Which Diet Works Best For People With Diabetes
For people with diabetes, we strongly recommend a low-fat, plant-based, whole food diet that is high in natural carbohydrates.
This diet has been proven to help with weight loss, bringing positive benefits for your diabetes health, and has the additional benefit of reducing your insulin resistance, as opposed to the negative effects of ketogenic-style diets.
What About Sugar Substitutes
A sugar substitute is a sweetener that is used in place of sugar. The sugar substitutes approved by the Food and Drug Administration are aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, and neotame. All can be safely consumed in moderation. Sugar substitutes do not need to be counted in your meal plan. If they are used as a sweetener in food that contains few calories and no other carbohydrate , that food is considered to be a “free food.” If, on the other hand, the sugar substitute is used in a food that contains other carbohydrate sources , the total carbohydrate content must be counted. That food is not considered a “free food.”
Your Bad Cholesterol Is Up
Consuming lots of sugar lowers your “good” cholesterol and spikes your triglycerides, the fat associated with heart disease and stroke, according to research. In fact, some studies suggest that consuming too much refined sugar, not fat, is the leading cause of heart disease, America’s No. 1 killer, due to the negative effects it has on the metabolism.
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Are You Eating Too Many Or Too Few Carbohydrates
People are more aware than ever of which macronutrients theyre consuming. And recently, there have been a number of diets like the Paleo diet and the ketogenic diet that focus on carbohydrate counting to specifically limit your carb intake.
The theory is that low-carb diets are effective because carbohydrates increase your blood glucose, and high levels of blood glucose can be a major concern if youre living with any form of diabetes.
The logic is simple. Remove the carbs, remove the high blood glucose, get healthy. Right?
But actually, a diet high in carbohydrates the right carbohydrates can drastically improve your health and even contribute to reversing type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
In this article, well explore how eating carbohydrates affect your blood glucose and your health as a whole.
Then, well explain how to manage your daily carb intake for different goals, like weight loss or insulin sensitivity, and discuss the transition to a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet high in whole carbohydrates a diet that has been proven to increase health and reduce your risk for chronic disease.
How Do You Count Carbohydrates
You can count grams of carbohydrates or carbohydrate choices. A “carbohydrate choice” is a portion of food from one of the carbohydrate food groups that contains 15 grams of carbohydrate.
1 carbohydrate choice = 15 grams of carbohydrate. For example, 1 slice of bread from the starch group, 1 small apple from the fruit group, 1 cup of milk from the milk group, and ½ cup of ice cream from the sweets group are each called a carbohydrate choice and contain 15 grams of carbohydrate. Carbohydrate choices can also be calculated by referring to the total carbohydrate content on a food label. Do not count meats, non-starchy vegetables, or fats as carbohydrate choices.
How To Count Carbs
Carbohydrate counting is a way of planning meals in patients who have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It involves keeping track of the number of carbohydrates you take in during meals and snacks and keeping within a certain number of carbohydrates per day.
Carbohydrates are considered macronutrients, along with protein and fat. Carbohydrates involve things like starches , simple sugars , and fiber. Counting carbs will be able to help you keep your blood sugar levels in control as carbs are the major macronutrient involved in raising blood sugar values.
The idea is to eat as many healthy carbohydrates as you can. You can find healthy carbohydrates by eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grainsall of which contain complex carbohydrates, which are better for you than eating simple carbohydrates, such as seen in sugary foods. Complex carbs you find in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are considered good for you because they have other nutrients and vitamins in them, as well as fiber that can lower cholesterol levels and can improve your bowel movements so you have less constipation.
Carbohydrates that are bad for you are those foods that contain simple sugars, such as cookies, cakes, white bread, table sugar, and candies. These often have no helpful nutrients in them and just raise your blood sugar values to a greater degree than foods containing complex carbohydrates.
Tooth Enamel Is Getting Destroyed
Listen to your dentist when he or she tell you that sugar is bad for your teeth . The connection between sugar and cavities has been well-known for years. The bacteria in the teeth feed on sugar, creating acid that damages the enamel, studies have shown. The more sugar you consume, the more damage you inflict on your teeth.
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Where Sugar Is Found In Your Diet
Sugar is found naturally in fruit, vegetables and dairy foods . Its also added to food and drink by food manufacturers, or by ourselves at home. These types of added sugars are called free sugars and they are also present in pure fruit juices, smoothies, syrups and honey. The debate about sugar and health is mainly around free sugars.
- table sugar that we add to our hot drinks or breakfast cereal
- caster sugar, used in baking
- sugars hidden in sauces, ready meals, cakes and drinks.
- honey and syrups, like golden syrup or agave syrup
- pure fruit juice
Labels On The Front Of Packaging
There are labels containing nutrition information on the front of some food packaging.
This includes labels that use red, amber and green colour coding, and advice on reference intakes of some nutrients, which can include sugar.
Labels that include colour coding allow you to see at a glance if the food has a high, medium or low amount of sugars:
- red = high
- amber = medium
- green = low
Some labels on the front of packaging will display the amount of sugar in the food as a percentage of the RI.
RIs are guidelines for the approximate amount of particular nutrients and energy required in a day for a healthy diet.
The reference intake for total sugars is 90g a day, which includes 30g of “free sugars”.
For more information, see Food labels.
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The Bitter Side Of Sugar
Sugar is sweet, but too much of it can sour your health. Whole foods like fruits, veggies, dairy, and grains have natural sugars. Your body digests those carbs slowly so your cells get a steady supply of energy. Added sugars, on the other hand, come in packaged foods and drinks. Your body does not need any added sugars.
Immune System Is Immediately Weakened For Hours
Consuming just 100 grams of sugar leads to lower counts of white blood cells for up to five hours, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and increase disease susceptibility. The sugar causes the white blood cells to be about 40 percent less effective at killing germs. Sugar impacts them by competing for space with Vitamin C, according to Health Science .
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Does Eating Too Much Sugar Cause Diabetes
Chances are you have a family member, close friend, or colleague who has diabetes. This chronic and serious health condition affects about one in ten people, and that number rises with agehalf of all adults in the United States have diabetes or prediabetes, reports the American Diabetes Association.
We are mostly talking about type 2 diabetes here because its, by far, the most common form of the disease, accounting for about 90 to 95 percent of all cases.
What all types of diabetes have in common is that people have blood glucoseblood sugarthat is too high. Does that mean that eating sugar causes diabetes? The answer for type 1 diabetes is always nothis comparatively rare type of diabetes is an autoimmune condition that is unrelated to lifestyle factors like food intake or exercise.
For type 2 diabetes its a bit more complicated. If you already have a genetic risk and you have a consistently unhealthy eating pattern, excess weight, and a sedentary lifestyle, you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes earliersay in your 20s, 30s, or 40srather than later in life, in your 50s, 60s, or 70s. So how does sugar fit in?
To understand the role that eating sugar plays in type 2 diabetes, it helps to take a quick look at how sugar in the blood, or blood glucose, can end up too high.
With type 2 diabetes, the cells ability to respond to insulin is impaired and sugar lingers in the bloodstream instead of being efficiently dispatched to the cells.
Blood Sugar Levels Skyrocket
In a recent study, kids who cut added sugars from their diets for just nine days showed dramatic improvements in cholesterol and blood sugar levels, irrespective of weight change. Blood sugar can be used for energy, but the sugar that the body doesnt need right away is stored in cells for later use, potentially leading to all kinds of health issues from diabetes to heart disease.
What Are The Effects Of Consuming Sugars On The Risk Of Developing Diabetes
Numerous clinical trials, cohort studies, and meta-analyses have been performed to describe the impact of consumption of sugars on weight gain, as well as risk for and development of diabetes . Te Morenga et al. recently performed a systematic review and meta-analysis for the WHO and estimated that adults who reduced intake of dietary sugars decreased 0.80 kg body weight among randomized controlled trials . The same systematic review and meta-analysis, however, did not show a body weight decrease in the randomized controlled trials of children. Conversely, an increase intake of sugars was associated with an increase of 0.75 kg of body weight in both adults and children. A reduced intake of free sugars was associated with weight loss and increased intake of sugars was associated with weight gain in European adults in the EPIC-InterAct cohort study . Other researchers have performed systematic reviews and meta-analyses and calculated pooled estimates showing a statistically significant positive relationship between increased consumption of calories in the form of sugars and weight gain. In the absence of weight gain seen in calorie matched trial comparisons, the relationship between weight gain and consumption of sugars appear to be mediated through an increase in calorie consumption .
Moderate amounts of sugars can safely be consumed by people with diabetes and those at risk.
Sugar Alcohols Are Still A Form Of Carbohydrate
When counting carbohydrates for products made with sugar alcohols, subtract half of the grams of sugar alcohol listed on the food label.
Some Nutrition Facts labels may also list sugar alcohols under total carbohydrate. Sugar alcohols may be found in products that are labeled sugar-free or no sugar added. This can include sugar-free candies, chocolate, and energy bars. But dont be fooled sugar alcohols are still a form of carbohydrate, and they still affect your blood sugar levels, if not as dramatically.
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How Long Does It Take For Carbs To Turn Into Sugar
Carbohydrate food: most is changed to sugar within 1 1/2 hours after eating. Protein food: half is changed to sugar within 3-4 hours after eating. Fatty food: a small amount is changed to sugar within several hours after eating. As you can see, carbohydrate foods make your blood sugar level go up the fastest.
How To Cut Down On Your Sugar Intake
Follow the below-mentioned guidelines and tips in order to cut down on the total sugar intake in your body:
Avoid Sugary Beverages
Sugary beverages comprise of empty calories while also carrying a high glycemic index load. You should particularly avoid them if you are above 40 years of age.
Even if you are in taking sugar within the recommended quantity, it is advisable for you that you indulge yourself in physical exercise for at least 20 minutes in a day. Even a simple walk will help.
Avoid Fast Food
Fast and processed foods comprise a lot of sugar and hence it is necessary that you avoid the same.
Avoid Over Eating Food that Consist of Natural Sugar
You will tend to overeat food that consists of natural forms of sugar. This includes honey, fruits, etc. Do not overeat as that may cause harmful health effects.
While you look into the ingredients list, look into the following which counts as natural forms of sugar:
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Carb Counting And Diabetes
Carbohydrates, or carbs, are naturally found in certain foods. For example, grains, sweets, starches, legumes and dairy all contain different amounts of carbs. Get up to speed on the three types of carbs, and what foods have them.
When foods and drinks with carbs are digested, the carbs break down into glucose to fuel our cells, and the body’s blood glucose, or blood sugar, level rises. In people without diabetes, blood sugar levels rise after eating but the body’s insulin response keeps levels from rising too high.
If you have diabetes, the process doesn’t work as designed. How carb counting can help your blood glucose control depends on your treatment regimen and whether or not your body makes insulin.
- Type 1: If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas no longer makes insulin, so you need to take background insulin as well as offset the carbs in your food with mealtime insulin doses. To do this, you have to know exactly how many carbohydrate grams are in your mealcue carb counting!
- Type 2: Because people with type 2 diabetes are resistant to insulin and may not produce enough of it, its important that you be mindful of your carb intake. To avoid blood sugar spikes, it helps to eat a consistent amount of carbs at meals throughout the day, rather than all at once. People taking oral medications may use a more basic form of carb counting than those on insulin.
Carbs To Lower Blood Sugar In Prediabetes
Regardless of the total number of prediabetes carbs per day that you have, you will get better results if you choose healthier sources and stay aware of portion sizes. Look for high-fiber, high-nutrient sources, and know that a serving size may be smaller than you think!
Healthy Carbs for Prediabetes
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How Much Sugar Should You Eat Per Day
There is no recommendation for a total amount of sugar to stay under per day, but there is a recommendation for added sugar. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommends limiting calories from added sugars to less than 10 percent per day. That’s 12 teaspoons or 48 grams of sugar if following a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet.
The American Heart Association has stricter limits and recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of added sugar per day and men stay under 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of added sugar per day.
While you might not be eating dessert every day, keep in mind, for example, that a large vanilla latte can have 50 grams or more of added sugar, and what appears to be a healthy yogurt parfait or green juice can also put you over the daily limit. Learn more about sneaky sources of added sugar.
Healthy Eating Is About More Than Just Sugar
Sugar is not the only culprit contributing to the rise of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. The overall quality of the standard American diet is responsible for the development of diabetes type 2 or prediabetes, says UCLA dietitian Dana Hunnes. The typical diet is high in processed carbohydrates, fat, animal proteins, and salt, and low in fiber, water, fruits, and vegetables. That high caloric tally promotes weight gain. Meanwhile, all those simple carbsin things like French fries, chips, sugar-sweetened beverages, pasta, and bread made from white flour lead to a fast rise in blood sugar. When that happens, your body struggles to churn out more and more insulinwhich fails to lower blood glucose because the cells are ignoring it.
Over time, those spikes tend to wear out your insulin-producing cells altogether and the body stops making insulin. If you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, that means that each time you eat, blood sugar just keeps climbing higher and higher unless you control it with diet, exercise, and medication.
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What About Sugar Alcohols
Sugar alcohols, such as mannitol and sorbitol, are carbohydrates that are absorbed very slowly and therefore affect your blood sugar significantly less than sugars and starches. Because of this, they are often used as sweeteners in sugar-free foods. Sugar alcohols are not “free,” and must still be counted as part of the total carbohydrate content of any food. Too many sugar alcohols can lead to diarrhea.
Controlling Carbohydrates And Added Sugars
Counting carbohydrates is a way to control the amount of carbs you eat each day. Having 45 to 60 grams of carbs per meal works well for most people, according to the ADA. To include sweets in your meal, compensate so you stay within the 45- to 60-gram range — or the range recommended by your dietitian. The goal is to keep your meal balanced. To best control your diabetes, save desserts and other sweets for special occasions.
- Counting carbohydrates is a way to control the amount of carbs you eat each day.
- To include sweets in your meal, compensate so you stay within the 45- to 60-gram range — or the range recommended by your dietitian.
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Rethinking Mainstream Carb Recommendations
Over the years its been pretty common practice to recommend a low fat, high carbohydrate diet to people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
Even as little as a few months ago, the American Diabetes Association were still stating that: A place to start is at about 45-75 grams of carbohydrate at a meal.
That would equate to around 135-225 g carbohydrates per day, excluding snacks.
And globally, diabetes associations have kept emphasizing that people with type 2 diabetes should eat the same as the general population , that everything in moderation is fine .
So quite frankly, these large organizations have had you fooled none of their dietary information has been based on real science!
And the fact is, 45-75 g per meal of carbohydrates per meal is way too high!
If youve been eating 225+ grams of carbs per day and wondering why you cant get your blood glucose levels or A1c under control, theres a simple answer youre eating too many carbs!
What the science shows is you must forget the mainstream carb recommendations and flip the nutrition circle on its head. Because the goal is to keep your carb intake to less than 25%, not 60% as these large health organizations have been pushing for years.
As you can see, these recommendations suited for the general public are highly flawed recommendations for people with type 2 diabetes, and are in fact, keeping you sick!
Like we always say: Diabetes prevention and diabetes treatment are two completely different things.
Sugars Diabetes And The Food Environment
Reducing intake of sugars is a healthy choice from many perspectives. From the societal perspective, it would have many health benefits, including preventing and reducing dental caries, reducing obesity, and preventing weight gain, with a favourable impact on other illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. From a diabetes perspective alone, reduction of free sugars, specifically SSBs, may have an independent influence on type 2 diabetes risk and gestational diabetes risk. All this said, dietary changes must occur within a societal context.
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There Are Several Aspects In The Treatment Of Diabetes Each One With A Very Important Role
The mainstays of diabetes treatment are:
Note: Type 1 diabetes must be treated with insulin; if you have type 2 diabetes, you may not need to take insulin. This involves injecting insulin under the skin for it to work. Insulin cannot be taken as a pill because the digestive juices in the stomach would destroy the insulin before it could work. Scientists are looking for new ways to give insulin. But today, shots are the only method. There are, however, new methods to give the shots. Insulin pumps are now being widely used and many people are having great results.
What Happens To Your Body When You Eat A Ton Of Sugar
The maximum amount of added sugar people should eat in a day is 150 calories for men and 100 calories for women, according to the .
The body can handle, as in metabolize, at least six teaspoons of added sugar per day. The problem is that most people consume a lot more than that. Sugar is not only present in foods that taste very sweet.
Most Americans consume over three times what they should be, with teens and men munching on the largest amounts. The result is chaos, stress and overload for the body that can lead to both physical and mental illnesses .
Many packaged foods dont list how many teaspoons of sugar their products contain, making your job of keeping track very difficult. An easy trick to remember, AHA says, is that there are 4 calories per gram of sugar and 4 grams of sugar equal a teaspoon. If a label says 10 grams of sugar per serving size, that means it has 2.5 teaspoons of it or 40 calories.
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Natural Vs Added Sugar
Sugars are carbohydrates, and they’re the body’s preferred source of energy. There are many types of sugars. Fructose and glucose are two simple sugars that are well-known. Sucrose, which is table sugar, consists of equal parts fructose and glucose, making it a disaccharide. Lactose, the sugar that naturally occurs in milk, is made up of equal parts glucose and galactose. When you eat carbohydrates, the body breaks them down into glucose, which is used for energy.
Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and dairy contain natural sugars. Fructose, glucose and lactose are inherently part of these foods. No processing has been done to add sugar. Sugar also occurs naturally in sugarcane and sugar beets in the form of sucrose. However, these are processed to make white sugar, which can then be added to processed foods or to drinks like coffee, in which cases it’s considered added sugar. High fructose corn syrup is another sugar that can be made from corn. While sucrose is 50% glucose and 50% fructose, HFCS is usually 55% fructose and 45% glucose and is added to many processed foods, making it an added sugar.
Honey, maple syrup and agave are natural sugars-they come from plants-but when added to foods, they are considered added sugar. Sugar can also be processed and added to foods under various names including invert sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, molasses, brown sugar, brown rice syrup and more .