LOW-CARB EATING: Does It Really Help People With Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the level of sugar in the blood, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood sugar is your main source of energy and it comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps glucose enter cells from food to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn't make enough insulin, or it doesn't make anything at all, or it doesn't use insulin well. Then the glucose stays in your blood and does not reach your cells.
There are many types of diabetes. These are Type 1 and 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, monogenic diabetes, and others. The main difference between the two types of diabetes is that type 1 diabetes is a genetic disorder that often occurs early in life, and type 2 diabetes is primarily dietary and develops over time. When you have type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas.
What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates (also called carbs) are a type of macronutrient found in certain foods and drinks. Sugars, starches, and fiber are carbohydrates. Other macronutrients include fat and protein. Your body needs these macronutrients to stay healthy. Generally, carbohydrates are sugar molecules. Along with proteins and fats, carbohydrates are one of the three main nutrients found in foods and drinks. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. Glucose, or blood sugar, is the main source of energy for your body's cells, tissues, and organs.
Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy - they help fuel your brain, kidneys, heart muscle, and central nervous system. For example, fiber is a carbohydrate that aids digestion, helps you feel full, and maintains blood cholesterol levels.
The main source of carbohydrates:
Most of your carbohydrates are from fruits, vegetables, fat-free and low-fat dairy, and whole grains rather than added sugars or refined grains. Many foods with carbohydrates also supply fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body cannot digest.
What is low-carb eating?
In general, low-carb diets focus on protein and some non-starchy vegetables. Low-carb diets generally limit grains, legumes, fruits, bread, pastries, pasta and starchy vegetables, and sometimes nuts and seeds. However, some low-carb diet plans allow small amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
There are many ways to do a low-carb diet. We have the typical low-carb diet which is typically just a carb-restricted diet. The ketogenic diet, which promotes a very low-carb but high-fat consumption. The low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet, is almost the same as the ketogenic diet but it gives more emphasis to the whole, unprocessed food.
What are the benefits of low-carb eating?
For decades we have been told that fat is bad for our health. Meanwhile, low-fat "diet" products, often filled with sugar, are flooding supermarket shelves. This coincided with the onset of the obesity epidemic and, in retrospect, was most likely a serious mistake. While the proliferation of low-fat products does not prove causation, it is clear that low-fat messages have not prevented an increase in obesity and we believe it has contributed.
When you avoid sugar and starch, your blood sugar tends to stabilize, and levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin drop, which can make it easier to burn fat deposits in the body. In addition, increased protein intake and the presence of ketones (if you eat a low-carb diet) can make you feel fuller, naturally reducing food intake and promoting weight loss.
Low carb diets linked to higher rates of remission
Studies show that a low-carb diet can effectively manage type 1 and type 2 diabetes. A low-carb diet can improve blood sugar management, reduce the need for medication, and reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
On average, people with diabetes should aim to get about half of their calories from carbohydrates. This means that if you normally eat about 1,800 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight, about 800-900 calories could come from carbohydrates. At 4 calories per gram, that is 200-225 grams of carbohydrates per day.