Low Carb Vs. High Carb - My Surprising 24-day Diabetes Diet Battle
Twitter summary: What I learned from doubling my carb intake: the same average blood sugar, but four times as much hypoglycemia, more work, stress, & danger. As a teenager, I ate a high carb diet that included lots of Goldfish crackers, white sandwich bread, pasta, and white potatoes. It was tasty, but it put my blood sugars on a wild roller coaster every single day. Things turned around in college when I learned about nutrition, got on CGM, and spent time with health conscious friends. I soon realized that eating less than 30 grams of carbs at one time was a complete gamechanger. I’ve stuck with that approach ever since. But is this lower carb method actually better for my blood sugars, or have I just been fooling myself? To find out, I took on a somewhat terrifying self-tracking experiment: 12 days of my usual, lower-carb diet, which averaged 146 grams of carbs per day (21% of daily calories). My carbs were primarily from nuts, seeds, vegetables, and a bit of fruit. 12 days of a higher-carb, high whole-grain diet, which averaged 313 grams of carbs per day (43% of my daily calories). My sources of carbs were NOT junk food: plain oatmeal, whole wheat bread, quinoa, wild rice, and fruit. Neither of these was unrealistic. My lower-carb diet was nowhere near Atkins level (20 grams per day), and the higher-carb diet was consistent with the “average” 45% carb diet in people with diabetes (according to ADA). Even though this was a one-person (n=1) experiment, I wanted to be as scientific and fair as possible: eating whole, unprocessed foods in both periods; counting and tracking every single gram of carbohydrate (LoseIt! app); wearing CGM 24/7 and downloading the glucose data to document what happened (Dexcom G5 and Clarity); taking insulin before meals (5-15 minutes pr Continue reading >>
The Low Carb Plan
Eating to control your weight and your blood sugar The Mediterranean-style low carb approach which we recommend in The Blood Sugar Diet, is 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 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 carbohydrate 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 (the fresh squeezed juice of olives) 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 Kick the Carbs: Low Carb Mediterranean Style Eating – The ‘M Plan’ Cut right down on sugar, sugary treats, drinks and desserts: No more than once or twice a week and preferably less. You can use sugar substitutes like stevia and xylitol, but try to wean yourself off your sweet tooth. Avoid sweet fruits: Berries, apples & pears are fine, but sweet tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple, melon and bananas are full of sugar. Minimise or avoid the starc Continue reading >>
Is Low-carb Eating Really Better For Blood Sugar?
A review of popular low-carbohydrate diets finds that while restricting carbs can reduce blood sugar in the short run, evidence in support of long-term benefits is lacking. While very low carbohydrate diets (LCD) promise to cut blood sugars, a review of popular LCDs finds that while very low-carb eating can reduce blood sugar in the short run, little evidence exists to show long-term benefits. The study, published online in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, reports that while LCDs may be “slightly better than low fat diets for weight and triglycerides management” they are “not superior for the management of blood glucose, blood pressure, or cholesterol levels.” However, researchers note that physicians should be aware that “available evidence for LCDs is limited because of variable definitions, lack of long-term studies, and lack of patient adherence.” Diets considered ranged from very low carb—less than 20 to 60 grams per day—to less restrictive diets that averaged about 130 grams per day. The American Diabetes Association says diets should be tailored to individual needs, but recommends starting at 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal. “Patients can likely follow a version of the low carbohydrate diet for longer than the studies suggest, but we don’t know the health effects of a very low carbohydrate ketogenic diet of less than 20 grams of carbs per day,” says Heather Fields, MD, an author of the study and a doctor of integrative medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. “With so few people adhering to a truly ketogenic diet long term [more than a year], we will likely never be able to study the health effects in a meaningful way.” Dr. Fields finds that if type 2 patients have not had success with a plant-based, who Continue reading >>
Is The Atkins Diet Good For Type 2 Diabetes?
For people with type 2 diabetes (T2DM), 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. Video of the Day People with diabetes do lose weight with the Atkins Diet, but keeping the weight off in the long run is less certain. A study involving of 34 overweight or obese adults with T2DM or prediabetes published in the June 2014 in "PLoS One" showed that people on a very-low-carbohydrate diet similar to Atkins lost 5.5 percent of body weight in 3 months. These results were consistent with a prior 6-month study of 49 obese adults with T2DM published in the June 2008 "Nutrition and Metabolism," which was funded by the Robert C. Atkins Foundation. However, a November 2014 "Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes" review of 12 studies involving long-term weight loss with low-carb diets reported that much of the weight lost in the first 6 months on the Atkins Diet was regained at 1 year. The Atkins Diet has been consistently shown to lower blood glucose levels people with T2DM. This may be because weight loss itself leads to lower blood glucose levels. The virtual elimination of foods that would contribute to blood glucose due to the strict limitation of carbohydrates would also l Continue reading >>
Healthy Carbs For Diabetes
1 / 9 Making the Best Carb Choices for Diabetes "When you say 'carbohydrate,' most people think of sugar," says Meredith Nguyen, RD, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Methodist Charlton Medical Center Diabetes Self-Management Program in Dallas. But that's only half the story. Carbohydrates are also starches and valuable fiber, which are found in many nutrient-rich foods that should be part of a diabetes diet. Sugar is the basic building block that, depending on how it's organized, creates either starches or fiber. You need about 135 grams of carbohydrates every day, spread fairly evenly throughout your meals. Instead of trying to avoid carbs completely, practice planning your diabetes diet with everything in moderation. "There's nothing you can't have," Nguyen says. "The catch is that you might not like the portion size or frequency." Use this list of healthy carbohydrates to help you stay balanced. Continue reading >>
How To Count Carbs In 10 Common Foods
What are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are sugar-based molecules found in many foods, from cookies to cantaloupes. If you have diabetes, planning your carb intake—and sticking to the plan—is critical to keep blood sugar on an even keel and to cut your risk of diabetes-related problems like heart disease and stroke. Whether or not you have diabetes, you should aim to get about half your calories from complex carbohydrates (which are high in fiber), 20-25% from protein, and no more than 30% from fat, says Lalita Kaul, PhD, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. How to read a food label The Nutrition Facts label lists the total amount of carbohydrates per serving, including carbs from fiber, sugar, and sugar alcohols. (If you're counting carbs in your diet, be aware that 15 grams of carbohydrates count as one serving.) Sugar alcohols are often used in sugar-free foods, although they still deliver calories and carbs. Sugar alcohols and fiber don't affect blood sugar as much as other carbs, because they're not completely absorbed. If food contains sugar alcohol or 5 or more grams of fiber, you can subtract half of the grams of these ingredients from the number of total carbs. (See more details at the American Diabetes Association and University of California, San Francisco.) How many carbs per day? If you eat 2,000 calories a day, you should consume about 250 grams of complex carbohydrates per day. A good starting place for people with diabetes is to have roughly 45 to 60 grams of carbs per meal and 15 to 30 grams for snacks. While snacks are key for people with diabetes who use insulin or pills that increase insulin production (otherwise, they run the risk of low blood sugar), they aren’t essential for non-insulin users. The goal for anyone with diab Continue reading >>
7 Ways To Follow A Low-carb Diet The Right Way
Feeling "hangry," the combination of hungry and angry, is what I hear a lot from patients who believe all carbs are evil, and that if you want to control your blood sugar or lose weight, they all have to go. Strong studies point to carbohydrate restriction as a main treatment for type 2 diabetes, but it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Many of my patients on very low-carb diets can’t sustain them long term. Eventually, they re-gain their weight and their blood-sugar problems come back. Those angry months of deprivation weren’t worth it. There’s a better way, which involves keeping some of the foods you love, and as a result, maintaining your sanity. Any time you eat a carbohydrate, your body has to redirect the glucose from your bloodstream to your cells. It calls on your pancreas, where insulin lives, to get the job done. Insulin’s role is to take the glucose and distribute it to your muscle and fat cells, where it’s either used for energy or stored for fat. When everything goes right, insulin is your friend. Eat too much or consume the wrong things and insulin becomes your enemy. Excess insulin circulating in your body may cause you to gain weight. Here’s how to do low-carb right. 1. Plan your meals around lean proteins and healthy fats. The reason many people fail at low-carb diets is because they are buying foods like low-carb chips, bars and drinks. These options are not always nutrient dense. They can leave you with a lack of satisfaction, increased hunger and the dreaded rebound binge. Instead, opt for real food. Find options that make you less hungry and more satisfied. Focusing on foods that are good sources of protein and healthy fats will help. A 2011 study found increased protein in the diet helped to satisfy hunger and promote weight loss. Cho Continue reading >>
A Guide To Healthy Low-carb Eating With Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease that has reached epidemic proportions. It currently affects over 400 million people worldwide (1). Although diabetes is a complicated disease, maintaining good blood sugar control can greatly reduce the risk of complications (2, 3). One of the ways to achieve better blood sugar levels is to follow a low-carb diet. This article provides a detailed overview of low-carb diets for managing diabetes. If you have diabetes, your body cannot process carbohydrates effectively. Normally, when you eat carbs, they are broken down into small units of glucose, which end up as blood sugar. When blood sugar levels go up, the pancreas responds by producing the hormone insulin. This hormone allows the blood sugar to enter cells. In healthy people, blood sugar levels remain within a narrow range throughout the day. In diabetes, however, this system doesn't work the way it is supposed to. This is a big problem, because having both too high and too low blood sugar levels can cause severe harm. There are several types of diabetes, but the two most common ones are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Both of these conditions can be diagnosed at any age. In type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune process destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Diabetics must inject insulin several times a day to ensure that glucose gets into the cells and stays at a healthy level in the bloodstream (4). In type 2 diabetes, the beta cells at first produce enough insulin, but the body's cells are resistant to its action, so blood sugar remains high. To compensate, the pancreas produces more insulin, attempting to bring blood sugar down. Over time, the beta cells lose their ability to produce enough insulin (5). Of the three nutrients -- protein, carbs and fat -- carbs have the grea Continue reading >>
The Low-carb Diabetes Plan That Works
After hearing for years that a high-carb, low-fat diet is the only real road to weight loss, you might be wondering how a low-carb diabetes diet can help you finally drop the pounds and help you get control of your blood sugar. Let us explain. The high-carb, low-fat idea basically oversimplified how food works once it enters your body. It ignored the fact that not all carbs are good, and glossed over that not all fats are bad. Therefore, we loaded up on all the breads, pastas, and low-fat goodies, never realizing that it was making us fatter. Here's how it really works. All carbs are converted to glucose and raise your blood sugar, but they aren't all converted at the same rate. How fast they are absorbed--and how much--is what affects your weight. There are two general classes of carbs--refined and unrefined. Refined carbs (white breads, white flour, pastas) are essentially refined sugars, meaning once you eat them they are quickly turned into glucose in your system. Unrefined carbs are the kinds found in whole grains, beans, fruits, and many vegetables. The fiber in these foods helps to slow down your body's absorption of carbs, therefore slowing the process of turning carbs into glucose. The problem comes in when you eat too many carbs--especially too many refined carbs. If you eat excessive amounts of quickly absorbed carbs, you create a situation where more glucose becomes available than your body needs. That excess glucose gets turned into fat. What's the problem with eating lots of carbs if you have diabetes? If you eat excessive amounts of quickly absorbed carbs, you upset your body's precise balance of blood sugar. Simply put, eating too many carbohydrate grams may cause a situation where more glucose becomes available to the cells than the body needs. Obviousl 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 >>
Tweet Many people with diabetes are following a low-carb diet because of its benefits in terms of improving diabetes control, weight loss and being a diet that is satisfying and easy to stick to. Low-carb diets are flexible and can be followed by people with different types of diabetes. The diet has allowed many people with type 2 diabetes to resolve their diabetes, that is to get their blood sugar levels into a non-diabetic range without the help of medication. People with type 1 diabetes have also reported much more stable blood sugar levels, making the condition easier to predict and manage. The diet is a healthy way of eating as vegetables and natural, real foods are integral to the diet. Low-carb guidance and support The low-carb diet forum has been cited as a leading resource in providing support and encouragement for people that are looking to achieve lower HbA1c levels and sustain effective weight loss.  In 2015, Diabetes.co.uk launched the Low Carb Program which has helped thousands of people with type 2 diabetes to improve their diabetes control and reduce their dependency on diabetes medication. Why follow a low-carb diet? Carbohydrate is the nutrient which has the greatest effect in terms of raising blood sugar levels and requires the most insulin to be taken or be produced by the body. Lowering sugar levels is clearly a benefit for people with diabetes. Lower need for insulin is also particularly useful as lowering insulin in the body can reduce insulin resistance which can help towards reversing type 2 diabetes. Insulin is also the fat storage hormone in the body, so reducing insulin in the body with a low-carb diet can help with losing weight. Benefits of low-carb diets The benefits of a low-carb diet typically include: Lower HbA1c Improved weight lo Continue reading >>
Why A Low-carb Diet Should Be The First Approach In Diabetes Treatment
A panel of medical experts, including our own Advisory Board member Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, presents the evidence for low-carbohydrate diets as initial therapy… Please note: the following summary was excerpted by Jennifer Piggot, LECOM PharmD candidate, from the original article which can be found here. We encourage all interested readers to look over the full article and supporting research. The current state of diabetes care in the United States health system shows the inability of existing recommendations to control the epidemic of diabetes, the failure of low-fat diets to improve obesity rates, cardiovascular risk or general health, and the continual reports of serious side effects of commonly prescribed diabetic medications. The success of low carbohydrate diets in the treatment of diabetes and metabolic syndrome without significant side effects point to the need for a reappraisal of dietary guidelines. The immediate benefits of carbohydrate restriction in diabetes patients include reduction of high blood glucose, less requirement for weight loss, fewer side effects than medication therapy and the reduction or elimination of medications. This article outlines the current evidence supporting the use of low-carbohydrate diets as the first approach to treating type 2 diabetes, and an effective adjunct to pharmacology in type 1. These results represent the best documented and least controversial studies. It is known that diabetics are defective in response to carbohydrates, which can lead to hyperglycemia. Hussain et al. compared a very low carbohydrate ketogenic diet (VLCKD) with a low calorie diet over a 24-week period in diabetics and non-diabetics. Blood glucose dropped more dramatically in the VLCKD group than in those given the low-calorie diet. Patients with Continue reading >>
Do Low-carb Diets Help Diabetes?
diabetesdiabetes follow very low carbohydrate diets? The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says "no", but a small study from Sweden suggests such a diet may be one of the best ways to manage the disease and reduce the need for medication. In the study, 16 obese patients with type 2 diabetes followed a calorie- and carbohydrate-restricted diet for 22 months. Most showed continuing improvements in blood sugar that were independent of weight lossweight loss; the average daily dosage of insulin among the 11 insulin-dependent patients was cut in half. "Many people are essentially cured of their [type 2] diabetes by low-carbohydrate diets, but that message is not getting out," says low-carb proponent and biochemistry professor Richard Feinman, PhD, of the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. While agreeing that carbohydrate restriction helps people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar, ADA spokesman Nathaniel G. Clark, MD, tells WebMD that the ADA does not recommend very low-carb diets because patients find them too restrictive. "We want to promote a diet that people can live with long-term," says Clark, who is vice president of clinical affairs and youth strategies for the ADA. "People who go on very low carbohydrate diets generally aren't able to stick with them for long periods of time." In the Swedish study, obese patients with type 2 diabetes were asked to follow two different low-calorie diets for 22 months. Sixteen patients were told to restrict carbohydrates to just 20% of their total calorie intake, with carbohydrate consumption limited to vegetables and salads. Bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, and breakfast cereals were not allowed. Fifteen more patients were asked to follow a low-fat diet, which had the same number of calories -- 1,800 calories- Continue reading >>
Low-carb Diet For Diabetes: Should You Try It?
Many diet-related conditions rely on medication. But the primary treatment for type 2 diabetes is diet and lifestyle change. There is growing evidence a low-carb diet may be a useful alternative to conventional diet advice. In fact, it may even be better. This article provides a transparent look at the best evidence available, and whether you should consider it. What Is A Low-Carb Diet? A low carb diet is an eating pattern that limits carbohydrate foods, such as sugary foods, flour and bread. There are several different versions, but they are generally high in protein, fat and healthy vegetables. The standard American diet is at least 50% carbs, which is about 300 grams per day. Low-carb diets range from about 30% down to 5%. Given the amount of carbs in your diet is the main determinant of blood sugar levels, it makes sense that reducing carb intake could be beneficial for diabetes care (1). Low- Carb and Diabetes: What Do Controlled Trials Show? Randomised controlled trials are considered the “gold standard” of scientific evidence. In this case researchers would feed one group of diabetics a standard American diet (typically 50-60% carbs), and another a strict low-carb diet for several months or more. They can then compare which group does better. A 2015 study looked at 93 type 2 diabetic men and women for one year. Half were randomly put on a high-carb diet (53% carbs) and the others on a low-carb diet (14% carbs, less than 50 grams per day). Each subject’s diet plan was individualised to provide a 30% calorie reduction for weight loss, and all participated in a supervised physical activity program for the year. Both diets showed significant improvements in daily blood sugar stability, diabetes medication usage, weight loss, fat loss, insulin resistance, HDL-ch Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Your Diet: The Low-carb Debate
A few years ago, Richard Kahn, the now-retired chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association, was charged with organizing a committee to prescribe a diet plan for people with diabetes. He began by looking at the evidence for different diets, asking which, if any, best controlled diabetes. “When you look at the literature, whoa is it weak. It is so weak,” Dr. Kahn said in a recent interview. Studies tended to be short term, diets unsustainable, differences among them clinically insignificant. The only thing that really seemed to help people with diabetes was weight loss — and for weight loss, there is no magic diet. But people want diet advice, Dr. Kahn reasoned, and the association really should say something about diets. So it, like the National Institutes of Health, went with the Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid. Why? “It’s a diet for all America,” Dr. Kahn said. “It has lots of fruits and vegetables and a reasonable amount of fat.” That advice, though, recently came under attack in a New York Times commentary written by Sarah Hallberg, an osteopath at a weight loss clinic in Indiana, and Osama Hamdy, the medical director of the obesity weight loss program at the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School. There is a diet that helps with diabetes, the two doctors said: one that restricts — or, according to Dr. Hallberg, severely restricts — carbohydrates. “If the goal is to get patients off their medications, including insulin, and resolve rather than just control their diabetes, significant carb restriction is by far the best nutrition plan,” Dr. Hallberg said in an email. “This would include elimination of grains, potatoes and sugars and all processed foods. There is a significant and ever growing Continue reading >>