The number of people with diabetes increases every day. Currently, nearly 500 million people struggle with diabetes. It is a worldwide epidemic.
Many people with diabetes follow a low carb diet to help control their condition. Low carb diets are beneficial for weight loss, and very satisfying as well. A low carb diet is often the perfect way for diabetics to eat.
Did you know that type 2 diabetes has the potential to be resolved by this way of eating?
Low carb diets are incredible for regulating blood sugar. Therefore, people who have type 1 diabetes can benefit from this diet because their body will have more stable blood sugar levels.
Additional Low Carb Diet Information
A low carb diet is when you eat a lower amount of carbohydrates and replace the carbs you’d normally be eating with higher protein and higher fat foods.
Diet Doctor has a very in-depth article about how low carb diets can reverse type 2 diabetes. It’s an incredible resource for people who are new to this way of eating.
Diabetes in Control also has an article explaining why a low carb diet should be the first approach in diabetes treatment.
The Top Reasons To Follow a Low Carb Diet For Diabetes
When you consume high amounts of carbohydrates, they automatically raise your blood sugar levels. Therefore, your body needs more insulin. Lowering your blood sugar is always a goal of people with diabetes. The lower your blood sugar is, the less insulin you will need. A low carb diet reduces insulin resistance as well. This is incredible because insulin resistance is a problem that thousands of people struggle with. Insulin resistance is a decreased ability of some of the body’s cells to respond to insulin. When you have diabetes, how your body responds to insulin is extremely important.
Insulin is a vital hormone that allows your body to properly use sugar (glucose). Therefore, people with diabetes can benefit from this diet because they will have lower blood sugar, and in turn, they won’t need as much insulin.
What Can Low Carb Diets Do For Your Body?
A low carb diet can do a number of things for your body. First of all, it aids with weight loss.
Carbs can be extremely high in calories, so when you eat less of them, your body naturally sheds excess weight.
Additionally, a low carb diet is very satisfying, so you are less likely to overeat. You will also have fewer cravings for sugary junk foods and snack foods.
Since a low carb diet contains a lot of slow releasing and slow digesting foods, you will have more energy throughout the day, and your energy levels will remain stable.
Low carb diets can also lower HbA1c levels, and as mentioned above, overall blood sugar levels will be lower.
In addition to all of that, a low carb diet can also lower your risk of severe hypoglycemic occurrences and it lowers the risk of developing long-term health complications. When you eat a low carb diet, you are also able to have clearer thoughts.
How To Follow A Low Carb Diet
There is not one set of rules that everyone needs to follow when eating a low carb diet. The main goal is to reduce the number of carbs that you consume.
Everyone has a different body and different lifestyle, so the number of carbohydrates that they have to consume will differ.
Generally speaking, a low carb diet should consist of less than 130 grams of carbohydrates.
Extremely low carb diets consist of under 30 grams of carbs, which is extreme. The lower your carbohydrate level, the easier it is to lose weight and the lower your blood sugar levels will be.
It’s recommended that people with type 1 diabetes aim for anywhere between 130-220 grams of carbohydrates, whereas people with type 2 diabetes want to aim for 130 grams of carbs and under.
Talk to your general healthcare practitioner to find out more information about what you should aim for with your specific body type and health conditions.
How The Body Uses Carbohydrates
Whether you have diabetes or not, carbohydrates react the same way in everyone’s body.
Carbohydrates are an energy source, just like fat and protein are. They are one of the three macronutrients (protein and fat being the other two).
When you consume any type of carbohydrate, whether it’s a simple or complex carb, your body breaks it down into glucose.
When you eat a meal that is extremely high in carbohydrates or even a snack that is pure carbs (baked goods, fruit, potatoes, pasta, etc), your body experiences an increase in blood sugar levels.
The more carbs consumed at a time, the higher the blood sugar levels will be. When you reduce your intake of carbohydrates, your blood glucose levels won’t rise as much after you eat.
Losing Weight On A Low Carb Diet
In addition to lowering blood sugar levels, one of the most appealing benefits of a low carb diet is the weight loss aspect. Many people who follow a low carb diet experience weight loss naturally.
Without even trying to restrict, you are consuming a lower caloric intake. This is because carbs are naturally high in calories, so once you limit the amount of how much you eat, you focus on more lower-calorie foods.
Fat and protein are both extremely filling, so they keep you from overeating on other unhealthy foods. Also, a reduced intake of carbohydrates means that diabetics don’t have to produce (or inject) as much insulin.
Insulin is a fat storer, which is why so many people with diabetes struggle with obesity and weight gain. When your body has less insulin in it, this could prevent and reverse weight gain since less fat is being stored.
What To Eat On A Low Carb Diet
You might be wondering – what can I eat on a low carb diet? Your diet will consist of three main categories of food: protein, vegetables, and fat.
Both protein and fat are naturally almost devoid of carbohydrates, and vegetables are also extremely low in carbs.
For protein sources, you can consume legumes, beans, fish, meat, eggs, and dairy.
For your fat sources, focus on fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
Vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, and asparagus are great.
When eating a low-carb diet, that doesn’t mean going to the grocery store and buying any product that has a “low carb” label on it.
Your food should come from whole food sources, such as the ones listed above. Unprocessed and natural foods are always best.
Your body will be able to digest them the easiest, and they will provide the best results.
Sample Day Of Eating On A Low Carb Diet
Breakfast – An omelet with goat cheese, herbs, and spinach.
Lunch – Turkey and Hummus Lettuce Wraps
Dinner – Avocado and veggie sushi rolls using “cauliflower rice”
Snacks – Handful of sunflower seeds
There are hundreds of different low carb meals that you can make. It’s a great way to experiment and try new foods and new combinations that you normally wouldn’t. Eating a low carb diet doesn’t have to be boring.
Are There Reasons Not To Follow A Low Carb Diet?
Even though a low carb diet is beneficial for many people with diabetes, there are some people who it simply doesn’t work for.
Some people experience side effects when they try to eat this way. Potential side effects that can come from a low carb diet include constipation, headaches, brain fog, tiredness, and potential nutrient deficiencies.
Some people can even have hypoglycemia as a side effect, which is when you have extremely low blood sugar.
Overall, the best way to determine if a low carb diet is right for you is to discuss it with your general healthcare practitioner, or a nutritionist.