Constant high blood sugar levels lead to diabetes – a lifelong disease which can cause many health complications. However, you can keep it under control by following certain diet and lifestyle habits.
At first, it might look complicated and hard, but once you learn all the things and foods that affect your blood glucose, you will know how to manage your disease while leading a normal life.
Diet plays a huge role in diabetes management. You have to pay attention to what you eat and drink, as well as when and how much to keep your blood sugar levels within the normal range.
A low-carb diet is one of the best diets for people with high blood glucose and those who are trying to lose some weight. It is flexible and can be followed by people with all types of diabetes.
A lot of people with type 2 diabetes managed to improve their blood sugar control and reduce their need for medication by following a low-carb diet.
Why Follow a Low-Carb Diet?
Some foods are loaded with carbohydrates – the nutrient which has the most significant impact on blood glucose levels. What’s more, it requires the most insulin, and more insulin production increases insulin resistance.
This, in turn, raises the blood sugar levels in the body, thus the risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
While you can’t completely cut out carbs from your diet, as it is one of the essential nutrients for your body, you can choose foods which contain little or no carbs.
Eating these foods will help reduce insulin resistance and blood glucose levels, as well as aid in losing weight.
What Are the Benefits of Low-Carb Diets?
Following a low-carb diet will bring you the following benefits:
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Lower risk of blood sugar spikes
- Improved weight loss
- Higher energy levels throughout the entire day
- Lower risk of severe hypoglycemia
- Clearer thinking
- Less cravings for snack and sugary foods
- Fewer chances of developing long-term health complications
The Optimal Carb Intake for People with Diabetes
The optimal carbohydrate intake for people with diabetes is still not entirely clear. Some studies show 20 grams of carbs a day can help improve weight, blood glucose levels, and other markers.
Dr. Bernstein gave 30 gr of carbohydrates per day to his diabetes patients and marked excellent blood sugar control in their body. So, the ideal amount of carbohydrates varies by individual.
To calculate your optimal amount, measure your blood sugar levels before a meal and once again one to two hours after your meal.
If your blood glucose stays below 8 mmol/L (140 mg/dL), the levels at which nerve damage occurs, your carb intake per meal should be 6 gr, 10 gr, or 25 gr, provided that you follow a low-carb diet.
Foods to Eat
Feel free to consume these low-carb foods until you are full. Also, don’t forget to include enough protein in each meal.
- Meat, seafood, and poultry
- Coconut oil, olive oil, cream, butter, cream cheese, and sour cream
- Non-starchy veggies (almost all vegetables except for the ones listed below)
Food to Eat in Moderation
Consume these foods in smaller quantities, depending on your carb tolerance.
- Plain, Greek yogurt – up to 1 cup
- Berries – up to one cup
- Peanuts and nuts – 30-60 gr, or 1-2 oz.
- Cottage Cheese – up to ½ cup
- 85% cocoa-dark chocolate – up to 30gr
- Chia seeds or flaxseeds – 2 tbsp.
- Liquor – 50 gr or 1.5 oz.
- Winter squash (acorn, butternut, pumpkin) – up to 1 cup
- Dry red or white wine – 120 gr or 4 oz.
Foods to Avoid
Here are the foods highest in carbs which can spike your blood sugar levels.
- Starchy veggies such as potatoes, taro and yams
- Bread, cereal, pasta, corn and other grains
- Legumes, like lentils, peas, and beans (except snow peas and green beans)
- Fruit, except for berries
- Soda, juice, sweetened tea, punch, etc.
- Baked goods, desserts, ice cream, candy, etc.
A Sample Day of Low-Carb Meals for People with Diabetes
Each meal contains up to 15 gr of digestible carbs, but you can adjust the serving sizes if you have higher or lower carb tolerance. The total digestible carb intake is 37 grams.
Eggs & Spinach for Breakfast
Total digestible carbs – 10.5 gr
- a cup of sautéed spinach
- 3 eggs cooked in butter
- a cup of coffee with cream and any sugar-free sweetener
- 1 cup of blackberries
Cobb Salad for Lunch
Total digestible carbs – 12.5 gr
- 30 g (1 oz.) Roquefort cheese
- 90 g (3 oz.) cooked chicken
- ½ an avocado – medium size
- a slice of bacon
- vinegar and olive oil
- 1 cup lettuce, shredded
- 1 cup of tomatoes, chopped
- a glass of iced tea and any sweetener free from sugar
- 20 gr of dark chocolate (85% cocoa)
Salmon with Veggies for Dinner
Total digestible carbs – 14 gr
- ½ cup sautéed zucchini
- 4 oz. salmon, grilled
- 1 cup mushrooms, sautéed
- 1 oz. chopped walnuts
- ½ cup of strawberry slices with whipped cream
- 120 g (4 oz.) red wine