Are Low-carb diets good for people with Diabetes? – DIABETIC SOCK CLUB

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Are Low-carb diets good for people with Diabetes?

A low-carb diet limits carbohydrates such as grains, starchy vegetables, and fruit, and it focuses more on foods with protein and fat. Carbohydrates raise blood glucose more than other foods, so your body will need more insulin to digest them properly. Conclusion: Many studies prove a low-carb diet is helpful for people with Diabetes. 

Reducing your carbohydrate intake will help you control your blood sugar levels and may even help you avoid some of the major side effects of Diabetes, such as weight gain and heart disease. Although it is helpful for a diabetic patient, doing so still has some risks, including vitamin and mineral deficiencies. For some people, following a low-carb diet can be hard. There are different circumstances and conditions for diabetic patients, so it is important that you speak to your doctor before changing your diet plan or if you want to try a low-carb diet. 


Are Low-carb diets good for people with Diabetes?

One way to achieve a better blood sugar level is to follow a low-carb diet that is why it is good and helpful for people with Diabetes. With Diabetes, your body can't fully process or break down the carbs you eat. Normally, when you eat carbs, they are broken down into small units of glucose that end up spiking up your blood sugar. 

Many studies also support low-carb diets for the treatment of Diabetes. In fact, before the discovery of insulin in 1982, a low-carb diet was highly recommended and considered a treatment for diabetic patients. Those who followed the diet saw an improvement in their blood sugar level and health. 

Carbs can also harm one's health in other ways. Carbohydrate-rich foods are typically heavy in calories and poor in other vital nutrients like protein. Eating too many unhealthy and empty calories can lead to weight gain. A diabetic patient should always be careful with his/her weight. It will identify if you are following a healthy diet plan or just eating whatever you want and not thinking about your health. For example, you gain a lot of extra weight. This means that you are eating many foods high in unhealthy fats that can cause your blood sugar to spike up. If you lose a lot of weight, you are not eating enough healthy foods that can cause your blood sugar to go extremely low. Your blood sugar level should be maintained in the right range. 


Foods to eat, eat moderately and avoid when following a low-carb diet.

You will intake the calories following or doing a low-carb diet should come from healthy and natural sources. Here are some of the foods you can eat:

  • Vegetables that aren't starchy
  • Eggs, fish, almonds, and tofu are all good sources of lean protein
  • Good fats, such as olives or avocados
  • Fruit in moderation
  • Meat, poultry, and seafood

Carbohydrates are also high in whole-grain bread, lentils, and beans, but they can be an important element of a healthy diet. So, rather than eating a lot of it, consume it in moderation or replace unhealthy carbs like cakes and pies. Here are some other foods that, depending on your carb tolerance, you can eat in modest amounts or significantly:

  • Berries: 1 cup or less
  • Plain, Greek yogurt: 1 cup or less
  • Cottage cheese: 1/2 cup or less
  • Nuts and peanuts: 1–2 ounces, or 30–60 grams
  • Flaxseeds or chia seeds: 2 tablespoons
  • Dark chocolate (at least 85% cocoa): 30 grams or less
  • Winter squash (butternut, acorn, pumpkin, spaghetti, and Hubbard): 1 cup or less
  • Liquor: 1.5 ounces, or 50 grams
  • Dry red or white wine: 4 ounces, or 120 grams

People that are following a low-carb diet should limit or eat fruits in moderation since fruits also contain sugar, and for most people, fruit is also a healthy substitute for sugary snacks and processed foods. Following this diet, people should avoid or limit the intake of the following:

  • Prepared dinners and salty snacks are examples of processed foods.
  • Cakes, candies, pastries, biscuits, sodas, and drinks are all high in sugar.
  • slices of bread and bagels, especially white bread and bagels
  • alcoholic beverages, juice, soda, punch, sweetened tea, and other similar beverages
  • potato products, such as chips
  • a variety of starchy vegetables
  • pasta (white)
  • Milk
  • Fruit that isn't berries

Legumes, such as peas, lentils, and beans, have carbs also but are healthy sources of protein, so make sure to add them to your diet and include them on your daily carb count. 

Changing your diet to strictly low-carb foods can lower your insulin levels, which causes your kidneys to release sodium and water. Too much of it can cause unhealthy complications in your body. To avoid this, create a cup of broth, a few olives, or some other salty, low-carb items to compensate for the sodium loss. Don't be hesitant to season your food with a pinch of salt, but don't go overboard.

However, if you have congestive heart failure, kidney problems, or high blood pressure, you should avoid it. Before adjusting the amount of salt in your food, consult your doctor. 


Benefits of following a low-carb diet 

One of the many main benefits of following a low-carb diet is weight loss. For people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, this helps reduce HbA1c. This is a form of hemoglobin that is chemically linked to sugar. It also reduces blood fats such as triglycerides and cholesterol. For people who don't have Diabetes, following a low-carb diet can reduce developing type 2 diabetes. 


For people with type 1 diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, the strongest way to reduce the symptoms and complications is to count the carbs of the foods you will eat, also known as "carb counting." Carb counting is the most effective approach to control blood sugar levels; this implies that the amount of insulin you take must correspond to the number of carbs in your meal, snack, or drink.

There is no strong evidence that a low-carb diet can help and is safe for all diabetic patients diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, but it does surely help to effectively manage type 1 diabetes. You must speak to your doctor first before following a low-carb diet, this may apply to you, but you may need to eat and include carbs in your diet for extra energy and nutrients. 


For people with type 2 diabetes 

Diabetics with type 2 diabetes should try to go into remission. If you can lose weight within six years of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you will almost certainly be able to lessen your symptoms. Finding a way to decrease weight can improve your health and lower your diabetic problems.

There are many ways to lose weight, such as following a low-carb diet. A low-carb diet will help you manage the glucose inside your body. Carbs contain a lot of sugar that can spike up your blood sugar and make you gain weight. Like in type 1 diabetes, this approach doesn't apply to everybody, but it surely does help people who can follow it and have been maintaining this diet for a long time now. 

People who followed a low-carb diet saw a big difference and change in their health. It helped them maintain their weight and keep their blood sugar on a healthy level. Here are other benefits of following a low carb diet:

  • It gives a person more energy to function throughout the day
  • Lower average blood glucose, or HbA1c levels
  • Reduce food cravings, especially for sugary foods
  • Lower the risk of hypoglycemia
  • Aid weight loss efforts
  • Decrease the risk of long-term diabetes complications
  • Lower cholesterol

Although it doesn't apply to everyone, most diabetic patients that have done this diet saw a difference. You must speak to your doctor if you want to follow and start a low-carb diet. 


Risk and considerations 

Risks can develop if you follow a low-carb diet without speaking to your doctor or a dietician first. A low-carb diet can make it more difficult to get specific nutrients without proper planning. 

People who follow a low-carb diet may also eat large portions of high protein foods, which may accelerate kidney damage if they already have kidney disease. Other risks of an unplanned low carb diet are the following:

  • osteoporosis and bone fractures
  • 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 a problem if not getting enough fiber intake. There are nutrients that you need from eating carbohydrates, so drastically changing your diet without planning and knowing if it's suitable for your condition can help develop risks in your body. 

Some people have a hard time following a low-carb diet for a long time. Eating a low-carb diet can cause some people to feel extra hungry, moody, or have trouble concentrating. That is why it is important to talk to your health care advisor or a dietician if you can benefit from following this diet. 


How to choose your meal plan

Before making any major dietary changes, consult your doctor or a nutritionist, especially if your current diet is healthy. This is especially crucial if you take insulin or diabetes drugs that raise your risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).

Reducing your Carbohydrate intake and changes to your body weight means that your insulin and diabetes medication needs to be adjusted. 

We found out about this meal plan from the Diabetes org UK. They have a great meal plan that you can follow for a low-carb diet! It has a great balance of foods and all the nutrients you need for your body. This is a seven-day meal plan, so you don't have to worry about what you eat for the whole week. The Diabetes Org UK has a great low-carb diet meal plan. You can check out their website for the ingredients and how you can make the dishes in this meal plan - https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/meal-plans/low-carb.


Monday

Baked eggs with two slices of rye bread for breakfast

Chipotle bean soup with avocado salsa for lunch

Dinner: Mackerel tomatoes with broccoli and leeks

Apple strudel is the dessert.

Snacks: one apple, Greek yogurt, two satsumas, plain almonds

Semi-skimmed milk (225mL)


Tuesday

Porridge with 30g porridge oats, 200ml almond milk, 40g blueberries, and 10g pumpkin seeds for breakfast.

Lunch: Chicken salad with a boom

Filo pie with minced beef and vegetables for dinner

80g strawberries for the pudding

Avocado, Brazil nuts, celery, and peanut butter are good snacks.

Semi-skimmed milk (225mL)


Wednesday

Omelet with mushrooms and spring onions for breakfast

Butterbean paté with carrots, tomatoes, and wholemeal pita bread for lunch

Dinner: Baked aubergine and courgette with parmesan, rocket, tomato, and kidney beans from a can

80g melon pudding

Snacks: 1 apple with peanut butter, one pear with almonds, 1 cup natural yogurt, one tablespoon of pumpkin seeds

Semi-skimmed milk (225mL)


Thursday

Smoothie with summer berries for breakfast

Salad with chickpeas and tuna for lunch

Chicken tikka masala and cauliflower pilaf for dinner

Posset of summer berries

Greek yogurt, two satsumas, one orange, almonds, and two oatcakes with smooth peanut butter as a snack

Semi-skimmed milk (225mL)


Friday

Baked eggs with two slices of rye bread for breakfast

Two slices of medium wholemeal bread, grated cheddar, vegetable oil-based spread, tomato, and cucumber for lunch

Dinner: grilled salmon steaks with sweet potatoes, broccoli, and cabbage cooked in the oven

Jelly (sugar-free) pudding

Raspberry, melon, avocado, and plain almonds are good snacks.

Semi-skimmed milk (225mL)


Saturday

Welsh leek rarebit for breakfast

Cauliflower and leek soup with 25g cheddar cheese for lunch

Stew with butternut squash and borlotti beans for dinner

Peach pudding with liquid from tinned peaches

Snacks: 1 apple, 30g almonds, Greek yogurt, small pear with almonds, 60g shelled pistachios

Semi-skimmed milk (225mL)


Sunday

Breakfast: Two eggs and milk omelets with 80 grams of spinach, 80 grams of mushrooms, one teaspoon of vegetable oil, and 25 grams of shredded cheddar. Serve with a rye bread slice slathered in unsaturated margarine.

Smoked mackerel on granary toast with a teaspoon of veg spread, rocket, tomato, and cucumber for lunch.

Dinner: Broccoli and leeks in a homestyle Greek chicken

80g raspberries and 80g melon for the pudding

Snacks: One tiny pear, low-fat Greek yogurt with almonds and pumpkin seeds, spicy roasted chickpeas

Semi-skimmed milk (225mL)


Here is a simpler low-carb diet meal plan from Medical Health News Today that you can follow. They gave food options that you can do for your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. 


Breakfast

  • hard-boiled eggs
  • low-sodium cottage cheese
  • sliced avocados
  • fiber-rich smoothies with avocado, frozen berries, and a banana
  • low-fat yogurt
  • eggs and vegetables fried in extra virgin olive oil

Lunch and dinner

  • baked or grilled chicken
  • cauliflower rice with vegetables and tofu
  • salmon
  • salad with toasted nuts
  • zucchini noodles
  • bunless hamburgers or cheeseburgers
  • pizza with a cauliflower crust
  • chicken stuffed with vegetables and cheese
  • whole-grain pasta with vegetables or fish
  • tuna, including packaged tuna and tuna steaks
  • spaghetti squash stuffed with vegetables
  • eggplant lasagna

Snacks

  • nuts
  • fruit
  • hummus and vegetables
  • string cheese
  • beef jerky
  • olives
  • dark chocolate
  • kale chips
  • apples and peanut butter
  • steamed edamame
  • sardines 

You can mix and pair many food varieties for an everyday healthy meal plan. A low-carb diet may help with having a healthy body and a maintained blood level, but that doesn't mean that you should change your diet immediately without talking to your health advisor or a dietician. 


Reference:

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