Diabetic Debate: A Reader Asks…


Any advice or articles you can point me to regarding diabetes and low-carb? My dad was diagnosed with diabetes last summer and is still having a tough time regulating his blood sugar. I have tried to talk to him about keeping his carb count low but he is still eating bread, pasta, 25 carb grams soup and thinks he is keeping his carb count below 45 grams/day. I have sent him to fitday to calculate the carbs he eats. I’m going to have one more talk with him to try keep him off meds. Thanks!


Diabetes, a disease which causes the body to ineffectively produce insulin, is said to affect roughly 20.8 million people, or about 7% of the population of the United States, according to the NDIC.

With the ever-growing number of people suffering from the various types of diabetes today, coupled with the flurry of information available, it appears we are no closer to deciding the debate , and the raging question remains: can a low-carbohydrate plan help either stave off diabetes or the need for medication in plans where stabilization occurs due to medication?

Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, M.D. thinks so. The author of The Diabetes Diet and prominent diabetes expert, Dr. Berstein had this to say in an article regarding diabetes and low-carbohydrate lifestyle:

“In general, a low-carbohydrate diet provides the nutrients that people need without the excess carbohydrate that causes high blood sugars and requires high levels of insulin. In addition, protein, fat, and slow-acting carbohydrate, such as leafy and whole-plant vegetables and some kinds of root vegetables, tend to be broken down more slowly and continuously, so people who follow this diet tend to feel satisfied much longer after eating. It has also been shown that people on low-carbohydrate diets can consume more calories while losing the same amount of weight as those on simple restricted-calorie diets.”

In scientific studies, low-carb plans have shown success and promise. According to a study published in 2004 “Influence of a Modified Atkins Diet on Weight Loss and Glucose Metabolism in Obese Type 2 Diabetic,” researchers Goldstein, Kark and Berry found that when 52 patients in a control group were placed on two diets (one Atkins, and one on a low-calorie, ADA recommended diet), 17 out of 26 participants who followed Atkins were able to reduce medications as a result of a low-carbohydrate regimen, as opposed to the ADA control group, where 11 out of 26 were able to reduce their medication. While the findings were not astronomically different for the short duration of the study, the findings seem to show that further study into long-term positive effects of carbohydrate restriction might yield even better results for those with insulin-resistance.

More recently, this year, the American Diabetes Association has announced that it supports low carbohydrate diets as being as effective as low-fat diets in the management of diabetes. While the ADA does not claim that low-carb diets are scientifically proven as being superior to the low-calorie/low fat counterparts, the importance of allowing for a greater variety of plans helps when it comes to long-term management of the disease.

In partnership with a physician, patients can make great strides towards health and longevity through healthy lifestyle changes, a more active lifestyle, and the omission of refined carbohydrates and high fructose corn syrup (and sugar) from the menu. Whether medication can or should be discontinued will be determined through a close, monitored relationship with health care providers.

links for more information
National Diabetes Statistics
Why a Low-Carb Diet is the Only Answer for Diabetics and a Good Answer for Everyone Else
The Atkins Diet for Type 2 Diabetes
Atkins Research Library: Diabetes Studies
ADA Now Supports Low-Carb Diets

picture courtesy of www.myhealthinsight.com

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