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Carb-Controlled Diets for Type 2 Diabetes

written by: weborglodge • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 3/14/2011

A type 2 diabetes carb-controlled diet gives you better control over your blood sugar by preventing spikes caused by sugar-containing foods. Contrary to initial reactions in the medical community, the diet offers health benefits including improved blood sugar control.

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    Types of Carbohydrates

    pasta complex carbs The challenge that a diabetic faces is maintaining a normal blood sugar level. Medication plays a major role as does lifestyle changes including diet and exercise. Part of the concern lies with carbohydrate intake. As a form of energy, carbs are easy for the body to break down.

    There are two types of carbs, simple and complex. The classification is based on the chemical structure. Simple carbs include fruits and juices. Complex carbs are starches like bread and pasta. When these nutrients are metabolized, sugars are released which affect blood sugar levels.

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    Glycemic Index

    A type 2 diabetes carb-controlled diet mitigates these effects by reducing carb intake and focusing on carbs with a lower glycemic index. This figure measures how quickly sugar is released into the blood stream. The higher the figure, the quicker is the response of the body.

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    Medical Evidence

    In theory, it makes sense to control carbs. Evidence supports this hypothesis. A 2011 study published in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism found that low-carb diets can help diabetics with short-term weight loss. As the American Diabetes Association explains, even losing a small amount of weight can have positive effects on insulin resistance.

    Research has also shown that a low-carb diet has cardiovascular health benefits. A 2010 study by the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University, Philadelphia found a low-carb diet superior to a low-fat diet in controlling cardiovascular risk factors such as high cholesterol. The participants on a low-carb diet had greater reductions in their diastolic blood pressure, the lower number on the blood pressure reading, and higher levels of HDL or good cholesterol.

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    Metabolic Syndrome

    Taken as a whole, the evidence show that a type 2 diabetes carb-controlled diet can help diabetics control some of the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions which increases the risk of chronic health issues such as heart disease. A diabetic benefits from a low-carb diet by shedding a few pounds as well as improving cholesterol and insulin resistance.

    If you need further proof, the American Diabetes Association supports a low-carb diet for a possible solution for short-term weight loss in its document, "The Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes- 2008.” The association further explains that controlling carb intake is an effective way for controlling blood sugar.

    In terms of diet management, a carb-controlled diet provides a diabetic with a blueprint of dietary changes. Counting carbs and considering glycemic index are tangible figures which can help a diabetic make better diet choices.

    Managing diabetes begins with awareness of the seriousness of your condition as well as the tools such as carb counts which can help you control your condition. A non-pharmaceutical approach offers a way for you to take control of your health.

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    References

    American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2008. Diabetes Care, January 2008; 31, Supplement 1 S12-S54.

    G. Foster, et al. Weight and Metabolic Outcomes After 2 Years on a Low-Carbohydrate Versus Low-Fat Diet: A Randomized Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine; August 2010; 153(3):147-157.

    Kids Health: Glycemic Index kidshealth.org

    Photo by Nicolas Raymond, stock.xchng