Carbohydrates are a major component of the food. When you eat carbs, your body broke down Carbohydrates into glucose and absorbed in the blood. The pancreas responds to the increased blood glucose (sugar) by producing insulin. Insulin allows blood sugar to enter inside the cells and blood levels of sugar drop.
In diabetes, there is either insufficient insulin or absence of carrier to transport insulin from the pancreas to the cells to act upon the blood glucose. Thus in diabetes, when your body cannot be processed effectively and blood sugar goes high.
Low carbohydrate diet is a new trend in managing diabetes. Due to fewer amounts of carbohydrates in this diet, this diet requires less insulin. The decreased requirement of insulin is useful to reduce insulin resistance, which can help towards reversing type 2 diabetes. Insulin is also the fat storage hormone in the body. Thus reducing insulin in the body with a low carbohydrate diet can help with losing weight. Studies have found that consumption of low carbohydrate diet helps control blood sugar levels and lowers HbA1c. This diet also provides satiety for longer causing fewer cravings for sugary foods.
There are several different versions of low carbohydrate diet, but they are generally high in protein, healthy fat and vegetables. A healthy low carb diet should have a liberal amount of healthy veggies with no or limited portion of roots and tubers like potato, sweet potato, beetroot etc. Healthy fats like olive oil, flaxseeds, nuts and natural sources of protein like dairy, poultry, eggs, fish, tofu are used to replace carbs in the diet. The type of fats consumed is more important than the total amount of fat. To minimize cardiovascular risk, it is recommended that the percentage of total calories from saturated fats should be limited. However polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can improve both glycemic control and blood lipids.
There are several studies supporting low carbohydrate diet in controlling blood sugar level. Many studies found dramatic improvements in blood sugar levels, weight, and other markers by restricting carbohydrates to 20 grams per day. Other research shows that more moderate carbohydrates restriction, such as 70–90 grams of total carbs or 20% calories from carbs, is also effective. However, the optimum quantity of carbohydrates depends upon the individual’s response to carbs. You can find it by measuring the postprandial blood sugar levels 2 hrs after the consumption of a meal.
One study, published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism found 6% loss in the body weight and lowered their blood glucose levels when they followed a ketogenic (low carbohydrate) diet for 16 weeks. A review published in the journal Diabetes Therapy suggested ultra-low carbohydrate diets for us. These were effective in managing blood sugar, decreasing weight, and managing cardiovascular risk in individuals with type 2 diabetes in the short term.
In summary, a low carbohydrate diet is helpful in controlling the blood sugar levels by reducing the need for insulin. It is advisable to take the nutrition expert’s opinion before starting a low carb diet. It helps avoid any long-term health complications. Last but not least, try to enjoy meals with family and friends and do plenty of exercises. Stay healthy, Stay happy!!