We’re excited to share this interview between RD Dikeman, one of the founders of TypeOneGrit, and Ahmed Afifi, a mechanical engineer, writer and associate diabetes educator. Ahmed’s inspiring, low carb diabetes book, 10 to 5, My Journey With Diabetes, is available on Amazon. Thank you, Ahmed and RD.
Congratulations on the book Ahmed – I’ve read it and it is a fantastic job. I can imagine it is going to help a lot of people. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became interested in diabetes management?
I am a mechanical engineer, an author, an insulin-dependent LADA diabetic and an Associate diabetes educator accredited from AADE (American Association of Diabetes Educators). I am an advocate of low carb and the author of three books. Two of them were published in Arabic, What You Do Not Know About Diabetes and In Love, Life and Open Buffet and one was recently published in English From 10 To 5, My Journey With Diabetes I am so passionate about spreading the awareness about blood sugar control. I write and talk about health and diabetes management on my website, Facebook page that has 22000 followers and my You Tube channel.
Why did you write this book?
During a 16 years journey with diabetes, I was truly saddened by the magnitude of the confusion among people with diabetes all over the world. Their frustration of continuous and severe blood sugar fluctuation astonished me. I realized that the majority of people with diabetes are not able to find the right information needed to guide them to achieve blood sugar control. I understood their confusion because I had walked the same path of lack of information and of uncontrolled blood sugar for whole nine years. So earlier, I decided to write a book about diabetes management in Arabic which supported a lot of people with diabetes in the Middle East to end the path of agony and pain resulted from high blood sugar. Later on, I decided to spread the word globally and write about my journey with diabetes so that it might help fellow PWD all over the world
What are the major topics you talked about in the book?
I mainly addressed topics that have a real and meaningful impact on diabetes control. I discussed the importance of choosing the right foods that do not raise blood sugar in the first place – essentially a low carb way of eating for me and many others. I also discussed the role of obesity, weight control and insulin resistance and their relation to T2 diabetes. I also addressed leptin resistance, cholesterol and my crazy high triglycerides numbers that reached up to 1200 mg/dl before I adopted a low carb diet. In the book, I give examples of how I dealt with obstacles that hindered my diabetes control and how I took down my HbA1c from 10% to 5.5%. In addition, I share some emotional, real-life-diabetes-management stories demonstrating different aspects of the importance of diabetes control. Also, details about intermittent fasting, the myth of three meals per day and the incorrect practices of physicians that negatively affect blood sugar control are discussed. For example, a typical disaster is the use of premixed insulin (especially in the Middle East and south Asia) as well as the usage of fixed doses of fast acting insulin, keeping T1 kids high all the time to avoid hypoglycemia, etc. Finally, I wrote about the well-worn guidelines that cause the severity and high prevalence of diabetes complications among people with diabetes all over the world.
What was the turning point in your journey with diabetes?
Reading Dr. Richard Bernstein’s book “Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution” back in 2010, made a huge positive difference in my diabetes life. I learned how to eat, how to calculate my insulin factors (IC ratio, correction factor, insulin on board calculation). I learned about the law of small numbers and law of insulin absorption. The book changed my way of thinking 100% towards diabetes management after 8 years of being lost with mainstream physicians.
What do you think should happen to improve control among people with diabetes (PWD)?
I think initially, the major step should come via the professional diabetes organizations that put the guidelines out which are followed by the vast majority of physicians all over the world. We see orgnizations pushing 240 grams or more of daily carbs for PWD. This madness has to stop because it betrays the trust PWD put in these organizations. Frankly, I could see some promising moves such as the new 2019 ADA guidelines, which shyly praised the low carb diet as a method to control diabetes for T2 diabetics. I also was so happy with the visit of the new ADA CEO, Mrs. Tracey Brown, to Dr. Bernstein’s clinic and earlier, with her announcement that she read his book. That is a bold and respectful stance for her that I hope could be interpreted, in the near future, to new guidelines that support PWD all over the world.
At the end what is the message you want to deliver to PWD?
I invite them to learn deeper about diabetes management, nutritional needs, medication, and the tools to achieve normal blood sugar. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of finding a physician who values the importance of achieving normal blood sugar. I finally ask them to make blood sugar control a number one priority in their lives and not to settle for ordinariness when it comes to diabetes management. At the end, I pray that my message reaches the heart of PWDs and I hope that this book brings them a lasting benefit on the path to living a better life with diabetes.