Over the years there has been a lot of controversy and confusion surrounding the benefits of a low carb diet for diabetes. If you are among this group and have been considering a low carb diet, there are two areas of concern you should check out first: one - what are carbohydrates and how do they function in the body? Two - what is meant by a low-carb diabetic diet?
The main function of carbohydrates is to provide the body with energy. The energy produced by carbohydrates will either be burned up immediately, or stored for later use. Carbohydrates are recognized as one of the major influences on blood sugar levels in the body. A lot of diabetics believe that eating a low-carb diabetic diet helps controls their blood sugar levels better than ordinary diabetic diets.
However, people with diabetes don’t all have the same needs, so you should definitely talk to your medical team before altering your diet in any way.
The reason why a diet lower in carbs might help, they say, is that once carbs enter the digestive system, it is up to the liver to break them down into its simpler form of glucose and sugars. This process stimulates the pancreas to produce the hormone insulin, which is necessary for converting the sugars into energy.
However, the body’s insulin production varies depending upon the kind of carbohydrates consumed by the body. Carbohydrates fall into two categories: simple and complex, or what is often called “good” and “bad” carbs, with simple being the bad, and complex being the good.
The reason for this is that simple carbs, foods that contain a lot of sugar, causes insulin levels to rise quickly, burning up the carbs at a faster rate. Conversely, complex carbs, like whole grains, digest at a slower rate, prolonging your energy reserves and making you feel full longer. More importantly, the body’s insulin levels don’t rise as fast with complex carbs - or that’s what we’re told.
However, recent research seem to refute such claims and contend that the difference between reaction times after the consumption of simple and complex carbs is a mere 30 minutes; and that the only real difference is on the reaction they have on blood sugar levels. This difference has been termed the hypoglycemic potential of carbohydrates, or glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index are considered the better carb.
It is very important for diabetics to factor into their diets the amount of sugar they consume. Too much sugar in their diet will cause the body to produce too much glucose. Being diabetic, the body will be unable to produce enough insulin to remove the excess glucose from the blood stream. When you consume too many simple carbs, the blood sugar balance in the blood stream is upset, as too much glucose becomes available. For the diabetic, such a scenario can be deadly.
Diabetics encounter a number of health problems, whether they are type A or B, including high blood pressure, circulatory problems, blindness, and heart disease. In addition, body will store the superfluous glucose in the blood in the tissues as fat, causing the afflicted person to become overweight.
So, what exactly is a low carb diabetic diet and how can it help you with your diabetes? Simply put, a low carb diabetic diet is one which restricts the daily consumption of carbs so that the insulin/sugar ratio in the blood can be kept at acceptable levels. This is accomplished by consuming more low carbs than those containing high amounts. This in turn restricts blood glucose and blood lipid levels. It can also help with other ailments associated with diabetes, including excessive weight gain.
Before embarking upon a low carb diet, however, it is important to do some research first. There are dozens of low carb diets out there, so finding the one that is right for you may require a little trial and error. Once you’ve decided upon the right one, it is a good idea to make a list of the foods it includes and stock up on them so that you’ll always have some available.
The majority of foods that make up the low carb list comes from meats, leafy vegetables, and most fruits. Some low carb diets also include wholegrain bread and pasta. There is a wealth of information online about low carb diabetic diets, as well as in recipe books. Once you become use to low carb dieting, you’ll find you have a whole host of delicious and healthy recipes at your disposal.
A low carb diabetic diet is often believed to relieve many of the problems associated with diabetes, and there are many success stories to back up this claim. But, be careful not to confuse low carb with no carbs. Balance is the most important thing with diabetes. Carbohydrate deficiency can cause a number of health issues itself, like fatigue, reduced mental capacity, and cramps. Therefore, your diet should at least contain the minimum threshold of carbs to be consumed every day.
More information about diets for diabetes: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/