(Natural News) Once you’re diagnosed with diabetes, it’s vital to improve your eating habits and maintain a healthy weight. Following a low-carb diet can also help you naturally manage your blood sugar (glucose) levels.
Low-carb diet guidelines
To date, there is no expert-recommended standard carb intake for individuals with diabetes.
Detailed below is the suggested intake for very low-, low- and moderate-carb diets:
- Very low-carb diet – You will only consume about 30 grams (g) of carbs or less every day.
- Low-carb diet – Your diet includes 130 g of carbs or fewer.
- Moderate-carb diet – You can include between 130 to 225 g of carbs in your diet per day.
Before you try a low-carb diet, monitor your daily carb intake to find out how much your diet will change.
A more sustainable alternative is to gradually and steadily reduce your carb intake and monitor how your blood glucose levels change.
Start your day by replacing your regular breakfast of toast with a hard-boiled egg. Throughout the day, replace other high-carb foods that you usually eat with healthier alternatives.
Low-carb diet dos and don’ts
Following a low-carb diet means your calories will come from nutritious foods such as:
- Fruits (in moderation)
- Good fats (e.g., avocados and olives)
- Lean protein (e.g., eggs, fish, nuts and tofu)
- Vegetables (e.g., asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, spinach and tomatoes)
Fruits are good for you, but they also contain sugar. Limit your fruit intake while on a very low-carb diet. Consume fruit moderately as a healthier alternative to sugary treats or processed snacks.
Avoid or limit your consumption of the following foods while on a low-carb diet:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Potatoes, potato chips and other starchy vegetables
- Processed foods (e.g., as prepackaged meals and salty snacks)
- Starches (Particularly bagels or white bread)
- Sugary foods and drinks (e.g., cakes, candies, cookies, juices, pastries and sodas)
- White pasta
Foods like beans, lentils and whole-grain bread are also high in carbs, but you can incorporate them into a balanced diet. Consume these foods in moderation or eat them as alternatives for “bad” carbs, likes sugary treats.
Carb intake and your blood sugar
Those who want to avoid taking medication will benefit from a low-carb diet since it is an efficient diabetes management strategy.
Eating foods full of carbohydrates (carbs) raises your blood glucose more than other foods. This means your body needs to work harder and create insulin to digest high-carb foods.
If you have insulin resistance, your blood sugar can even remain elevated for several hours after consuming high-carb foods. Individuals with Type 1 diabetes who are unable to produce enough insulin may experience blood glucose spikes if they consume too many carbs.
Going on a low-carb diet benefits those with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. (Related: Study confirms a very low-carb diet can help manage Type 1 diabetes.)
By limiting your carb intake and avoiding foods with “empty calories,” you can naturally stabilize your blood sugar. Doing this helps prevent the negative side effects of diabetes, like cardiovascular disease and weight gain.
Data suggests that eating high-carb foods can make you feel more hunger between meals, which can result in overeating. Following a low-carb diet also offers other benefits, such as:
- Boosting your energy levels
- Lowering your average blood glucose (HbA1c) levels
- Lowering cholesterol
- Promoting weight loss
- Reducing cravings, especially for sugary drinks and foods
- Reducing hypoglycemia risk
- Reducing the risk of developing long-term diabetes complications
If you don’t plan your low-carb diet properly, you may have trouble getting essential nutrients from the foods you eat. Since your carb needs vary depending on factors such as age, weight, health goals and activity level, it is important to consult a dietitian who can help you determine specific carb targets.
If you already have kidney disease consuming too much protein can aggravate kidney damage.
Plan your low-carb diet to avoid other issues such as bone fractures and osteoporosis, clogged arteries and low-fiber intake. You may experience these issues if you consume a lot of processed protein sources like cold cuts and red meat.
Maintaining a low-carb diet in the long term can be difficult. If you go on a low-carb, you may feel hungry, have trouble focusing or become moody. Before you go on a low-carb diet, monitor your calorie intake per day, and consult a dietitian about developing an eating plan that works for you.
If you have diabetes, it is best to avoid sugary foods and drinks. Eat a lot of nutritious foods to maintain a healthy weight and manage your blood sugar levels.