Being diagnosed with diabetes means hearing different dietary advice every other day, so it’s logical why many of us are confused about the right food we should eat. We were told to focus our diet on carbs for decades, many being recommended to eat at least 250 gm of carbs a day.
But, no one should eat that many carbs on a daily basis, especially not us as we can’t effectively process carbohydrates.
In order to consume this amount of carbs on a daily basis, we would have to consume plenty of sugar or refined processed foods. Eating healthy foods, on the other hand, won’t give us this amount of carbs for sure.
Another bad piece of advice for us is that we could replace the calories from sugar with another source of carbs. This would mean we can eat candy instead of salad, as long as our portions are equal in calories. Seriously?
Not only that this advice worsened diabetes management in many people throughout the years, but it had also raised the risk of other health problems. These include obesity, stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, as well as amputations, and blindness.
Here are several facts that will help people understand why today’s experts recommend a low-carb diet for the proper management of this chronic disease.
The Mistake of Fats
Since obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes, experts often recommended following a low-fat diet. But, eating fat won’t make us fat. Instead, eating poor-quality carbs and sugar is the reason for weight gain in many people.
That’s why a low-carb diet is more successful than a low-fat diet when it comes to improvement in blood sugar control, cardiovascular markers, and weight loss.
There are Medical News Today acknowledged by the American Diabetes Association which confirms that lower carbohydrate intake improves HDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, serum lipid levels, blood glucose control, and insulin sensitivity.
On the other hand, other findings prove that following a low-fat diet doesn’t improve cardiovascular disease risk factors and blood glucose control.
That’s why those with this chronic disease should consider lowering the intake of carbs and increasing the intake of good fats.
Why Should Those with Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes Follow a Low-Carb Diet?
Their body is either unable to use insulin efficiently or is not producing enough insulin. Both problems are caused by insulin resistance which can worsen to the point where the person has to take huge units of insulin every day and still not get healthy blood sugar levels.
That’s why these people have to address insulin resistance, and the best way to achieve that is by following a low-carb diet. In that way, their need for insulin will reduce, as well as their insulin resistance, thus reducing their need for medication.
Low-Carb Diet and Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)
A lot of experts recommend those with T1D not change their diet after being diagnosed with the disease. What they advise is to use insulin as a way to cover their unhealthy diet.
As a result, their A1C and blood sugar targets will rise extremely high in order to ensure they won’t experience hypoglycemia from the high insulin doses that allow them to eat like any other person.
However, the high targets of A1C and blood sugar will cause constant unstable blood sugar and serious complications in those with this lifelong condition. Many of them will even develop insulin resistance from the high intake of carbs, increasing the need for insulin.
This implies that people with T1D have to lower their intake of carbs to improve their blood sugar control. But, won’t this increase their already high risk of dangerously low blood sugar episodes?
It turns out that a low-carb approach can lead to more stable blood sugar and fewer chances of hypoglycemic episodes. If we think about it, less fast-acting carbs raise blood sugar, less insulin, and fewer episodes of dangerously low blood sugar.
So, following a low-carb diet will reduce the need for insulin and stabilize the blood sugar levels in those with this chronic disease. This, in turn, lowers the risk of related complications.
Low-Carb Diet for Everyone
A low-carb diet is good for everyone. It includes real, whole foods and nutrient-dense carbs while avoiding refined and processed carbs that are not healthy for anyone.
Besides maintaining healthy blood sugar, a low-carb diet will also improve one’s energy, vitality, life quality, and overall wellness.
Here’s a video of one mother whose son has T1D. She ignored the standard dietary advice for managing diabetes and succeeded to improve his blood glucose control.
Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid
Here are some low-carb foods to include in our diet:
- Meat, seafood poultry;
- Non-starchy veggies;
- Olives and olive oil;
- Butter, coconut oil, cream, cream cheese, and sour cream.
Foods to eat in moderation include:
- Plain, Greek yogurt;
- Nuts and peanuts;
- Chia seeds and flaxseeds;
- Dark chocolate.
Be sure to avoid the following high-carb foods:
- Pasta, bread, corn, cereal, and other grains;
- Legumes like lentils, peas, and beans (except snow peas and green beans);
- Fruit (except berries);
- Soda, juice, sweetened tea, punch;
- Desserts, candy, baked goods, ice cream;