Mention low carbohydrate diets, and suddenly there is a throng of ‘knowledgeable sorts’ clambering over each other to proclaim: “You need carbohydrates in your diet”, followed by them citing tired rhetoric that has been spoon fed to us for years – by scientists whose research is often funded or sponsored by those with an agenda.
I believe strongly that, where human nutrition is concerned, scientists are just as baffled as the rest of us. One day we have a group of scientists telling us that high protein will lead to us developing cancer. Whilst another group tells us that too much saturated fat is bad for our heart. And the research is presented to us via mainstream news sources, often, sensationalised or taken totally out of context, scaring people to death in the process.
I’ve battled for, what seems like an eternity to stabilise my blood sugar levels – using this ‘one-size-fits-all’ advice given by the NHS. I’ve also struggled to lose excess body fat; and, to reduce my blood pressure. The government may well be effective at deciding what is good for society in general (although that may well be up for debate) but when it comes to knowing what’s best for the individual; I believe the government is clueless.
Dawn Waldron, in her excellent book – The Dissident Diet: the healthy ketogenic diet – has her own view of the official information imparted to us about nutrition, she says: “It’s my belief that health officials know it’s wrong (there’s mounting evidence) but haven’t worked out how to tell us”. I think she may well have a good point there.
I’m a great believer in the concept that what works for one person may not work for another. Some people can increase their activity levels, reduce their calorie intake, and control their body weight successfully; whilst others – who adopt the same strategy – fail miserably. With that in mind, I felt it was high-time I started thinking for myself; managing my own lifestyle and dietary habits, in a way that suits me. At the beginning of January, having carried out my own research, I decided to experiment with my diet, using myself as the guinea pig.
As mainstream nutritional and dietary advice was getting me nowhere fast, I decided to adopt a low-carbohydrate eating lifestyle. Predictably, those people I told, responded with: “You need carbohydrates … etc, etc”. It seems that, without them realising it, when I mentioned the words low-carbohydrate, what they thought they heard me say was ‘no carbohydrate’. It’s strange though, if you tell the same people that you are following a low-fat diet they nod along in agreement; understanding immediately that you are not cutting fat out of your diet altogether, but merely restricting it.
Since I began restricting my carbohydrate intake, I’ve seen a significant drop in my blood glucose levels. In fact, there is more than a good chance that I am back down to ‘prediabetes’ levels – which may become evident when I receive my HbA1c results from my GP next week. My body-weight has also dropped and I’ve shed a significant amount of body fat – losing two inches from my waistline in the process. What’s more, my blood pressure has also dropped significantly.
Last week I had my quarterly visit with my diabetes nursing practitioner and she commented on the improvements I had made; she was curious as to how I had achieved it. I told her that I had just made some minor lifestyle adjustments; knowing the NHS stance on ‘balanced diets’ I didn’t really want to go into detail. However, she pressed me further and asked what exactly I had changed about my lifestyle that had made such a difference.
So, I told her that I had adopted a low-carbohydrate diet cutting out: potatoes, bread, pasta and rice, and you’ve guessed it she said, “Be careful, you need carbohydrates … etc, etc” which made me smile, inwardly. Incidentally, it isn’t the nursing practitioner’s fault; she and her colleagues are told by the NHS what advice they have to give out and they have to toe the party line – regardless of whether they feel the advice is appropriate.