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.
A Tip for Switching to Low-Sugar Beverages
Beverages to Avoid
Nuts and Seeds
Which Is Worse For Diabetics Sugar Or Carbs
The American Diabetes Association states that all carbs will have the same ultimate effect on blood sugar, however, complex carbs, because they are a long string of sugars, will provide a slower rise in blood sugar after all, it takes some time to break down that long string of sugars into absorbable single sugars.
Benefits For People With Diabetes
Many people with diabetes follow a low carb diet because it can help improve their diabetes control and also help them lose weight . A couple of studies support this theory.
In one study published this year, 316 people who followed a very low carb diet 5% of total daily calories reduced their average A1C to 5.7%. . They also had low triglyceride levels and high HDL cholesterol levels .
Another study conducted in 2015 showed that people who had a very low carbohydrate diet 14% of total daily calories lowered their A1C and fasting blood sugar levels. They also had lower LDL cholesterol levels .
Because carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, an increase in blood sugar levels can occur after a meal, depending on how much carb you have consumed. So, by reducing carbohydrate intake, you can help to reduce blood sugar spikes after meals.
Low carbohydrate diets have been found to be successful in aiding weight loss. For people who take insulin to manage their diabetes, a reduction in carbohydrates means that you dont need to produce or inject as much insulin. As insulin helps to store fat, less circulating insulin helps prevent, reduce or reverse weight gain.
Also, by restricting carbohydrate intake, people often lower their calorie intake at the same time by eating less calorically dense foods, or by eating more protein-containing foods, which can make you feel fuller so you are less likely to overeat or snack.
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Research On Low Carb High Fat Diet And Diabetes
- In 2008, a 24-week study was conducted to establish the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on type 2 diabetic and overweight participants. An improved glycemic control was noticed in participants who followed this diet in comparison to those who followed a low-glycemic diet.
- It was also seen in a 2013 study that a ketogenic diet delivers more significant improvements in A1c levels, blood sugar control, weight loss, as well as withdrawn insulin requirements as compared to other diets.
- In 2017 also, a study was carried out to confirm that the ketogenic diet is just great for weight loss and managing A1c levels.
Is a low-carb diet for type 1 diabetes? Low carb and high-fat diet is an effective tool aimed at managing type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Such a type of diet greatly improves A1c levels, reduces the medication needs, lowers down the risk of diabetic complications. Its very vital to discuss with your doctor before including this diet in your daily routine, as your medicine dosages may require an adjustment.
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.
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Busting A Few Nutrition Myths
Avoid grain-based foods: You do not need to eat whole grain foods to get fiber and good carbs. You can obtain plenty of fiber from vegetables, nuts and seeds. And grain-based foods, even whole grains are high in carbs and will raise blood sugar.
Enjoy dairy: Dairy products are fine to eat, even full fat varieties. There is no evidence to show these are bad for our health. And in fact, new evidence suggests they are very beneficial. In terms of carbs, cheese and cottage cheese are lower in carbs than milk and yogurt.
Become a detective: When you go shopping, dont rely on front-of-pack labelling. Food companies are great at enticing you to purchase foods, or telling you that a food is healthy, but it may not be true. The only way youll know is to read food labels and learn to understand the nutrition facts panel. When looking at nutrition labels, dont just look at the total calories, observe the amount of carbs, fiber and how much sugar an item contains.
Carbs are more important than calories: But overall, the best bet for your diabetes diet is to focus on carb control. When you can observe your daily intake of carbs and lower them, you will see results pretty quickly. And just to be clear, we are talking about a low carb diet here, not a no carb diet! Sure, in the long term, calorie intake is important to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. If you need to, on a lower carb diet, you can control calorie intake by focusing on the amount of food you eat.
What To Know About Low Carb Diets And Managing Your Diabetes
You shouldnt cut carbohydrates out completely. Here, a registered dietitian offers tips and a well-balanced recipe to try.
When you think of carbohydrates, you probably think of bread, pasta and potatoes. But carbs are also in grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, milk, yogurt and fruit. Theyre one of the three main energy sources in our food and they provide the bodys preferred fuel source for the brain, nervous system, and exercising muscle: glucose.
Unfortunately, patients with diabetes have difficulty converting that glucose into energy.
The body needs the hormone insulin to convert glucose into energy, but for patients with diabetes, they either dont make enough insulin or the insulin they make doesnt work properly, says nutritionist Joyce Patterson, M.P.H., R.D.N., B.C.-A.D.M.
When glucose cant be used, it stays in the blood and results in high blood sugar. The worst offenders for these spikes are added sugars and refined grains, like white rice, and sugary beverages such as soda and juice.Patients with diabetes take medications to help increase their insulin levels or make insulin function properly so their bodies can get the energy it needs.
So if fat and protein are energy sources for the body too, why not just eliminate carbs from your diet? Well, theres a lot of reasons, actually.
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So What Does All This Mean
If you are living with a high degree of insulin resistance, then high levels of carbohydrate-rich foods will spike your blood glucose levels. This is vastly more prominent if you eat refined carbohydrate-rich foods.
However, in the long term, the best path to improving your diabetes health is to become insulin sensitive by reducing the amount of dietary fat in your diet.
Reducing your fat intake will make your liver and muscles more insulin sensitive, which will then increase the action of insulin in both tissues. When this happens, the amount of insulin your pancreas produces will drop.
So how do you balance these two considerations to control your blood glucose at all times?
The most effective strategy is to gradually shift towards natural, whole carbohydrate-rich food over time, slowly removing high-fat foods and refined carbohydrates from your diet, along with other strategies like daily movement and intermittent fasting.
Sample Daily Meal Plan
Start by seeing where you can limit your carbohydrate consumption. If youre regularly eating simple carbs, like sugary cereal, white bread, or other processed foods, try cutting back to see how you feel.
Its important to remember that limiting carbs doesnt mean starving yourself whenever you cut something out, youll want to replace it with a high-quality, lower-carb food to keep yourself satisfied.
Unsure where to begin? Heres what an average day of low-carb eating might look like.
Potential Dangers Linked To Lchf Diet
Increased levels of ketones in the blood are seen when the bodys primary energy source gets altered from carbs to fats. This dietary ketosis is very much dissimilar from ketoacidosis, which is an exceptionally risky state.
An excess of ketones in the blood causes diabetic ketoacidosis . DKA is more common in diabetes type 1 where the blood sugar is too high and the condition may emerge from a deficiency of insulin.
Even though rare, DKA can occur in type 2 diabetes as well in the presence of an excess of ketones. When a person feels sick while on a low-carb diet, may also get this condition.
If the person is having a low carb-high fat diet, then he or she must test blood sugar levels all through the day. This ensures a regular tracking of the sugar levels within their target range. The ADA suggests ketones testing if any persons blood glucose is higher than 240 mg/dL. It can be done at home with urine strips.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a kind of medical emergency. If any person experiences the symptoms of DKA, its advisable to see a doctor without any delay. Complications may give rise to diabetic coma.
The symptoms of DKA can be:
- Breathing problems
- Fruity smelling breath
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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Drinking Too Little Water Leaving Yourself At Risk For Dehydration
Left unchecked, going low-carb can increase the risk of dehydration, as well as electrolyte imbalances, Urbanski explains. This happens because when the body stores carbohydrates, it stores water along with it. Furthermore, in response to reduced blood sugar levels, the body doesnt produce as much insulin. In turn, the kidneys expel both water and sodium from the body, she says.
Also, if your low-carb plan involves removing a lot of sodium-laden foods like potato chips from your diet , it can also lower sodium levels.
Both dehydration and too-low sodium levels can bring on lightheadedness and dizziness, as well as keep the cells throughout the entire body from optimally functioning, she says. Keep open lines of communication with your healthcare team before loading up on salty foods, however. In people with uncontrolled high blood pressure or congestive heart failure, for example, increasing sodium intake may not be a healthy option, she says. As for water intake, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends 13 cups of fluid per day for men and about 9 cups per day for women, but ask your healthcare team about the optimal amount of fluid for your individual health.
Check out Diabetes Daily’s article “How to Start a Low-Carb Diabetes Diet” for more information on this popular eating plan.
What Percentage Of Calories Should Come From Carbs
There is no one-size-fits-all diet plan for people with diabetes. It’s important to work with your doctor and dietitian to figure out what percent of carbohydrates, fat and protein you should be eating each day.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that 45-65 percent of daily calories come from carbohydrates. However, some studies suggest that if you have diabetes, eating less than that may be beneficial for two reasons. First, the fewer carbohydrates you eat, the lower your blood sugar levels. Second, eating fewer carbohydrates equates to eating fewer calories and eating fewer calories results in weight loss. Losing weight is associated with better blood sugar control and fewer health complications from diabetes.
Joslin Diabetes Center, a Harvard Medical School affiliate and diabetes clinic, recommends sticking closer to 40 percent of calories coming from carbohydrates and 20-30 percent coming from protein to promote weight loss.
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How Do You Use The Food Label To Count Carbohydrates
Looking at a food label, find the serving size and the total carbohydrate in that one serving. Note: Total carbohydrate includes sugar, starch, and fiber. Use the grams of total carbohydrate when carbohydrate counting.
To calculate the number of carbohydrate choices in that particular serving, simply divide the amount of total carbohydrate by 15.
Refer to the following information to assist with calculating carbohydrate choices:
- Grams of Carbohydrate 0-5
Important Points About This Meal Plan
Disclaimer: every effort has been taken to make these meal plans as accurate as possible, but there will be some variation in nutritional values. Speak to a dietitian or your diabetes healthcare team if you have questions about your individual dietary needs.
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What Side Effects Exist On A Low Carb Diet
Side effects that can be commonly experienced on a low carb diet include:
- Possible nutrient deficiencies
Hypoglycemia may occur if you take insulin or tablets that can cause low blood sugar. If you take medications that can cause hypos, its particularly important to discuss precautions to prevent hypos before starting a low carb diet.
- Read more on Low Carb Diet Side Effects
Eating To Control Your Weight And Your Blood Sugar
The Mediterranean-style low carb diet approach, which we recommend in The Blood Sugar Diet, is a low sugar diet, low in starchy, easily digestible carbs, but packed full of disease-fighting vitamins and flavonoids. It is rich in olive oil, fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables, but also contains lots of lovely things that down the years we have been told not to eat, such as full fat yoghurt and eggs.
Although it is derived from the eating habits of people living in Mediterranean countries, you can apply the principles of Med-style low carb diet eating to a wide range of different cuisines, from Chinese or Indian through to Mexican or Scandanavian.
There is extensive evidence for the benefit of the Mediterranean style low carb diet, including cutting your risk of heart disease and diabetes. It has even been found to reduce risk the risk of breast cancer, compared with those on a low-fat diet. Consuming extra virgin olive oil seems to be particularly beneficial when it comes to cancer, perhaps because it contains compounds such as polyphenols which are known to be anti-inflammatory.
This is potentially a life changing book for people with raised blood sugar levels as well as those with type 2 diabetes
Dr Tim Spector, Professor of Genetics, Kings College, London
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Carb Counting Vs Low Carb For Type 1 Diabetes
Prior to the discovery of insulin in 1921, many doctors placed their patients with diabetes on very-low-carb diets because they recognized that carbs raise blood glucose much more than does protein or fat.11 While this wasnt sufficient to manage type 1 diabetes, it did help to prevent extreme carb-related spikes.
The advent of injectable insulin allowed those with type 1 diabetes to eat carbohydrate without dramatically raising their blood sugar. However, even with insulin, controlling blood glucose levels can be a major challenge for them.
Today, diabetes educators often tell people with type 1 diabetes that they simply need to take insulin to match the amount of carbs they eat at each meal. In fact, many people who use ICRs have repeatedly heard, You can eat whatever you like as long as you take the right dose of insulin.
However, there are several issues with this approach, including:
For many people with type 1 diabetes, eating high-carb foods and taking large doses of insulin can cause blood sugar levels to resemble a rollercoaster rather than remaining within a narrow range.
In his book, Dr. Bernsteins Diabetes Solution, Dr. Richard K. Bernstein explains that eating very small amounts of slowly-digested carbs and taking very small doses of insulin leads to more predictable results and essentially normal blood sugar levels. He calls this The Law of Small Numbers.