Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stargazey's Spouse

Yes. I'm married. I have been for 38 years. (That's not him in the picture, by the way.)

Until six years ago, both Hubby and I were significantly overweight. In 2003 I found the Atkins diet and slowly, gradually, I managed to lose 70 pounds and keep them from coming back.

Hubby paid attention the whole time. He didn't object, but he didn't want to participate either. Besides being overweight, he had type II diabetes and was taking 50 units of LANTUS insulin plus about 20 units of regular insulin every day. His blood sugars were over 180 in the morning and 300-400 in the evening. He had retinal edema and microaneurysms that were requiring more and more frequent laser treatments.

Hubby had high blood pressure, too. Even though he was on eight medications, he would sometimes have to go to the emergency room with pressures of 250/130 or higher.

Then a miracle happened. I started this blog and began discussing with him the articles I was finding about low-carb dieting and metabolic syndrome. Hubby has scientific training, and I printed out some of the relevant articles for him. Both of us began to realize that low-carb eating is not only good for weight loss, but it also causes a significant decline in blood pressure and in the symptoms of type II diabetes as well. (Read the article at the link for more specifics and even more links.)

On August 8, 2008, Hubby began the low-carb lifestyle. He didn't do Atkins induction, and he didn't keep his carbs extremely low, but he did manage to stay well below 100 carbs per day most of the time.

Since then, over eight months have passed. Hubby has never, ever stayed on a diet this long. Here are Hubby's current results.

    Hubby has dropped eight pant sizes. He has has lost enough weight that he hasn't had a flare-up of his chronic back pain during the past six months.

    Hubby now takes 40 units of LANTUS a day and seldom has to supplement it with regular insulin. He has decreased his Metformin from 1000mg to 500mg twice a day. His blood sugars are 80-100 in the morning and about 180 in the evening. His retinal deterioration is progessing, but it is happening much more slowly than before.

    Hubby still takes eight blood pressure medications, but they are now working to keep his blood pressure at about 140/70. He has cut his clonidine in half. His ankles no longer swell in the evenings, and he only needs his pressure stockings for airplane trips.

(For those who are interested, the improvements in blood sugar control happened almost immediately, but the improvements in blood pressure were much more gradual.)

Granted, Hubby's experiences do not constitute a scientific study. But they do bear out the fact that the findings of scientific studies can be experienced by real people in the real world. Low-carbing is not a magic bullet. However, for people suffering from the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including overweight, insulin resistance and high blood pressure, the low-carb lifestyle is definitely worth serious consideration.


Anonymous said...

Thats great!!!! It just makes so much sense that insulin is a problem with diabetes and so therefore control the insulin. Why is this hard to understand.

Stargazey said...

Hi, Dr. Dan! I've been on hiatus for a month, but I've been following Darwin's Table and have enjoyed your blogposts very much. The comments have been great as well. Both you and your commenters provide inspiration and solid facts to go with it!

Unknown said...


It is good to have you back in the blogosphere. I am enjoying the photo sequence beginning with your return post. There is a certain synergy within them. Thank you for providing a Map Quest for those of us who do not have the energy or the skill to follow the science of low carb, but know it is real.

I have found that the nearer I am to goal weight, the more impact the carbohydrates from refined grains such as wheat and corn have on my weight. This impact, for me is sometimes greater than the calories contained. Reducing calories from fat and protein to offset the calories does not (for me) change the impact of the carbs. The result is at a minimum, a stall. If not stopped immediately it is a weight gain and a need to return to under 20 carbs a day. I know I am not the only one who has met this beast and managed to continue toward goal.

Stargazey said...

Thanks, Stormycatalyst!

Your experience with the carb monster is something we can all relate to. As the Alastor Moody character says in the Harry Potter books--CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

Unknown said...

Great to hear about your husband.I am especially interested inthe decreased back pain. I am a firm believer that metabolic syndome and problems with blood sugar regulation that lead to metabolic syndrome promote pain syndromes. I'm not sure why, other than insulin tends to upregulate the conversion of arachidonic acid to pro-inflammatory eicosenoids and most people have too much Omega-6 in their cell membranes. I'm sure there is more too it, but I think it is a MAJOR cause of many people's pain issues that aren't addressed by most non-drug therapies (other than diet). Weight loss helps because fat is also pro-inflammatory and increased mechanical stress (more weight) can cause more damage on a repetitive or postural basis. anyway, I'm glad for your husbands success.

Stargazey said...

Thanks for the comment, Thomas!

A year later, hubby is still sticking with his low-carb program. In fact, he is feeling well enough that about a month ago he started walking a mile a day almost every day.

He does eat quite a few nuts and Slim Fast low-carb shakes. Until I did the posts on omega-3 and omega-6 I didn't realize how much omega-6 those foods contained. For that reason, I suspect his decreased back pain comes from a smaller waistline rather than from decreasing his pro-inflammatory fats. But I'm trying to incorporate a decrease in omega-6's into my own eating plan, and perhaps he will pick up on it as well.