Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why Isn’t The LCHF Ketogenic Diet Working for Me? Common Mistakes- Part One

Part One

I must get this question at least 10 times a week.  It is a common issue that diabetics wrestle with.  They really believe that they are doing everything right but in most cases I can spot the problem pretty quickly if I get to see a day or two of menus.

Here are the most common mistakes that I see being made.

1-  Not being aware of hidden sugars.   I will put a link to hidden sugars below.

If you are buying products off of the grocery store shelf be aware that just because it says sugar free or gives a low carb count that is not always correct.   There are certain “sugars” that do not have to be counted as a carb or a sugar on the label.  That doesn’t mean that it isn’t sugar!  It just means that the FDA and the USDA has allowed some rule bending for the sake of the food companies profit line!   Look for ingredients that end in “ose” or “tose” or “dextrin”.  These are sugars that will raise a diabetic’s blood sugar higher than table sugar and the food manufacturers do not have to tell you!   You will also find these sugars in vitamins and other supplements.

Watch out for marketing gimmicks like Glucerna “diabetic friendly” shakes, Atkins bars and shakes or other things that make claims that they will keep your blood sugar balanced.  They will keep it balanced all right!   Balanced sky high!    Check ingredients in all store bought products!  Don’t fall for these marketing hypes.  They love to put this stuff right over there where you are purchasing your meters, test strips and other diabetic devices.  
Here is the Glycemic Index of common sweeteners.  The higher the number the more that it raises blood sugar.

2-  Too many carbs or using “net” carbs.

This is a common mistake.  It’s all over facebook low carb groups and the Atkins diet and other low carb diets suggest using a formula that allows you to subtract fiber from total carbs and get net carbs.   This makes it seem like you will be able to eat it without much of a blood sugar rise.  You may find yourself sadly disappointed!   

While some diabetics can use this formula successfully I wouldn't recommend it for the majority of insulin dependent people.   It is another marketing trick and companies like Dreamfields  Pasta company and the Julian Bakery have gotten fined by the USDA or sued for false advertising.    There are many breads and wraps on the market that claim to be low carb because you can subtract the fiber.   Don’t fall for it!  Fiber will slow down the digestion of carbs and you may find that your blood sugar will not only go up but it may stay up in an unhappy range for as long as 24-48 hours.  
In order to be successful on a LCHF diet you should initially count all carbs. Perhaps later on in your Ketogenic journey when blood sugars have stabilized you can test some of these other items.

3-  This is good for me because it is healthy
Is it really?  Remember that your primary goal is to reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance.   It doesn't matter how healthy a food is if it keeps you diabetic!   I hear this from someone every week! Even too many servings of salad greens could potentially add up to too much!    I hear things like:

“I’m trying to get some yogurt into my diet because it has good healthy probiotics”

“I need to eat a half of a banana because I need the potassium”. 

“I’m drinking green smoothies for the healthy vitamins and minerals.”

Others make the mistake of eating allowed fruits like berries but eat them with abandon or find that they can’t stop putting them in their mouth.   You need to know what pushes your carb craving buttons and get it out of your pantry or refrigerator.

You are not going to be healthy if your blood sugar and insulin levels are up and you will not have success on the Ketogenic diet by eating foods that will not allow your body to be running in a fat burning state of ketosis.   This is what we have to aim for. 

There are plenty of healthy “super foods”.  They don’t have to be high carb or high sugar.  Avocados are a power food packed with potassium and other good stuff!  Greens and green vegetables pack a punch and they also add fiber.    We were never meant to “eat” our vegetables juiced!  Our ancestors didn't have juicers in the woods now did they?

Consider carefully how many carbs you want to allow yourself for something that seems to be healthy but in your case may not be because it will keep you from your greater goal!  

Please use this handy guide to find nutrients in foods!

4- Portion Sizes and timing issues.

Are you simply eating too much food or eating food too often?   We have had it pounded into our heads forever that we “need to eat often” to stay satisfied and keep our metabolism going.  That is a bunch of nonsense!  

Our ancestors didn't graze!  They hunted all day, maybe even two days, then dragged the animal home and everyone sat down to eat it.   The remaining was often eaten for breakfast the next day and then off they went again to find more.   The women gathered seeds, nuts and berries in season.  They were not the big luscious sweet berries of the modern world. They were tiny wild berries and sharing them it probably didn't amount to a lot.
Small portions of meat, greens, nuts and berries or small portions of cheese a few times a day are fine.  Eating a half a block of cheese and telling yourself that it’s adding to your fat totals is not going to work out well nor is chomping down on a full cup of nuts!  

There is a side of broccoli or there is a plateful of broccoli.  The plateful is going be too much and can keep you from attaining the blood sugar control you want and may hinder weight loss that you are trying to achieve.   If to you a 12 ounce Sirloin is a portion you are not going to see the results you want.

I will discuss how protein can inhibit ketosis in part two.  I will address the mistakes made eating fat in my next post too!    For now, take a bit of time to consider if any of these four mistakes are hindering your LCHF journey to health! 

Go to part two here:


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