Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body cannot effectively regulate blood sugar.
This raised blood sugar if left uncontrolled for a long time can cause serious damage to the blood vessels, nerves, heart, eyes, and kidneys.
Researches have shown that over the years people aged 18years and above are mostly affected with diabetes and has caused serious deaths.
In as much as diabetes comes with a lot of complications such as stroke and heart disease. These complications can be easily prevented when you maintain a good blood sugar level.
You may ask, how then can the burden of diabetes be reduced?
Measures such as lifestyle modifications have shown to be very effective in preventing the occurrence of diabetes. One of the major lifestyle changes is eating a healthy low carb diet (avoid the intake of sugars and saturated fat).
In this article, you will understand the best ways of how low carb diet can help you manage your blood sugar levels effectively.
What is diabetes?
Simply, diabetes is the inability of your body to effectively process blood sugars which results in high sugar levels in your blood.
When you eat foods rich in carbohydrates, what happens is, the carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars. These sugars are absorbed into the blood which we refer to as blood sugars.
Once sugar levels are elevated in the blood, it stimulates the release of insulin. Insulin then acts on your body cells to stimulate glucose uptake, utilization, and storage.
Normally the levels of insulin released should be sufficient enough to convert this elevated glucose to glycogen and be stored in the tissues but are not so in people with diabetes.
People with diabetes have impaired abilities to process these blood sugars which may occur due to resistance to insulin or insufficient insulin levels.People with diabetes have impaired abilities to process blood sugars due to resistance to insulin or as a result of insufficient insulin levels. Click To Tweet
Diabetes occurs in different forms and each can be managed differently.
The most common forms are Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational diabetes.
Type I diabetes occurs when the body’s ability to produce insulin is impaired. People with this type of diabetes depend on artificial insulin to survive.
Type 2 diabetes: According to National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Here the ability to use insulin is affected. The cells in the body are not effectively responding to insulin as they should. Although the body still produces insulin.
Gestational diabetes: As the name implies, it occurs during pregnancy but resolves after delivery. The body can become less sensitive to insulin at that time. It does not occur in all women.
Can low carb diet help manage diabetes?
Low carb diets are diets that limit the consumption of carbohydrate relative to the normal diet. These diets high in carbs are replaced with diets that contain higher amounts of fat and protein, but very low carbs.
Low carb diet has a lot of benefits to people with diabetes as it improves weight loss, and helps control blood sugar that is why most diabetics have joined the bandwagon of low carb diet. The best part of a low carb diet is that people in all the forms of diabetes can use.The best part of a low carb diet is that people in all the forms of diabetes can use it. Click To Tweet
The use of a low carb diet in people with diabetes has been dated way back to 1900 before the discovery of artificial insulin.
Studies have revealed that diabetics who used a low carb diet and follow through with it have their diabetes well controlled.
Low carb diets have also shown to benefit People with type 1 diabetes, as it has been reported to stabilize and manage their diabetes.
Benefits of low-carb diets in diabetes
- Lowers HbA1c
- Improves weight loss
- Reduces high blood sugar levels
- Boost energy
- Reduces food cravings (sugary and snack foods)
- Enhances mood and focus
- Reduces your chances of developing long-term health complications
- Lowers the need for insulin and as a result, can reduce insulin resistance and fat storage
The recommended intake of carbs in diabetes
The recommended amount of carbs to consume has always been a topic of discussion amongst diabetics for ages. Knowing the recommended amount of low carb diet to take is hard to tell.
Several types of research have shown that when intake of carbs are limited to 20–80 grams per day, it can reduce blood sugar levels, enhance weight loss, and reduce the risk of developing diabetic complications.
It is important to note that the maximum amount of carbs to consume varies with individuals based on their carb tolerability.
To know the required amount of carbs you should take, use a glucometer to measure your blood glucose before and after a meal. You can do that at 1-2 hours interval.To know the required amount of carbs you should take, use a glucometer to measure your blood glucose before and after a meal. You can do that at 1-2 hours interval. Click To Tweet
If you noticed that your blood glucose level is below 8 mmol/L (140mg/dl) the point at which your nerves can be damaged, you can eat 6-25 grams of carbs per meal.
Like we discussed earlier, all this comes down to your ability to tolerate carbs. That’s why low carb can assist you to maintain and stabilize your blood sugar levels at ease with no hassle.
Read more>> Medical Tool: Food Calorie Counter
Which carbs contribute to elevated sugar levels?
Carbohydrates are one of the major energy sources in the body. It is found in a wide variety of foods such as starch, sugar, and fibers.
These include simple sugars such as glucose, fructose, galactose, and disaccharides. They are rich sources of carbohydrate and contribute a lot to blood glucose levels when consumed.
They are referred to as polysaccharides. Starches consist of long chains of simple sugars. They are broken down in the body into glucose to release energy.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found majorly in plant cellulose; examples include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.
Once consumed in the diet, it does not get digested fully. Thus a lower amount of glucose is available for absorption by the body.
Dietary fibers are mostly used not for energy but for effective digestion and metabolism of foods.
Some sugars are used as sweetening agents in unsweetened products; some can truly elevate blood sugar levels especially in people with diabetes such as maltitol.
Foods to eat on a low carb diet
Low carb foods to eat are listed below but not limited to these:
- Olive oil.
- Coconut oil.
- Cream, sour cream, and cream cheese.
Foods to avoid on a low carb diet
The following are foods to avoid in people with diabetes because they contain high levels of carbohydrate which can elevate their blood sugar levels.
- White flour products such as bread, pasta, rice.
- Cereal and Corn.
- Starchy veggies such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and taro.
- Peas, lentils, and beans (except green beans and snow peas).
- Fruits except for berries.
- Processed fast foods such as snacks, baked goods.
- Sugary foods and drinks such as candy, ice cream, juices, soda, sweetened tea.
A sample meal plan for diabetics
This is a well-balanced sample meal plan that is good for anyone who wants to control their carbohydrate intake.
The best part of it is that it is very convenient and can be adjusted to meet your calorie needs.
7-day sample meal plan:
Breakfast: Wholemeal toast with scrambled eggs
Lunch: Cauliflower and leek soup
Dinner: Lower-fat cauliflower and broccoli cheese with a medium grilled salmon fillet
Lunch: Chickpea and tuna salad and strawberries
Dinner: Beef goulash
Lunch: Mackerel salsa wrap
Dinner: Chicken casserole with broccoli
Breakfast: Mushroom and Tomato Omelette
Lunch: Creamy chicken and mushroom soup and Greek yogurt with raspberries
Dinner: Beefburger with a green salad
Lunch: Beef and barley soup and Greek yogurt
Dinner: Italian-style braised lamb steaks with brown rice and broccoli
Breakfast: Wholemeal toast with grilled bacon and mushrooms
Lunch: Bang bang chicken salad
Dinner: Coq au vin with broccoli
Lunch: Ham, leek and Parmesan frittata with avocado, celery, cucumber and lettuce
Don’t forget to calculate your food calorie>> Medical Tool: Food Calorie Counter
Other ways to lower high blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications
There are other ways you can lower your blood sugar levels effectively In addition to following a low-carb diet meal plan. They include:
- Get Adequate Quality Sleep
- Control Stress
- Exercise Regularly
- Closely monitor blood sugar levels
You might also like this>> Ketogenic diet: Benefits of Ketogenic diet on Weight loss and Diabetes