't work for them by the use of their blood glucose meter and a bit of experimentation.
Just as some are more carbohydrate intolerant than others I have found that we all seem to handle different levels of protein too. Some of you reading this are already scratching your head and wondering why in the world protein would even be at issue. It is a long story that I will not go into in this post but to explain simply, a certain amount of protein converts to glucose and can raise blood sugar as do carbohydrates.
When I began my Ketogenic, LCHF diet about 15 months ago, I had to experiment to get my protein low enough so that my blood glucose would normalize. The amount of protein also seemed to affect my next morning’s fasting blood sugar as well.
I still find myself in a battle to keep protein at a level that I long ago determined was the right level for me. When they bring a big steak to my table at Texas Roadhouse I long to devour the whole thing and often I do! Leftover steak eaten the next day just isn't the same! I am also used to big 1/4 or even 1/3 pound hamburger patties. We've been taught to eat large portions of everything because of the size of portions in restaurants, in commercials and food magazines.
I have found that keeping to my personal protein portion sizes of about 2.5 oz. (70 g) in a meal I will have a much smaller after meal blood sugar rise than if I allow myself a larger portion. My blood sugar may be at 97- 3-3 1/2 hours post meal if I eat the smaller protein portion. When I increase this even by 1 oz I see a very different blood sugar of perhaps 115. An even larger portion of protein means an even larger rise of up to 125 or 130. This is just from protein itself with no added carbs in the meal. I have to add additional fat for calories and to make sure that I am full. Hunger doesn't ever seem to be a problem for me and I am much happier with a post meal blood sugar of less than 100 than one of 125!
Although blood sugar control is mainly about eating a diet low in carbs and sugar, don’t forget to adjust the protein to a level that works for you. If you are one of the lucky ones who do not have to restrict protein then eat up! I envy you!
( I didn't really address carbs in the above blog post. I don't want anyone to think that protein is what they need to focus on for initial blood sugar control. Protein is kind of the final nutrient to be adjusted after blood sugar has been normalized by reducing carbohydrates but is still on the higher end of normal. I eat less than 20 grams of carbs a day most days.)