4 Reasons Why A Low Carb Or Paleo Diet Can Help Diabetics
Often we hear about people starting a low/reduced carb or paleo diet so they can lose weight. That’s one benefit but, for diabetics, prediabetics and even those who have reactive hypoglycemia, there are many great benefits that can be found even if they don’t lose a single pound. Here’s some important ones that perhaps you may not have even thought about before:
1). Better daily control over your glucose levels. All carbohydrates, except for fiber, break down in to glucose. Some carbs, such as those found in products containing refined grains, break down quickly. In order for your body’s cells to use the glucose produced when the carbohydrates are broken down you will need insulin. Type 1 diabetics take injectable insulin and type 2 diabetics often take oral medications that allow their body to more effectively use the insulin they do make or a combination of oral medications as well as injectable insulin. No matter what type of diabetic you are insulin is required to move the glucose out of your blood stream and into the cells for use. By controlling the number of carbohydrates you eat you can affect the amount of insulin that your body needs. When fewer carbs are eaten throughout the day your body will not have sudden rises in glucose levels that will require greater amounts of insulin to bring back down to normal. Eating fewer carbs often gives people better control of their glucose levels on a daily basis. Which brings me to the next point.
2). If controlling carbs helps to maintain steadier glucose levels then people often have fewer incidents of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). This benefits not only type 1 and 2 diabetics but also prediabetics and those who suffer from reactive hypoglycemia. Eating a high carb meal or snack will cause your blood sugar levels to go up quickly. For people with reactive hypoglycemia the body will send out a burst of insulin to help move the glucose into cells but something goes wrong and their blood sugar levels either fall quickly or fall below normal causing a hypoglycemic reaction (sweating, dizziness, fatigue, blurry vision, shakes, etc). We are told to eat or drink something that contains sugar to quickly bring our blood sugar levels back up. This can cause our bodies to keep going through the high sugar / low sugar / high sugar cycle causing damage that isn’t seen until years later. This same up and down cycle also goes on with other diabetics. Some times they increase medications to lower high blood sugar levels only to have a hypoglycemic reaction that requires glucose to stop it. Once again, fewer carbs equals better glucose control.
3). If you’ve control your blood sugar levels and have avoiding these sudden rises and falls you will find your HgA1c levels start going down. Decreasing HgA1C levels are a good thing and lead to what I think is the most important reason for maintaining steady blood sugar levels.
4). Controlling carbs helps you to avoid or lessen the long term damage that is done to your body. Diabetes is a sneaky disease. It’s true effects aren’t seen for years. Once they start making themselves known it’s more difficult to fix things. Diabetic complications include damage to your retina and other vision problems, kidney disease, stroke, high blood pressure, slow wound healing, nerve damage, amputations, skin ulcers and much more. Since these can take years before beginning diabetic complications are often over looked until it’s too late. Controlling your blood sugar levels now can help you have a healthier future.
I’ve only given you 4 reasons but I’m sure there are many more. Please email me (remakemyplate (AT) gmail.com) if you have some other reasons that can be added to the list.