Dr. Kathleen Jones
The Connection Between Low Carb Diets and Diabetes Remission
Many health practitioners used to recommend a standard carb intake for the
majority of people, but more modern health research recognizes that
everyone’s carb needs are different based on their health goals, age, weight,
and activity level. Carbohydrates are often the number one focus when
discussing diabetes management because they increase glucose in the blood
at a higher rate than other food groups. Type 2 diabetes causes the body to
process carbohydrates less efficiently, elevating blood sugar levels and
requiring higher insulin production. If you are diabetic, or concerned about
developing diabetes, being intentional about both the quantity and the type of
carbs you consume can help your body break out of this cycle and can
increase the possibility of diabetes prevention and remission.
How does a low carb diet battle diabetes? Results from a recently-published
study by the British Medical Association showed that following a low carb diet
for six months improved insulin sensitivity, stabilized blood sugar levels,
reduced reliance on diabetes medication, and increased the likelihood of
achieving remission. The effectiveness of the low carb diets plateaued after
the six month mark, highlighting the difficulty of adhering to a diet long term.
If you’re considering a low carb diet to help manage diabetes, here are a few
things to keep in mind.
Make subtle dietary changes over a long period of time.
Our society often portrays restrictive diets as a cure-all for a wide array of
health issues, but a lot of the rhetoric surrounding dieting is harmful. Diets that
recommend cutting out entire food groups or drastically changing the way you
eat in a short period of time should be avoided. Slowly making dietary
changes that are sustainable for you over a long period of time is much better
for your health and your body.
Eat a variety of healthy foods.
Lean proteins: Fish, chicken, turkey, tofu, and eggs
Whole grains: Brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat bread
High-fiber vegetables: Broccoli, cucumber, lettuce, and green beans
Low-sugar fruits: Berries, peaches, cantaloupe, and watermelon
The general guideline for low carb diets is to limit or avoid highly processed
grains like white bread, starchy foods like potatoes, and sugary foods like
cookies and cakes.
Be mindful of vitamin deficiencies.
While low carb diets can work wonders for diabetes symptoms, they also carry
the risk of vitamin deficiency. Be mindful of your vitamin intake through the
foods you eat and consider supplementing as needed to avoid the negative
effects of vitamin deficiencies.
Work with a health practitioner you trust.
When you’re making health decisions, it’s important to know you can trust
your provider. A big part of what I do as a naturopathic doctor is seeing my
patients as a whole person (not just a set of symptoms) and taking the time to
help them reach their health goals through dietary changes and appropriate
supplements. If you’re looking for a more natural approach to managing
diabetes or other health conditions, get in touch today to set up a consultation.
BMJ. 2021. Efficacy and safety of low and very low carbohydrate diets for type
2 diabetes remission. British Medical Journal.
Ries, Julia. 2021. Low Carb Diet May Help People with Type 2 Diabetes Go
Into Remission. Healthline.
Various authors. 2020. Understanding Carbs. American Diabetes Association.
Villines, Zawn. 2019. A guide to low-carb diets for diabetes. Medical News