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Low Carb and Diabetes

Individuals suffering from diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) have elevated blood sugar levels due to metabolic insulin dysfunctions. For these individuals it is recommended that their blood sugar levels before a meal be around 4 – 7mmol/L. These levels can then rise up to 8.5mmol/L (type 2 diabetes) and 9mmol/L (type 1 diabetes) during the two hours after a meal has been consumed.

Sugar spikes in the blood are normal after a meal however, in the case of a diabetic their blood sugar homeostasis (the body’s internal state of balance) is disrupted due to dysfunctional insulin metabolism which results in excess sugar in the blood stream. This state is known as hyperglycaemia and can lead to all sorts of health problems. Symptoms of hyperglycaemia can be mild such as tiredness and the need to urinate frequently to the more serious condition of diabetic ketoacidosis which if untreated can lead to long-term damage of organs, nerves and blood vessels.

As we have seen, blood sugar levels need to be regulated via the action of insulin and diabetics struggle to manage their insulin secretion. So, instead of continuing to eat meals high in carbohydrates, which requires the action of drugs to bring these blood sugar levels under control, why not eliminate the main problem altogether – lower the amount of carbohydrates eaten!

By consuming a lower amount of carbohydrates in the diet, this will help to manage the majority of insulin metabolic dysfunctions as:

  1. There will be less sugar in the blood 
  2. Due to lower levels of blood sugar, insulin levels will be decreased
  3. Lower levels of insulin means that a lower dosage of diabetic drugs will be required to manage the body’s blood sugar homeostasis feedback loop.

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The Diabetes Diet: How To Manage Your Diet For Weight Loss And Incredible Blood Sugar Control
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References:

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Boden, G. (2005). 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, 142(6), p.403.

Daly, M., Paisey, R., Paisey, R., Millward, B., Eccles, C., Williams, K., Hammersley, S., MacLeod, K. and Gale, T. (2008). Short term effects of severe dietary carbohydrate restriction advice in type 2 diabetes - a randomised controlled trial. Diabetic Medicine.

Dashti, H., Mathew, T., Khadada, M., Al-Mousawi, M., Talib, H., Asfar, S., Behbahani, A. and Al-Zaid, N. (2007). Beneficial effects of ketogenic diet in obese diabetic subjects. Mol Cell Biochem, 302(1-2), pp.249-256.

Dyson, P., Beatty, S. and Matthews, D. (2007). A low-carbohydrate diet is more effective in reducing body weight than healthy eating in both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects. Diabetic Medicine, 24(12), pp.1430-1435.

Elhayany, A., Lustman, A., Abel, R., Attal-Singer, J. and Vinker, S. (2010). A low carbohydrate Mediterranean diet improves cardiovascular risk factors and diabetes control among overweight patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a 1-year prospective randomized intervention study. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 12(3), pp.204-209.

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. (2014). Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base. Nutrition.

Gannon, M. and Nuttall, F. (2004). Effect of a High-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Blood Glucose Control in People With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes, 53(9), pp.2375-2382. 

Jonasson, L., Guldbrand, H., Lundberg, A. and Nystrom, F. (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.

Miller, C. (2014). For newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, a low-carbohydrate Mediterranean diet may delay need for medication and improve chance of remission compared to a low-fat diet. Evidence-Based Nursing.

Saslow, L., Kim, S., Daubenmier, J., Moskowitz, J., Phinney, S., Goldman, V., Murphy, E., Cox, R., Moran, P. and Hecht, F. (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.

Unwin, D. and Unwin, J. (2014). Low carbohydrate diet to achieve weight loss and improve HbA 1c in type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes: experience from one general practice. Practical Diabetes, 31(2), pp.76-79.

Westman, E., Yancy, W., Mavropoulos, J., Marquart, M. and McDuffie, J. (2008). The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutr Metab (Lond), 5(1), p.36.

Yancy, W., Vernon, M. and Westman, E. (2003). A Pilot Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, 1(3), pp.239-243.

Yancy, W., Olsen, M., Guyton, J., Bakst, R. and Westman, E. (2004). A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-fat diet to treat obesity and hyperlipidemia. ACC Current Journal Review, 13(8), pp.18-19.

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