Low Carb Eating Tips for People with Type-2 Diabetes or Prediabetes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of 2021, an estimated 34.2 million people in the United States, or about 10.5% of the population, have diabetes. This includes both diagnosed and undiagnosed cases of diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body is unable to properly regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and requires lifelong insulin treatment.
Type 2 diabetes, which is much more common, occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or does not produce enough insulin to properly regulate blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with obesity, physical inactivity, and unhealthy dietary habits. It is usually diagnosed in people over the age of 45, but it is becoming increasingly common in younger people as well. Type 2 diabetes can often be managed with lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, but some people may also require medications or insulin to manage their blood sugar levels.
Both types of diabetes can lead to serious complications if left untreated, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and blindness. It is important for people with diabetes to work closely with their healthcare providers to manage their blood sugar levels and prevent complications.
The most common form of diabetes is Type 2 Diabetes, which causes the body not to produce insulin properly. Many diets have been proposed to help cope with the disease, but studies published by the National Institute Of Health and on Diabetesjourals.org have shown that diets low in carbohydrates have proven to be more effective at weight loss among people with Type 2 Diabetes, as well as effective at maintaining blood sugar levels.
The reason for this is pretty simple. Your body converts carbohydrates into glucose, which raises your blood sugar. Refined carbohydrates, like white bread or white flour, are processed in your body similar to refined sugar.
So if you consume lots of carbs, particularly refined carbs, you may produce more glucose than your body needs, and any excess glucose the body has is stored in fat.
Here are 4 tips to help people with Type 2 Diabetes stay healthy and maintain better blood sugar while on a low-carb diet.
Do the Numbers
According to the CDC, most Americans consume about 50 60 percent of their calories in carbohydrates. Therefore, for a 2,000-calorie diet, that would be about 275 grams of carbs. Try cutting down to 30 percent of your calorie intake, so about 125 grams of carbs maximum for a 2,000-calorie diet. This will not only help keep the fat off but will help keep your blood sugar stable.
Select Carbohydrates Wisely
Avoid consuming refined carbohydrates, as they can cause your body to produce more glucose faster than it has enough insulin to properly regulate your blood sugar. That extra glucose will eventually become fat. So skip the pasta course, and focus instead on fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, like blackberries or leafy greens. Also, choose whole grains, which contain important minerals like selenium, potassium, and magnesium, and avoid refined sugar as much as possible. Replace that delicious candy bar with some equally delicious raw almonds. Ok, maybe they’re not delicious in exactly the same way. But you get the idea.
Eat Lots Of High Fat Moderate Protein Foods
Go to bean town. That means all kinds of beans navy, black, pinto, and lentils, are high in protein and low in fat. Tofu is an excellent choice, as are lean meats, like chicken and fish. Salmon is a particularly good choice because it also contains high levels of good omega 3 fats. Also, these choices don’t contain any carbs. Nuts make a great high-protein snack, which contains rich omega 3 fats. You can also try dairy and yogurt as good protein options.
Exercise Supports Low-Carb Eating with Type 2 Diabetes
While not technically a food choice, exercise is extremely important for the diet to work and for you to maintain stable blood sugar control. Studies have shown that sedentary lifestyles can actually worsen diabetes, as well as heart disease, and weight gain, which only makes it worse.
Exercise helps you lose weight, relieve anxiety, and speed up your metabolism. All of which will help you keep the fat off and keep the blood sugar stable. Exercise is also a great energy booster. Even moderate exercise like regular walking is one of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy diet.
Saxenda (liraglutide) is a prescription medication that is used to help people with obesity, including those with type 2 diabetes, lose weight. Saxenda is a type of medication called a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist, which works by helping the body produce more insulin after meals and reducing the production of glucagon, a hormone that stimulates the liver to produce glucose. This helps to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce appetite.
Saxenda is typically used in combination with diet and exercise to help people lose weight and keep it off. In clinical studies, people with type 2 diabetes who used Saxenda in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity lost an average of 5% to 10% of their body weight, which is considered a clinically meaningful amount of weight loss.
It is important to note that Saxenda is not a cure for diabetes and should not be used as a replacement for traditional diabetes medications. It is also not recommended for people who have type 1 diabetes or for people with a history of pancreatitis. Saxenda should be used under the supervision of a healthcare provider and may not be suitable for everyone. It is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of using Saxenda with a healthcare provider before starting treatment.
We’ve experienced excellent results with our patients using Saxenda with a TYPE 2 diabetes diet protocol that entails carbohydrate restriction.
Healthier Carbs for Type 2 Diabetics
There are many healthy carbohydrate-containing foods that can be included in a meal plan for people with type 2 diabetes. These include:
Non-starchy vegetables: Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and peppers are low in calories and carbohydrates and high in fiber, making them a good choice for people with type 2 diabetes.
Fruits: Fruits such as apples, berries, and oranges are high in fiber and nutrients and can be included in a healthy meal plan for people with type 2 diabetes.
Whole grains: Whole grains such as quinoa, oats, and brown rice are high in fiber and nutrients and can be a healthy carbohydrate choice for people with type 2 diabetes.
Legumes: Legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas are high in protein and fiber and can be a healthy carbohydrate choice for people with type 2 diabetes.
Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds such as almonds, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber and can be included in a healthy meal plan for people with type 2 diabetes.
It’s important to note that people with type 2 diabetes should work with a registered dietitian or a healthcare provider to develop a meal plan that meets their individual needs and goals.
What type of Carbs to Avoid (Type 2 Diabetics)
People with type 2 diabetes should limit their intake of refined carbs, such as white bread, pasta, and pastries, as well as sugary drinks and snacks. These types of carbs are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. It’s generally recommended to choose complex carbs, such as those found in whole grains, vegetables, and legumes, which are absorbed more slowly and have less of an impact on blood sugar levels.
Additionally, it’s important to pay attention to portion sizes when consuming carbohydrate-containing foods. Even healthy carbs can contribute to high blood sugar levels if consumed in excess. It’s a good idea to measure portion sizes and track carbohydrate intake to help manage blood sugar levels.
Schedule a time to speak with one of our medical wellness experts and we can discuss programs we use that others have already benefited from.