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Low Carb Diet And Blood Sugar

Dear Mark: Does Eating A Low Carb Diet Cause Insulin Resistance?

Dear Mark: Does Eating A Low Carb Diet Cause Insulin Resistance?

157 Comments Despite all the success you might have had with the Primal way of life, doubts can still nag at you. Maybe it’s something you read, or something someone said to you, or a disapproving glance or offhand comment from a person you otherwise respect, but it’s pretty common when you’re doing something, like giving up grains, avoiding processed food, or eating animal fat, that challenges deeply-and-widely held beliefs about health and wellness. It doesn’t really even matter that you’re losing weight or seem to be thriving; you may still have questions. That’s healthy and smart, and it’s totally natural. A question I’ve been getting of late is the effect of reducing carb intake on insulin sensitivity. It’s often bandied about that going low carb is good for folks with insulin resistance, but it’s also said that low carb can worsen insulin resistance. Are both true and, if so, how do they all jibe together? That’s what the reader was wondering with this week’s question: Hi Mark, I’ve been Primal for a few months now and love it. Lowering my carbs and upping my animal fat helped me lose weight and gain tons of energy (not too shabby for a middle-aged guy!). However, I’m a little worried. I’ve heard that low carb diets can increase insulin resistance. Even though I’ve done well and feel great, should I be worried about insulin resistance? Do I need to increase my carb intake? I always thought low carb Primal was supposed to improve insulin function. Vince Going Primal usually does improve insulin sensitivity, both directly and in a roundabout way. It improves directly because you lose weight, you reduce your intake of inflammatory foods, you lower systemic inflammation (by getting some sun, smart exercise, omega-3s, and reducing or dea Continue reading >>

How You Can Have High Blood Sugar Without Carbs

How You Can Have High Blood Sugar Without Carbs

How You Can Have High Blood Sugar Without Carbs Can you have high blood sugar without carbs? Well, its important to look at common beliefs about high blood sugar first. High blood sugar is bad. Carbohydrates raise blood sugar. Therefore carbohydrates are bad. The theory is simple, and yet incredibly flawed. The truth is, you can have chronically high blood sugar even while religiously avoiding every starch and sugar in sight. Low-carb forums are littered with posts asking a very relevant question: Why is my blood sugar so high when Im not eating any carbs? The answer is simple, yet often overlooked. The Hormone that Raises Blood Sugar: No Carbohydrates Required If the body were an engine, glucose would be its fuel. Most people think glucose only comes from carbohydrates (sugar and starch), but protein can also be turned into glucose when there arent enough carbs around to do the job. This is called gluconeogenesis, and its performed by one of the major stress hormones cortisol. When you have high cortisol levels (from diet, lifestyle, etc.), the cortisol rapidly breaks down protein into glucose, which can raise blood sugar levels considerably. For some folks, this results in chronically high blood sugareven if they are on a low-carb diet. The trouble is, cortisol isnt just breaking down the protein you eat. Its doing something far more destructive. The body is quite a smart machine, and it has no problem taking detours to get energy if necessary. If your body isnt getting the energy it needs from your diet, it has a back-up source: its own tissue. It sounds kind of cannibalistic, eating your own lean body tissue for energy. I mean, I seriously doubt any one of you would relish cutting off a chunk of your leg for dinner. I know I wouldnt. But every time your body uses c Continue reading >>

Will Low-carb Diets Cause Blood Sugar Levels To Drop?

Will Low-carb Diets Cause Blood Sugar Levels To Drop?

Video of the Day If you're accustomed to eating a very high-carb diet and suddenly switch to a very low-carb diet, you could experience rather dramatic drops in your blood sugar during the first few days or weeks of your transition. This low blood sugar can cause notably uncomfortable side effects and intense cravings. Carbs and Blood Sugar Your body converts consumed carbohydrates into glucose, a type of sugar. When the glucose enters your bloodstream, it leads to an increase in your blood sugar level. The pancreas produces insulin in response to spikes in blood sugar, which helps your body store the sugar for energy. This insulin release subsides when your cells absorb the sugar and your levels stabilize. In a healthy body, the surge of blood sugar and insulin is relatively moderate and keeps you evenly motoring through your day. When you eat lots of carbohydrates, your body's blood sugar remains consistently high and your system constantly pumps out insulin. This chronic elevation of blood sugar and release of insulin causes inflammation, an increase in fat storage and an inability to burn stored fat. Chronically high blood sugar levels increase your risk of disease, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. You crave carbohydrates regularly for energy, because your body isn't efficient at using stored fat for fuel. How a Low-Carb Diet Impacts Blood Sugar If you regularly consume a large amount of carbohydrates, especially refined ones like white bread and soda, you may experience a notable drop in blood sugar when you drastically reduce your carb intake. In the first week of carb reduction, your body will seek to maintain your high sugar intake. You'll crave carbohydrates and may even feel weak because your body hasn't yet become efficient at burning fat for fuel Continue reading >>

How To Start A Low-carb Diabetes Diet

How To Start A Low-carb Diabetes Diet

There is strong evidence that eating fewer carbohydrates helps improve blood sugars. This makes sense intuitively: carbohydrates are broken down by the body into sugar, directly leading to high blood sugars. Eat fewer carbohydrates and you will typically end up with less sugar in your blood. For those with type 2 diabetes or are newly diagnosed with type 1, fewer carbohydrates mean that your body’s natural insulin production will have an easier time processing your blood sugars. If you take insulin, you will have a much easier time taking the appropriate amount of insulin. Before you start a low-carbohydrate diet, talk with your healthcare provider. If you are taking blood sugar-lowering medications, then eating fewer carbohydrates without lowering your medication dosage may cause dangerous low blood sugars. There are studies that show that people with diabetes can achieve success on both low-carbohydrate and high-carbohydrate diets. Those pursuing high-carb diets are often primarily eating more vegetarian or vegan diets that are high in complex carbohydrates and fiber. They are also frequently athletes who burn large amounts of sugar during exercise. We will look at other dietary approaches in a future article. If you would like to dive into the research on low-carb diets for diabetes, please skip to the last section in this article. Also, be sure to read Key Facts About Carbohydrates Everyone with Diabetes Should Know. What Is a Low-Carb Diet? There are many different ways to define and follow a low-carb diet. In this article, we are generally looking at people who wish to eat fewer carbohydrates than they are currently eating. There is no one way to follow a low-carb diet. Generally, people try different amounts of carbohydrates until they reach an amount per day t Continue reading >>

Benefits Of A Low Carb Diet

Benefits Of A Low Carb Diet

A low carb diet has many benefits for people with diabetes Putting type 2 into remission with low carb There are a number of benefits of low carb diets which can be particularly beneficial for people with diabetes. We take a look at why low carbohydrate diets have become popular amongst a significant number of people with diabetes. Generally speaking, the more carbohydrate we eat, the higher our blood glucose levels are going to be following eating. If your after meal numbers are higher than youd like them to be, reducing the carbohydrate content of meals can help to lower your post prandial (after meal) blood test readings . Research studies have consistently found that low carbohydrate diets provide significant improvements in blood glucose control. By reducing hyperglycemia, short term symptoms such as thirst and needing to frequently urinate can be minimised and if strong diabetes control can be maintained. The risks of developing diabetic complications can also be reduced. Carbohydrate is often viewed as an energy giving macronutrient but thats only the case if your insulin can keep up. If insulin cant keep up, and this is more likely in people with type 2 diabetes, then our blood glucose levels go too high and we can end up feeling tired and lethargic. By starting a low carbohydrate diet, you may also be lowering your daily calorie intake. As a result, some people may experience more tiredness than usual shortly after starting a low carb diet, but this effect usually passes after the first 2 weeks of the diet as the body adapts to the new diet. If a low carb diet achieves the desired effect of improving blood sugar levels, it can help to relieve brain fog which can occur when blood sugar levels are too high. Brain fog is characterised by an inability to think cle Continue reading >>

How Long For Low Carb Diet To Show In Blood Glucose Level

How Long For Low Carb Diet To Show In Blood Glucose Level

Diabetes Forum The Global Diabetes Community Find support, ask questions and share your experiences. Join the community How long for low carb diet to show in blood glucose level Hi, can anyone tell me how long it takes for low carb diet to start showing in blood glucose levels. Ive been doing it for a week and my fasting blood glucose level this morning had gone up from 7.6 to 7.9, was hoping it would have gone done a bit or does it take a while to show? What are your levels like at other times, eg. before meals and 2 hours post meal, and bedtime? Fasting levels are normally the last to drop and can take many months to drop to "normal" levels because there are so many outside factors involved, and also an important factor is the severity of our insulin resistance. Personally I feel you would be better to stop taking your fasting levels for now and concentrate on your before and after meals. Get those down to "normal" and your fasting will follow. In most people the best indicator of how we are doing is the reading before our evening meal (unless we have been munching in the afternoon!) This is a marathon, not a sprint. Things don't happen over night. Continue reading >>

Using Low Carb Diet And Sugar Is Still High, How Do I Get It Lower?

Using Low Carb Diet And Sugar Is Still High, How Do I Get It Lower?

Diabetes Forum The Global Diabetes Community Find support, ask questions and share your experiences. Join the community Using low carb diet and sugar is still high, how do I get it lower? I have been diabetic type 2 for 15 years. Im now 48. I have been on a very low carb diet for the past 2 months. Ive been on insulin (lantus) for 2 years, I also take glyclazide and metformin. My sugar levels are only stabalized from the hours of 3pm to 6pm. Otherwise im always high. I do not eat after dinner till brekky most days. On the occasion I might have a protein snack, like nuts or cheese. When I exercise my sugar level rises. I have just upped my level of insulin and there has been no change. Im at my wits end. I don't know where im going wrong. I have spoken to my doc about this. He has said a side effect of insulin is weight gain, just do more exercise. Well its not working, my weight is rising.. Im barely eating any carbs. I eat lots of veggies and meat, I snack on nuts, seeds. The only fruit I eat are berries, the occasional apple. Hi and welcome to the forum. I'm tagging @daisy1 so that she can provide you with the standard information for newcomers. You say you are low carb - can you give us an idea of your intake for an average day so that we can maybe help you troubleshoot your diet? Have you tried using myfitnesspal or chono-meter to track you intake so that you can be sure you're sticking to the correct calorie limit for weight loss? You may find this nutritional calculator helpful: Sorry I can't help you with the insulin side of things, but hopefully someone else can. If you take a look around the low carb diet forum you may pick up some useful information also. Here is the information we give to new members and I hope you will find it helpful. Ask as many questions Continue reading >>

Asknadia: Is My Low Carb Diet Causing A False Pre Diabetes Diagnosis

Asknadia: Is My Low Carb Diet Causing A False Pre Diabetes Diagnosis

Dear Nadia, When you are loosing weight on a low carb diet, does this artificially inflate my pre-diabetes glucose test? Paula Corin Linnwood WA Dear Paula, Pre-diabetes statistics have been in the news for several years with great concern for our national population. It is great that you are staying on top of your health and paying attention to your diet to be one less number in the growing diabetes population. The annual increase in pre-diabetes diagnosis is growing at an alarming rate. In 2010, 79 million people were diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Two year later, in 2012, this number grew to 86 million people . The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports within a five year period, 15-30% of the people diagnosed with pre-diabetes will be be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This translates into anther 12.9 to 25.8 million people who are coming up through ranks with a diabetes diagnosis from 2012. What is Pre-diabetes Pre-diabetes is when your blood sugar test reads higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Does a Low Carb Diet Give You a False Pre-diabetes Diagnosis If you take a glucose tolerance test and are eating under 300 carbs a day for three days prior to the test; yes you can get a false diabetes or pre-diabetes diagnosis. Typically when you eat food, the GLP-1 hormone in your body simulates the secretion of the insulin hormone to convert food into energy. With a low carb diet your body secrets less insulin and turns to your reserves to metabolize the fat for energy. Why You Get a False Pre-diabetes Diagnosis A low carb diet will create a slow uptake of insulin which shows a false elevated glucose. It metabolizes your fat reserves. Dr Richard Bernstein, a famous low carb diet advocate and a person with type 1, tells me we can Continue reading >>

Atkins Induction Diet Improves Glycemic Control In Diabetes

Atkins Induction Diet Improves Glycemic Control In Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease of uncontrolled sugar. In a nutshell, uncontrolled sugar is also a huge contributing factor to obesity and heart disease. When your blood sugar goes too high, insulin comes in to escort that extra blood sugar into the cells where it can be burned for energy. But if insulin doesn’t work effectively, you wind up with too much blood sugar and high levels of insulin and you’re on your way to big health problems down the road. The technical name for this ability of the body to regulate sugar effectively and efficiently is glycemic control. So what’s the number one thing that raises blood sugar anyway? Clearly it’s carbohydrate. And study after study has shown that low-carb diets improve the ability of the body to effectively deal with sugar. Previous research(1) has shown that a low-glycemic diet (i.e. one high in beans, lentils and breads made with flaxseeds) does much better at managing glycemic control for Type ll diabetes than the “traditional” high fiber diet based on whole grain breads and breakfast cereals (which are often loaded with extra sugar). Now a new study shows that when it comes to controlling blood sugar, the Atkins Induction phase program does even better. Eric Westman, MD and his research team put 84 community volunteers with obesity and type 2 diabetes on one of two diets- either a very low carb (Atkins Induction Phase) or a low-glycemic, reduced calorie diet. After 6 months, there was improvement in both groups in glycemic control. But the Atkins Induction group improved more. The main measure of improvement was a blood test called hemoglobin A1c, which is a kind of “Rolls Royce” of blood sugar measurement. While blood sugar levels at any given time fluctuate, Hemoglobin A1c gives us a much more realistic reading of Continue reading >>

A Guide To Healthy Low-carb Eating With Diabetes

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 >>

Low Carb Vs. High Carb - My Surprising 24-day Diabetes Diet Battle

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 >>

Why Low-carb Diets Aren’t The Answer

Why Low-carb Diets Aren’t The Answer

What raises blood sugar? The simple answer is carbohydrates. So why not just yank them out of your diet like weeds in your garden? Why not quash blood sugar by swearing off bread, pasta, rice, and cereal? Been there, done that. The low-carb craze is on the downswing, and that’s a good thing because over the long haul, very low carb diets simply aren’t good for you, as you’ll discover in this chapter. That doesn’t mean it’s not smart to cut back on carbs—but don’t go crazy. When low-carb diets first became popular, they seemed to be a breath of fresh air after the low-fat (and high-carb) diets that preceded them. Remember low-fat cookies, lowfat snack cakes, and low-fat everything else? With low-carb diets, suddenly people could load up on bacon and still lose weight as long as they were willing to eat hamburgers without buns and pretty much give up sandwiches and spaghetti. People were amazed at how effective these diets could be. Weight loss could happen very quickly, sometimes within days. And amazingly, it often seemed to come with added health benefits, including lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides (blood fats linked to heart attacks.) The most extreme kind of low-carb diet was pioneered by the late Robert Atkins, M.D., whose first book, Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution, came out in 1972. It promised quick and long-lasting weight loss and prevention of chronic disease, all while allowing high-fat steak and ice cream. Since then, other, more moderate low-carb diets have allowed small amounts of carbohydrate-rich foods, but they still cut out most grains as well as starchy vegetables and even fruit. The Downsides of These Diets The Atkins diet and the many other low-carb diets that followed in its footsteps have turned out to be less effect Continue reading >>

Effect Of A High-protein, Low-carbohydrate Diet On Blood Glucose Control In People With Type 2 Diabetes

Effect Of A High-protein, Low-carbohydrate Diet On Blood Glucose Control In People With Type 2 Diabetes

There has been interest in the effect of various types and amounts of dietary carbohydrates and proteins on blood glucose. On the basis of our previous data, we designed a high-protein/low-carbohydrate, weight-maintaining, nonketogenic diet. Its effect on glucose control in people with untreated type 2 diabetes was determined. We refer to this as a low-biologically-available-glucose (LoBAG) diet. Eight men were studied using a randomized 5-week crossover design with a 5-week washout period. The carbohydrate:protein:fat ratio of the control diet was 55:15:30. The test diet ratio was 20:30:50. Plasma and urinary β-hydroxybutyrate were similar on both diets. The mean 24-h integrated serum glucose at the end of the control and LoBAG diets was 198 and 126 mg/dl, respectively. The percentage of glycohemoglobin was 9.8 ± 0.5 and 7.6 ± 0.3, respectively. It was still decreasing at the end of the LoBAG diet. Thus, the final calculated glycohemoglobin was estimated to be ∼6.3–5.4%. Serum insulin was decreased, and plasma glucagon was increased. Serum cholesterol was unchanged. Thus, a LoBAG diet ingested for 5 weeks dramatically reduced the circulating glucose concentration in people with untreated type 2 diabetes. Potentially, this could be a patient-empowering way to ameliorate hyperglycemia without pharmacological intervention. The long-term effects of such a diet remain to be determined. Data obtained in our laboratory (1–3) as well as from others (reviewed in 4) indicate that glucose that is absorbed after the digestion of glucose-containing foods is largely responsible for the rise in the circulating glucose concentration after ingestion of mixed meals. Dietary proteins, fats, and absorbed fructose and galactose resulting from the digestion of sucrose and lactose, Continue reading >>

Dr. Bernstein’s Low-carb Diabetes Diet

Dr. Bernstein’s Low-carb Diabetes Diet

Dr. Richard K. Bernstein is a legend in the diabetes community. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes over seven decades ago, created the movement to check blood sugars at home, developed a diabetes management program built on the philosophy that “everyone deserves normal blood sugars” – and then became an endocrinologist so others would take him seriously. In this article, we will look at Dr. Bernstein’s diabetes diet. In essence, it is a low-carb, high-protein and moderate fat diet. He recommends this approach because it maximizes the chances for achieving normalized blood sugars. If you are interested in a less restrictive, more general-purpose low-carb diet, read How to Start a Low-Carb Diabetes Diet. Before we go into the diet itself, let’s look at Dr. Bernstein’s fascinating story. Dr. Bernstein was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12 in 1946. Dr. Bernstein was diagnosed with diabetes during what is commonly referred to as the diabetes “dark ages”. He had to check his urine for sugar by using a test tube heated over a flame. He had to sterilize his needles and glass syringes by boiling them each day. In Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, he explains how his blood sugars were not well managed during this time. In fact, back then fat was deemed the ultimate health culprit and so he was put on a low-fat and high-carbohydrate diet. During the first two decades of his life with diabetes, he says his growth was stunted and nearly all his organs quickly began to suffer the consequences of chronic high blood sugar. Heartbreakingly, he suffered many serious complications of diabetes as a young man. Luckily, blood glucose meters were just becoming available. Wikipedia explains: In October 1969, Bernstein came across an advertisement in the trad Continue reading >>

The Low Carb Plan

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 >>

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