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Controlling diabetes means managing insulin levels, which can be
difficult since sugar-spiking, carb-loaded foods can be found pretty much
everywhere. Diet might only be part of the equation when it comes to managing type 2
diabetes, but it certainly makes a difference between life and death. But how do you decide which one's the right one for you? Here's what you'll need to know: Avoid Low-GI Diets Most diabetes experts don’t endorse the GI index because it’s a poor measure to begin with; you simply can’t add up the GI index of individual foods in a meal and make a prediction of how your blood sugar will respond. Since this diet is based on the blood-sugar response of eating a single
food, that would limit your options for every meal. Plus, foods work together to impact blood sugar, and the GI doesn’t take that into account. How Different Low-Carb Plans Compare There's a growing body of evidence that shows very-low-carb plans are far superior in managing diabetes than moderate-low-carb diets. Here's what research showed after looking at each plan separately:
The first compares low-GI against very-low-carb diets. When participants were instructed to limit their carb intake to less than 20 grams a day, they actually averaged about 49 grams per day—about 13 percent of their diet. After 24 weeks, subjects saw notable improvements in glucose measures across the board and lost an average of 23 pounds; in addition, triglycerides decreased and levels of “good” HDL cholesterol rose.
A 2006 study published in Diabetic Medicine. Half of the subjects were placed on a low-carb diet and ate an average of 110 grams of carbs a day—about 34 percent of calories. A control group (similar in weights and blood-sugar levels to participants from the previous study) was instructed to eat “healthfully.” After 3 months, both groups experienced the same small improvements in glucose measures—there wasn’t a significant difference between the two plans. Average weight loss in the low-carb group was about 7 pounds.
How Low-Carb Do You Have to Go? The number of carbs a diabetic should aim for in a day really depends on
severity of the disease. Experts recommend sticking to about 20 grams
to 100 grams of carbs a day, just to be safe.
What about Heart Disease?
The major confusion regarding low-carb diets is that most of them by
default are high in fat, which supposedly raises your risk for heart
disease (considered the most fatal complication of diabetes).
Basically, it all depends on what type of fat you’re eating. A 2010
meta-analysis confirmed that while processed meats like hot dogs likely
do play a role in heart disease, red meat alone didn’t increase heart
risk. And more recent studies have found that eating lean beef can
actually lower cholesterol levels, provided that it's part of a diet
high in fruits and vegetables.