How To Go “Low-Carb” With Diabetes
In recent years, there has been much controversy and confusion over low carb diets. This has been of particular significance to those who suffer with diabetes.
So for those who are considering a low carb diabetic diet, there are two main areas to look at. Firstly, what are carbohydrates and what is the function of carbohydrates in the body? And secondly, what is meant by a low carb diabetic diet?
The function of carbohydrates is to provide your body with its main source of energy. Your body will either use that energy right away or store it for later.
Carbohydrates are recognized as one of the most important influences on blood sugar levels. Many people with diabetes have found that eating a low carb diet helps them control their blood sugar levels better than any other diet.
The reason for this is that once carbs have been eaten, it is the job of the liver to digest carbs by breaking them down into simple sugars or glucose.
This process stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin, a hormone. The function of insulin is to convert this sugar into energy and getting it into the body’s blood cells.
Depending on the type of carbohydrate that has been eaten, the production of insulin will vary. Carbohydrates have long been split into two categories, simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates being considered the bad carbs, while complex carbohydrates being the good carbs.
This is because when digesting simple carbs such as sweet sugary foods, insulin levels soike and the carbs are used up faster for energy. On the other hand, complex carbs found in whole grain products take longer to digest.
The result of this is longer lasting energy and feeling fuller for longer. More importantly, there is less of an insulin reaction in the body.
However, more recent research has shown that the glycemic peak of ingested carbohydrates is reached within 30 minutes of being eaten and the only difference between different carbohydrates is the effect that it has on the blood sugar levels.
This is now known as the hypoglycemic potential of a carbohydrate, a figure which is known as the glyceamic index. Foods which have low glycemic carbs are considered the better type of carb to eat.
For someone with diabetes, this is a very important factor in their diet. If too much sugar is consumed, the body produces too much glucose. A diabetic cannot produce enough insulin or use it efficiently enough to remove glucose from the blood stream.
Therefore, if you eat excessive amounts of quickly absorbed carbs, you upset your body’s blood sugar balance and more glucose becomes available to the cells than the body needs.
For people with diabetes, this can be dangerous. There are many health issues that accompany diabetes whether it is type A or type B diabetes. These include symptoms such as circulatory problems, blindness, high blood pressure and heart disease.
As well as this, too much glucose, if not used by the body, will be stored as fat in the body, leading to unhealthy weight gain.
So what is a low carb diabetic diet and how can it help with diabetes? This type of diet is one which restricts the daily allowance of carbohydrates to ensure that the production of insulin is kept at healthy levels.
This is done by eating foods low in carbs rather than high carbohydrate eating. This in turn promotes normal blood glucose and blood lipid levels. It can help in the prevention of complications associated with diabetes and reduce excess weight if necessary.
If embarking on this type of diabetic diet it is important to do your research first. There are many different types of these diets and finding the best diet may take some trial and error.
Once having decided on the most effective diet for you, it is worth finding and making lists of foods low in carbs. Also, keep a good supply of them at home to be able to stick to your diet successfully.
The main bulk of low carb foods come from meats, non-starchy vegetables, salad vegetables and some fruits. Some low carb diabetic diets allow whole meal bread and pasta to be eaten, but this will depend on the diet you choose.
These types of recipes for diabetics can be found online as well as in recipe books. Once you are more familiar with this type of eating you will soon find that many dishes can be adapted specifically to this type of diet.
This type of diabetic diet has been shown to address many of the problems associated with this disease. There are many success stories to back this up and suggest that there are several of these types of diets that work.
It is important, however, to remember that this type does not mean no carb or a carb free diet. Deficiency of carbohydrates can in itself lead to health issues such as fatigue, impaired mental capacity and muscle cramps. Therefore a certain number of carbohydrates per day need to be eaten.