Low Carb Eating to Help Reverse Diabetes
Getting diagnosed with diabetes can feel like a huge shock – especially if you don’t know a lot about how to control or reverse the disease. It used to be that whenever someone was diagnosed, they simply took whatever treatment the doctor ordered.
Usually, this meant taking a pill designed to help lower the levels of blood sugar in your body. Today, however, well informed patients know that taking control of their health is a good route to take.
By being proactive, you can make lifestyle changes with how you to eat, exercise and de-stress to be proactive about your diabetes diagnosis. And medicine isn’t always your only option.
Why Are Carbs Dangerous for Diabetics?
Once you’re diagnosed, you might be told that you need to watch your carbohydrates. But, there’s a world of carbs out there and simply being told to watch your carb intake isn’t helpful enough.
You need to know why carbs can be dangerous for those who have diabetes. There are different kinds of carbs. You can have simple carbs or complex carbs. These carbs are processed by your body to turn into glucose, which is how your body gets the fuel that it needs to run on.
Without enough of the right carbs, you won’t have any energy, but with the wrong kinds of carbs, you end up with fatigue, very high blood sugar levels and if you have a lifestyle of eating of the wrong kinds of carbs, this can lead to damage within your organs.
When you eat foods that are refined, it sends your blood sugar higher. You’ll feel great for a little while, but then you’ll realize that you’re hungry again not long after.
Some carbs don’t have enough benefit to make them worth eating. Foods have a glycemic rating. The higher the glycemic rating, the more dangerous it can be for diabetes because you can end up with highs, then sudden drops in sugar.
Most people assume that these dangerous carbs are things like the white flour foods. Items like white rice, white potatoes, white bread, and junk food like cakes, cookies and chips.
But there are some carbs that might look good and seem healthy but because they have a high glycemic rating, they can drive up your blood sugar. An example of this is corn flakes.
This food ranks at 93 on the index for a serving. The closer a carb is to 100 on the index, the worse the food is for someone with diabetes. A serving of graham crackers is a 74 on the glycemic index but an apple is only 39.
If a carbohydrate is simple, it’s dangerous. Because it has a simple amount of sugar molecules, your body can break that carb down too fast, offering you little in the way of energy or nutrition.
When you look at carbs, you want to look at two things. The food’s sugar level and the fiber level. A food can have a lot of sugar – such as fruit – but because fruit is high in fiber, it won’t break down as fast. This means you won’t get those sudden swings in your glucose level.
How a Low Carb Diet Works
Going on a low carb diet means that you’re making food changes in your life. It means that you’re avoiding the high fat, sugar-loaded foods that contain a lot of carbs.
Not only will you be able to reverse those diabetic numbers, but you’ll end up feeling better and having more energy because you won’t be putting the wrong foods into your body.
A low carb diet means that you’re limiting the amount of carbohydrates that you consume. You’ll be getting rid of foods that are starchy and putting in their place foods that are higher in fiber rather than carbs.
Instead of reaching for a candy bar or some crackers, you can have a fruit or vegetables. You’ll end up losing weight, too – which also helps you deal with a diagnosis of diabetes.
Low carb diets lower the need for your body to produce as much insulin because your cells will regain their insulin sensitivity. You’ll end up lowering your bad cholesterol and raising your good ones.
Your blood sugar level readings will end up being in the normal range. Low carb diets cause you to lose fat from around the abdomen, which also helps the cells be able to process the insulin your body produces.
Your body will either use glucose or store it. But in order to do this, it has to have insulin. An impaired level of insulin means that the glucose doesn’t get where it’s needed and instead builds up in the blood.
When you limit the amount of carbs that you eat, it lowers the amount of insulin that your body has to have to use the glucose and that affects the fat cells. Rather than storing more fat, your body ends up burning the glucose for energy.
By lowering your carb intake with a low carb diet, the glucose doesn’t pile up in your bloodstream. Instead, you end up with the amount of insulin that you need to get rid of body fat that contributes to diabetes.
In the first week or so of being on a low carb diet, you’ll see a lot of weight drop off quickly. Some people can lose as much as 7 pounds in a week. This can be normal because eating low carb is making the body get rid of what it’s been holding on to – namely, insulin and glycogen.
Following a low carb diet means that you’ll be eating a higher quantity of protein, which curbs the appetite, raises the metabolism level and builds muscle. Eating a high carb meal plan doesn’t give you those benefits.
Because you feel full longer, a low carb diet also works to help you break away from bad eating habits that can make you gain weight.
Meats, Fruits and Veggies That Keep Carbs Low
On a low carb diet, you can eat a variety of meat because of the protein value the food has. Plus, most meats are low carb – but you’ll want to know which ones have more carbs than others.
Stay away from eating processed meats. These are loaded with artificial sugars, flavoring and even coloring. The artificial sugar can add to the meat’s total carbohydrate count.
Any meat that has breading on it should be avoided on a low carb diet because although the meat may be low in carbs, the breading might not be. When choosing meat, pick ones such as red meat.
Red meat like sirloin steak or roast beef are free of carbohydrates. If you enjoy seafood, you can have it, but be aware that seafood usually has more carbs than red meat does.
It depends on which kind of seafood you enjoy. While catfish doesn’t have any carbohydrates, seafood like oysters or clams do, which will elevate your carb count for the day.
Poultry is a good choice on a carb free eating plan. You can choose meats such as chicken, quail or turkey – all three of these are free of carbohydrates. You can also use ground turkey.
If you’re a fan of bacon or pork tenderloin, you can have these as long as they’re not processed. Both are good sources of protein, too. When you first start a low carb diet, it can be easy to assume that all vegetables are good for you and low in carbs but this isn’t the truth.
Some vegetables are loaded with carbs and are considered starchy vegetables. Peas are high in starch but they aren’t as bad to include on a low carb diet as items like corn or potatoes.
Both corn and potatoes are high in starch and higher in carb count. When you’re choosing vegetables, remember that the color of the vegetable matters. It’s usually the green vegetables that are the lowest in carbs.
Vegetables that are great to add as part of a low carb diet are ones like bell pepper, broccoli and lettuce. Many vegetables even contain some levels of protein as well as fiber.
Zucchini contains 2.4 grams of protein while spinach has 0.9 grams. So you enjoy the vitamins and mineral benefits of the vegetable as well as receive a boost of energy from the protein.
There’s some bad advice floating around about avoiding eating fruit on a low carb diet, but there are some fruits that are low in carb and you need the nutrition that fruit provides.
Avocados are packed with vitamins E and C and rich in potassium. But they’re also good sources of protein because they have 2.9 grams plus 10 grams of fiber. They’re low carb, containing only 12 grams and they’re good for the heat.
Eating apricots is a good choice on a low carb diet because not only are they low carb, but they contain iron as well as calcium. Strawberries and other berries of all kinds are also a great choice to pick when you’re following a low carb diet.
You’ll want to stay away from fruits that are high in carb and high in sugar – even though the sugar is natural. An apple contains 25 carbs, about 4 grams of fiber and 19 grams of sugar.
Raisins have 34 carbs, 1.6 grams of fiber and 25 grams of sugar. A banana holds 27 grams of carbs, 3.1 grams of fiber and 14 grams of sugar.
Pears have 27 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fiber and 17 grams of sugar. The worst offender on a low carb diet, however, are dates. Dates contain 110 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of fiber and 93 grams of sugar.
Desserts for the Diabetic Low Carb Patient
When it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth, there are plenty of options. Just because you’re on a low carb diet doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge. It only means that you have to indulge in a healthier way than you did in the past.
While you can have some sugar when you’re a diabetic, the higher the sugar content, the higher the carbohydrate. To get the most out of your low carb eating plan, you’ll want to be careful how much sugar you have.
The key to eating desserts on a low carb diet is changing the high carb, sugar loaded diets into something that’s healthy and still tastes delicious. For example, most lemon bar recipes call for the use of white flour.
Instead of white flour, you can use almond flour and instead of sugar, you use a sugar substitute to sweeten the dessert. It doesn’t take much effort to make delicious desserts, all it takes is a little planning ahead.
For example if you love peach cobbler, you can still have it on a low carb diet if you tweak it. Use peaches that don’t have any additional sugar, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg and Carbalose flour instead of regular flour. Carbalose flour is a low carb flour that can be used in baking.
You can also substitute sugar with other natural sweetening items such as making a sponge cake and using strawberries on top. You get the taste of sweetness, but not the carbs.
Using sliced fruit pieces dipped in low calorie whipped cream is another idea that you can do for desserts. If you’re a fan of pudding, you can mix unsweetened cocoa powder with low calorie whipped cream for a very low carb dessert that tastes like chocolate pudding.
There are numerous low carb recipes and tips for altering your favorite desserts that you can find online or in recipe books.
Online Tools to Help with Low Carb Nutrition
If you’re starting a low carb diet, it’s always better to have some support. When you have other people to interact with who know what you’re going through, it can be easier to make changes and stick with those changes.
You’ll be able to connect with people all over the world by joining low carb forums. In these forums, you’ll have a lot of information to access. You can read about success stories and get great low carb recipes.
You can ask questions and seek help with something you need to know. You can also join challenges. Many forums have specialty areas such as for vegetarian low carb support.
Studies have shown that people who have like-minded supporters will stick to a nutrition plan more often than people who don’t have that help. Besides forums, you can use fitness tools like MyFitnessPal.
This handy tool is available on a website and also has a smart phone app. There’s a basic membership that’s free and you can use the food diary to keep a record of what you eat whether you’re home or away from home.
You’ll have access to a food database that offers more than a million choices, plus, you can put in your own food combinations. It even allows you to keep a record of your exercise plan.
In the forums, you gain the support from others who are also striving to eat healthy on low carb diets. Plus, the site can help with whatever low carb diet you might be following.
Another free resource tool that you can use to calculate carbs is SparkPeople.com. This tool helps people with resources, support and even free low carb diet plans.
One of the toughest things about making changes in your lifestyle is that it can be easy to get discouraged and lose motivation. Because we’re all creatures of habit, we tend to slip back into what we’re comfortable with if we don’t stay motivated.
One way of staying motivated is to follow bloggers who follow low card dieting plans and have a success story of their own. These people can help motivate you, plus, you’ll often find a warm community of other followers to interact with.
Some of them have communities on Facebook, too. Many bloggers who use low carb diets also offer tips and low carb recipes that you can try out. Keeping the motivation is important besides just reading about it.
You’ll also want to use sites like Pinterest to have visual reminders. You can create your own Pinterest board and pin items that motivate you. You can also gather recipes and look through millions of pins to find recipes and find others who’ve pinned low carb helps and motivational items.
Once you join the site, all you have to do is search for low carb recipes, low carb inspiration or quotes, or low carb ideas. There are other diets you might end up trying, but carbs for a diabetic are dangerous – so low carb is a wonderful way to go when you’re used to eating real food, but need to make substantial changes.