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Is A Low Carb Diet Good For Diabetics


What To Consider Before Following A Low

What is a low carb diet – type 2 diabetes?

If you treat your diabetes with insulin or any other diabetes medication that puts you at risk of hypos, following a low-carb diet may increase this risk. Speak to your healthcare team about this so they can help you adjust your medications to reduce your risk of hypos. Your team may also support you to check your blood sugar levels more often.

I make sure I balance out my diet with what suits my insulin, but with a bit of tweaking, most things can be persuaded to suit my insulin!

I won’t eat a load of pasta with a side of garlic bread and not much else, because the carb load would be difficult to bolus for. But neither would I eat a completely carb free meal. It’s all a question of balance, and a healthy diet is good for all of us, diabetic or not.

– Online forum user living with type 1.

Depending on the approach, following a low-carb diet may also lead to other side effects, such as constipation or bad breath.

Although these can be unpleasant, they are usually temporary and shouldnt be harmful in the long term. Speak to your healthcare professional if youre concerned about any of these.

Its really important to first reduce your carb intake from unhealthy sources such as sugary drinks, pizzas, cakes, biscuits, chips, white bread, fruit juices and smoothies.


Effects Of Low Carb Foods

A healthy range of carbohydrates for diabetics could be anywhere between 20-90 grams per day. There is no set limit and it changes from person to person. While having foods with low carbs can be helpful, it can have a few drawbacks as well. Here are some of the effects to look out for when making low-carb foods your staple diet.

  • Constipation
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • A restrictive diet that might lack nutrients.

You could consider consulting a nutrition expert before deciding to switch to a low-carb diet.

Picking The Right Type Of Low Fat Diet For Diabetes

So how do you pick the right type of low-fat diet for diabetes? Well, fortunately, we’ve spent decades perfecting a diet that hits all of the points above.

Like all low fat diets, it helps you reverse insulin resistance with a rich selection of natural, low-fat foods that also help boost your heart health and lose weight.

But the most important part is that it’s rich in whole carbohydrates that you can eat as much of as you want, to stay energized and full of life with fun flavors.


Here’s a few characteristics of this strategy:

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Include Minimally Processed Fat

Fat is the macronutrient that has the least effect on blood sugar, adds richness and flavor to meals, and provides the majority of your energy needs on a low-carb diabetes diet. Remember to focus mostly on minimally processed fat sources as often as possible.

The Role Of Low Carbohydrate Diets In Treating Type 2 Diabetes

The Low Carb Guide for Diabetes

Treating type 2 diabetes is challenging, encompassing as it does management of glycemia, cardiovascular disease risk factors, obesity, and other co-morbidities by a combination of lifestyle strategies , behavioral and psychological interventions, pharmaceutical treatment, and bariatric surgery. Medical management of type 2 diabetes has led to cynicism about the efficacy of lifestyle management, particularly dietary strategies, and at present the components of the most effective diet remain unknown. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis suggested that low carbohydrate, low glycemic index , Mediterranean, and high protein diets all showed greater improvements in glycemic control than control diets . Despite criticism of the statistical analysis due to heterogeneity of the studies included , this review supports the premise that improvements in glycemic control, CVD risk, and weight loss are achievable with different diets with varying amounts of carbohydrate, and that low carbohydrate diets are not necessarily superior in effect.

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Avoid Artificial And Processed Foods

And on the flip side, that means avoiding artificial and processed foods. Low-fat diets encourage the consumption of whole, natural foods like vegetables and fruit, but they also help avoid artificial sweeteners or “fake” fats that are made by manufacturers to be low in calories yet high in taste – such as margarine.

So it’s a good guess that brightly packaged foods , aren’t going to be the right decision.

Focusing Too Much On Total Carbs And Not Enough On Carb Quality

For the best health, following a low-carb diet shouldnt just be about what you cut, it should also be about what you add into your nutrition plan, Zanini says. After all, a healthy diet meets all of your bodys nutritional needs and doesnt exceed your bodys caloric needs.

But when people become narrowly fixed on reducing carbs, they can easily wind up replacing those carbs with high-calorie fats, as well as chemically laden sugar-free foods and artificial sweeteners. When following a low-carb diet, the more you can focus on whole, unprocessed foods, the better. These foods can certainly include high-fat foods such as olive oil, avocado, walnuts, and salmon, but the exact amount of fat you should eat depends on whether you are following a ketogenic diet or trying to build lean muscle through an increase in dietary protein, Urbanski says. Again, keeping an open dialogue with a registered dietitian is helpful.

Still, you dont have to work directly with a registered dietitian to take advantage of their knowledge. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is a great resource for expert nutritional information, eating strategies, and healthy recipes.


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Improve Your Energy And Lifestyle

And finally, your diet should improve your energy and your life overall! This is a HUGE factor that can sometimes be overlooked when people are looking for the ideal diet.

For example, extreme diets or fasting fall into this category. While they can definitely help you lose weight, and can even help you reduce your cardiovascular health and insulin resistance, they often come at the cost of feeling exhausted or losing energy. Not to mention they just might not be very much fun!

If you’re “healthy” at the cost of being unhappy or exhausted all of the time, then your diet isn’t treating you right.


How To Start A Low

Low Carb Diets and Diabetes – What You Need to Know

If you have diabetes, it is a good idea to get support from a healthcare provider. Lowering your carb intake may mean you need less of any diabetes medications, including insulin.

Check your blood sugar more frequently as you adjust to your new way of eating. Keeping a log book is a great idea and will help you manage your blood sugar levels and keep track of how you are reacting to your low-carb diet.

Before proceeding, download a copy of our Free Foods Grocery Guide. This is a cheat sheet of foods that have a little to no carbs in a single serving.

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Types Of Low Carb Diets

  • High-Protein. To achieve high-protein consumption people eat large amounts of animal protein and/or tofu. The Dr. Bernstein Diet advocates for this way of eating which is described as low-carb, high-protein and medium fat. You can read an Overview of Dr. Bernsteins Low-Carb Diet.
  • High-Fat. This entails eating fatty cuts of meat, chicken, fish and eating plenty of other high-fat foods like dairy, olive oil, coconut, and avocado to make up the bulk of ones calories. If carb intake is low enough, this diet could also be called a ketogenic diet, which is more of a low-carb, high-fat and medium protein diet.

A word of caution:


How to Build Your Low-Carb Plate

A simple way to start getting the hang of low-carb eating is to learn how to build your plate.

First, make sure you have some kind of source of protein like grilled chicken or fish or ground beef. Then add a serving of low-carb vegetables like broccoli or add a leafy green salad. Then depending on how few carbs you plan on eating, add one more serving of something else:

The key is to try different quantities of different foods and check your blood sugar to see how it responds to the way you are eating. You also want to have enough energy and be satiated after a meal. Filling your plate with plenty of protein, healthy fat and fiber tend to make a very satisfying meal.

Low-Carb Beverages

A Tip for Switching to Low-Sugar Beverages
Beverages to Avoid

Vegetables

Low-Carb Vegetables

Low-Carb Fruits

Legumes

Nuts and Seeds

  • Eggs

Benefits Of Following A Low

One of the main benefits of following a low-carb diet is weight loss. For people with type 2 diabetes, this helps to reduce HbA1c and blood fats such as triglycerides and cholesterol. For people who dont have diabetes, losing weight can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and a low-carb diet is one option to help you do this.

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The Current Fad Of The High Fat Diet

One of the most popular global diet trends of the past decade has been low-carb, high-fat diets.

And it’s understandable why! First of all, high-fat diets include lots of foods that people love to eat, like bacon, steak, and coconut oil.

Secondly, they were backed by some persuasive claims – like how eating fat can actually make you lose weight .

Finally, the low-carb aspect of this diet was popularized as a way to lower insulin requirements and blood sugar in people with diabetes.

Unfortunately, this has led most people with diabetes to wrongly believe that a high-fat diet will help them improve their health in the long term.


It’s true that many people who are overweight or obese have seen fast weight-loss results with this approach, but these diets can be a disaster in the long term. In fact, they’re actively harmful to people living with diabetes, and can even cause diabetes in healthy people.

Definition Of Low Carbohydrate Diets

Diabetic low carb foods list, healthy weight loss diet ...

One of the issues with the term low carbohydrate is uncertainty about what this means in terms of carbohydrate intake. Ketosis readily occurs at carbohydrate intakes below 50 g/day , and these very low carbohydrate, ketogenic diets appear to have more pronounced effects than other, less restricted carbohydrate diets . The taxonomy for diets containing various amounts of dietary carbohydrate has been suggested in a recent paper , see Table . In practice, most Atkins-style diets are designed to be very low in carbohydrate and high in protein and fat , and other diets, e.g., the Zone and the South Beach Diet , promote a moderate carbohydrate restriction together with high protein and low fat intakes.

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Low Carb Diet Tips For Diabetics

A low carb diabetic diet is a great way to manage your weight and blood sugar levels. The following low carb diet tips are great for diabetics trying to reduce carbohydrate consumption:

  • Using a carb counter to monitor your carb intake is a great way to stay on track.
  • Non-starchy vegetables such as colorful salad vegetables , broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, and asparagus tend to have lower glycemic indexes, making them perfect to for a low carb diabetic diet.
  • Make sure to get plenty of fiberhigh-fiber foods like vegetables are a necessary component to a low carb diabetic diet.
  • Avoid foods with added sugars and high fructose corn syrup. If you have a sweet tooth , try sugar-free desserts
  • Dont skip breakfast! To keep your blood sugar levels steady, make sure to eat regularly throughout the day, starting in the morning. Try to fit in three meals and two snacks each day and pace yourself.
  • Not all fats are bad for you. Healthy low carb recipes for diabetics often feature good natural fats like monounsaturated fats, such as the ones found in olive oil, which can help lower your cholesterol.

For People With Type 1 Diabetes

If you have type 1, the strongest evidence suggests that carb counting is the best way to manage your blood sugar levels. This means matching how much insulin you take to the amount of carbs in your meal, snack or drink.


There is no strong evidence that following a low-carb diet is safe or beneficial, which is why we dont recommend this diet for people with type 1 diabetes.

It is really important that you speak to your healthcare team for support to manage your insulin if youre considering a low-carb diet.

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Does Keto Work If You Have Diabetes

Research suggests that people with type 2 diabetes can slim down and lower their blood sugar levels with the keto diet. In one study, people with type 2 lost weight, needed less medication, and lowered their A1c when they followed the keto diet for a year.

If youâre insulin resistant — which means you have higher blood sugar levels because your body isnât responding properly to the hormone insulin — you could benefit from nutritional ketosis, because your body will need and make less insulin.


There are fewer studies looking at the keto diet for people with type 1 diabetes. One small study found that it helped people with type 1 lower their A1c levels, but we need a lot more research to get the full picture of the dietâs effects.

Keep in mind that most studies have only looked at the short-term results of the keto diet. Itâs unclear if it works as a long-term way to manage your diabetes.

If you decide to try the keto diet, be aware that it may be hard to stick to. The very low amount of carbs in the plan is a big change for many people. It also can make you feel tired for a few weeks until your body adapts. To make it a success, itâs a good idea to make a meal plan you can follow, including keto-friendly meals and snacks to keep on hand.

Everything Bagel Pumpkin Seeds

Diabetic Diet ¦ What are the Benefits of a Low Carb Diet

Our pumpkin seeds with everything bagel seasoning are a perfect seasonal snack in a pinch. They are dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarians, making them friendly to almost any dietary preferences. They are also loaded with protein and fiber to help keep you fuller for longer. They clock in at nine grams of carbohydrates per serving, making them a delicious diabetes-friendly snack.

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Which Carbs Raise Blood Sugar Levels

In plant foods, carbs comprise a combination of starch, sugar, and fiber. Only the starch and sugar components raise blood sugar.

Fiber thats naturally found in foods, whether soluble or insoluble, doesnt break down into glucose in the body, and doesnt raise blood sugar levels .

You can actually subtract the fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carb content, leaving you with the digestible or net carb content. For example, 1 cup of cauliflower contains 5 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber. Therefore, its net carb content is 2 grams.

Prebiotic fiber, such as inulin, has even been shown to improve fasting blood sugar and other health markers in people with type 2 diabetes .

Sugar alcohols, such as maltitol, xylitol, erythritol, and sorbitol, are often used to sweeten sugar-free candy and other diet products.


Some of them, especially maltitol, can actually raise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes .

For this reason, use the net carb tool cautiously, as the count listed on a products label may not be accurate if all the carbs contributed by maltitol are subtracted from the total.

Furthermore, the net carb tool isnt used by the Food and Drug Administration or the ADA.

This carb counter may be a valuable resource. It provides data for hundreds of foods on total carbs, net carbs, fiber, protein and fat.

Summary

Starches and sugars raise blood sugar levels, but dietary fiber does not. The sugar alcohol maltitol may also raise blood sugar.

What Is High Fat In Lchf Diet

A lot of diabetics are obese, so a high-fat diet may appear unhelpful. The objective of this LCHF diet is to make the body utilize fat for energy rather than glucose or carbs. A keto diet provides most of the energy from fat, with slight amounts from carbs.

Having this diet doesnt indicate the person should get loaded up with saturated fats. Consuming heart-healthy fats is the key to maintaining overall health. Some of the healthy foods commonly included in the LCHF diet include fish such as salmon, avocado, eggs, nuts, seeds, cottage cheese, olives, and olive oil.

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Your New Expert Coaches

We know that keeping all of this straight can be complicated, which is why we’re here for you!

Mastering Diabetes isn’t just a collection of research. It’s an entire community, with a number of coaches who are constantly working to make sure that people with diabetes have support, guidance, and clarity as they work to reverse insulin resistance, reverse prediabetes, reverse type 2 diabetes in the vast majority of cases and take back full control in the case of type 1 or type 1.5 diabetes.

There’s a reason that so many people are sharing their “A1c Miracle” — and it’s because not only does the method work, but we have the people to help you make it work for you.

Why Diabetics Should Eat Fruit

+ References

Mastering Diabetes has strict guidelines for scientific references in our articles. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, governmental organizations, and reputable medical organizations. We do our best to avoid using non evidence-based references in all articles. The references in this article are listed below.

Freeman, Andrew M., and Nicholas Pennings. Insulin Resistance. In StatPearls. Treasure Island : StatPearls Publishing, 2021. .

Forks Over Knives. Is Fish a Health Food, or Have We Just Let It Off the Hook?, October 29, 2015. .

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