Why Won’t We Tell Diabetics The Truth?
I’m appalled constantly at the misinformation we nutrition experts are telling folks with diabetes. It’s all over the place. The “everything in moderation” mantra, and how we need to eat less meat, less fat, and more whole grains, is a pervasive theme drilled into young dietitians, and spread to the public through our dietary guidelines. This information is making people sick. Last week, the following ad popped up in my Facebook newsfeed several times for “10 Foods That Are Great For Diabetics“. (This click bait article is also making the rounds on several other sites.) Here are the foods: dates, berries, garlic, flax seeds, apples, broccoli, oats, melons, kale and barley. Now, I don’t think that kale is BAD, but this list is like telling alcoholics to drink a little more orange juice or sprinkle some chia seeds into their martini and omitting the fact that they need to stop drinking booze. In our quest to avoid the truth and focus on individual super foods that will save us, this post is telling diabetics that dates are so amazing because 7 of them provide 4g of fiber. They forgot to mention that 7 dates equals 126g of carbs with no fat, so that’s pretty much like a syringe of sugar shot directly into your blood if eaten on an empty stomach. None of these top 10 lists had protein, and the only fat was flax seeds (for their omega-3’s) but what about fatty fish or fish oil, which is much more bioavailable? Why aren’t we instead telling them to avoid excess carbohydrates, because the last time I checked, you can actually reduce blood sugar by… not eating sugar! I’ve been on a protein and meat vindication kick lately, looking into how much protein we need, how much we’re eating, and what the best sources are. For this post, I decided to switch gea Continue reading >>
Is It True That Eating Too Many Carbohydrates Can Cause Diabetes?
Dear Alice, Can eating too many carbohydrates increase your chances of developing diabetes? — Concerned Dear Concerned, Carbohydrates don't cause diabetes, however eating too many calories overall (from carbohydrates or other types of food) can lead to diabetes in some people. Here's what's going on: Usually when a person eats, her or his blood glucose rises and in response insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, is released. Insulin helps cells in the body to absorb glucose from the blood to use for energy or store as fat. People with diabetes either don't produce enough insulin, or their bodies don't respond to the insulin, or both. As a result, glucose remains in the blood, depriving the body's cells of energy they need, and causing damage to blood vessels, heart, kidneys, eyes, and feet. The Go Ask Alice! Q&A Diabetes mellitus has more detailed information on the disease, as does the American Diabetes Association (link is external) website. Diabetes can be brought on by a number of factors, including old age, obesity, lack of exercise, or a genetic predisposition. Eating more calories than you expend, whether they're complex carbohydrates, sugars, fats, or proteins, paired with a lack of exercise and being overweight can increase some people's chances of developing diabetes. This is especially true if there is history of the disease in the family. The good news is that many people with or at-risk for developing diabetes are able to manage their condition through regular exercise and a healthy diet. Getting regular physical activity actually helps the body's cells to properly use insulin. Eating a healthy, balanced diet of fresh whole foods (e.g., grains, veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes) also helps to ensure the proper functioning of glucose and insulin in the Continue reading >>
How Many Carbs Per Day For A Diabetic?
Did you know that one of the most commonly asked questions we get is: how many carbs per day is best for a diabetic to eat? No doubt that's why you're here reading this as well, right? And like many other people you may be totally confused by that question. That's not surprising because the amount of carbs recommended does vary depending on where you read it. Why is this? Well, there is no specific recommendation for carbs, that's why there are so many different numbers. However, there is good scientific evidence to suggest what's best. But unfortunately, that information is not getting out to the public (to YOU) as fast as it should. Luckily though, here at Diabetes Meal Plans, we pride ourselves on sharing up-to-date evidence-based info because we want you to get the best results. And we're proud to say what we share works: Sheryl says: “My doctor’s report was best ever: A1c was normal for the first time since I was diagnosed diabetic in 2007; My LDL was 60; my total cholesterol was 130. My lab results were improved across the board. Best news: I am taking less diabetic meds, and my weight is within 5 lbs of normal BMI. I am a believer in what you have written, and I’m grateful to have a site I can trust.” Here at Diabetes Meal Plans we encourage a low carb diet because research shows that lower carb diets produce far more effective results than traditional low fat diets. As you read on, be prepared to have some of your longheld diet beliefs shattered. But also be prepared to be amazed by the possibilities. Because with a few dietary changes, you can reverse* your diabetes and live your life anew! Rethinking ‘Mainstream' Carb Recommendations Over the years it’s been pretty common practice to recommend a low fat, high carbohydrate diet to people with type 2 Continue reading >>
How Low Is Low Carb?
Many agree: People with diabetes should eat a low-carb diet. Last week we looked at what “carbs” are. But what is meant by “low?” How much carbohydrate should you eat? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, (PDF) recommend that healthy people get 50–65% of their calories from carbohydrates. A study posted on the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Web site agrees. For a woman eating a below-average 2,000 calories a day, 50–65% would be 250–325 grams of carb a day. The Dietary Guidelines call for “a balanced diet that includes six one-ounce (28.3 g) servings of grain foods each day.” This would mean 170 grams of carbohydrate from grains alone each day. And the average American diet includes many other carb sources. Most men eat closer to 3,000 calories a day, so their numbers would be higher. Sixty percent of 3,000 would be 1,800 calories, equivalent to 450 grams of carbohydrate each day. Anything less than the recommended range is sometimes considered “low-carb.” Most popular low-carb diets, like Atkins, South Beach, Zone, and Protein Power, are much lower, from 45% of calories down to 5%. Many diabetes experts recommend somewhat lower carb intakes than ADA does. On our site, dietitian Jacquie Craig wrote, “Most people need between 30–75 grams of carbohydrate per meal and 15–30 grams for snacks.” So that sounds like between 120 and 300 grams a day. Dr. Richard Bernstein, an MD with Type 1 diabetes and a long-time advocate of the low-carb approach to diabetes, suggests much lower intakes. He says eat 6 grams of carbs at breakfast, and snacks, 12 grams each at lunch and dinner. So that would be about 40 grams of carbs per day. If 12 grams per meal sounds like a small amount, it is. It’s about the amount in an average slice of bread. An Continue reading >>
Carbohydrates And Diabetes: What You Need To Know
Carbohydrates are our main source of energy and provide important nutrients for good health and a healthy, balanced diet. All the carbohydrates you eat and drink are broken down into glucose. The type, and amount, you consume can make a difference to your blood glucose levels and diabetes management. The two main types of carbohydrates Starchy foods: these include bread, pasta, potatoes, yams, breakfast cereals and couscous. Sugars: these can be divided into naturally occurring and added sugars: Naturally occurring: sugars found in fruits (fructose) and some dairy foods (lactose). Added sugars: found in sweets, chocolate, sugary drinks and desserts. Fibre This is another type of carbohydrate, which you can’t digest. Insoluble fibre, such as is found in wholemeal bread, brown rice and wholegrain cereals, helps keep the digestive system healthy. Soluble fibre, such as bananas, apples, carrots, potatoes, oats and barley, helps to keep your blood glucose and cholesterol under control. Make sure you eat both types of fibre regularly. Good sources of fibre include fruit and veg, nuts and seeds, oats, wholegrain breads and pulses. How much? Everyone needs some carbohydrate every day. The actual amount that you need to eat will depend on your age, activity levels and the goals you – and your family – are trying to achieve, for example trying to lose weight, improve blood glucose levels or improve sports performance. The total amount of carbohydrate eaten will have the biggest effect on your glucose levels. Insulin and carb counting If you’re living with diabetes, and take insulin, you’ll need to take that into account when eating carbs. Learn about which foods contain carbohydrates, how to estimate carbohydrate portions and how to monitor their effect on blood glucose Continue reading >>
The Diabetes Diet
What's the best diet for diabetes? Whether you’re trying to prevent or control diabetes, your nutritional needs are virtually the same as everyone else, so no special foods are necessary. But you do need to pay attention to some of your food choices—most notably the carbohydrates you eat. While following a Mediterranean or other heart-healthy diet can help with this, the most important thing you can do is to lose a little weight. Losing just 5% to 10% of your total weight can help you lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Losing weight and eating healthier can also have a profound effect on your mood, energy, and sense of wellbeing. Even if you’ve already developed diabetes, it’s not too late to make a positive change. By eating healthier, being more physically active, and losing weight, you can reduce your symptoms or even reverse diabetes. The bottom line is that you have more control over your health than you may think. The biggest risk for diabetes: belly fat Being overweight or obese is the biggest risk factor for type 2 diabetes. However, your risk is higher if you tend to carry your weight around your abdomen as opposed to your hips and thighs. A lot of belly fat surrounds the abdominal organs and liver and is closely linked to insulin resistance. You are at an increased risk of developing diabetes if you are: A woman with a waist circumference of 35 inches or more A man with a waist circumference of 40 inches or more Calories obtained from fructose (found in sugary beverages such as soda, energy and sports drinks, coffee drinks, and processed foods like doughnuts, muffins, cereal, candy and granola bars) are more likely to add weight around your abdomen. Cutting back on sugary foods can mean a slimmer waistline as well as a lowe Continue reading >>
Why Carbohydrates Are So Important In Diabetes
Carbohydrates are sugar-based molecules found in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products. The make up about 45% to 65% of calories in a healthy diet (the exact percentage is hotly debated); the rest come from fat and protein. You'll find carbohydrates in the healthiest foods you eat, and in the least healthy. Check the food label to find out exactly how much is in your favorite foods. How you eat can affect blood sugar Choosing the right kind of carbohydrates and spacing them out evenly throughout the day can keep blood sugar from rising too high, too fast (90% of the carbohydrate calories you digest end up as glucose, so they have a much bigger impact on blood sugar than fat or protein). "The goal ... is to take in enough carbohydrates to nourish ourselves, but never so much that it causes high blood sugars," says Linda Sartor, a diabetes nutrition specialist at the Penn Rodebaugh Diabetes Center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Up until about the mid-1990s experts believed that people with diabetes should never eat foods that contain so-called "simple" sugarsthose found in cakes and candyand instead eat "complex" carbohydrates, or those with longer chains of sugar molecules such as potatoes, fruit, vegetables, and grains. We now know that all carbohydrates can cause a rise in blood sugar. Pasta and potatoes, for example, may cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, as can pastries (although other beneficial ingredients in food, such as fiber, cause blood sugar to rise more slowly). Some carbs are better than others The goal is now to maximize intake of the good stuffvitamins, minerals, and fiberand minimize carbohydrates that boost blood sugar too much, offer few nutritional benefits, or are packed with fat and calories. A dieti Continue reading >>
Low Carb-high Fat Diet And Diabetes: A Detailed Guide For Beginners
If you are a regular reader of our site, you would already know that we highly endorse the Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet for reversing diabetes, losing weight and improving your overall health and well-being. The reason why a low carb diet for diabetes comes highly recommended by doctors and nutritionists alike is the fact that carbohydrates are the main culprit behind elevated blood sugar levels. Once you eat fewer carbs, it automatically becomes much easier for the body to attain stable blood sugar levels. Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) Diet for Diabetes: Why It Works? Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars during digestion. These sugars enter the blood stream and elevate blood sugar levels. As a diabetic, your body either doesn’t produce insulin at all, or doesn’t produce enough insulin to minimize this blood sugar spike before it causes irreplaceable damage to internal organs. This is the reason why your body’s dependence on insulin goes down when you eat lesser carbs. A UK study tried to understand the short-term effects of severe dietary carbohydrate-restriction advice in type 2 diabetes. It found that restricting carbohydrate intake is an effective method to lose weight as well as improve HDL ratios. This was a randomized controlled trial studying 102 patients over a course of 3 months, and the results were published in the Diabetic Medicine in September 2005. Another research group from Duke University Medical Center studying the effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes patients, found that 95.2% patients had managed to reduce or eliminate their glucose-lowering medication within 6 months of being on a LCHF diet. A low carb diet works very well in lowering blood sugar and insul Continue reading >>
Diabetes Control: A Guide To The Benefits Of Counting Carbs
Nutrition Learn a simple method of counting carbohydrates to live well with diabetes. Treating diabetes either Type 1 or Type 2 is unique in two very important ways. First, as a patient you bear the ultimate responsibility for your long-term health by carrying out certain day-to-day responsibilities with diabetes self-management. Second, your long-term health is directly and intimately associated with food the choices you make about regular, everyday food can have the greatest impact on how you feel today, and on how you fare over the years. Carbohydrate management, or carb counting, is where self-management responsibilities and your food choices meet. What goes up does not come down Diabetes is defined and diagnosed by higher-than-normal blood glucose levels, a condition called hyperglycemia. When a person eats carbohydrates whether they have diabetes or not blood glucose levels begin to rise as digestion frees glucose from food. Glucose is the special sugar that is your body’s favorite fuel, and in the same way your body prefers maintaining a normal temperature of 98.6F, your body prefers maintaining a normal level of glucose in your blood. With a standard metabolism, the body gets blood glucose levels to come down to normal levels by storing the excess glucose in muscle, fat and liver cells to use later. The hormone insulin, which is released from special cells of the pancreas, stimulates these cells to allow the entry of excess glucose and returns blood glucose to normal levels. When there is an absence or shortage of insulin, or if the glucose storage cells don’t respond normally to it, blood glucose levels do not return to normal levels in a typical way. Diabetes is just that simple blood glucose levels do not come back down normally. Type 1 diabetes results f Continue reading >>
Healthy Carbs For Diabetes
Choosing "good" carbs can help you manage diabetes and provide plenty of energywithout blood sugar spikesto fuel your day. If you have diabetes, you probably know to watch your carbohydrates. Carbs can cause spikes in blood sugar which, over time, can lead to dangerous diabetes complications. "By no means are we going to avoid carbs," says Chaparro, who has type 1 diabetes herself. The trick is choosing smart carbs: whole grains, fruits, dairy and other foods with low glucose impactmeaning they're less likely to cause those blood-sugar peaks and lows. Smart carbs, Chaparro says, "can actually do a lot of good for you and your diabetes control." Here are nine super-smart carbsplus some tasty, diabetes-friendly recipesto add to your menu planning. When you have diabetes, it's important to spread your carbs throughout your day to be consistent with your intake. Timing in your actual meal counts, too: a recent small study published by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York found that starting with a non-carb, like a protein or vegetable first, and saving carbs for last may help keep blood sugars steady. Why we love them: Stacks of recent research show that eating more plant-based foods is good for your heart healthand that's especially important if you have diabetes. Lentils deliver protein, carbs, fiber and iron all in one tasty package. Why we love them: Berries of any kind are a great choice if you have diabetes, and blueberries are a superhero. Low in calories and high in carbs and fiber, they also pack plenty of vitamin C and heart-healthy antioxidants. Recipes to try: Berry-Almond Smoothie Bowl (pictured) or Wild Blueberry Bagel Why we love them: We're sweet on sweet potatoes for plenty of reasons. They're tasty, versatile, loaded with carbs, fiber Continue reading >>
Saving Carbs For Last May Help Ward Off Blood Sugar Spike For Diabetics
(Reuters Health) - Saving the bread for last at mealtime could help people with diabetes keep their blood sugar under control, new research suggests. People with type 2 diabetes who ate protein and vegetables before they consumed carbohydrate-heavy bread and orange juice had a significantly lower increase in blood sugar after the meal, compared to when they ate carbs first, Dr. Alpana Shukla and Dr. Louis Aronne of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City found. The decrease “is comparable to the kind of effect you see with some of the drugs we use to treat diabetes,” Shukla told Reuters Health in a telephone interview. “Eating carbohydrates last may be a simple strategy for regulating post-meal glucose levels.” Keeping blood sugar in check is crucial for people with type 2 diabetes, in part because it helps protect them from severe complications including heart disease, vision loss and nerve damage, Shukla noted. Typically, the researcher added, diabetic individuals are advised to cut down on their carb intake and stick with complex carbs rather than simple sugars. To follow up on small studies showing that eating protein before carbs led to a smaller bump in blood sugar than vice versa, the researchers had 16 men and women with type 2 diabetes consume the exact same meal on three separate occasions, one week apart, eating the items in a different order each time. Study participants ate bread and orange juice first, took a 10-minute rest, and finished up with chicken and salad; ate the meal in the reverse order; and consumed the chicken, veggies and bread as a sandwich, accompanied by orange juice. Every time, participants consumed the same amount of calories and carbohydrate. When people ate the carbs last, their post- Continue reading >>
Reversing Diabetes | Carbs That Are Good For You
Do you have type 2 diabetes? Have you been told you have to give up juicy watermelon or sweet grapes? What if we told you those foods really aren’t taboo? Learn how participants at the Pritikin Longevity Center have success with their blood sugars… even while enjoying fruit! For people who need to watch their blood sugar, a high-carbohydrate diet is actually good for you. What’s critical is the type of carbohydrate. Certainly, if you’re eating refined carbs like white bread and sugary desserts, blood sugar levels can shoot up. But if the bulk of your diet is fiber-rich, unprocessed carbohydrates like vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains, and beans, you may be able to normalize blood sugar levels and even reverse the diagnosis of pre-diabetes and diabetes, scientists are now discovering. An investigation conducted by UCLA researchers followed diabetic men at the Pritikin Longevity Center for three weeks. It reported that the Pritikin Eating Plan, high in whole, fiber-filled carbohydrates, plus daily exercise, not only helped the men lose weight and improve cholesterol levels, it also decreased blood sugar levels by 20% and insulin levels by 30%.1 Reversing Diabetes What’s more, by the end of their three-week program, the majority of the men had controlled their fasting blood glucose, or blood sugar, so well that “they were no longer classified as diabetic,” wrote lead investigators Drs. James Barnard and Christian Roberts of UCLA. Some of the men left Pritikin completely free of their diabetic medications, and others had their medication dosages reduced. In addition to normalizing blood sugar and reducing classic heart disease risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure, the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise also substantially improved r Continue reading >>
Eat Carbs Last For Better Diabetes Control
Eating carbs last at mealtime could help people with diabetes control blood glucose levels, according to new research. If you’re like many people with diabetes, you are probably saying, “I thought carbohydrates were bad for people with diabetes.” No, carbohydrates are not bad, but if you eat the wrong type or too many of them at a meal or snack, they will cause your blood glucose level to go up higher than you want after eating. Results of a new study suggest when you eat carbohydrate can also affect your blood glucose level. When individuals in the study with type 2 diabetes ate protein and vegetables before eating bread and orange juice at mealtime their blood glucose levels were half as high as when they ate carbohydrate first, and 40% lower than when they ate protein, vegetables, and carbohydrate together. Moreover, when the study participants ate carbohydrate last, their insulin levels were lower, and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) levels were higher. GLP-1 is a hormone that helps control your blood glucose and appetite; these changes in insulin and GLP-1 levels could provide the added benefit of weight loss. What is Carbohydrate? There are three main types of carbohydrates; sugar, starch, and fiber. Sugar is called by many names; table sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, turbinado, demerara, maple syrup, molasses, honey, and high-fructose corn syrup. Fruit sugar (fructose) and milk sugar (lactose) are also sugars. The main difference is that the naturally occurring sugar in some foods comes with many nutritional benefits like the fiber in fruit, the calcium in milk, the iron in molasses. When you start adding sugar to foods though, you’re not increasing the nutritional value, just boosting calories. Related Starch, the second type of carbohydrate, is also bas Continue reading >>
How Many Carbohydrates Should A Diabetic Eat?
This post is part of the T2 Diabetes Nutrition & Health Series. Here’s what we are going to cover from Nov 10th-28th: Information on type 2 diabetes Can a diabetic eat eggs? 5 tips to control type 2 diabetes How many carbs to eat A carb counting tutorial We’ll talk about numbers Testing for insulin resistance and pre-diabetes The best diet for pre-diabetes Food lists Easy tasty meals Inflammation and diabetes Sample diabetes meal plan And more So as you can see there’s lots in store for this T2 Diabetes health series, so be sure to subscribe for updates by clicking on the button below. So how many carbohydrates should a diabetic eat? Are you totally confused by that question? I don’t blame you because it does vary depending on what and where you read something. The American Diabetes Association suggests that: “A place to start is at about 45-75 grams of carbohydrate at a meal”. But most diabetics I know find 75 g per meal way too high to manage blood sugars well and herein lies the problem. Because what tends to happen is that most diabetics are eating far too many carbohydrates and are struggling to manage their blood sugars. And unfortuantely they are often left wondering why, are you like that? Have you been eating 75 g of carbs a day and wondering why you can’t get things under control? Well this info will be very helpfull to you Now before moving on let me just say that we are talking about managing type 2 diabetes here. So how many carbs should you eat? Most people I know and work with find around 120 g of carbohydrate is a comfortable amount to work from. I also know some people who follow a very low carb diet of 50-60 g a day. Yes, that’s maximum per day! This certainly doesn’t suit everyone so 120 g seems to be a comfortable place to start and Continue reading >>
Cutting Carbs Can Increase Risk Of Diabetes And Other Diseases, Experts Warn
Australians risk increasing their chances of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colon cancer if they cut quality carbohydrates high in cereal fibre from their diets, experts say. A group of leading international and Australian experts say the evidence on the health benefits of eating whole grains is "unequivocal" and those who avoid them are increasing their risk of disease. In a bid to increase the consumption of whole grains, the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC) - a group of about 30 nutrition academics, epidemiologists and scientists - has released a consensus report on their health benefits. The report follows two days of discussions in Italy in September between ICQC members, including US physician Professor Walter Willett at Harvard University's School of Public Health. Professor Jennie Brand Miller from the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre and School of Life and Environmental Sciences - one of three Australian members of the consortium - says unfortunately there is a "very noisy" group trying to convince people to completely cut carbohydrates. "We think that the current environment is giving the general public the impression that all grains are best avoided when in fact the research is very clear that when you include whole grain it is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and of weight gain," Professor Miller told AAP. "The science is unequivocal when it comes to diabetes and cardiovascular disease." Fruit and vegetables contain fibre but the cereal fibre found in whole grains is most closely associated with reduced colon cancer risk, Prof Miller added. "There are many positive studies showing that a lack of cereal fibre is associated with increased risk of colon cancer," she said. A whole gr Continue reading >>