Diabetes advice going low-carb

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The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has long advised a high carbohydrate diet which seems counterintuitive given diabetes is a condition of high blood sugar and carbohydrates more than any other nutrient cause blood sugar to rise. 

In response to the ADA’s stance, many of us who live with and write about diabetes complain about such advice, and personally follow low-carb diets. As do I. 

I used to scratch my head wondering why the ADA would so tirelessly recommend eating a lot of carbs until I read sufficient literature that they feared people were eating too much fat and fat caused heart attacks (not my belief), the greatest cause of death for people with type 2 diabetes. Thus, they wanted people to give up their fat and thinking there was no other way, they pushed them to eat more carbs.

This too kind of stuns me as I eat a low carb diet and haven’t replaced carb with more fat, I just eat sensibly – a bit of steel cut oatmeal most mornings with nuts, seeds, a few berries and Greek plain yogurt, other days cottage cheese, eggs or a protein shake. For lunch a salad with veg and grilled chicken and for dinner fish and veg mostly and snack on a bit of cheese, handful of nuts, piece of dark chocolate. 

So, I’m glad to see in the last several months the ADA finally seems to be coming ’round to advising PWDs lower their carb intake, and it’s making its way into the general advice on diabetes management. 

In today’s DiabetesInControl is one such article. Here are the highlights: 

  • Dietary carbohydrate restriction has the greatest effect on decreasing blood glucose levels.
  • During the epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes, caloric increases have been due almost entirely to increased carbohydrates.
  • Benefits of dietary carbohydrate restriction do not require weight loss.
  • Studies show that carbohydrate restriction is the best intervention for weight loss.
  • Adherence to a low-carb diet in people with type 2 diabetics is at least as good as adherence to any other dietary interventions and is frequently significantly better.
  • Replacement of carbohydrate with protein is generally beneficial.
  • Dietary total and saturated fat do not correlate with risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Plasma saturated fatty acids are controlled by dietary carbohydrates more than dietary lipids.
  • The best predictor of microvascular and to a lesser extent, macrovascular complications in patients with type 2 diabetes, is glycemic control (HbA1c).
  • Dietary carbohydrate restriction is the most effective method of reducing serum triglycerides and increasing HDL.
  • Patients with type 2 diabetes on carbohydrate restricted diets reduce and frequently eliminate medication and type 1 diabetics require less insulin.
  • Intensive glucose lowering by dietary carbohydrate restriction has no side effects comparable to the effects of intensive pharmacologic treatment.

Full article here.

One thought on “Diabetes advice going low-carb

  1. I like your idea of eating sensibly. I believe that is the best advice any one with the challenges of of diabetes can receive. It all boils down to balance diet. Low carb, low fat, moderate vitamins and protein.
    Thanks for your deep analysis of the both side of aisle on this issue.

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