Given that I backed out on “guinea pigging” myself with the Mastering Diabetes programme, the least I could do is find some information on those who gave it a go. Of course, the Mastering Diabetes website has some testimonials which is the hallmark of all good businesses. This is the bread and butter of direct response marketing. This one is typical:
“I lost 26 pounds in 5 months. I lowered my A1c to a 6 in just 3 months. Diabetes is a food related disease and can be reversed!”
Most of them look healthy, though a couple are on the portly side to be honest. You can see for yourself here. Now, I should say that although I’m sceptical about this programme, I’m not saying they’re selling snake oil. Maybe the programme did work for those who gave their testimonials. Why would they lie? What would Khambatta and co. risk fraud? Doubtful.
Still, is there anyone out there who went through the programme and had a different experience? Well come on down Ginger Vieira at the Diabetes Strong website. I highly recommend that you give her article a good gander. She spent a lot of time writing a fair account of her nine days on the Mastering Diabetes programme as a Type-1 diabetic. She typically follows a paleo regimen. Here are the highlights:
- After three days of high carbs, Ginger dropped her Tresiba insulin dose from 10 to 9 units.
- She had a strong feeling of burning through the high-carb food she was eating. I think this is characterised as a positive.
- When she had to correct for high blood glucose, her sugar came down faster than when she was on paleo.
- By day six, she had lost a pound.
- By day seven, she was seeing improved insulin sensitivity.
- Ginger’s insulin to carb ratio was much higher.
- Ginger got words of support from some members when she inadvertently broke with the programme’s 100% vegan protocol (more on that below).
- Serious hunger “to be honest, food was all I could think about during my non-fasting window of about 1 p.m. until bedtime.”
- Lethargy “Eating oat bran (rather than oatmeal) was starting to give me that same lethargic feeling that oatmeal and rice have given me in the past. I just don’t feel good when I eat those foods.”
- Flatulence “I should add that I’ve never been a “gassy” person and holy moly, the daily bean intake was making me extremely gassy. I eat a lot of fiber in my usual diet, so my digestive tract is plenty accustomed to high-fiber intake, but the beans are another story.”
- A general unwell feeling after a week “Despite my declining insulin needs, I was noticing that I felt like my blood sugar was high even when it wasn’t. I felt that sort of lethargic, thirsty feeling that comes with blood sugars around 250 mg/dL or higher.”
- Headaches “I also had developed a headache that wouldn’t budge with more water or Asprin. Can I say that this headache was absolutely the result of this high-carb diet? No, but headaches are a truly rare thing for me, and this was the only change in my life at this time.”
- Getting it in the neck for eating cheese with veggie tacos. Ginger posted her tacos with cheese on the members only Facebook group and was met with cries of criticism from Mastering Diabetes “coaches” for breaking with veganism, “This language and expectation of 100 percent compliance within the first week of the program left me feeling incredibly alienated and criticized. I knew that even while continuing with the program, I wouldn’t be posting any more pictures or trying to engage in discussion about my personal experience.”
- A real feeling of being unwell by Day 9 ” I felt like one big starchy bean. My blood sugar felt high all day even though it wasn’t. I felt foggy and thirsty. And I was confident in what was causing this: this high-carb diet. I felt like my veins were full of starch. And that headache that started on Day 7 was still rocking hard.”
This was when Ginger decided to call it quits and go pack to paleo. She carries on in the article that she quickly went back to feeling better.
Ginger did state that Khambatta and Barbaro argued that she needed to stick with the programme to see long term benefits. Moreover, she admits to having one cheat day when she went out for her anniversary supper. Fair enough, she didn’t follow it 100%. Nevertheless, it doesn’t look like Mastering Diabetes’ claims against paleo/keto hold up with Ginger’s experiences.
It doesn’t look like this is a lifestyle for everyone. One of the big reasons I went with paleo and then keto was that it was so easy. I’m always satiated and don’t feel hungry. The idea of going back to hunger pains and all that sounds depressing. If it works for some people, well done. Who knows, if this keto sometimes carnivore thing fizzles for me maybe I will give it a go someday. I doubt it, given I’m fitter than I’ve ever been.
Vieira finished her post with an impassioned plea for all of us just to get along. I don’t think channelling Rodney King will work sadly. What’s interesting though is the criticism she got for eating that cheese. Shame on you Ginger! Indeed, Khambatta told her that they are vegan at Mastering Diabetes but they don’t use the term “because of the negative connotations that can go along with it.”
Now this is interesting because I came across something yesterday that suggests that the Mastering Diabetes people may be motivated by more than optimising health. They may be sneaking in some animal rights moralising via the backdoor. Till Thursday.