There are no shortcuts to losing weight and I’m going to tell you why low-carb diets are not the best choice for diabetics.
We know (how could we not?) that our traditional Western diets are primarily made of highly processed foods.
“Grab and Go” frozen meals, fast foods, and “convenience” pre-made foods are all full of simple carbs and hydrogenated fats…both of which put our health in danger.
There are thousands of very vocal fans crediting diets made popular by Atkins, South Beach, and followers of Dr. Stillman, one of the earliest proponents of low-carb diets.
Here’s what people get wrong, and why low-carb diets are not the best choice for Diabetics.
➡ Eating a low-carb diet is NOT necessarily the same as eating a high protein diet.
And, don’t confuse “high protein” for meaning “healthy fats.” They’re not the same either.
It’s probably true that when you cut the number of carbs you eat, you’re probably increasing the amount of something else, BUT, unless you’ve done your homework, you should know that “something else” is not always healthy protein.
In fact, the best diets consist of spreading out the calories between proteins and healthy fats.
That’s how you increase your satisfaction and feel full after a meal, while, at the same time, lowering the amount of insulin your body produces.
That’s the ticket to a truly healthy diet and, once more, the reason low-carb diets are not the best choice for Diabetics.
Another common mistake is not spending time studying the information you need before starting a new diet or changing/modifying your current one.
Again, we want answers and we want quick solutions. However, cutting down on carbs is a change we should make for life, not just to drop a few pounds.
Quick weight loss is not sustainable. It takes consistency and time for your body to learn a new way to process what you eat. Not considering that, is another reason Low-Carb diets are not the best choice for Diabetics.
In the past, doctors have spread the idea that we “need to limit our fat intake.”
- We’ve been told that eating fatty foods is what causes the buildup of fatty deposits (plaque) on the walls of our arteries (atherosclerosis).
- And, we’ve been cautioned about the associated risks of heart disease and strokes.
That is true. but it’s not the whole picture…
We cannot focus only on eliminating fats and deny decades of medical research which has proven that lowering your carbohydrate consumption reduces your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and multiple other inflammatory-related illnesses.
➡ Prolonged exposure to high blood sugar can damage delicate nerve fibers, causing Diabetic Neuropathy.
➡ High blood sugar interferes with the ability of the nerves to send signals. It also weakens the walls of the small blood vessels (capillaries) that supply the nerves with oxygen and nutrients.
This “inflammatory response” is dangerous for diabetics, with serious complications
- Loss of a limb. Because nerve damage can cause a lack of feeling in your feet, cuts and sores may go unnoticed and eventually become severely infected. Ulcers on the feet may develop.
➡ The risk of infection is high because diabetes reduces blood flow to your feet. Infections that spread to the bone and cause tissue death (gangrene) may be impossible to treat and require amputation of a toe, foot or even the lower leg.
- Charcot’s joint: This is a chronic, progressive (it gets worse over time) and degenerative disease of one or more joints, that happens when a joint, usually in the foot, deteriorates because of nerve
- ➡ It results in loss of sensation, swelling, instability and sometimes deformity in the joint itself. Early treatment can promote healing and prevent further damage.
Diabetic Neuropathy is now considered to be the most common cause of Charcot joint disease.
- Urinary tract infections and urinary incontinence.
➡ Damage to the nerves that control your bladder can prevent it from emptying completely. This allows bacteria to multiply in your bladder and kidneys, leading to urinary tract infections.
➡ Nerve damage can also affect your ability to feel when you need to urinate or to control the muscles that release urine.
- Autonomic Neuropathy
:arrow: You may not be able to tell when your blood sugar is too low (less than 70).
Normally, when you develop symptoms such as shakiness, sweating, and a fast heartbeat you know it’s due to low blood sugar.
➡ The danger Autonomic Neuropathy poses is that it can interfere with your ability to notice these symptoms.
- Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension).
➡ Damage to the nerves that control circulation can affect your body’s ability to adjust blood pressure. This can cause a sharp drop in pressure when you stand after sitting (orthostatic hypotension), which may lead to dizziness and fainting.
- Digestive problems.
➡ Nerve damage in the digestive system can cause constipation or diarrhea — or alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea — as well as nausea, vomiting, bloating and loss of appetite.
➡ It can also cause gastroparesis, a condition in which the stomach empties too slowly or not at all. This can interfere with digestion and cause nausea, vomiting and bloating, and severely affect blood sugar levels and nutrition.
➡ Autonomic Neuropathy often damages the nerves that affect the sex organs, leading to erectile dysfunction in men and problems with lubrication and arousal in women.
- Increased or decreased sweating.
➡ When the sweat glands don’t function normally, your body isn’t able to regulate its temperature properly. A reduced or complete lack of perspiration can be life-threatening. Autonomic neuropathy may also cause excessive sweating, particularly at night or while eating.
It’s enough to give you (and me!) a headache, or drop the idea of changing your eating habits…It’s just too confusing. But the truth is somewhere in the middle.
- It’s about which carbs and which fats you choose.
It’s an unhealthy mistake to think that eating large amounts of protein to cut fat and carbohydrate intake is the way to go. Low-Carb diets are not the best choice for Diabetics.
Here’s the bottom line: Healthy fats are necessary to feed your brain and to satisfy your hunger. (Click here to see a list)
Starting and sticking to a new eating program is a challenge. So, before starting it’s important not just to have the knowledge, but also a plan.
That way, when the “munchies” hit you in the middle of the afternoon or sneak up on you late at night, you’ll know what you can and cannot eat to satisfy them, without sabotaging your weight loss goals.
One last bit of misinformation you may get is that it’s not necessary to keep track of the calories you’re eating on a low-carb plan.
While it’s true that you’ll be eating differently and burning calories differently, it doesn’t mean that calories no longer count. Calories always count, but especially when you’re starting a new eating plan with blood sugar control and weight loss as the end result.
Plan for success:
- Eat only when you’re hungry, check in with yourself to make sure it’s not just because you’re bored, upset, sad, etc.
- Do not keep foods which are not on your eating plan around the house or at work-Why tempt yourself by having them around?
- Do not overeat. Look up portion sizes, balance the fats and carbohydrates in the foods you eat.
- Keep an eye out for the number of calories you’re eating
- If you’re diabetic, use the glycemic index as your guide to help pick the best combination of foods to eat.
The effects of poorly managed Diabetes Type 2 are life-threatening. You must choose your health over your convenience, and learn all you can from reliable sources.
If you’ve been told you have “pre-diabetes” take steps now to prevent it from becoming full-blown Type 2 Diabetes. Click here to see how.