Importance of Low Carbohydrate Diet to Fight Diabetes Naturally
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 422 million people have diabetes worldwide. The number of cases has been increasing over the past few decades. With the current lifestyle and dietary habits, diabetes has become a major cause for concern. The disease results in many major complications like blindness, kidney failure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and lower limb amputations. If you are currently following an erratic dietary regime and an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle, it is best that you change your way of living to be able to conquer the disease.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder in which the body is unable to breakdown sugar and utilise it adequately. The pancreas is responsible to secrete insulin that is required for the utilisation of glucose from the foods you eat. The carbohydrates in the food are broken down into glucose in the blood. Insulin helps to transfer this glucose into the cells for energy production. The insufficiency of insulin leads to raised glucose levels in the blood which is known as hyperglycaemia. This can result in damage to all organs in the body and ultimately resulting in their failure.
What are the Types of Diabetes?
There are three main types of diabetes – Diabetes Mellitus type I, Diabetes Mellitus type II, and Gestational Diabetes.
- Diabetes Mellitus Type I
This condition is an autoimmune disorder that means that your own body’s immunity is attacking and destroying the beta cells in your pancreas. The beta cells are responsible for the production of insulin. Due to this, there is insufficient insulin production resulting in type I diabetes. This condition usually occurs during childhood and is also known as Juvenile Diabetes. The cause is unknown, but genetics and environmental factors play a major role in the development of this disease.
2. Diabetes Mellitus Type II
Type II diabetes is mainly caused due to insulin resistance. This means that your body is producing insulin but is not using it efficiently. Resulting in high Insulin in your blood and high glucose in your blood. High Insulin in your blood is itself a risk marker for heart disease. As the blood glucose remains high this also results in overstimulation of your pancreas pushing it to produce more insulin until it can no longer secrete any more. Thus, insulin production decreases and blood sugar levels increase.
3. Gestational Diabetes
As the name suggests, gestation = pregnancy, this type of diabetes occurs only during pregnancy.
What is a Low Carbohydrate Diet?
As the name suggests, a low carb diet is a diet that is low in carbohydrates. You will focus more on proteins, fats, complex carbohydrates like green leafy vegetables, etc. Low carb diet involves avoiding high glycemic foods like pasta, bread, rice, grains, etc basically all grains – as these result in forming high amounts on glucose in the blood in a short span of time.
How Can a Low Carbohydrate Diet be Effective Against Diabetes?
Your body breaks down the food you eat in the stomach. When you consume carbs, they are broken down into smaller units and finally to glucose which then travel in the blood as sugar. When the blood sugar levels rise, your pancreas responds by secreting the insulin hormone. Insulin helps the sugars in the blood to enter the cells in the body and here the glucose further gets used up to produce the much needed energy that the cell needs to carry on its activities.
When you consume too much of grains or frank carbohydrates than the it is broken down to glucose very fast this causes a large amount of insulin to be released by the Pancreas and this is called an insulin spike. In most cases this high amount of insulin will will get the sugar into the cell but in some cases the insulin is not able to shift this in cells and for some time starts pushing the glucose to fat cells and converting it to triglycerides and also causing obesity. At this stage the person becomes prediabetic and if there is no intervention he goes on to become a diabetic. This transport of glucose to within the cells is due to toxic overload, lack of exercise and lack of proper nutrition in the form of minerals and vitamins.
Thus, finally there is less or no production of insulin by the pancreas due to pancreatic exhaustion When insulin cannot transport the glucose into the cells of your body your body starts becoming resistant to the insulin and the beta cells in the pancreas lose their ability to secrete the hormone in adequate quantities. Hence as a diabetic if you consume less carbohydrates, the glucose spike and insulin spike mentioned above does not happen and your sugars can be controlled at a better rate.
What Are the Low Carb Foods for Diabetics in Indian Food?
Foods To Be Eaten
A low carb diet includes all types of foods that are low in carbohydrates. Here are food options that you can choose from for maintaining your blood sugar levels.
All kinds of meat can be consumed. Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, etc. All these animal protein based food should never be fried
All types of fish – salmon, sardines, herrings, mackerel, are great. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Frying fish destroys all its goodness.
Eggs are a rich source of protein and can be freely eaten in a low carb diet. Boil them or fry them or whip up some omelette. You are good to go! But has to be the entire egg with the yolk and boiled is better than fried. just give ff whites are useless they do not get absorbed in your gut.
Grass-fed butter, home-made ghee, cream can be used in your low carb cooking. Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed virgin olive oil are healthy fats. All refined vegetable oils or any refined oils are trans fats and should not be used they are harmful and can cause further insulin resistance.
All veggies that grow above the ground are allowed. These include – cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, asparagus, onions, capsicum, tomatoes, all the gourds (bottle, bitter, ridge), leafy greens like amaranth, fenugreek, mint, etc. These vegetables can be enjoyed without any restrictions.
Milk should be used with caution as it does cause inflammation in the gut and a whole lot of digestive and malabsorption syndromes. All those suffering from autoimmune conditions should avoid milk. If you still want to consume milk, then this milk should be from a desi cow which gives about 4 – 7 liters of milk a day.
All nuts and seeds are a great snack to munch on.
Bank on water always. You can make it a little more interesting by adding some detox veggies as infusions. E.g. Cucumber and mint in water keeps you feeling refreshed. Drink plenty of fluids like buttermilk, coconut water, lemonade (without sugar), etc.
Foods To Be Avoided
The foods that are typically high in carbohydrates and can directly influence your blood sugar levels should be avoided. These include:
- White bread – all bread including brown bread
- All grains including rice Jowar bajra ragi and corn
- Starchy veggies like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, all tubers
- Fruits and their juices
- Desserts, candy, ice cream
Before you start following any kind of diet, it is best to consult your physician or a nutritionist to understand what suits you the best. Low carb diet works for almost everyone and it leaves you feeling energized and rejuvenated.
So, what are you waiting for? Go meet your healthcare provider and start your low carbohydrate diet now!