Nutrition Uncategorized

A low-carb diet lowers blood sugar level

The chronic disease diabetes affects many people worldwide. The number of people living with diabetes worldwide currently exceeds 400 million. (1)

Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels reduces the risk of diabetic complications significantly (2,3).

Low-carb diets are one way to improve blood sugar levels. This is due to the fact that diabetics have difficulty processing carbohydrates. The body stores blood sugar as a result of breaking down carbohydrates into glucose. The pancreas releases insulin in response to high blood sugar levels. This insulin hormone allows glucose to enter cells. A person without diabetes maintains a narrow range of blood sugar levels throughout the day. In the case of diabetics, however, this system is different. There can be severe health consequences if one’s blood sugar levels are too high or too low.

Diabetic types 1 and 2 are the two most common types. Any age can be affected by either of these conditions.

In type 1 diabetes, autoimmunity destroys pancreatic beta cells, which produce insulin. Insulin therapy for diabetes aims to keep blood glucose levels healthy by ensuring glucose is absorbed into cells. (4) In type 2 diabetes, beta cells produce enough insulin, but the body’s cells resist its effects, resulting in high blood sugar levels. This causes the pancreas to produce more insulin as a compensatory measure. Eventually, beta cells can no longer produce enough insulin. (5)

Among the three macronutrients – protein, carbs, and fat – carbohydrates significantly impact blood sugar management. In turn, this results in glucose being produced by the body. When people with diabetes eat carbohydrates, they need more insulin or medication. In many studies, low-carb diets are effective at treating diabetes (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).

Stabilizing blood glucose can be achieved by reducing carbohydrate intake. As well as counteracting diabetes’ effects, it may prevent heart disease and weight gain (12).

It is difficult to find a healthy eating pattern or healthy food for most people. Nevertheless, according to a recent study, a low-carb diet may quickly bring elevated A1C levels back to a healthy range in people with prediabetes. (13)

An independent group of 150 older adults suffering from untreated prediabetes or less severe diabetes participated in this randomized clinical trial. Nearly three-fourths of women and 59% of Blacks were overweight (average BMI 35). During the six-month study, half were randomly assigned to a low-carb diet and frequent dietary counseling, while the other half ate as usual. Low-carb participants must keep carbohydrate levels below 40 grams daily during the first three months. Carbohydrates were limited to 60 grams per day between months four and six. Participants were advised to eat non-starchy vegetables, fish, poultry, lean meat, eggs, olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, Greek yogurt, low-carb milk, and small amounts of cheese to get enough proteins and healthy fats.

In addition to dairy, fruits, legumes, beans, and grains, they were advised to limit or avoid them. Throughout the study, low-carb participants received olive oil, green beans, tomatoes, tuna, non-sugar sweeteners, nuts, and low-carb bars and shakes. A blood test was administered to all participants after three and six months of the trial. The low-carb approach led to more significant improvements in A1C and fasting blood glucose levels at six months compared to those eating their usual diet. Additionally, they lost an average of 13 pounds. Within three years, the A1C improvements represented a 60% decrease in diabetes risk.

However, while the study revealed numerous benefits of low-carb eating for blood sugar control, Dr. Giulio Romeo, the associate medical director at the Harvard-affiliated Joslin Diabetes Center, wonders whether its rigorous approach is practical in everyday life (14). According to him, a low-carb diet – especially a borderline very low-carb diet – cuts A1C levels, measuring blood sugar levels over the previous three months. However, it may not be sustainable in the long run.”Dr. Romeo points out that participants who were white had a more significant reduction in A1C than black participants. As this study included many Black participants, it helped us understand whether low-carb diet responses are comparable across races.

It is possible to reduce insulin resistance by losing fat. By limiting carbohydrates, you reduce your appetite. In addition, your pancreas produces more insulin when you consume more carbs. Regardless of weight loss, eating fewer carbs reduces the burden on the pancreas and reduces insulin resistance.

In the July 2020 issue of Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, another study found that people with type 2 diabetes can minimize blood sugar spikes with a high-protein, low-carb diet (15). It was found in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in June 2019 that even patients who do not lose weight can improve their metabolic syndrome – a condition that involves abdominal obesity, high cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and fasting blood sugar levels – through a low-carb diet (16).

There is a debate over the ideal carb intake for diabetics, even among those who advocate carb restriction. The optimal carb intake varies from person to person since everybody responds differently to carbohydrates. It has also been shown that moderate carb restrictions, such as 70–90 grams of total carbohydrates or 20% of calories from carbohydrates, are beneficial (16). Diabetic diets are not one-size-fits-all, says the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Your dietary preferences and metabolic goals should be taken into account when creating a meal plan (17).

An important note:

Blood glucose levels are raised more quickly when carbohydrates are eaten, meaning the body must produce more insulin to digest them than with any other food. Blood glucose levels can be stabilized by reducing carb intake. Additionally, a low-carb diet may prevent weight gain and heart disease related to diabetes. Nevertheless, low-carb diets can also lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Several people find it challenging to stick to low-carb diets over time. So, It is essential to consult a doctor before making significant dietary changes, especially those affecting diabetes management.

additionally, ADA recommends consulting with a healthcare professional before adjusting carb intake. Consuming 20 to 90 grams of carbs daily can improve blood sugar management in people with diabetes. To determine how many carbs you should consume, measure your blood glucose before a meal and again 1 to 2 hours later. Low-carb diets allow you to eat 6 grams, 10 grams, or 25 grams of carbs per meal as long as your blood sugar is under 140 mg/dL (8 mmol/L). It all comes down to your tolerance level. Individuals’ carbohydrate intake depends on their activity level, weight, and health goals.

People can count their carb intake for a few days to determine the impact of changing their diet. Furthermore, reducing carb intake slowly and steadily may be more sustainable than reducing it abruptly. Such as, Replace breakfast toast with hard-boiled eggs, then gradually replace other carbs with nutrient-dense options. Generally, eating fewer carbohydrates will lower your blood sugar level. In a low-carb diet, sweets, starches, and refined grains are limited, along with foods high in carbs or added sugars. Furthermore, they should contain nutrient-dense, high-fiber carbs, such as vegetables, berries, nuts, and seeds, protein sources, non-starchy vegetables, and dairy products high in fat.



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