If you've been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes, chances are you've been given the advice to "eat less carbs" or get on a "low carb diet."
Does this mean that carbs are bad for people with diabetes?
In this article we will explore the relationship between carbs, blood sugar, and diabetes, and discuss some simple ways to improve your diet without counting calories or getting rid of the foods your love.
What Is The Relationship Between Blood Sugar and Diabetes?
This may be obvious to some, but it bears repeating: diabetes is chronically high blood sugar.
When you go in to the doctor they take a blood test called an "A1C."
This A1C test measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months.
The result of the test comes back as a number.
The doctor then consults this chart:
A1C < 5.7% - normal healthy blood sugar
5.7% < A1C < 6.5% - patient is pre-diabetic
6.5% < A1C - patient has type two diabetes
Where your A1C falls on this chart is what determines if you have diabetes, which means that diabetes is, at it's core, just chronically high blood sugar.
How Do Carbs Affect Blood Sugar
Now that we understand what diabetes is, it's time to discuss how the foods we eat affect our blood sugar levels.
There are three types of macronutrients: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
When carbohydrates are consumed your digestive system breaks them apart and turns them into glucose, which is a fancy word for sugar.
The purpose of glucose is to provide a quick and ready-to-use source of energy for your body.
But if you eat a lot of carbs and don't do a lot of exercise (to burn off the sugar), this sugar can pile up in the body, becoming fat and resulting in high blood sugar levels.
Does This Mean Carbs Are Bad?
Carbs are only "bad" when they aren't getting burned off and used as energy. If you're a triathlete or fitness enthusiast, you need carbs to fuel your exercise.
But if you're like most of us and your running shoes are a bit *dusty* then carbs may be causing blood sugar levels to rise.
Which is why many health experts suggest limiting your intake of carbohydrates if you're looking to lower blood sugar levels.
What About Fiber?
Fiber is technically classified as a carbohydrate, but it isn't digested and turned into glucose, which means it doesn't lead to increased blood sugar levels.
In fact fiber is an excellent nutrient for those with diabetes as it leads to improved gut health and better overall digestion.
It is recommended that if you have diabetes you eat 20-40g of fiber each day.
And while fiber will show up as a "carb" on nutrition labels, you can exclude it from your carb count.
This is what "net carbs" are - total carbs minus fiber.
Do I Need To Count Calories Or Is A Low-Carb Diet Enough?
The good news is that if you're just looking to lower blood sugar levels, you don't necessarily need to eat less, you may just need to eat differently.
This is great because it means you can eat til you're full and don't need to worry about starving yourself on some crazy crash diet.
Instead, you may just need to monitor the carbs you eat and keep them to a minimum.
Fortunately in today's modern world there are a ton of low-carb alternatives to the foods you love eating that can satisfy your cravings without causing big blood sugar spikes.
Calorie restricted diets can be effective, but they are very difficult to stick with, which is why they rarely ever work.
Carb restricted diets on the other hand allow you to eat until you feel full, which makes them much easier to comply with.
What If I Don't Know How To Eat A Low-Carb Diet?
Low-carb diets can be tricky, because carbs are everywhere.
That's exactly why we developed the 14 Day Blood Sugar Challenge.
This program is designed to get you seeing results in as little as 14 days.
We give you everything you need to succeed with a low-carb diet, including:
- Low Carb Meal Replacement Shakes
- Low-Carb Recipe Guide
- Do's & Dont's Cheat Sheet
- Blood Sugar Support Supplements
- Educational Content
- So much more!
We made this program dead-simple so that anyone can start seeing the benefits of a low-carb diet, regardless of their nutritional background or experience.
Carbs are one of three main macronutrients, and there is nothing wrong with them per se.
But if you have high blood sugar, reducing the amount of carbs in your diet is a proven way to reduce blood sugar naturally.
If you have type two diabetes or pre-diabetes, and you want to finally get your blood sugar levels under control, you can check out our 14 Day Blood Sugar Challenge by clicking the link above.
It will give you everything you need to start improving your blood sugar levels in as little as 14 days.