Millions of people worldwide are affected by diabetes, a life-threatening illness. However, by incorporating low-carb foods into their diets, individuals can take control of their health and manage the condition effectively.
Because what we eat can significantly impact our blood sugar levels. A low-carb diet, in particular, can be effective in helping to control blood sugar for diabetics.
This blog post will explore the benefits of a low-carb diet for diabetics and provide a list of food categories to eat and tips for incorporating them into meals.
How a low-carb diet helps to control blood sugar
A low-carb diet such as the keto, Mediterranean or paleo diet can help diabetics control their blood sugar levels in several ways.
By restricting the number of carbohydrates in the diet, blood sugar levels can be better regulated. This is because when we eat carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose (sugar) which is then absorbed into the bloodstream. When too many carbs are in the diet, too much sugar will be in the bloodstream and vice versa.
In addition, low-carb diets can also lead to weight loss, which can also help to improve blood sugar control. Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for developing diabetes, and losing weight can help to lower blood sugar levels.
Five food categories to eat
Low-carb foods is recommended for diabetics, and it involves eating certain types of food, such as,
- Non-starchy vegetables: Leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and other non-starchy vegetables are low in carbohydrates and high in fibre, making them an ideal food choice for diabetics.
- Protein sources: Protein sources such as chicken, fish, tofu, and other lean meats are also excellent choices for diabetics. They are low in carbohydrates and can help to keep you feeling full, which can help to control your appetite and prevent overeating.
- Healthy fats: Olive oil, avocado, nuts, and other healthy fats are also essential to include in a low-carb diet. These are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats, provide essential nutrients and help to improve blood sugar control.
- Low-carb fruits: Berries, lemons, limes, and other low-carb fruits are high in antioxidants and can be enjoyed in moderation.
- Low-carb grains: Some low-carb grains you can include in your diet are quinoa, flax seed, chia seed, almond flour, coconut flour etc.
Tips for incorporating these foods
Having a plan can help you add these foods to your diet. Here are some ideas to help you.
- Make sure to include non-starchy vegetables with every meal. This can be as simple as adding a salad to your lunch or including steamed broccoli as a side dish with dinner.
- Plan your meals and snacks around protein sources. This can include grilled chicken for lunch or a hard-boiled egg as a snack.
- Incorporate healthy fats into your cooking. This can include using olive oil for sautéing or adding avocado to your breakfast smoothie.
- Enjoy low-carb fruits as a dessert or a snack.
- Experiment with low-carb grains, and include them in your recipes.
Foods to avoid
- Refined carbohydrates: White bread, pasta, and other refined carbohydrates should be limited or avoided. These foods are quickly broken down into glucose and can cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
- Added sugars: Foods high in added sugars, such as soft drinks, candy, and pastries, should also be limited or avoided. These foods are high in calories and can contribute to weight gain, making it harder to control blood sugar.
- High-carb fruits: Fruits such as bananas, grapes, and pineapples are high in carbohydrates and should be limited or avoided.
Avoiding or limiting these foods is essential. However, it’s okay to have them sometimes in small amounts as long as you balance them with other low-carb foods to keep your blood sugar stable.
Other benefits of low carb diet, in addition to blood glucose control
A low-carb diet can help control blood sugar and offer many other benefits, such as,
- Weight loss: As mentioned earlier, a low-carb diet can lead to weight loss. It helps to improve blood sugar control and overall health.
- Improved health parameteres: A low-carb diet may also improve other health parameters such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation.
- Better blood sugar control: A low-carb diet can help to regulate blood sugar levels. This help to prevent complications associated with diabetes.
As low-carb foods may not be appropriate for everyone, it is essential to discuss them before switching to a low-carb diet with your family physician.
The Bottom Line
Low-carb foods can be an effective tool for managing diabetes and controlling blood sugar levels.
By including non-starchy vegetables, protein sources, healthy fats, low-carb fruits and low-carb grains in the diet, diabetics can improve their blood sugar control. In addition, it will help to lose weight and improve other health markers.