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Low Carb Diets for Diabetics

If you are a diabetic, you are probably all too familiar with keeping your blood sugar regulated and being conscientious about what you consume. Carbohydrates are known to raise blood sugar levels higher than most other foods. This means it requires more insulin to digest these foods. When you reduce your carbohydrate intake, you can stabilize your blood sugar levels easier. 

The great news is that you don’t have to eliminate all carbs, you just have to moderate your intake. In recent years, carbs have been considered the bad guy of foods, but you actually need carbs to survive! However, there is a difference from stuffing your face with sugary junk foods and actually eating a nutrient-dense, high fiber diet. Not only do the quality of your carbs make a difference, the volume of what you are eating can make a big impact on your overall health.

You’re Not Alone

If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy diet and manage your diabetes, you aren’t alone. More than 400 million people worldwide struggle with diabetes and because the number keeps rising, there have been a lot of studies and experts who specialize in diets for diabetics. Having high or low blood sugar can cause a variety of problems, but once you learn to manage your food in a healthy way, you can start living a happier, more productive life. This can seem a bit overwhelming, but there are so many resources and information that can aid you in your journey.

What Is Going On?

Also, it’s important to understand what happens to your body when you eat carbs. Essentially, your body breaks down carbs into glucose, which is then absorbed by the bloodstream, which then makes your pancreas work harder to maintain your insulin levels. People with diabetes take insulin several times a day to ensure that glucose gets into the cells and stays at a healthy level in the bloodstream. Carbs are what is known as a macronutrient (as are protein and fats). Research has shown that people with diabetes experience long-term improvements in managing blood sugar while eating a low carb diet. Because the media has told us “carbs are bad” people then get a stigma about consuming them and it can greatly impact one’s health.

What To Do?

So, what should you be eating? First, it’s important to regulate your carb intake based on your physical activity. That means, understanding how many grams of carbs you can safely consume in a day for your personal body. There is no magical one-size-fits-all formula that works for everyone. What’s more important is focusing on the quality of your foods. In plant foods, carbs comprise a combination of starch, sugar, and fiber. Only the starch and sugar components raise blood sugar. You can certainly do some research and better understand exactly which carbs you should or shouldn’t have but we wanted to make it slightly easier for you with a few recommendations.

What To Eat:

  1. Nuts

Whether you are eating them as a snack, or using them to cook with, nuts have been known to provide a wide variety of health benefits. While they are high in fat, if you keep your consumption moderate, you can safely eat nuts and regulate your blood sugar and body weight. Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and hazelnuts are all popular nuts that people eat to fulfill some regulated daily recommendations for health benefits. They are high in antioxidants and are incredibly convenient if you are on the go. Just don’t sit down with a big jar of them and plow through them as you can be doing more harm than good. While delicious, this is definitely one of those foods you have to exercise caution with.

  1. Berries

Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are some of my most favorite berries because they are pretty tasty! If you don’t go overboard, you can safely consume berries on a daily basis and it may just satisfy your sweet tooth. Known as nature’s candy, berries are natural and don’t contain all the additives of ice cream, candy or other sweets. Just make sure you connect with your doctor or dietician before you start adding them to your daily diet. They do contain sugar which can be a culprit for raising blood sugar levels. Most people don’t eat berries on a daily basis, diabetic or not, for this reason. If you’re a smoothie fan, this might be another great option for incorporating them into your diet.

  1. Vegetables

There are quite a variety of vegetables that can be helpful for the diabetic diet. When you consume vegetables that have a low GI score, you can avoid blood sugar spikes. These include asparagus, broccoli, artichokes, green beans, lettuce, eggplant and peppers. Just ensure you are not overcooking them as it can lose the nutrition value in some vegetables. Some to avoid are potatoes, corn, peas and butternut squash. As with most foods, it is all about personal preference so if there is a vegetable you don’t like, you probably won’t eat it. The great thing about vegetables is all the options! There are so many ways to incorporate them into every meal of the day. There are also many websites specifically for diabetics for recipes and the best way to prepare them.

  1. Seeds

Seeds have been known to have protective effects for those with diabetes. A study found that consuming flaxseed powder helped to reduce fasting blood glucose as well as HbA1c levels. Flaxseed if not chewed properly, may not get digested and just wash out of your body. So, it’s good to grind the seeds and add the powder to baked foods, oatmeal, cereals, smoothies, etc. Chia seeds can actually help reduce factors that lead to heart disease and are easy to add to your favorite dishes. Seeds are high in fat content so keep a close eye on just how much you are eating.

Moderation Is Key

As with any diet, moderation truly is the key, but you don’t have to avoid carbs to be healthy. Doctors and dieticians are the best to consult before you make any significant changes in your daily diet. They can test your hormone levels and make appropriate recommendations based on your body. While diabetes can be frustrating, it’s also completely maintainable when you have the right foods in place. If you’ve been managing your diabetes for years, or you recently discovered you are diabetic, there are definitely some foods to avoid such as sugary/sweetened beverages, white bread, pasta, rice, sugary cereals, flavored coffee drinks and fruit juices among others. While it may be tempting to cheat on your diet, it can have significant health impacts for those trying to manage diabetes. And foods shouldn’t be a tool for consoling a bad day or a bad mood. Foods are here to help us operate a healthy lifestyle and improve the quality of our lives.


If you are concerned about your current carb take, a great thing you can do is start a food journal so you can stay accountable and on track with your diabetes management. It will also help your doctor or dietician when they need to assess your health and make suggestions. The best part about a food journal is that it keeps you conscientious of what you are putting in your body and you can understand better how and why your body a certain way. And there is a potential that you may not be eating enough carbs for your diabetes management, which a professional can also assess. The moral is, don’t be afraid of carbs. Even though they’ve gotten a pretty tough reputation, it’s primarily because people are eating the wrong types of carbs. When you are loading up on sugar, it can cause weight gain, crashing energy levels, mood swings, induced sugar cravings, skin breakouts, bloating, constipation, cavities and brain fog, among other things.


There are also plenty of apps you can download on your phone to help you manage your macronutrient intake, which may make things a little easier and less stressful for you. Also, make sure you are drinking enough water each day to stay hydrated and increase your body functionality. Sometimes when you think you are hungry and craving a bad carb choice you may just be dehydrated and it’s your body’s way of asking for more water.


Exercise is also an important role for regulating your body, but definitely consult with a medical provider so you can learn what some of the best exercises are for your body type and lifestyle. When combined with a healthy diet, exercise can improve your mood, mental clarity, stabilize your weight and more. If you’re nervous about starting an exercise routine with your diabetes, the best thing you can do is start out slow and see how it affects you. Many diabetics have learned this can be a great enhancement for your life, but it also means finding an activity you actually enjoy.


Hopefully this gives you more insight about managing your carb intake and your diabetes. It can be a challenge to keep a steady diet, but your health depends on it!

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