Low carbohydrate diet and the diabetic patient

Low carbohydrate diet improves and controls diabetes; it is more helpful for type 2 diabetic patients.

The basic food contents are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrate is main source of glucose. If you can control carbohydrate intake, it helps to maintain glucose level. But to have good nutrition in your diet, you have to include all three food contents in balanced amount.

Limiting carbohydrates gives better results in the diabetes treatment, because if you eat more carbohydrates your blood glucose level goes up. Limiting carbohydrate intake means selecting low carbohydrate foods in your diet. Starch, milk and fruits are three food groups that are carbohydrate rich food groups. Vegetable food group contain some carbohydrates but meat and fat groups contain very little carbohydrate.

Examples of carbohydrate count for some common foods: One slice of bread contain 15 grams of carbohydrates, one cup fat-free milk contain 12 grams of carbohydrates, ½ cup fruit juice contains 15 grams of carbohydrates, ½ banana contain 15 grams of carbohydrates, one teaspoon sugar contain four grams of carbohydrate and one cup fruit yogurt contain 19 grams of carbohydrates. From this you can say, one serving of starch, milk or fruit contain 15 grams of carbohydrates and also three servings of vegetable contain 15 grams.

The food containing high amount of carbohydrate has the most impact on blood glucose level. A low carbohydrate diet helps to control blood glucose, blood pressure as well as blood lipids. But a very low carbohydrate diet causes the body to proteins to provide energy for the body, this produces ketones. Therefore this diet is also called as a ketogenic diet. Low-carbohydrate diets also cause drastic reduction in bodyweight.

To plan a low carbohydrate diet you should know the carbohydrate count foods. On most foods “Nutrition Facts” label is available, from which you get carbohydrate information. Only packaged foods have labels, to count carbohydrates in fast foods, restaurant foods and fresh foods you can use books or websites. Mostly carbohydrates can be counted as exchanges or in grams. One carbohydrate exchange equals 15 grams of carbohydrates.

You can include free food in your low carbohydrate diet because it contains 5 grams or less carbohydrate per serving (that is 20 calories per serving). These free foods can be eaten without counting but if you are including more servings of these foods then you should count it in your meal. Examples of free foods are: club soda, coffee, tea, diet soft drinks, sugar-free tonic water, sugar-free candy, mineral water, sugar-free syrup, jam or jelly, two teaspoon sugar etc.

Most people think that diabetes means you should avoid all forms of sugar. However, if you can manage the total amount of carbohydrates in your meal, you can include foods containing sugar in your meal. If you choose sugar containing foods with more carbohydrates then this will affect the blood glucose level. Extra servings of bread, rice, pasta, fruits or other carbohydrate containing foods raises blood sugar. So, you have to plan your meal so that throughout the day carbohydrate intake remains consistent.