Talk to your Doc: Prescription Medications and the Whole30®
"Note: This section was titled, “The Number One Medication You Must Absolutely Discuss With Your Doctor Prior to Your Whole30,” but that was kind of long.
First, do not get discouraged from trying a Whole30 because you take insulin or diabetes medications. The potential benefits far exceed the hassle of having a discussion with your healthcare provider and adjusting medication. That having been said…
If you take insulin, it is essential to talk with your doctor before doing the Whole30.
Although not specifically meant to be low-carb, a strict Whole30 eating plan tends to be lower in carbohydrates than the standard American diet (SAD), and lower than what most people are eating on an otherwise unrestricted diet. If you’re on insulin and radically decrease the amount of carbohydrates you’re eating without adjusting your insulin dose, your blood sugar will go low. If blood sugar dips too low without intervention, you may lose consciousness or die.
There are a few strategies that can be used if you’re taking insulin and want to do a Whole30. The best one depends on the individual. First, long-acting insulin could be discontinued and replaced with shorter-acting insulin administered based on blood sugar levels—what’s commonly known as a “sliding scale.” This is one of the safer approaches that will still provide blood sugar control.
Another tactic might be to stop insulin altogether. This option will work well for someone who does not need very high doses of insulin. Yes, blood sugars may run high over the course of the 30 days, but one advantage with this approach is knowing exactly where blood sugar levels will be with the Whole30 diet alone. It’s possible that by controlling diet, insulin may no longer be necessary. Using and adjusting any oral medication for diabetes in conjunction with this strategy can be used to help keep blood sugar in check as well. Weekly follow ups can fine-tune things to ensure blood sugars are staying within a reasonable range.
Many other variations could be devised based on the concepts above, but as they say, don’t try this at home. Always consult a medical professional.
Oral medications that directly lower blood sugar also need to be taken into consideration. These medications include the sulfonylurea class of medicines, the most popular of which are glipizide and glyburide/glibenclamide. (This may vary by geographical region.) While not as potentially dangerous as insulin unless taken improperly, decreasing carbohydrate intake while on these medications could drive one’s blood sugar precipitously low."