Originally posted by Dr. Davis on 2015-03-28
on the Wheat Belly Blog,
sourced from and currently found at: Infinite Health Blog.
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of WB Blog articles.
If you have diabetes:
NO low blood sugars!
Wheat elimination starts you powerfully on the
path to reversing diabetes. We’ve seen it many times and it
continues to develop in people who kiss their bagels, pretzels, and
processed foods booby-trapped with wheat goodbye.
But, as diabetics become less diabetic–a
process that can occur VERY quickly, often within days of
removing all wheat products from their diet–but they are taking
insulin or certain diabetes drugs, there is potential for hypoglycemia
or low blood sugar. Low blood sugar from diabetes drugs can be dangerous
and should be avoided at all costs. (Imagine if a non-diabetic started
administering insulin or blood sugar-reducing drugs–it would result in a mess.)
Unfortunately, you cannot always rely on
your doctor. Most physicians are unschooled in how to cure diabetes and
therefore how to manage the hypoglycemia that may develop on your way
to cure. (They are very good at CAUSING diabetes, however, prescribing
diets like “An 1800-calorie American Diabetes Association
Diet,” a typical dietary order in the hospital that RAISES
blood sugar.) It is nonetheless important to at least discuss your
questions with your doctor. (If you encounter resistance, get a new
doctor, preferably one in functional medicine who is more apt to
understand nutrition and biochemistry.)
“There is not a shred of evidence
that sugar, per se, has anything to do with getting diabetes.”
Richard Kahn, PhD
Recently retired Chief Scientific & Medical Officer
American Diabetes Association
Dr. Kahn’s comment echoes conventional thinking
on diabetes: Eat all the grains and candy you want . . .
just be sure to talk to your doctor about diabetes medications.
If you eat foods that increase blood sugar,
it increases your need for diabetes medications. If you reduce or
eliminate foods that increase blood sugar, then it decreases your
need for diabetes medications. The equation for most people with
adult, or type 2, diabetes, is really that simple.
But several precautions are necessary if you
are diabetic and are taking certain diabetes drugs. The potential
danger is hypoglycemia, low blood sugars (e.g., less than
70 mg/dl) . . . as well as the uninformed objections
of many doctors who have come to believe that diabetes is incurable,
irreversible, and a diagnosis for life.
Some medications, such as metformin (Glucophage),
pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), and acarbose (Precose),
rarely if ever result in hypoglycemia when taken by themselves. They
are effective for preventing blood sugar rises, but tend to not
generate blood sugar lows.
However, other medications, especially glyburide
(DiaBeta, Micronase), glipizide (Glucotrol), glimepiride (Amaryl), and
various insulin preparations can cause severe and dangerous hypoglycemia
if taken while reducing or eliminating wheat and carbohydrates. For this
reason, many people eliminate these oral drugs or slash insulin doses by
50% at the start, even if it means some temporary increase in blood
sugars. The key is to avoid hypoglycemia as you consume less food that
increases blood sugar, even if it means higher near-term blood sugars.
Other medications, such as sitagliptin (Januvia),
saxagliptin (Onglyza), linagliptin (Tradjenta), exenatide (Byetta) and
liraglutide (Victoza) usually do not result in hypoglycemia but
occasionally can, especially if taken in combination with other diabetes drugs.
Because of the complexity of these responses, you
should ideally work with a healthcare provider adept at navigating these
issues as you become less and less diabetic. Problem: Most doctors and
diabetes educators have no idea whatsoever how to do this, as they will
tell you that, once you have diabetes, you will always have it and
trying to get rid of it is fruitless and foolhardy (to the appreciative
applause of the diabetes drug industry). So don’t be surprised if you are
left on your own. At the very least, you want to check to see if your
doctor will work with you and, if not, at least try and find another who
will. Also, frequent monitoring of blood sugars is essential. I tell
my patients on the path to becoming non-diabetic that high blood sugars
(though maintained below 200 mg/dl) are preferable to low blood sugars
(below 100 mg/dl) in this transition period. If, for instance, you are
obtaining blood sugars in the morning (fasting) of 100 mg/dl, it is
time to further reduce or eliminate a medication, such as glipizide or
Lantus insulin taken at bedtime.
Any diabetic who wants to better understand the
details of becoming non-diabetic would also benefit from knowing about the
resources of Dr. Richard Bernstein, author of The Diabetes Solution.
More information can be found at http://www.diabetes-book.com. The
critical issue here is to understand that many people with diabetes have
been told that they have an incurable condition for a lifetime and that
a diet rich in “healthy whole grains” is essential—-advice
that ensures you remain diabetic. Do the opposite─-eliminate
“healthy whole grains,” especially the most dangerous grain
of all, wheat─-and limit other carbohydrates, including non-wheat grains
like millet and quinoa, and diabetes unwinds itself with reduced fasting
blood sugars and HbA1c in the majority.
More recently, the American Diabetes Association’s
Chief Scientific & Medical Officer, Dr. Richard Kahn, added,
“Diabetes prevention is a waste of resources.” Why,
think of all the money that could instead go to pharmaceutical research and marketing!