(Natural News) Following a low-carb diet may benefit people with Type 1 diabetes, research suggests. This diet could improve blood sugar control according to a study published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, is a type of diabetes in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that allows blood sugar to enter the cells in the body to be used for energy. Without it, blood sugar won’t be able to get into cells and accumulates in the bloodstream, causing elevated blood sugar levels. This condition occurs due to an autoimmune reaction that damages beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is less common than Type 2, comprising only five percent of people with diabetes.
For the study, Danish researchers looked at how low-carb diets could help those with Type 1 diabetes. They recruited 10 people with the condition, who wore sensor-augmented insulin pumps and received individual meal plans during the study. Every participant’s carbohydrate intake was entered into the pump throughout the study period.
After the 12-week study period, the researchers found that participants who ate 100 g of carbs per day spent less time with blood sugar levels below 3.9 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) compared with those who ate 250 g each day. Those who followed a low-carb diet also experienced greater weight reductions. These results suggested that limiting carb intake to just 100 g a day may lead to positive effects, such as reduced blood sugar levels, more stable blood sugar variability, and better weight management.
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The findings also support the growing evidence that restricting carb intake can be beneficial to people with diabetes. Refraining from eating starchy carbohydrates like pasta and potatoes can reduce blood sugar spikes and drops that typically occur with higher carb diets. (Related: Is type 1 diabetes reversible? Study finds many people begin to produce insulin years after diagnosis.)
Tips for following a low-carb diet
Adhering to a low-carb diet can be challenging, especially at the beginning of the diet. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Know your low-carb foods – Knowing what foods are low in carbohydrates can help you plan your meals. Some examples include broccoli, cauliflower, and green leafy vegetables; lean meats such as chicken breast, sirloin, and pork; eggs and fish; nuts and seeds; oils such as coconut oil and olive oil; fruits such as apples, blueberries, and strawberries; and unsweetened dairy products like plain whole milk and plain yogurt.
- Know the carb count and serving sizes of foods – Low-carb foods vary in carbohydrate count and nutritional value. For this reason, it is important to choose foods that have a lower carb count but a high nutritional value per serving.
- Meal plans and meal prepping – Starting a meal plan can help you avoid making unhealthy food choices and stick to the diet. After meal planning comes meal prepping. This practice not only helps you eat more healthily, it also helps you save more money by not buying unnecessary food items.
- Bring low-carb snacks with you – You may need to eat a low-carb snack in between meals. Baby or regular carrots, cheese, a handful of nuts, hard-boiled eggs, and unsweetened yogurt are some great low-carb snacks.
- Try carb cycling – Weeks of adhering to a low-carb diet can lead to fat-burning plateaus. Carb cycling, which involves eating very low-carb foods for days, followed by one day of eating high-carb meals, can help the body avoid fat-burning plateaus.
Following a low-carb diet prioritizes the consumption of proteins, healthy fats and vegetables over carbs. Learn more about managing diabetes symptoms with diets at PreventDiabetes.news.