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Kelly on Adam’s Low Carb Diet!

Updated: 8/14/21 6:00 amPublished: 11/2/15
By Kelly Close

Hello there from San Francisco! I wanted to weigh in, so to speak, on Adam Brown’s valuable column this month. His in-depth inquiry shows what a “low-carb” and “non-low-carb” diet might look like, and how both eating styles impacted his blood glucose, insulin, and stress levels.

Most of all, Adam’s column really reinforces the value of watching what we eat and trying hard to avoid the worst foods when possible – he convinced me! But there were so many other things that came to mind as I read his column:

It’s ironic in some ways that this is “high carb” to Adam. Why? It’s obviously very serious that he had significantly more hypoglycemia and much more hyperglycemia. But this is probably the “best” high carb we’ll ever see! And keep in mind, Adam’s “high-carb” diet averaged 313 grams of carbs per day – this is actually in range with what the average person with diabetes eats.

My high carb is way less “responsible” than Adam’s – and he still showed us that his “healthy” version of high carb caused SO many problems. My version of high carb would have lots of pizza and Goldfish, and although I draw the line at white bread – we don’t allow it in our home, especially sourdough, because I would eat it constantly – I know that my version of high carb causes lots more problems than Adam’s does.

It’s pretty amazing what a tough experience Adam had when he was eating “wellon a high carb diet. These were SUPER healthy carbs, like whole wheat everything and whole fruit, and Adam still had a really tough time attaining a specific average that would effectively result in a 6% A1c. Can you imagine how much more hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia Adam might experience if he had JUNK food like many of us eat all the time?  

Adam is really good at what he does, which includes dosing insulin – a spectacular skill to have! Adam knows how to nail his glucose – he is very good at taking the right amount of insulin at the right time, and he wears CGM 24/7. He almost always took his insulin “15 minutes before” he started eating, but in the “real world,” many of us miss that. Adam did a great job in my book in avoiding glucose spikes – for sure, there were WAY more spikes than he typically has, which he showed us brilliantly. And for sure, you could see on the traces that this prompted a lot of problems with hypoglycemia as he overcorrected the highs. For him, 7% of the time in hypoglycemia is a lot – for many of us, that is “real life,” and it’s inspiring to see someone that can avoid hypoglycemia as well as Adam.

What I loved most about this piece was learning how tired “high carbs” made Adam. This guy typically takes amazing care of himself – he’s hard working and one of the most productive people I’ve ever met, so it was interesting to find out that he was exhausted on high carbs. It made me realize I’m tired a lot when I don’t need to be, and having an even more disciplined approach to food may actually help me with my “time in zone” AND how well I feel.

I really want to thank Adam for going out of his way to put together this column – I’m going to ask my fabulous doctor about similar ways that I can experiment. I learned to have more discipline and pay more attention to the details – and not even get started eating Goldfish! I’m going to write my doctor now, and then I’m going to go out to buy some cashews and walnuts.

Until next time!

Kelly Close

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About the authors

Kelly L. Close is the founder and Chair of the Board of The diaTribe Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of people living with diabetes and prediabetes, and... Read the full bio »