13 yr old son w/ high insulin, triglycerides, craving carbs - advice?

(J) #1

Hi all, I’m newish here, full keto since Aug 8, but this post isn’t really about me. My 13 yr old son was diagnosed a year and a half ago with hyperinsulinemia, and he also has high triglycerides. He checks in every 3 months with an obesity specialist doctor. The doctor’s recommendation was 5 meals a day, no more than 35 g of carbs in a meal, no refined sugar at all. I provide him with all kinds of tasty foods and don’t really have carbs around, but since he has two older siblings who are old enough to make their own decisions and buy their own things, I cannot completely ban carbs and sugar from the house. Also, he is able go to the store on his own and buy sugary things.

Poor guy is so carb addicted. He sneaks them. Not all the time, but he does. I completely feel for him, because I am also out of control with carbs once I get going - which is why keto is best for me. In his Dad’s family T2 diabetes is rampant, killing them all off. He knows this.

I don’t want to shame him or make him feel guilt. I want him to break free of the cravings, like I have. I’m not sure what else I can do. I don’t nag, but once every couple of months when I find an empty Nutella jar behind the couch or something, I have a serious talk with him about diabetes and the fact that he can still prevent it. I’ve gotten rid of carbs as much as possible. I’ve stocked the house and fridge with low carb, tasty options. He’s seen my example, both in terms of my carb addiction and how I got over it (or avoid it, actually).

What else can I do to help him? Any advice would be appreciated.

(jilliangordona) #2

I think the best you can do is continue to model for him and provide as many healthy, tasty options as you can. I know when I was 13 and diagnosed with insulin resistance and PCOS I figured I would grow out of it and didn’t really listen to my doctors (granted, they wanted me to have a diet high in “whole grains”)

Now that I understand it at 25 things are different. I really wish I would have seen the light as a young adult… but when there are more hormones than brain cells going on in the body… it’s hard to get stuff figured out

(Holly Easterling) #3

I would like to gently challenge your assertion that you cannot ban carbs and sugar from the house or his diet. If your child had a peanut allergy yet loved Reese cups, you’d still be sure he didn’t consume them and if that meant banning them from the house, monitoring his pocket money, etc., I don’t think you would hesitate. (Obviously the risk is not as imminent as it is with an allergy, but we know it is deadly.)

Best of luck with whatever you do, mama. This is a tough one.

(J) #4

Thanks for your reply. I think this is part of what’s so hard about parenting teens - they will (and must!) start making their own decisions and we have to let them, trusting that they will make good decisions.

(J) #5

Hi Holly, thanks for your reply and wishes! I have considered banning all bad foods from my home, but since that would only partially solve the problem (he eats not only at my house, but at his Dad’s house, Grandma’s house, sometimes is offered treats at school or sports), I was looking more for ideas about how to help him make good choices. At his age, the control really needs to become more internal than external, because I cannot, and I don’t even think it would be appropriate for me to control his whole world.

(Athena) #6

I showed my 12 year old daughter the science. We watched the movie Fat Head together and also some Dr. Jason Fung youtube lectures. She decided on her own to remove both sugar and grains from her diet.

(jilliangordona) #7

While I am not a mom, I am a high school teacher. Teenagers are a whole new breed.

(Ken) #8

I didn’t really give my son’s a choice. I started when Summer break began, and removed all high Carb food from the house. After two weeks he was allowed the occasional Carb treat. By the time school began, my overweight one had lost around 30 lbs., going from size 34 to 29 pants. He was very happy, and I ended up making their lunches for them for the last two years of High School.

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #9

There is a Twelve-Step program called Al-Anon, for the families and friends of alcoholics. One thing I learned at my very first meeting was that where the alcoholic in my life was concerned, I didn’t cause his condition, I couldn’t control his condition, and I couldn’t cure his condition. Boy was that hard to take, even though it was also greatly liberating. I believe the same principle applies where your son is concerned.

The problem is that although he is only 13, he is subjected to too many different influences for you to be able to control his environment and behavior. The best you can do is, as others have suggested, to be a model of healthy eating and to keep on loving him, whatever he decides to do. As I learned trying to help fellow alcoholics get sober, when the person is ready, you can’t say the wrong thing; until then, you can’t say the right thing.

(Todd Allen) #10

Do a search with him of google images for diabetic foot ulcers. Amazingly horrific stuff. I imagine one might also find things like YouTube videos of foot amputation surgeries.

(J) #11

That’s a great idea, Athena. I’ll see if I can get him to watch that with me. I did make him listen to the first Obesity Code podcast episode, and his reaction was kind of “yeah, I know all that”. But it couldn’t hurt to keep exposing him to voices other than mine.

(J) #12

Ken, that’s great that that worked for you guys! If I had total control over his environment, it might work for us, too. He comes home for lunch and takes food with him on sports evenings, but there’s still a lot of time/opportunity and other less careful adults offering him things. I actually have very little high carb food in the house - there is white sugar and white flour in containers, and I occasionally buy baked goods on request for the older two, but no prepared stuff at all. The son in question actually has done quite well - he has lost weight while growing taller and thus lowered his BMI, he’s doing his sport three times a week and is looking and feeling a lot better. I’d like to see his blood results but the doc hasn’t thought it necessary. Still, I am concerned that is it a struggle for him and that he still really craves things, in light of the T2D in his genes…

(J) #13

Thanks, Paul. It’s really hard watching people you love make self-destructive choices. Thanks for the encouragement.

(J) #14

Todd, yes! I have not shown him pictures but his great aunt died recently a couple years after having both legs amputated. I suspect he thinks he’s young enough that nothing can harm him, and bad things happen to old folks, but maybe he’s not too young anymore to see the graphic reality,

(Ethan) #15

I think it’s even more complicated than just thinking you are invincible. Boys’ brains are not fully developed at 13. We make really bad decisions at that age. The dots simply do not connect or denial is the natural course. I wouldn’t focus on scare tactics, but on the positives. He’s a teenager with changing hormones. There are benefits to being skinnier. He will almost certainly grow a few more inches in the next few years. By going on a low-carb diet, he can turn the fat into lean tissue as he grows taller. That will get him attention and maybe some dates–that can be a motivating positive. Maybe its more motivating to show the pictures of those who lost a ton of weight on this diet than of those who struggled with health issues because they didn’t go on this diet.

(J) #16

Thanks, Ethan. I really do think positive motivation is better. I’ll look for pictures of guys his age who have gotten healthier with keto.

(Boston_guy) #17

Gelatin is supposed to help with carb cravings, and is proven to help with A1C control. https://hollywoodhomestead.com/gelatin-weight-loss/. Homemade gummy bears are a good snack option!
Have ordered “The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children” https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014ICQO0K/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 to try to teach him recipes other than Mom’s spaghetti and pancakes :slight_smile:


As somebody that spent the better part of their awesome 20’s obese, get up his ass! I would try to obviously do it nicely but your kid being actually diagnosed with hyperinsulinemia makes this a little different than keto just being a good idea, he NEEDS this! Problem with a 13yo…BOY is that he’s chronologically a teenager, but still a child. Would he enjoy something like the beginnings of body building? That could get him working out and eating better! One of the few ways to get boys OR men to eat better is to get yourself JACKED! It’s how our brains work. That’s all I used to think about around that age, watched Worlds strongest man all day long, melted VCR tapes recording those things. Started down that path… then the carbs got me. Then theirs scare tactics, show him what diabetic legs look like later in life, or what footless stubs look like. Having HI he’d get there much faster than most if left to eat like crap. I know you don’t want to shame him, but if your finding empty nutella jars in hiding spots, his carb addiction has already crossed the line, you may need to cross some lines yourself. Having a sensitive kid myself I can understand not wanted to hurt him but you gotta do whats best for him. You only have a couple years left to override his stupid decision making effectively, use it while you have it.

Why can’t you ban garbage from your house? Your kid is addicted to junk, not “carbs”. He doesn’t know the difference. If you take away sugary crap he’s not going to start shoveling slices of white bread and potatoes down his face to fill the void. You may not want to / be able to force full keto on your family, but no reason you can go to a normal low carb higher fat diet and try to walk the line best you can. Between his addiction and your husbands genes, this is just a fire looking for a match. Start teaching your kid how to eat the way you do. Make him some keto deserts/snacks ahead of time. He IS a 13yo after all and will need to feel like he’s eating normal but I don’t see any reason this wouldn’t be easy to do if you plan your meals. What 13yo doesn’t like fried cheese sticks at a restaurant, pancakes, bacon and eggs, "insert name here"head pizza etc. I think we forget sometimes that we eat friggen AWESOME! I feel bad for the people that eat normal! Seriously. I got some Chocolate Chip Bulletproof Coffee Icecream in my churner as we speak for desert tonight. Last week I did a Recee’s Cup ice cream that was insane. You CAN make this easy and fun for him. Have your recipes on point and you’ll convert the family without trying. My kid doesn’t even know what juice tastes like! He DOES know how to put away a bag of pork rinds and bacon though!

Good Luck

(Jean Taylor) #19

Have you tried replacing sugary things he loves with low carb options? I’m pretty sure I’ve even seen a nutella. I really think that’s your best bet.

At his age I think you may be expecting too much from him as far as wanting him to take responsibility for his eating. Most people i know have thought they were invincible well into their 20s if not longer reguardless of their health.

There is knowing something is technically possible then there is believing it could actually happen to you. Not to mention being able to truly consider the consequences and what that they actually mean as far as your daily life is concerned.

Say he only half believes it could actually happen and reasons that even if it does you’re hes like 13 surely he has time to deal with it later… it’s easy to see how having something he loves right now SEEMS reasonable to him.


I love this! So true. It was true for me in my 50s until I saw a relative through open heart surgery and a diabetic friend to dialysis. I knew it but I did not believe it.

I have a son the same age who is overweight. His bloods look good but his grandparents both have diabetes. It is hard and in our family we are vertically challenged so I worry about limiting growth through keto (I know no evidence, does not matter not a chance I will take). When he is done growing I will push more. H and I are keto. For dinner I make a keto main dish and vegetable. Usually there is cold rice in the fridge that he can warm up himself if he wants.

What seems to be working is an accident. I am in the car all the time. I started listening to podcasts over the summer, 2Ketos, Fung, LLLVLV with Jimmy Moore. I took over control of the radio, I drive, I decide what we listen to (they are welcome to bring headphones). The kids are learning from the podcasts. One of my other kids who is also in middle school, I drove her and her friend for an hour recently. The next day the girls at school were talking about veganism and the friend says, veganism is not so healthy I heard a podcast recently and so on. I do not put it on for them, I listen to it because it passes the time in the car and because they know I enjoy it and could care less if they pay attention, they really do pay attention