Low Carb Diet for Diabetics

Low Carb Diet for Diabetics

A low carb diet for diabetics can help people with diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels. In fact, it may be one of the most effective diabetes management techniques, especially if you do not want to take medication.

Until recently, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) followed the National Institute of Health’s definition of a low carb diet. Therefore, the ADA referred to a “low-carb diet” as less than 130 grams of carbs per day. However, research has shown that the brain can function on much less carbs using healthy fats as a primary source of fuel. In fact, a low carb diet may prevent Alzheimer’s disease. One source reports that, “Alzheimer’s is now being referred to as type 3 diabetes by researchers because of how damaging high blood sugar is to the brain”[1] .

Carbohydrates (carbs) are converted to glucose (sugar) in the body. Because of this, the body must produce more insulin to transport sugar molecules out of the blood after carbohydrates are eaten. When a person with diabetes reduce their carb intake, it can help stabilize blood glucose levels and reverse diabetes.  Therefore, a low carb diet for diabetics can benefit people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. In addition, these same individuals can lose weight and reduce their risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Low Carb Diet For Diabetics

Words of Caution: A low carb diet for diabetics may result in your needing less insulin and other medications used to control your blood sugar levels. Speak with your physician before making any significant changes to your diet.

In this post, you will learn more about a low carb diet for diabetics. But first, keep in mind that the number of carbs required by an individual will vary based on pancreatic function, level of activity, current weight and ultimately their health improvement goals. Secondly, keep in mind that “low carb diet” is sometimes used to encompass a range of low carb diet eating habits.

A low carb diet according to the National Institute of Health: [2]

  1. Very low-carbohydrate (< 10% carbohydrates) or 20-50 gm/day
  2. Low-carbohydrate (<26% carbohydrates) or less than < 130 gm/day
  3. Moderate-carbohydrate (26%-44%) or more than > 130 gm/day
  4. High-carbohydrate (45% or greater)

With that said, a ketogenic diet is a low carb diet in which a person eats about 30 grams of carbs or less per day while a non-ketogenic “low carb diet” may allow up to 130 grams of carbs or less per day. Meanwhile, someone that is just “cutting back” on their carb intake may also say that they are on a low carb diet while eating 130 grams of carbs or more per day.

Foods to Eat:

  • Lean Meats
  • Low Carb Vegetables (dark, leafy greens)
  • Low Carb Fruits (limited intake)
  • Healthy Fats (avocado, olives, omega)
  • Seeds & Nuts

Foods to Avoid:

  • High-carb cakes, cookies and pies
  • High-carb flour, bread, pasta, rice, beans
  • Potato, corn and other starchy vegetables
  • Fruits high in sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Fruit drinks

Meal Planning

Breakfast

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese

Lunch

Salads, Meat, Vegetables

Dinner

Meat & Low Carb Vegetables 

Snacks

Nuts, Cheese, Vegetables, Small Piece of Fruit, Tuna Pouch 

Benefits

A low carb diet for diabetics can be highly beneficial to your long-term health.

  • Long-term weight loss success
  • Increase energy levels
  • Reduce overall hunger
  • Eliminate sugar cravings
  • Lower risk of hypoglycemia
  • Reduce HbA1c and daily blood glucose levels
  • Decrease risk of diabetic complications

Risks

Without proper planning, a low carb diet for diabetics can have risks. The most common is low blood glucose levels because as you eat less carbs and become more active, your body will require less insulin.

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Elevated Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Relapse

Summary

A low carb diet for diabetics is for anyone wanting to better manage their diabetes. However, you must make sure you are getting an adequate amount of needed macronutrients and micronutrients. It is recommended that you consult your physician before starting a low carb diet for diabetics.

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