Nutrition

Healthy Low Carb Diet For People With Diabetes

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Low-Carb Diet for People with Diabetes: Things to Do and Avoid

Low-carb, low-carb, and low-carb are the words that constantly ring in the minds of a person with diabetes as they are drilled into their heads. Why, you ask? It is because a low-carb diet for diabetes is one of the most important things that make or break the management of sugar levels. If you have diabetes and you eat foods with a high-sugar or high-carb content you instantly feel thirsty, even more hungry, tired, and probably sleepy. This happens due to the havoc the glucose molecules (broken down from the carb intake) have created in your bloodstream. To be able to avoid all of this and several other future complications, it is of utmost importance that you live on a low-carb diet for type 1 diabetes and even for type 2 diabetes

Low-carb cannot mean no-carb. The body does require a certain amount of carbs to be able to effectively break them down into glucose molecules that the blood and the organs use for energy. Carbohydrates are necessary for a balanced meal plan, so where do you draw the line? How much carb intake is healthy for you if you are diagnosed with diabetes? Read on to find out.

What is a Low-Carb Diet?

A low-carb diet or low-carb foods for diabetes need to be understood thoroughly to be able to make a concrete list and a diet plan that you can stick to. There are different definitions of “low-carb” however, you can understand it as a reduction of the total number of carbs in a day to 130 grams. Essentially, this would mean that you will have to count the carbs of each item of food you eat in a day. If you eat food with high carbs such as potatoes, that won’t be healthy. 

Only stick to a low-carb diet if you are prediabetic or have been diagnosed with diabetes. Otherwise, a low-carb diet may not be very healthy and not give you the right kind of nutrition your body requires. The daily carb intake for diabetes varies among people as well. People who exercise regularly might require slightly more carbs than someone who has a relaxed lifestyle. 

To follow a diet that is low in carbohydrates:

  1. Make low-carb Indian foods for people with diabetes list. This will help you understand and choose from the options in India. 
  2. Stick to a meal plan daily and include foods with different nutrients
  3. Eat salads and fruits daily to keep the diet plan balanced. 

Considerations to opt for Low-Carb Diet

Yes, a low-carb diet for people with diabetes is important, however, it is equally important to carefully plan these meals to avoid any overlooks and mistakes that might prove to be unhealthy. What are the things one can consider before devising a meal plan?

  • Consider all the low-carb options – Make a list of all the food items you can eat that come under the category of being low in carbs and speak to your doctor about which ones to include
  • Communicate with your doctors – Keep them in the loop, especially if you are changing your diet plan. For example, if you decide to switch to keto or vegan diets, it is necessary that you speak to your doctors to understand if it is the right move
  • Monitor your sugar levels – Despite following a diabetes low-carb diet menu, it is necessary to keep a check of your parameters regularly
  • Spread your carbs out – Instead of eating one potato and then depriving yourself of carbs throughout the day, spread it out over the 3-4 meals you eat for the best results.

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What’s the Optimal Carb Intake for People with Diabetes?

While low-carb foods for people with diabetes are important, there is no one-such rigid guideline that all the people diagnosed with diabetes can follow. Each person’s requirements would be different based on the needs of their bodies and their sugar levels. Their insulin intake would also be affected by the number of carbs they are eating. 

There are certain factors that affect the carb intake of a person with diabetes. These factors are:

  • Activity level
  • Weight
  • Health goals
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Stress and food habits 
  • Types of diabetes
  • Age, etc

The daily carb intake for people with diabetes would largely depend on their blood sugars. Optimally, it should be lower than 130 grams, however, low sugars can cause the person to eat high-carb and high-sugar foods. A very low-carb diet would be 30 gms or less. A low-carb diet would be 130 grams or less. A moderate-carb diet would be 130-225 grams. 

Low Carb Diet for Diabetes

A low-carb diet for diabetes is the most optimal thing you could follow regularly. There are several benefits to following such a diet as it works on different levels. 

  • This diet helps to lower the overall HbA1c levels
  • Blood fats and cholesterol levels also remain under control with a low-carb diet.
  • The list of carb-free foods for people with diabetes can assist in the overall carb counting thus lowering the margin for errors (highs or lows in sugar levels)
  • With the weight loss associated with low-carb foods, losing even about 10-15kgs of weight will give people with T2D a chance at remission and prevent the onset of any complications
  • It also helps in the long run to avoid high cholesterol, heart diseases, liver-related issues, etc.

Foods to Eat in Low-Carb Diet

What comes under low-carb foods for people with diabetes? Here is a list of the different food items that you can include in your meal plan. 

  • Healthy foods from natural sources like – vegetables, eggs, nuts, olives, fruits
  • Sources of proteins like – eggs, lentils, avocados, cheese (limited), etc
  • Non-starchy vegetables like – leafy greens, cabbage, beans, etc
  • Use ghee and peanut oil for the best results.
  • Yogurt, buttermilk, etc can be eaten.

Foods to Avoid in Low-Carb Diet

While it is impossible to have a no-carb diet for people with diabetes, it is important to have a low-carb Indian food for people with diabetes in place. Knowing what to eat is key, but what is equally important is knowing what not to eat as well. 

Avoid the following list of foods if you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are asked to maintain a low-carb diet:

  • Any kinds of white bread, pasta, corn, etc
  • Vegetables with high starch levels like potatoes, yams, corn
  • Rice (especially white rice) 
  • Fruits like – mangoes, chikoo, sitaphal, grapes, etc as they have a very high GI
  • Bananas – in moderation as they are high in carbs. Read in detail, can diabetic patient eat banana
  • Fruit juices, sweetened tea, coffee, nimbu pani, etc
  • Beer
  • Desserts like – baked goods, cakes, pastries, cookies, ice cream, candies, etc

All the above foods also come under the low-carb diet for prediabetes. Follow it if your HbA1c levels are borderline diabetic so that it does not convert into a proper diagnosis of T2D. Restricting yourself for a few months is always better than a lifelong restriction and ban on such foods. 

Bottomline

Let the words “low-carb” not be intimidating for you anymore. Understand what exactly comes under a low-carb meal and create new dishes to mix it up for yourself. Eat moderate-carb food occasionally or in moderation to avoid any unnecessary complications and long-term effects. This article will give you a detailed list of foods to eat and foods to avoid if you have been diagnosed with diabetes so read on. Also read is jackfruit good for diabetes.

FAQs

Which carbs raise blood sugar levels?

High-carb foods like potatoes, peas, corn, bread, cookies, pasta, etc can raise blood sugar levels. Some of these foods are also high in GI. 

What is the risk of a low-carb diet?

A low-carb diet can cause hypoglycemia and the body to be devoid of certain nutrients. The healthy and balanced functioning of a body requires carbs. Eat the number of carbs healthy for you as suggested by your doctor.

What should be the daily intake of carb for people with diabetes?

To each their own, however, optimally, a low-carb diet would be somewhere near 130 grams of carbs per day. Make sure to spread these carbs throughout the meals.

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