In short – it’s a yes!
For Type 1 diabetics who don’t need to lose weight, then Diabetes UK advise that studies have shown no particular benefits. However, for Type 2 diabetics (or Type 1 who want to lose weight), it’s a definite yes. Controlling your carbohydrates is not only beneficial in the short-term, but can ultimately eradicate Type 2 diabetes without medication.
Reaping these benefits requires discipline and an understanding of how carbohydrates work in the body, so read on to learn about beneficial carbohydrates, and how changing your diet could be the key to your improved health.
How Do Carbs Work Within The Body?
There are several food groups – protein, carbohydrates and fats. When the foods are broken down by digestion, they ultimately provide vitamins, minerals and energy for the body.
Carbohydrates break down into glucose (sugar) when consumed. This causes an increase in blood sugar levels, according to the amount of carbohydrate (and how long it takes to break down). By reducing carbohydrate intake, you can help to reduce the rise in blood glucose levels after meals.
Benefits Of A Low-Carb Diet Include:
- Lower HbA1c
- Consistent energy levels throughout the day
- Improved weight loss
- Clearer thinking
- Less chance of high sugar levels occurring
- Lower risk of severe hypos.
Following this diet has allowed many Type 2 diabetics to resolve their diabetes (i.e reduce their blood sugar levels into a non-diabetic range). Most importantly, this can be done without medication. (In addition, people with type 1 diabetes have also reported much more stable blood sugar levels). Of course, this makes it much easier to manage.
What Foods Are Considered Carbohydrates?
- Dairy Products such as milk, ice cream, flavoured yoghurt
- Fruit. This includes both fruit juices and whole fruit
- Refined grains. Cereal, rice, crackers and bread
- Biscuits and cakes
- Legumes – beans, peas, lentils (plant-based proteins)
- Starchy veg like potatoes and corn.
- Sugary Sweets.
What Constitutes A Low-Carb Diet?
Generally speaking, the lower your carbohydrate intake, the lower sugar levels you’re likely to enjoy. Plus – it will help you lose weight if you need to.
However, it’s important to choose a level of carbohydrate that works for you. Someone with type 2 diabetes, or someone that needs to lose weight, will probably aim for a very-low-carbohydrate intake.
How Much Carbohydrate Do You Need?
Diabetes UK advise the GDA (GuidelinesDaily Amount) for carb intake is 230g for women and 300g for men. However, bear in mind these are general guidelines. Your age, weight and activity levels will dictate what you need, and of course, always seek advice from a healthcare professional if I doubt.
How Will Consuming Fewer Carbs Affect My Weight?
When you intake fewer carbs, the result is you don’t produce so much insulin. Insulin helps to store fat, so this means you could prevent, reduce or reverse weight gain.
What Are Slow-Release Carbohydrates?
Restricting carbohydrates doesn’t mean you should ignore them altogether. Be aware of slow-release carbs – a secret weapon in the arsenal that releases the energy much slower than more refined carbohydrates. These include:
- Non-starchy vegetables (kale, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, and onions)
- Fruit (avoid tropical, sugary fruits) and choose berries, melon, cherries, apples
- Sweet potatoes – fantastic baked, mashed, roasted
- And steel-cut oats and quinoa.
Avoid traditional breakfast cereals, even things advertised without sugar, which includes puffed cereals, oat rings and cornflakes. Simply choose your oats or quinoa, and cook with your choice of milk, berries or plain yoghurt.
So now you have the information –it may be time to make the changes. Remember – nothing happens overnight, but adjusting your eating habits will make changes that could affect your long-term health for the better, for the rest of your life. Good luck!