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Is Atkins Diet Good For Diabetics


Disadvantages Of Low Carbohydrate Diets

What is the Best Diabetes Diet?

Concern has been expressed about the long-term health effects of low carbohydrate diets on renal function, calcium metabolism, lack of essential nutrients, and CVD risk , and a systematic review and meta-analysis reported that low carbohydrate diets were associated with a significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality . Reductions in carbohydrate intake may also be associated with an increased risk of hypoglycemia in those treated with insulin or insulin secretagogues, and to reduce this medical supervision, reductions in medication and self-monitoring of blood glucose concentrations are recommended for those adopting a low carbohydrate diet.

Low carbohydrate diets tend to be higher in protein, and this may have an adverse effect on renal function . There are very few studies investigating renal function and low carbohydrate diets, although a recent study suggested that improvements in renal function are related to weight loss, and that this occurs to a similar extent with low carbohydrate, Mediterranean, and low fat diets . In obese people without diabetes, studies have shown that low carbohydrate diets have no harmful effects on glomerular filtration rate , albuminuria, fluid or electrolyte balance when compared to a low fat diet .

Focus On Healthy Foods

If you decide to follow the Atkins diet, take a whole foods approach:

  • Limit or avoid processed meats and other processed foods.
  • Eat healthy fats, like those found in fish, nuts and olive oil.
  • Include healthy carbs, like fresh fruits and whole grains, as part of a healthy, long-term eating plan.

If you have diabetes or any health conditions, talk to your doctor before starting a weight loss plan. Dont try Atkins if youre pregnant, breastfeeding or have kidney disease.


Health Benefits Of The Atkins Diet

The Atkins eating plan can improve or prevent serious health conditions such as type 1 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Its essential to keep in mind that can help you shed excess weight can also reverse or reduce the risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In fact, most diets that can help you lose excess weight, can improve blood sugar level and blood cholesterol.

Some studies show that people who follow the Atkins diet had improved triglycerides, which suggests better heart health. However, there are no major studies that show whether the benefits increase how long we live or whether they hold up for the long term.

However, you should always check with your physician or diabetes management team before starting on a new eating plan like the Atkins diet, especially if you have serious health conditions such as kidney disease and diabetes.

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Can The Atkins Diet Help Diabetics

Dr Atkins was key in making the connection between obesity and insulin more widely spread. At this point, diabetes was often treated with a diet high in starchy carbs and sugar.


Atkins played an important role in understanding how restricting carbohydrates could result in more stable blood sugar and is an essential part of managing type 2 diabetes.

Low Carb Vs High Carb Worst Mornings

Atkins For Diabetes Diet

7. It was a harder to remember to eat vegetables on the higher-carb diet. When meals contained 60 grams of carbs or more, it was easy to just eat a sandwich and a piece of fruit, or chicken and a side of rice those meals felt complete as I was making them. On the low-carb diet, vegetables automatically filled the side-dish spot, and the meal didnt feel complete unless some veggies were on the plate . My higher carb meals were less likely to include vegetables, since the reminder to include them was not as apparent.

8.Eating a higher-carb diet without checking glucose often or wearing CGM would be like driving a racecar at 150 mph blindfolded. For all the reasons listed above, checking blood glucose often or wearing CGM seems essential on a higher-carb diet it allows for corrections after the inevitable turbulence of post-meal glucose spikes, large insulin doses, incorrect estimates, and hypoglycemia. Im fortunate to have access to CGM, and I recognize this is not possible for everybody with diabetes. But for those who choose to eat high carb, checking glucose often is critical.

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Benefits Of The Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet has been around for decades, and it has some benefits. This diet works for some people because it:


  • Wont make you hangry: Protein and fat suppress the appetite, which is an advantage for people who feel hungry on other diets, Smith says.
  • Cuts calories: If youre restricting your carbs, youre also cutting out many unhealthy foods that are common in the American diet. Think white bread, fried foods and sugar. Most American diets are 55% carbohydrates or higher, Smith says. If you cut out all those carbs, youll probably eat fewer calories overall and lose weight.
  • Controls blood sugars: Eating very few carbohydrates can help control blood sugar, especially in people who have diabetes.

What The Researchers Found

People following a low-carbohydrate diet had lower blood sugar levels than people following a higher-carbohydrate diet up to six months after starting their diets. There was a direct relationship between the percentage of dietary carbohydrates and blood sugar levels: people who ate fewer carbohydrates had lower blood sugar levels. There was also evidence that people on low-carbohydrate diets were also able to use lower doses of diabetes medication. The benefits were short-term, and it is not clear whether people are likely to adhere to low-carbohydrate diets in the long-term. The low-carbohydrate diets did not significantly improve cholesterol levels, weight or BMI, and quality of life.

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Foods To Include On Your Low Carb Diabetic Diet Menu

  • Your diet should be based around these healthy foods:
  • Meats: Pork, bacon, chicken, beef lamb and others
  • Sea foods and fatty fish: Sardines, trout and salmon
  • Eggs: pastured or Omega-3 enriched
  • Low-carb vegetables: Spinach, asparagus, broccoli, kales and others
  • Full-fat dairy: Cheese, butter, full-fat yoghurt and cream.
  • Nuts and seeds: Macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts and almonds
  • Healthy fats: Coconut oil, avocado oil, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil.

The Role Of Carbohydrates In Our Diet

Atkins Diet Misconceptions: Low Carb and Diabetes (Part 2)

Carbohydrates include sugars and starches and together they make up one group of macronutrients the other two are protein and fat. When you consume carbohydrates, your digestive system breaks them down into individual sugar units that are absorbed into your blood. This triggers the pancreas to release insulin, a hormone that helps move glucose out of your blood and into your body’s cells so it can be used for energy.

Sugars that aren’t immediately used for energy are either stored or converted to fat . To a lower degree, insulin is also released when you consume protein but isn’t problematic when the body has adequate insulin.

You need to consume carbohydrates every day because they are your body’s primary energy source. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 20202025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that you get about half of your daily calories from nutrient-dense carbohydrate sources, which is between 900 to 1,300 calories in a 2,000 calorie diet. These are recommendations made to promote health and prevent diseases.


According to the Institute of Medicine, the recommended dietary allowance for carbohydrates is 130 grams of carbohydrates per day. This is the average intake sufficient to meet the nutrient needs of 97%98% of the population. But this amount will increase to 175 grams if you’re pregnant.

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The Role Of Low Carbohydrate Diets In Treating Type 2 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.

Are All Carbohydrates Bad For Diabetics

A criticism levelled at the Atkins diet comes from the fact that the diet is often viewed as labelling all carbohydrates as bad.

Some critics also claim that low carbohydrate diets may restrict the ability to exercise effectively, though this is furiously contested. Carbohydrates are a useful energy source and the level of carbohydrates which we need or can tolerate tends to vary from person to person.


The Atkins diet looks to address this fact within the mid-term phases of the diet.

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Why Choose Carbohydrates With Fiber Rather Than Sugar

Pictured Recipe: Strawberry & Tuna Spinach Salad

Remember that carbohydrates can be further broken down into fiber and sugar. Research shows Americans eat too much added sugar and not enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. Added sugar is anything that’s not plain dairy or fruit. The American Heart Association recommends women eat less than 24 grams of added sugar per day and men consume no more than 36 grams per day .

Instead, try to prioritize carbohydrates that provide fiber. Aim to get 25-35 grams of feel-full fiber each day. Focus on the quality of carbs you eat, aiming to make half your plate nonstarchy vegetables, a quarter of your plate whole grains and a quarter of your plate protein at most meals. Reduce your consumption of low-fiber, sugary foods and beverages, including desserts, muffins, soda, sugary coffee beverages, fruit juice, ice cream and baked goods, which add carbs without much nutrition.


The above recipe for Strawberry & Tuna Spinach Salad provides 20 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber for a healthy, satisfying meal that’s also diabetes-friendly.

What Is The Atkins Diet

Diabetic Diet Vs Atkins

Cardiologist Robert Atkins created the Atkins diet in the 1960s. He believed that carbohydrates not fat were responsible for health problems and weight gain. As a result, his diet focused on eating plenty of fat, some protein and very few carbs.

The goal of the Atkins diet is to change your metabolism. You burn stored body fat, rather than carbs, for energy, says Smith. And you can do this if you follow the diet closely. But its not for everyone, and there may be health risks involved.

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How To Count Carbs

Keeping track of carbohydrates is key if you’re following a diabetes-friendly diet, but if you’ve never had to count carbs, you might be wondering where to start. There are 4 calories in 1 gram of carbohydrate, so you have to convert calories of carbohydrates into grams to know how many grams to consume each day. First, sit down with a dietitian to figure out your daily calorie needs. If, for example, you need 2,000 calories per day and are aiming for 40 percent from carbohydrates, you need to take 40 percent of 2,000:


0.4 x 2,000 = 800 calories

Then divide by 4, since there are 4 calories in 1 gram of carbohydrate:

800 / 4 = 200 grams

You’d want to aim for 200 grams of carbohydrates for the day. Be sure to space them evenly throughout the day in your meals and snacks. It’s also important to pair carbohydrates with protein and fat to slow digestion, prevent a blood sugar spike and keep you feeling fuller longer. Work with your health care provider to figure out how to balance carb intake with your medications, insulin and exercise routine-all will affect how and when you eat carbs.

Risks Of The Atkins Diet

Although Atkins can help people lose weight, it has some drawbacks. The diet:


  • Allows processed meats: Who doesnt love bacon? Well, the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and World Health Organization, for starters. Processed meats may raise the risk of heart problems and certain cancers. But because they are low carb and high fat, many people following Atkins eat a lot of them.
  • Excludes healthy foods: Many people restrict fruits and some vegetables to stay under their carb limit. These foods contain important vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting phytochemicals and fiber. Eliminating food groups can cause nutrient deficiencies and health problems, Smith says.
  • Has side effects: Eating a very low-carb diet like Atkins can cause electrolyte imbalances, constipation, dangerously low blood sugar and kidney problems.
  • Promotes processed foods: The Atkins diet sells and promotes bars, shakes and ready-made meals that help people stick with the plan. But many of these items contain artificial sweeteners, processed ingredients, high-saturated fat and sodium that wont do your health any favors. A long list of ingredients isnt a good sign, Smith says.
  • Has questionable long-term benefits: We dont have evidence that this diet is good for you over the long term, Smith says. All of the studies have looked at how it affects your health for less than a year or two.

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Is The Atkins Diet Good For Type 2 Diabetes

For people with type 2 diabetes , losing excess weight can lead to lower blood glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels along with reduced blood pressure. Of the many low-carbohydrate diets, the Atkins Diet is among the most restrictive — allowing only 20 grams of carbs per day in the first of its 4 phases, or 40 grams if you have less than 40 pounds to lose. Other daily calories come from fat and protein. Very-low-carbohydrate diets like Atkins trigger a metabolic state called ketosis, in which the body burns fat for energy instead of blood sugar, or glucose. Understanding the possible benefits and drawbacks of the Atkins Diet is important, especially if you have T2DM.

Sample Days Menu For People On The Atkins Diet For Diabetes Type 1

A Better Diet For Diabetics

This is what you might eat during a day of the first phase of the Atkins diet:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and sautéed onions. Some of the acceptable beverages include herbal tea, water, tea and coffee.
  • Lunch: Chef Salad with bacon, salad and avocado dressing.
  • Dinner: Asparagus, baked salmon steak, and arugula salad with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes along with any allowable beverage.
  • Snacks: You should have two snacks on a typical day. The snacks may include Atkins diet products such as granola bar, or chocolate shake or simple snacks such as cheddar cheese and celery.

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How Do Carbs Affect Diabetes

A low-carb diet may be one of the most effective diabetes management strategies, especially for people who might be able to avoid medication.


Carbs elevate blood glucose more than any other food. For people with insulin resistance, blood glucose may remain elevated for hours after eating carbs.

For those with type 1 diabetes who do not produce enough insulin, carbs can also cause blood glucose spikes, so a low-carb diet may help people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Carbs can also affect a persons health in other ways. Carb-rich foods tend to be high in calories but low in some important nutrients, such as protein. Eating too many of these empty calories can lead to weight gain.

shows that people who eat carb-rich foods may also feel more hunger between meals, causing them to overeat.

A low-carb diet may also:


  • give a person more energy
  • lower average blood glucose, or HbA1c levels
  • reduce food cravings, especially for sugar
  • lower the risk of hypoglycemia
  • aid weight loss efforts

Without proper planning, a low-carb diet can make it more difficult to get specific nutrients.

People on a low-carb diet may also eat large amounts of protein, which may accelerate kidney damage if they already have kidney disease.

Other risks include:

  • low-fiber intake
  • clogged arteries

These risks may be due to eating too many processed protein sources, such as cold cuts and red meat. Limiting fruit and whole-grains can also be problematic if a person is not getting enough fiber.

For People With Type 2 Diabetes

We know losing 15kg within three to five months will give people with type 2 the best chance of putting their diabetes into remission. Evidence tells us this is more likely if you are able to lose weight within 6 years of your diagnosis.


Finding a way to lose weight can also help you improve the way you manage your condition and reduce your risk of diabetes complications. There are different ways to lose weight, such as a low-carb diet – but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

Find out more about weight loss and diabetes.

I changed to a high-fat, low-carb diet and cut out sweet stuff altogether. Diabetes UKs website and an app for my phone really helped.

I lost around 12lbs in my first week. When I returned to see the nurse after three months, my HbA1c was down to 42mmol/mol it had been 51mmol/mol when I was diagnosed. The nurse thought she was seeing things.

Ive now lost around seven-and-a-half stone and my HbA1c level is 37mmol/mol.

– Pauls type 2 diabetes is now in remission.

However, theres no evidence that following a low-carb diet is any more beneficial in managing diabetes than other approaches in the long term, including a healthy, balanced diet.

Research suggests that the best type of diet is one that you can maintain in the long term, so it’s important to talk to your healthcare professional about what you think will work for you. Another option is the Mediterranean diet, which is also linked to reducing the risk of heart diseases and stroke.

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