A Guide to Healthy Low-Carb Eating with Diabetes
By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE
Diabetes is a chronic disease that has reached epidemic proportions.
It currently affects over 400 million people worldwide.
Although diabetes is a complicated disease, maintaining good blood sugar control can greatly reduce the risk of complications.
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.
What is Diabetes, and What Role Does Food Play?
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.
In type 2 diabetes, the beta cells at first produce enough insulin, but the body’s cells are resistant to its acti