Effective Low Carb Diets for Diabetics to Control Blood Sugar. How Many Carbs Should You Eat?

low carb diets for diabetics
Low carb- Effective diets for diabetics

The right diet can control blood sugar, while the wrong food can lead to dangerous complications. This article will give some tips to help you make healthier food choices. And low carb diet is being applied very effectively for people with diabetes.

With type 2 diabetes, it’s important to eat a balanced diet and keep track of the right amount of carbohydrates (carbs). Because nutrients (including carbohydrates, proteins and fats) can directly affect your blood sugar, as Amy Gorin said- a dietitian in Union City, New Jersey. Factors that can affect the amount of carbs you need to eat each day include your age, weight, activity level, and diabetes medications including insulin.

Determining how much carbs to eat when you have diabetes is quite difficult. According to the scientists recommend, people with diabetes should get about 45-60% of their calories from carbs per day to control high blood sugar.

1. How does food affect blood sugar?

low glycemic index food
Should choose foods with low glycemic index for diabetics

After eating, your body will absorb various nutrients in the food. These nutrients include:

  • Carbohydrates (sugars, starches and fibers);
  • Protein (protein);
  • Fat;
  • Vitamins and other nutritious minerals.

The carbohydrates you consume which are converted to blood glucose. The more carbohydrates you eat, the higher the amount of sugar your body will secrete. If carbohydrates are consumed in liquid form, the body will absorb them more quickly than in solid foods. So a glass of soft drink will spike your blood sugar faster than a pizza.

Fiber – a group of substances very important to health, is also a component of carbohydrates but is not converted to sugar. This is because fiber cannot be digested. In addition, protein, fat, water, vitamins and minerals will not contain carbohydrates – the group of substances that have the greatest impact on blood sugar levels.

2.  Effective low carb diets for diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with diabetes should have a low-carb diet, getting about 45% of their calories from carbs. The rest comes from lean protein and plant proteins like chicken, salmon, tofu and heart-healthy fats like green vegetables, nuts,…

Here are the low carb diet methods for diabetics:

2.1. Low carb diets (LCD)

low carb diet
A low-carb diet is about limiting your carb intake to 50-100 grams (10-20% of calories per day)

A low-carb diet is about limiting your carb intake to 50-100 grams, or 10-20% of calories per day. Low carb diet mainly focuses on the use of non-starchy vegetables, typically: lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, dragon beans, green beans …The above method all favor the use of vegetable fats, such as oil, nut butters.The LCD mode again accepts animal fats and proteins in the form of lean meats, poultry and fish, but does not use fatter meats, hot dog or fast foods. When following a low-carb diet, it’s often used to increase protein, healthy fats and vegetables to replace carbs and promote fullness.

The 2019 ADA Healthcare Standard adds a low-carb diet to dietary recommendations for type 2 diabetics.

The researchers did a long-term follow-up of people with type 1 diabetes who followed a diet that limited carbs to 70 grams per day. The results showed that all the participants had HbA1c levels decreased on average from 7.7% to 6.4%. Furthermore, their HbA1c levels remained unchanged for the next 4 years.

Besides, one of the biggest fears for people with type 1 diabetes is hypoglycemia, or an alarmingly low drop in blood sugar. Patients with type 1 diabetes who limit their daily carb intake to less than 90 grams have 82% lower blood sugar than when they were on the diet.

People with type 2 diabetes also get some benefit from limiting their daily carb intake. When following a diet high in fiber, with 20% of calories from carbs will lead to an average 29% reduction in blood sugar.

Foods are allowed to eat every day

  • Lean meats: pig, beef, chicken with skinless.
  • Eggs, vegetable oils such as olive oil seed oil, soybean oil, sesame, fish oil, fish fat,…
  • Types of seafood, salmon, shrimp, squid, …
  • Use green teas, herbal teas, bitter melon juice, apple cider vinegar …
  • Types of vegetables to eat: oyster, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, chayote, melon, cucumber, cheeks, seaweed, bean sprouts, mushrooms, ..
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 2.2. Very low carb or ketogenic diet

keto diet low carb
The Keto (Ketogenic) diet is a diet low in carbohydrates (carbs) and high in fats.

The ketogenic diet is a diet that limits carbohydrates in very low amounts (usually less than 50 grams) and increases the amount of unsaturated fats and proteins, in order to induce new energy metabolism from fats (as opposed to energy derived from starch).

3. How to determine the optimal amount of carbs?

optimal low carb
The optimal amount of carb for blood sugar control depends on the individual patient

Patients with diabetes should choose low Glycemic Index foods. The glycemic index is often used to help people with diabetes control their blood sugar effectively. The glycemic index, abbreviated GI (glycemic index) is an index reflecting the rate of rapid or slow rise in blood sugar after eating foods with rich in carbohydrates.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that people with diabetes get about 45% of their calories from carbs. It is important to eat the amount of carbs you feel best suits you, and can practically sustain it over a long period of time.

To determine the optimal amount of carbs, measure your blood sugar through the glucometer before meals and re-measure 1-2 hours after eating. To prevent damage to the nerves and blood vessels, your maximum blood sugar level should reach 139 mg / dL (8 mmol / L). This result will depend on the number of carbs consumed per day, so you should limit carbs to less than 10, 15 or 25 grams at each meal.

》》》Learn more:

What is the Glycemic Index? Why should Diabetics choose foods with a low Glycemic Index (GI)?

The 1st step: Carbohydrate-rich foods should be avoided

During this period, you will prioritize the main dishes such as green vegetables, cheese, fish, lean meats, some seafood and fruits with low sugar. Some of the following foods are high in carbs that you should avoid consuming, including:

– Rice, sticky rice, wheat, bread, monosodium glutamate, pasta, pasta, vermicelli, and flour products.
– Most fruits with high sugar and starch content, tubers, seeds (corn, ripe mango, ripe banana, sunflower seed, beetroot, potatoes, yams and taro etc.)
– All foods contain excess sugar.
– Wine, beer.

You have two weeks to limit your carb intake to <20g from starch and finish it whenever possible, 12-15 grams of net carbs per day from green vegetables. There are 5 to 8g net carbs you spend for other foods. Recommended to get fat from nature, avoid a bad fat such as fish rich in omega-3, olive oil, sesame oil, peanut oil. And protein source from lean meat, fish, eggs.

The 2nd step:  How to determine the optimal amount of carbs

You will increase about 5g carbs per day to set yourself the maximum amount of carbs loaded while ensuring the blood sugar level <139 mg.
For example, the first week after 1st stage you load in 25g carbs / day. Second week you load 30g carbs / day, … When you have reached the appropriate carb level for yourself, stop increasing carbs. That is, you can get the maximum amount of carbs while ensuring your blood sugar is below the maximum. Specifically, in 1st week of 2nd phase, using 20g of carbs from food like 1st stage, you can add 5g of carbs from green vegetables.

 You just need to control the carbs and increase the carb slowly as a guide to eat anything. During 2nd week of 2nd stage, you ensure that the carb is at 30g (20 + 5 + 5).

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