Diabetic interested in switching to WFPB from keto diet

SweetChaos78

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Hello all!

I just joined today because I am struggling, going back and forth between sticking to the keto diet I'm currently eating or switching to a whole foods plant based diet.

A little back story: I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in April 2017. I struggled with the ADA guidelines and my blood sugars were all over the place. In September 2017 I adopted a vegan diet after watching several shows on Netflix and doing some research. I followed the vegan diet for 4 months but my blood sugar/diabetes still didn't really improve. I felt better over all, and felt I was eating as I should from an ethical standpoint, but my vision was worsening, I started having neuropathy type tingles and pains in my feet, and my blood sugars rarely came below 190. So I quit. I just went back to an unhealthy standard American diet.

In August 2018 my husband told me about the ketogenic diet. It touted claims of reversing type 2 diabetes, and melting excess weight off the body. We did our research and dove in. We have followed that diet from August 2018 until now, August 2020 falling off the bandwagon multiple times, but hopping back on after a few months each time.

The keto diet seemed to work. I went from 315 pounds to a current 246 pounds, and my blood sugars went from the 200s down to the low 100s or under. But now I am noticing to get the same results I have to cut back more and more. I am only eating 1 meal per day and under 10 net carbs. Anything over and my blood sugars will jump back to the upper 100s and takes hours, sometimes 24 hours, to come back to a healthy range. I'm still losing weight, but I think that's because I'm routinely eating 700 to 850 calories a day, which I know isn't healthy!

So I started looking up videos on YouTube and came across one by Dr. Cyrus Khambatta where he gave a beautiful visual of why fats in the diet destroy cellular function due to fat toxicity, and that this is the real cause of insulin resistance. It made so much sense and I've been researching ever since feeling more and more drawn to go back to a meat and dairy free lifestyle. This time as whole foods plant based with no or very limited oil and no processed sugars. I think this was my down fall last time (I mean Oreos are vegan after all, lol) and I was still consuming a lot of processed food and sugar. But I'm also kind of scared.

I'm worried that my blood sugars are gonna go crazy high and I will gain back weight I've lost and this diet won't work. My husband who will never give up meat has already shown he's not very supportive of the switch and if it doesn't work he'll be even more convinced to never go vegan/WFPB.

So, all of that to ask...has anyone been in my shoes before? What were your results? Did eating clean vegan/WFPB help your blood sugars and stabilize or reverse your diabetes? I'm feeling so drawn to go back to vegan but scared it isn't going to work and I'm going to mess my health up even more.

Thanks in advance for reading and for any advice.

Jenny
 

Lou

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Welcome aboard.

There is no doubt that Keto is a good weight loss diet. But even the doctors who promote keto will admit (usually in chapter one of their books) that it is NOT a long term diet. (1)

It may be good that you kept "falling off" the keto diet. Most of the "experts" warn that being on the keto diet for longer than 4 months can adversely affect your health. At least one expert recommends only one month.

Anyway, it absolutely is a short cut to lose weight, and for people who are obese, losing weight is definitely the path to better health.

Long term, the keto diet may cause kidney problems which is particularly serious for diabetics. (2)

Also to the best of my knowledge, doctors and dieticians do not recommend the keto diet.

A WFPB diet is probably a better choice. but I would talk to your doctor before making any drastic diet changes. going off Keto can have side effects too. A gradual transition may be called for. Your doctor might want to make adjustments to your medications and may have advice in making the transition from keto to WFPB.

You should also make the call to your health care provider. a lot of health care providers will pay for a dietician if you can get a referral from your doctor. And in your case, this should require just a couple of phone calls. The dietician may not even require a face-to-face. With COVID a lot of medical services are being done on the phone or on video calls.

actually, I'm surprised you don't already have a dietician. Most HMOs have already figured out that paying for a dietician is a lot cheaper than paying for diabetes medication - for the rest of your life. BTW, I'm a cancer survivor and my HMO pays 100% of the bill for my dietician. I don't like to tell Health Care professionals about my veganism (i'm an ethiccal vegan). but when i first met my dietician my sister was with me and brought it up. I was so relieved when the dietician supported my vegan diet 100%. She even was able to recommend special vegan foods for me.

In the meantime, I have a couple of suggestions. You said you researched the "vegan diet". but I wonder if you researched the WFPB diet

The first book that you should read is Dr. Neal Barnard's book on Reversing Diabetes. Barnard has several companion books to this that are all worth checking out, too. but start with Reversing. BTW, Barnard is the founding president of PCRM. They have a website and there are many support pages on going WFPB. The 21 day kickstart is a great resource. If your doctor gives you the green light you might start the 21-day kickstart on Septemeber 1. The kickstart has a social media aspect and people who start it on the first of each month can converse with each other and share their stories.

Barnard and the PCRM also have many YouTube videos.

Some other authors that are worth looking at if Fuhrman, Gregar and Edelstein, They all have their own little variations of the WFPB diet but essentially they all say the same thing.

Oh, one last thing. you really need to use a nutrition tracker. At least for a while. I use CronOmeter. but SparkPeople is also a good choice.




1. -https://www.health.com/weight-loss/keto-long-term

2. -https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317431#alternatives
 

SweetChaos78

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Wow! Thank you for your reply, and for being so thorough and encouraging! I will definitely look into a dietician and see if my doctor can set me up with that. I already have a liason that works with my doctor to make sure my diabetic needs are being met, so this most likely won't be a problem... unless they want someone who supports the ADA and not someone who supports WFPB.

And congrats on kicking cancer's butt! That is absolutely incredible... you're a warrior!

I will also check out Dr. Barnard, the PCRM, the 21 day kick start, and CronOmeter. I already track everything I eat in another app, so I'm used to that.

Thank you again for everything!

Jenny
 
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Bob Who

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Hello Jenny,

You are right to be concerned, diabetes is not anything to play around with. Your issues with your vision and neuropathy are worrisome to say the least. Having said that here is a little bit of my back story.

My wife was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in Sept of '14. Her A1C was about 9.5 Lasst April at her annual check up her A1C was 4.9. She hasn't been on any medications for her diabetes for 3 + years. I think her regular glucose levels are in the '80's, but I would have to ask her. She hasn't had any vision problems, but does have neuropathy. Her neuropathy has improved, but she still has a numbness on the ball of her foot. She is a vegetarian, though eats 95% vegan diet.

As for me, next month I'll pass my 5th anniversary of a heart attack and triple bypass. The only medication I'm on is a daily baby aspirin. The aspirin is a whole story in itself and not pertinent to the discussion. I eat a 100% vegan diet primarily real food, I do eat things like soba noodles, occasionally store bought salsa, crackers if they're vegan, stuff like that. We only eat out maybe 4-5 times a year, because where we live finding food we would eat is nearly impossible. We have been eating specifically this was since April of ' 16, but had changed our diet by the Oct of '15 to closely follow a diabetic diet. I ate the exact same as my wife for 2 reasons. 1: I wanted to be as supportive as I could. I wasn't about to add to her temptations. 2. To be honest, I'm just too dang lazy to make to separate meals. I'd be more than happy to elaborate on anything , but I don't have time right now, I will be back on later tonight.

A plant based diet CAN work, and work wonders. I won't say it's a 100% for everyone, I am only giving you my first had experience. In our case we were the lucky ones, most of our medical problems were lifestyle related. One of my wife's surviving sisters also a type 2, won't even consider trying it-- although like us she saw one of her sisters and that sister's husband both die, gruesome lingering deaths (I am not being dramatic), and what my wife's results have been.
 

David3

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Wow! Thank you for your reply, and for being so thorough and encouraging! I will definitely look into a dietician and see if my doctor can set me up with that. I already have a liason that works with my doctor to make sure my diabetic needs are being met, so this most likely won't be a problem... unless they want someone who supports the ADA and not someone who supports WFPB.

Jenny
.
Hi Jenny,

The ADA does support whole food vegan diets as a healthy option for preventing and managing type 2 diabetes: What Can I Eat? | ADA

And, the ADA is not the only mainstream health organization that promotes WFPB diets for the prevention/management of type 2 diabetes.
Kaiser Permanente - one of the largest health insurance companies in the United States - published its own Plant-Based Nutrition booklet: http://www.kphealthyme.com/documents/plant_based_diet_e.aspx. In 2013, Kaiser Permanente advised its physicians to recommend a plant-based diet to all of their patients - especially those patients addressing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity: Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets - The Permanente Journal - Kaiser Permanente

Anthem Blue Cross / Blue Shield health insurance also promotes healthy vegetarian diets: https://www.bcbsms.com/be-healthy/news-articles/why-vegetarian
.
 
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Lou

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And congrats on kicking cancer's butt! That is absolutely incredible... you're a warrior!

Yeah, thanks.
people keep saying stuff like that to me but I really don't feel like I did anything special. getting to my appts on time, following instructions and enduring don't seem like much of an accomplishment. but whatever. Thanks.

the thing that may make CronOmeter or SparkPeople a good choice for tracking nutrition is that they not only track calories and macronutrients, but they also track micronutrients. I like CronOmeter because it tracks almost all the micronutrients. Spark just does something like 14 (which TBH is probably enough). Both have apps. CronOmeter has some extra features that are unlocked if you subscribe but so far I have not bothered with the subscription. Spark not only has a better app but also can create meal plans. And has recipes. And makes shopping lists. I do all that stuff separately. Both have great websites that can be linked up with fitness trackers. CronOmeter hooks up with Apple Health, too.

You may have seen it already but the documentary What the Health makes the ADA look bad. but I am under the impression that more recently they have gotten better about their diet recommendations.
 

SweetChaos78

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Hello Jenny,

You are right to be concerned, diabetes is not anything to play around with. Your issues with your vision and neuropathy are worrisome to say the least. Having said that here is a little bit of my back story.

My wife was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in Sept of '14. Her A1C was about 9.5 Lasst April at her annual check up her A1C was 4.9. She hasn't been on any medications for her diabetes for 3 + years. I think her regular glucose levels are in the '80's, but I would have to ask her. She hasn't had any vision problems, but does have neuropathy. Her neuropathy has improved, but she still has a numbness on the ball of her foot. She is a vegetarian, though eats 95% vegan diet.

As for me, next month I'll pass my 5th anniversary of a heart attack and triple bypass. The only medication I'm on is a daily baby aspirin. The aspirin is a whole story in itself and not pertinent to the discussion. I eat a 100% vegan diet primarily real food, I do eat things like soba noodles, occasionally store bought salsa, crackers if they're vegan, stuff like that. We only eat out maybe 4-5 times a year, because where we live finding food we would eat is nearly impossible. We have been eating specifically this was since April of ' 16, but had changed our diet by the Oct of '15 to closely follow a diabetic diet. I ate the exact same as my wife for 2 reasons. 1: I wanted to be as supportive as I could. I wasn't about to add to her temptations. 2. To be honest, I'm just too dang lazy to make to separate meals. I'd be more than happy to elaborate on anything , but I don't have time right now, I will be back on later tonight.

A plant based diet CAN work, and work wonders. I won't say it's a 100% for everyone, I am only giving you my first had experience. In our case we were the lucky ones, most of our medical problems were lifestyle related. One of my wife's surviving sisters also a type 2, won't even consider trying it-- although like us she saw one of her sisters and that sister's husband both die, gruesome lingering deaths (I am not being dramatic), and what my wife's results have been.

I am always inspired by real life testimony and appreciate your reply! I love seeing that your wife's a1c numbers dropped so dramatically. My last numbers were 7.1, but when I discovered I was diabetic they were around 11, I believe. I am sorry that your sister-in-law refuses to see the light. My mom is also diabetic and thinks that if her a1c is kept lowish (between 7 and 9) with her medication, then she can eat whatever she wants...chips and sweets and soda, etc. It's heartbreaking, but you can only encourage and try to educate and live the truth and hope that one day they see it too.
 
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SweetChaos78

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Hi Jenny,

The ADA does support whole food vegan diets as a healthy option for preventing and managing type 2 diabetes: What Can I Eat? | ADA

And, the ADA is not the only mainstream health organization that promotes WFPB diets for the prevention/management of type 2 diabetes.
Kaiser Permanente - one of the largest health insurance companies in the United States - published its own Plant-Based Nutrition booklet: http://www.kphealthyme.com/documents/plant_based_diet_e.aspx. In 2013, Kaiser Permanente advised its physicians to recommend a plant-based diet to all of their patients - especially those patients addressing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity: Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets - The Permanente Journal - Kaiser Permanente

Anthem Blue Cross / Blue Shield health insurance also promotes healthy vegetarian diets: https://www.bcbsms.com/be-healthy/news-articles/why-vegetarian
.

Thank-you! That's really good to know. My doctor always seems to not want to be supportive of getting me the best help (refuses to let me see a rheumatologist for my fibromyalgia) so having some knowledge in my pocket will be super helpful!
 
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SweetChaos78

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Yeah, thanks.
people keep saying stuff like that to me but I really don't feel like I did anything special. getting to my appts on time, following instructions and enduring don't seem like much of an accomplishment. but whatever. Thanks.

the thing that may make CronOmeter or SparkPeople a good choice for tracking nutrition is that they not only track calories and macronutrients, but they also track micronutrients. I like CronOmeter because it tracks almost all the micronutrients. Spark just does something like 14 (which TBH is probably enough). Both have apps. CronOmeter has some extra features that are unlocked if you subscribe but so far I have not bothered with the subscription. Spark not only has a better app but also can create meal plans. And has recipes. And makes shopping lists. I do all that stuff separately. Both have great websites that can be linked up with fitness trackers. CronOmeter hooks up with Apple Health, too.

You may have seen it already but the documentary What the Health makes the ADA look bad. but I am under the impression that more recently they have gotten better about their diet recommendations.

I have watched What the Health! I have also seen Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Food, Inc, Vegetated, Cowspiracy, and Forks over Knives. I would love to go back and rewatch all of them though. I am definitely going to check out the two apps as well. I did download Dr. Barnard's book earlier and am planning to start reading tonight!
 
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Bob Who

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Jenny,

You're in Kansas City area I would assume there are Forks over Knives Pods there-- other people following a WFPB lifestyle. That may be of help to you.

The only person that you can affect is yourself. You can be an example to others, but it has to be their decision. Right at this moment you need to be most concerned about yourself.

In my wife's case the standard dietary advice worked well in combination with medication. After my medical adventure I fell into eating a vegan diet. I asked her if she'd like to try it for a couple of weeks to see what she thought of it and she ate the exact same as I did , low salt, low fat, virtually no processed foods.

She stayed vegan for several months and that's when she was taken off her meds. That happened because we keep records and when asked about what her sugars were running she'd say about 100. I knew they were lower and had her take her record sheets with her 3 months later at her follow up-- she's been off the meds since. Data can help when talking with a doctor.

You mentioned that you aren't getting the results you want. What results are you speaking of?
 

SweetChaos78

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I'm not sure what results we're speaking of either, lol! As far as results for my health I want to follow an eating plan that will control or reverse my diabetes, and help me lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. I also would love to follow the WFPB diet for ethical and environmental reasons. I really think I just need to take the plunge and deal with everyone's criticism afterwards! I really feel led to this lifestyle, that it's what I'm meant to do, and it's just fear of my diabetes going wacko that is holding me back. I suppose I'll never know if I don't try though. My hubby keeps asking me to just stick with keto for a couple more months and then he'll even try WFPB, and it's tempting if I could get him on board too (he's an avid meat lover, so I was surprised he even said it) but I don't know if I can make it that long! I think he believes he maybe can wear me down over the next two months into not sticking to switching to WFPB. As soon as I told him I was thinking of switching, he immediately looked up the benefits of the carnivore diet and laughed and showed me a meme on the page that said something along the lines of trying to save loved ones from veganism.
 
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Bob Who

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Hi Jenny,

Being afraid of diabetes and what could be future serious health problems isn't something to apologize for, nor minimize. It means you understand how potentially dangerous this disease and its related complications are.

Ethical considerations aside, a vast majority of people will experience some health benefit from a lifestyle change to WFPB. To be completely honest about it --it isn't a 100% guarantee though. Results fall on a bell curve. Most people benefit, some do exceptionally well, some don't.
This diet is not contrary to usual medical advice, and it certainly is worth trying.

Regarding your husband. I'm assuming he has your welfare at heart and truly believes keto offers you the best chance for a healthier longer life. If you really aren't comfortable with keto at this time why can't you take a keto vaction for 3 months and try it?

Now for a couple more questions. What exactly do you mean by a keto diet? It seems to mean a lot of different things to different people.
What is going on with your vision?
 
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SweetChaos78

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Hello, and thanks for the reply!

By keto, I mean 70/25/5 pertaining to fats/ proteins/ carbs. The fats I eat come from animal products (sometimes processed like sausage and pepperoni) and cheese, butter, cream, olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil, nuts, avocado, olives and nut butters. The protein from mostly meat sources, and the carbs from vegetables mainly and sometimes a few treats like keto ice cream. We try to eat mostly "clean" keto without many prepackaged or convenience items.

As far as my vision goes, I am near sighted and have worn glasses since I was 10. My vision is already terrible, but I can typically see fine with glasses. When my blood sugars start to creep up though, my vision gets worse. Things become really blurry even with my glasses and even driving, especially at night, can get a little scary.

When I first began keto, my vision cleared up quickly and was easily maintained. I've noticed now though, that even tiny amounts of carbs...like if I go over 10 to 15 net carbs... will start affecting my vision. So you can see why the thought of eating a lot of fruit and oats and such on a WFPB diet scares me! I definitely don't want to go blind!
 
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David3

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Hello, and thanks for the reply!

By keto, I mean 70/25/5 pertaining to fats/ proteins/ carbs. The fats I eat come from animal products (sometimes processed like sausage and pepperoni) and cheese, butter, cream, olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil, nuts, avocado, olives and nut butters. The protein from mostly meat sources, and the carbs from vegetables mainly and sometimes a few treats like keto ice cream. We try to eat mostly "clean" keto without many prepackaged or convenience items.

As far as my vision goes, I am near sighted and have worn glasses since I was 10. My vision is already terrible, but I can typically see fine with glasses. When my blood sugars start to creep up though, my vision gets worse. Things become really blurry even with my glasses and even driving, especially at night, can get a little scary.

When I first began keto, my vision cleared up quickly and was easily maintained. I've noticed now though, that even tiny amounts of carbs...like if I go over 10 to 15 net carbs... will start affecting my vision. So you can see why the thought of eating a lot of fruit and oats and such on a WFPB diet scares me! I definitely don't want to go blind!

Hi Jenny,

If your physician is unwilling to refer you to a Registered Dietitian (RD) for help with planning your WFPB diet, you can find a local RD through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the world's largest association of Registered Dietitians). Website is Eatright.org - Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - just click on the red "Find An Expert" button in the upper-right of the webpage. The website lets you select from RD's in your ZIP code, and to choose an RD with the expertise areas that you need (diabetes management and vegetarian nutrition, for example). Be sure to ask the RD whether he/she will accept your insurance.
.
 

SweetChaos78

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Hi Jenny,

If your physician is unwilling to refer you to a Registered Dietitian (RD) for help with planning your WFPB diet, you can find a local RD through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the world's largest association of Registered Dietitians). Website is Eatright.org - Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - just click on the red "Find An Expert" button in the upper-right of the webpage. The website lets you select from RD's in your ZIP code, and to choose an RD with the expertise areas that you need (diabetes management and vegetarian nutrition, for example). Be sure to ask the RD whether he/she will accept your insurance.
.

Thank you for the advice! I truly appreciate your steering me in the right direction! Fingers crossed that my doctor will refer me, but if not then I will definitely check out Eatright.org.
 
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hi Jenny and welcome to the forum

You have been given a lot of great advice and you seem to be great at your own research so congrats for taking control of your health as that is the most important aspect.

I used to work for the Canadian Diabetes Assoc. back a number of years ago and the emphasis was always on sugar sugar sugar.... I know now, as you have learned, that it is actually the oil/fat in the body that causes the issues for Type II especially and Type I to a lesser degree. I wonder if we would have a lot less instances of Type I in children if they weren't fed cow's milk from Day 1.

All the best with your journey of health and please keep us up to date along the way.

Emma JC
 

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Jenny,

I hope you have been seen by an ophthalmologist recently or are planning to very soon. What you are describing could be a few different things all of which it are better to have checked out sooner than later.

I don't have any thing useful to add to what's been suggested with the possible exception of keeping records. Do you keep a food accurate diary? Test your glucose test your glucose regularly? Keep track of when you have issues day, time, circumstance? Often it can be very beneficial when interacting with health professional, at least in my experience.

I truly hope you can find the right answers to help you live a healthy life.

Bob
 

SweetChaos78

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Thank you everyone for all of your advice! You have been wonderful in taking your time to help me and to try and point me in the right direction! I am now armed with more information and better equipped to meet with my doctor and navigate through my struggles with type 2 diabetes. I believe I am going to take the plunge and try the 21 days of eating a WFPB diet and just see where I am at that point. Even hubby is now on board with me doing what I feel led to do with my health, as long as it's improving. I'm praying that this change is my miracle and that he will see that and eventually hop on board with me. He has even talked about going as far as vegetarian (again, shocking as he is an avid meat eater and has never said anything like this before).

Again, thank all of you for your guidance and wisdom, and I'm sure you'll see me around the forum 😊.
 

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I read this book by Dr. Neal Banard when the first edition came out.

PCRM.org, his organization also offers consultations with vegan MDs if you want help along the way.

Brenda Davis, who cowrote one of the earlier versions of the USDA Position Paper On Vegetarianism, also wrote this book using a special vegan diet to reverse type2 diabetes.
 
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