Diabetes Support - Controlling Type 2 With Diet?

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joyful retiree
03-10-2011, 09:02 AM
Hello All You Experts,

I am very curious about how many people contol Type 2 Diabetes with diet alone.

Back in the late 1960's, my Mom (48 years old) was diagnosed with Type 2 & given what was, basically, a fairly low carb diet & advised to try control with diet & exercise only to see how it went. For exercise she was told to walk about 15 mins daily. At the time she was diagnosed her BS was somewhere in the 400's & she was having frequent blurred vision. She also had a history of having huge babies, which suggests gestational diabetes. Monitored by her doctor & following these instructions, she was able to control BS at acceptable levels for 12 years before being put on oral medication. She had to decrease exercise because of arthritis & began to loosen up on the diet about 6 months before her doctor put her on meds.

I might feel differently if I had diabetes, but it seems to me that this was a much healthier way to manage the illness than just going immediately to the drugs.

I'd love to hear from those of you who are living with this. Thanks for any replies.

03-10-2011, 10:34 PM
In general, diet and exercise would be the best way to control type 2 diabetes, but if we did that so easily, we wouldn't be here in the first place. There is also good medical evidence as well that metformin also prevents the progression of diabetes in most people. (as opposed to just diet and exercise or other meds).
Metformin with diet and exercise seems (from my reading of the medical literature) to do the best to control type 2 and prevent the progression of the disease. Most docs start with diet and exercise to see what happens with that. Thats what mine did. However, during that time I did a lot of research and tho my A1C levels came down some, I was still having some spikes with any carbs. I requested the metformin to help with that and to prevent progression of the diabetes. (I aim for levels that are "normal" not "good for someone with Diabetes).
As you learn more, you will decide what is best for you tho.
have a great day.

03-11-2011, 07:28 AM
My doc started me off with diet and exercise before he put me on Metformin. My current HA1C is 6.5 which puts me in the well-controlled range for diabetics. I am hoping to get into the "normal" range but can live with things as they are too. Carbs are definitely my enemy!

joyful retiree
03-11-2011, 07:44 AM
Thanks for your replies. It sounds like it can be done, but taking one of the current oral meds really gives you an edge.

03-11-2011, 03:30 PM
Also, metformin encourages weight loss, which many diabetics need...

03-12-2011, 12:52 PM
i also agree about diet and exercise first. I am STRONGLY considering just taking goat's rue tea, which is the plant from which metformin is produced.

04-11-2011, 01:03 PM
i also agree about diet and exercise first. I am STRONGLY considering just taking goat's rue tea, which is the plant from which metformin is produced.

Is goat's rue tea french lilac?

From wikipedia on methfromin:

"The biguanide class of antidiabetic drugs, which also includes the withdrawn agents phenformin and buformin, originates from the French lilac (Galega officinalis), a plant used in folk medicine for several centuries.[100]"

04-11-2011, 05:30 PM
I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes almost 12 months ago; with good blood pressure and low cholesterol my doctor was happy to trial me controlling my diabetes through diet and exercise alone. However, I think that may change in the very near future. Although I have been successful of late in losing weight and upping my daily exercise this comes on the back of a period of great stress and neglectful eating brought about that stress and whilst visiting the doctor on an unrelated manner I mentioned in passing about burning in my feet and lower legs. I'm booked in for my fasting bloods next week and the doctor mentioned placing me on Metformin...I'm hoping I've done enough in the last several weeks for the doctor to reconsider and give me another chance of using diet and exercise alone to control my diabetes.

04-12-2011, 01:36 PM
....I'm booked in for my fasting bloods next week and the doctor mentioned placing me on Metformin......

One of the most useful tools for monitoring diabetes is a Blood Glucose meter. It cost about $30 (the test strips are about $1 each). You can measure your FBG every morning and know exactly how well you are doing

What caught my eye was the 'booked in" comment. There is really no need to wait for a doctor to make the measurement. Once you get the meter you can begin exploring how different foods, and eating patterns, affect your BG and FBG.

For example, for years my FBG was ~140, these days it's around 90. Weight loss and exercise help, but it is also sensitive to the meal I had the night before.

As to metformin, it is a mild drug (and also helps with weight loss) . My understanding is its' chief action is to prevent the liver from dumping extra glucose into the blood stream. If you have not done so already, you might want to look at site bloodsugar101 by Jenny Ruhl. She has a lot to say about diabetes medications (she dislikes most of them) but makes an exception for metformin ( for its' beneficial effects and lack of bad side effects)


04-12-2011, 10:49 PM
Thank you, georgepds, very kind of you to take the time to impart your knowledge and advice, it is much appreciated. :)

I do have a AccuMeter to test my BG and FBG, which I do several times a day, however, it is the practice for doctors here to do a 3 monthly FBG and weigh-in as part of their monitoring a person's diabetes. Every twelves months each diabetic is also booked in to attend the diabetic clinic, which entails visits to the endocrinologist, ophthalmologist, diabetic educator and podiatrist.

My weight had been very up and down previous to this concerted effort to reduce my body fat and therefore my numbers were all over the place...which is why the doctor is considering starting me on metaformin. A goal of stabilising my numbers, I guess, regardless of how well I am doing at weight loss at present. Not a bad idea, I suppose; I just don't like taking medication unless absolutely necessary.

I shall indeed give bloodsugar101, georgepds, thank you for the suggestion.

- Avery

04-17-2011, 12:04 PM
Hello.. I am monitoring my bs. What I cannot figure out is why my blood sugar might be high in the fasting morning, when I ate fish and vegetables the night before? No sugar, no carbs? Is this because I am 40 pounds overweight?

04-17-2011, 02:27 PM
Maile, when you say "high" what does that mean? Generally, my highest readings are the first morning test. It is usually around 95. However, both a high carb/high calorie supper or an extremely low carb supper can send it higher.

Also, different carbs have a different effect on my fbs. For example, vegetable and fruit carbs are different from simple sugars or processed carbs such as white bread.

Hang in there!

04-17-2011, 07:16 PM
DH achieved normal weight this past year, and has absolutely none of the Type 2 symptoms he had had when 50 lbs heavier. He has maintained this weight for 1.5 years, and his doc says he no longer has diabetes.

joyful retiree
04-18-2011, 08:36 AM
Thanks for so many helpful replies. So, it seems that what people need to do achieve more stable blood sugars can vary, but to control Type 2 with diet, losing weight is a critical factor. Sue, is your husband's diabetes healed or just in remission?

04-18-2011, 10:21 PM
maile: your liver is dumping glucose overnight. Many people find a small bedtime snack with a few carbs. (about 15 g ) is helpful to prevent this. (unless you are doing low carb, then fewer like 3-5g may be appropriate. )

Many of us have this problem. I also take metformin to prevent this problem.