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Do you have any questions for our diabetes experts?

We asked our Panel of Experts for answers to the questions you had from our Facebook page South Africans with Diabetes. Here’s all you need to know!

expert answers

Which are the best medicines for flu and fever as we are in flu season?

“This is a tough one: there really is no magic fix (sadly). It’s about treating symptoms; making sure to drink lots of fluids and resting. One product that has worked well in my patients with diabetes is Flubust Protect – use it with something like Ibumol for pain and fever control.”

Dr Claudine Lee, GP with a special interest in diabetes

Is magnesium good to take as a person with Type 1 diabetes?

“Magnesium can help with many things like insomnia, for example. If you are deficient, bathing in epsom salts is a very good way to get magnesium in. You can pour 1 to 2 cups of epsom salt into your bathtub while it fills up with warm water and soak in the bath for at least 10 minutes.”

diabetes experts answer questions about medication

Why is there confusion about Metformin being toxic? Would my physician tell me if indeed it is toxic?

In my opinion, Metformin is definitely not toxic. In fact, Metformin’s benefits may extend far beyond diabetes. It’s important to take your medication exactly as your doctor prescribes.

Dr Claudine Lee

“Sadly, when people rely on Google for medical advice and information, there is a lot of false information. There may be a few isolated individual cases where it is not tolerated, but overall it is an amazing diabetes medication.”

Is the use of ALA (alpha lipolic acid) beneficial to people with diabetes? And if so, how?

“Alpha lipolic acid is an essential omega 3 fatty acid found in plant sources like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. It’s important for human health and has various benefits, including cardiovascular health and reducing inflammation.”

What are anti inflammatory foods?

These are foods that fight off inflammation in the body. Examples include omega 3 fatty acids found in foods such as : 

  • Fish (mackerel, pilchards, sardines)
  • Broccoli and broccoli sprouts
  • Cacao 
  • Avocados and avocado oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil and olives
  • Fruits (strawberries, blueberries, cherries)
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collards)
  • Raw nuts (almonds, pecan, walnuts) 
  • Seeds (chia, flax, hemp)
  • Turmeric, ginger, garlic, curcumin
  • Or a good supplement with omega 3.

diabetes experts answer questions about food

Is it possible for a toddler to follow a low carb diet without developing ketones? 

“The aim would be to try and know which other foods are lower or lowest in carbs (for example: eggs, veggie sticks, berries, nuts) and ensure that each meal or snack time has a variety of these foods, which helps to lessen the carb load or quantity at one time and hence through the whole day. 

Fran Steart, Registered Dietician

To avoid developing ketones, you can add small portions of complex carbs at meal times or snacks. This can help lessen ketone production from other foods that become the predominant energy source.”

Is the carnivore diet safe to use if you have diabetes?

True carnivore can be high in saturated fats, very low in fibre, never mind expensive and difficult to sustain.  I’d also be worried about the type of diabetes one has to give this diet a try. 

Fran Steart, Registered Dietician

“Remember that protein can also be converted to “glucose” when other food groups are missing. This means that someone using insulin might still need to take insulin to assist in mobilising the fuel or energy into the muscle cells.  For someone who is not taking insulin and who is obese or extremely overweight, carnivore can seem like a good way to shed some weight and help their bodies manage glucose metabolism better. 

I’d recommend focusing on leaner meats like fish and chicken, still lower in carbs and then adding low carb veggies in for fibre intake.  As a dietician, it is best to know the person well to advise accordingly and take socio and economic status into account.”

Do you have any other questions for our diabetes experts?

What other questions do you have for our experts? Let us know below or on Facebook and we’ll get the answers!

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  1. Robert Sugarman Barnsley Robert Sugarman Barnsley

    I am a type 1, and I did the carnivore for three full weeks. My takeaways from it was this:
    > It can completely flatten your curve, and dawn phenomenon just disappears over night
    > It is expensive. Even if you are now only buying meat and drinking water, it adds up, as you need to eat a lot of good quality fatty meat.
    > Quality of life. That is the bottom line here. It is horrible, and you just feel sad and all you want is to grab a carrot from the fridge and munch
    > Everything and everyone stinks! Because you are not eating what the rest are, all of a sudden, your sense of smell goes from 10 to 100 and you struggle to have a conversation with someone because it smells like they just ate a whole tub of crushed garlic. It is so intense that it is off-putting.
    > As a diabetic you cannot cheat. You would have reduced your long acting and your short acting, so there is such a small amount of insulin in your body, and so if you decide to cheat for a meal, As I experienced once, your sugar just takes off like a cricket ball hit by Quinton de Kok, and it struggles to come down. It is horrible.

    So yes, it may help in reducing your short acting insulin, and you do lose weight, and you are super awake and feel ready for anything, but the enjoyment of a tasty meal and the smell of everyone’s lovely meals is the reason I broke carnivore with a huge Rocco mamas burger and cheesy chips. No that was not healthy, but I had to do it in style!

    • Thanks for this super-helpful input, Robert! Fascinating about the sense of smell, I wouldn’t have anticipated that at all… And hilarious that you broke the diet with more meat 😉

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.