A low-carb diet is a dietary approach that restricts the intake of carbohydrates and has gained popularity as a potential treatment for diabetes and other health issues. But what are the truths behind this approach?
Diabetes and pre-diabetes have become increasingly common in recent years, affecting millions of people worldwide. We’re facing a worldwide pandemic that is killing many times more people than COVID-19. In addition to medication, many people have turned to a low-carb diet as a means of controlling their blood sugar levels.
What is a low-carb diet?
A low-carb diet is an approach that restricts the intake of carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, and sugary foods. Instead, the diet focuses on consuming foods that are high in protein and healthy fats, such as meats, fish, nuts, and avocados. By reducing carbohydrate intake, the body is forced to use stored fat for energy, which can lead to weight loss and improved blood sugar control.
How does a low carb diet affect diabetes?
Improved blood sugar control: Carbohydrates are the primary source of glucose in the body for most people, and consuming too many carbs can cause blood sugar levels to spike, leading in turn to insulin spikes and ultimately insulin resistance. By reducing carbohydrate intake, a low-carb diet can help stabilize blood sugar levels and thereby improve insulin sensitivity. Numerous studies have shown that low-carb diets can lead to significant reductions in HbA1c levels, a marker of long-term blood sugar control. Several studies have shown that low-carb diets can lead to greater weight loss than low-fat diets. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism found that low-carb diets were associated with improved blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. The study reviewed 23 randomized controlled trials and found that participants on low-carb diets had lower HbA1c levels (a marker of blood sugar control) than those on high-carb diets.
Weight loss: Obesity is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and losing weight is correlated with improved blood sugar control. Well-formulated Low-carb diets are effective for weight loss, partly because they reduce hunger (so you eat less) and partly because they reduce insulin levels allowing people to burn their fat stores.
Reduced need for medication: By improving blood sugar control and promoting weight loss, a low-carb diet can reduce the need for diabetes medication. A randomized controlled trial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that participants with type 2 diabetes who followed a low-carb diet were able to reduce their need for diabetes medication. After six months, 95% of the low-carb group had either reduced or stopped their medication, compared to only 62% of the high-carb group.
Improved cardiovascular health: Diabetes is a significant risk factor for heart disease, and a low-carb diet can help improve cardiovascular health. Low-carb diets have been shown to reduce triglyceride levels, increase HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol), and reduce blood pressure, all of which can lower the risk of heart disease. High-carb diets raise insulin which itself raises blood pressure through several different mechanisms
Improved insulin sensitivity: A randomized controlled trial published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism found that participants with type 2 diabetes who followed a low-carb diet had significant improvements in their insulin sensitivity compared to those on a high-carb diet.
While a low-carb diet can be effective for managing diabetes, there are some potential downsides to consider. Some people may find the diet difficult to sustain long-term. Additionally, very low-carb diets can cause early side effects such as constipation fatigue, and keto flu. ProLongevity with its personally-tailored precision nutrition approach can help here
A low-carb diet is an approach that restricts the intake of carbohydrates and has gained popularity as a potential treatment for diabetes. By reducing carbohydrate intake, a low-carb diet can help improve blood sugar control, promote weight loss, and reduce the need for medication. However, there are potential downsides to consider. Overall, a low-carb diet can be an effective tool for managing diabetes, but it should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes regular exercise, medication as prescribed, and regular monitoring of blood sugar levels.
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