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A Low Carb Ketogenic Diet for Successful Diabetes Management

Posted on March 20, 2015 by Ruth Buttigieg | 0 comments

Diabetes is a growing health problem. Diabetes is not only linked to being overweight - anyone can develop diabetes. There is also a lot of confusion on what we should and should not eat for preventing and managing diabetes. In this blog, we will show why managing your blood sugar intake through food will not only help as a prevention method, but also help to manage diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) better.


When people hear the word low-carb, they instantly think Atkins diet – high fat, very low to no carbs. This confusion should be excused because the media rarely differentiate between low-carb and no-carb diets and even health professionals are frequently confused.


The common misconception that if a diet is low in carbohydrates than automatically it will be low in fibre and low in micronutrients which are essential for daily living. This however is not true. A quick glimpse at a low-carb meal plan one can see that it is balanced, natural, low in trans-fat, low in sugar and low in salt. It also provides omega 3 and 6, and essential amino acids. It is full of food containing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, as well as fibre.


So, what advantages are there to following a low carb ketogenic diet for diabetes management?


  1. Research shows that this way of eating is beneficial and is an effective method to help manage and prevent diabetes. (please see references below)

A number of dietary intervention studies have compared the effect of carbohydrate restriction (minimising the amount of sugars and starches in one's diet) and its effect on blood sugar levels when compared to a low fat low calorie diet - the standard dietary prescription for diabetic individuals. In all these studies, carbohydrate restriction came out as the clear winner showing it to be the more effective dietary treatment for the management of diabetes.


In the UK, the SIGN (2010) guidelines have now acknowledged the safe use of low carbohydrate diets for the treatment of diabetes in the short term. Whilst in 2013 the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recognised that carbohydrate restriction is indeed a viable therapy for the management of diabetes


The key points of these studies include:


  • A low carbohydrate lifestyle dramatically lowers both fasting blood glucose levels and glycosylated haemoglobin levels (HbA1c).
  • A low carbohydrate lifestyle can offer a reduction in, or complete elimination of, all types of anti-diabetic medications.
  • Individuals with diabetes experienced a greater overall improvement in Quality of Life (QOL) following a low carbohydrate lifestyle.
  • It lowers inflammation levels in individuals suffering from diabetes.


  1. Research has also shown that this way of eating can help with losing and managing weight.

Insulin is extremely good at instructing our fat cells to store energy and to not release it. So how do you get your body to use its fat stores for energy?


The answer to this is keep insulin spikes to a minimum. Low levels of insulin in the blood will allow other metabolic hormones such as glucagon to instruct the fat cells to release stored fat for energy.  In doing so, your body will switch to using mainly the energy being released from your fat stores. This process is known as dietary ketosis, and it is via dietary ketosis that you are ensuring that your body is using stored body fat for fuel whilst preserving muscle mass.


  1. This way of eating is an efficient way of meeting your vitamin and mineral requirements as it is based on real foods which are naturally nutrient dense.

A well formulated ketogenic meal plan, one can notice that it is balanced, natural and low in sugar. It also provides omega 3 and 6 fatty acids as well as essential amino acids. It is full of food containing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and most importantly dietary fibre to ensure minimal blood sugar spikes in the progress and optimal gut health as well.


  1. A low carb ketogenic way of eating is a lifestyle and not a quick fix. Change your habits and you’ll start seeing the benefits.

Start by looking at the items in your shopping basket. Processed foods are very easily digested and do not require a lot of effort whilst green vegetables, nuts and meat require a lot more energy to be properly digested and generally provide much better amounts of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, both for your body but also for your gut bacteria.


Hence, base your meal choices around dietary fibre options such as lovely green vegetables and berries for those mighty antioxidants. Choose full fat dairy options as these contain fat-soluble vitamins that our body needs for optimal function.


Stay away from items that say low in sugar and low in fat, these will have artificial additives added to them and have little to no nutrient content. Base your food choices on quality rather than quantity.


How can the Natural Low Carb Store help?


The Natural Low Carb Store way of doing things is quite simple. We promote a low-carb, high-protein, moderate-fat diet. Although we are in the same school of thought as Atkins, our approach to diet and lifestyle is different.


On our program we embrace those carbohydrates that are based on dietary fibre rather than simple and/or complex sugars. The difference between these types of carbohydrates is the way they are digested within the body. By choosing these vegetables and fruits, the essential micronutrient requirements are met whilst ensuring no blood sugar spikes in the progress which will in turn help reduce cravings in between meals for sugary items.


The Natural Low Carb Store way is not only about being healthy and making the right choices. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any further questions. We’ll answer any questions you have and help you make an informed decision.



References:



Rossi M, Turati F, Lagiou P, Trichopoulos D, Augustin LS, La Vecchia C, Trichopoulou A .2013. Mediterranean diet and glycaemic load in relation to incidence of type 2 diabetes: results from the Greek cohort of the population-based European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Diabetologia.56(11):2405-13


Gardner CD, Kiazand A, Alhassan S, Kim S, Stafford RS, Balise RR, Kraemer HC, King AC: Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets for change in weight and related risk factors among overweight premenopausal women: the A TO Z Weight Loss Study: a randomized trial. JAMA 2007, 297(9):969-977.


Jenkins, D.J.A. et al., 2008. Effect of a low-glycemic index or a high-cereal fiber diet on type 2 diabetes: a randomized trial. JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association, 300(23), pp.2742–2753.


Guldbrand, H. et al., 2012. In type 2 diabetes, randomisation to advice to follow a low-carbohydrate diet transiently improves glycaemic control compared with advice to follow a low-fat diet producing a similar weight loss. Diabetologia, 55(8), pp.2118–2127.


Yamada, Y. et al., 2014. A non-calorie-restricted low-carbohydrate diet is effective as an alternative therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes. Internal medicine , 53(1), pp.13–19.


Saslow, L.R. et al., 2014. A randomized pilot trial of a moderate carbohydrate diet compared to a very low carbohydrate diet in overweight or obese individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus or prediabetes. PloS one, 9(4), p.e91027.


Daly M.E, Paisey R, Millward B.A et al. Short-term effects of severe dietary carbohydrate-restriction advice in type 2 diabetes-a randomized controlled trial. Diabetic Medicine, 2006, 23: 15-20.


Dyson P.A., Beatty S., & Matthews D.R. A low-carbohydrate diet is more effective in reducing body weight than healthy eating in both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects. Diabetic Medicine, 2007, 24: 1430-1435.


Boden G, Sargrad K, Homko C, Mozzoli M, Stein TP. Effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on appetite, blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2005, 142: 403–411


Jonasson, L. et al., 2014. Advice to follow a low-carbohydrate diet has a favourable impact on low-grade inflammation in type 2 diabetes compared with advice to follow a low-fat diet. Annals of medicine, 46(3), pp.182–187.


Feinman, R., Pogozelski, W., Astrup, A., Bernstein, R., Fine, E., Westman, E., Accurso, A., Frassetto, L., Gower, B., McFarlane, S., Nielsen, J., Krarup, T., Saslow, L., Roth, K., Vernon, M., Volek, J., Wilshire, G., Dahlqvist, A., Sundberg, R., Childers, A., Morrison, K., Manninen, A., Dashti, H., Wood, R., Wortman, J. and Worm, N. (2015). Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base. Nutrition, 31(1), pp.1-13.

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