Vegetarians & Their Blood Sugar

We see a wide variety of patients here at Caring Medical. There’s no exception when it comes to nutrition. We see carb-free die-hards, pro-organics, fast food junkies, and all types of vegetarians.

When it comes to nutrition, it is not one size fits all. This is our main emphasis, what works for one person may not work for the next. Vegetarians are not exempt from this. Although eating fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains may seem like the healthy thing to do, they should not be the focus of any diet for someone with problems regulating blood sugar, or insulin resistance.

Case Study

We’ve done my share of nutritional consults, and one thing that seems to be an issue time and time again is when we tell a vegetarian that they have typed out to be an Otter, or even better, a Lion. They now have to completely switch their frame of mind from meat is bad, to meat is good! We typically get a response that says something about being afraid of higher cholesterol or the onset of health problems. However, we start each meeting by asking the patient what their health goals and concerns are. If someone is here, it is usually because something is wrong with their health. So we restate the health concerns they just expressed to us and ask them why they’re having health problems if being a vegetarian is so healthy for them. It may seem blunt, but it is something to think about. There usually is not a response, but we can see the wheels turning. I’m not saying this is just with vegetarians either, it goes for people coming in who follow a high protein diet too!

Unfortunately, many people, especially those who are thin, not worried about weight, and think that they eat healthy, don’t consider what their diet is doing to their blood sugar or insulin level. This was the case with one of our patients before he came to Caring Medical. A few weeks ago Stan, a new patient in his mid-thirties, came in because he was interested in nutrition. He was actually trying to put on some weight. Rob had tried a broad spectrum of diets in the past 10 years just for the heck of it. He did the two extremes Atkins, and then more recently went completely vegetarian. He said he was ready for a change and wanted to come off of his vegetarian diet, mainly because his weight had dropped too low. He wanted to know what he should be eating in order to be healthy and to put some healthy weight on.

One of the tests we do for Hauser Diet Typing is a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT), to look at blood sugar levels. To do the test patients must come in fasting from food for 12 hours. We do a finger stick to get a fasting blood sugar level. Then the person drinks 50 grams of glucose in the form of a fruit drink, wait 30 minutes to do another finger stick, then 2 more finger sticks at 30 minute intervals after that. When we get the second reading, Rob’s blood sugar level went soaring well above normal range, then came crashing back down at his third and fourth finger sticks. This proved that his body did not properly metabolize carbohydrates carbohydrate/sugar/glucose.

Think about this. As a vegetarian, he was primarily eating carbohydrate. The typical vegetarian meal could have up to 150 grams of glucose. That would be three times as much carb as the glucose he drank during the test. Can you imagine what his blood sugars would shoot up to then? Then imagine having your blood sugars shoot up and drop like this on a consistent basis, day in and day out. This is not good for the body! Unstable blood sugars that rise and fall this drastically can lead to major health issues, such as fatigue, weight problems, insulin resistance, and adult-onset diabetes.

This patient is now on the Otter Diet, feeling well and looking great. Not only that, but his blood sugar has become more stable. Stan has also put on 4 pounds of muscle. Just by changing his diet to the right eating plan for his Diet Type, Rob has surely changed the course of his health for the better! Who knows what another couple years of eating vegetarian would have done to him. We’re not saying that a Vegetarian Diet is unhealthy, but it’s only healthy for those, who when typed out, show that they benefit from a high carbohydrate diet. If you are someone who has been eating vegetarian for a while, or have been considering becoming a vegetarian, please come get Diet Typing to make sure the diet you choose is the right one!