For the sake of keeping processed/synthetic ingredients out of your diet, focus on avoiding low-carb packaged foods — like most commercial protein bars or meal replacement shakes. These may provide fat and protein, and be low in sugar or carbs, but they’re still not beneficial overall if they contain things like processed protein powders, refined oils and artificial sweeteners.
Your body uses carbohydrates as its main fuel source. Complex carbohydrates (starches) are broken down into simple sugars during digestion. They're then absorbed into your bloodstream, where they're known as blood sugar (glucose). In general, natural complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly and they have less effect on blood sugar. Natural complex carbohydrates provide bulk and serve other body functions beyond fuel.
Glucose that isn’t immediately needed by these cells can be stored in your liver and muscles as glycogen (long chains of glucose, similar to starch in food). However, there is a limit to the amount that can be stored. Once your glycogen storage sites are full, any additional glucose from the breakdown of excess carbohydrate will be converted to fat and stored in your body.
Exercise reduces appetite. It is good for general cardiovascular fitness and strength, but is a hard way to lose weight. If you find it hard to exercise, simply moving more has significant health benefits and can increase your metabolic rate. Get up and move around every half hour, walk don’t take the bus, stairs instead of lift…Get a pedometer and try to increase your steps by 10% each week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults do moderate exercise for 150 minutes a week for a minimum 10 minutes at a time for moderate health benefits. For optimal health benefits, the CDC recommend 300 minutes of exercise. The CDC also suggest that people lift weights or do other strength training exercises to improve overall health.
Research funded by an American company also found that some people with type 2 diabetes who followed a programme that included a low-carb eating plan were in remission after two years. Participants in the study were supported to restrict their intake of carbs, initially to less than 30g per day and then gradually increasing the amount, based on personal tolerance and health goals.
That said, there isn’t an agreement that a low-carb diet is superior to any other kind of diet or that it’s healthier long term. A review in the December 2015 issue of Diabetes Therapy that looked at the diet among those with diabetes noted that when it comes to weight loss, a low-carb diet performs no better than other higher-carb diets; and that it doesn’t produce better glycemic control, either. (5) Another report in Diabetes Care also found that over one year, those on a low-carb diet lost weight faster than those on a low-fat one, but after a year, weight loss and A1C levels (an average of blood glucose over about three months) were remarkably similar. (6)
Once glucose enters your bloodstream, it causes your blood sugar to rise immediately. This prompts your pancreas to produce insulin, the hormone that allows glucose to move out of your blood and into your cells. How much your blood sugar goes up – and how long it stays elevated – depends on a number of factors, including how many carbs you eat, how much insulin you produce, and how sensitive your cells are to insulin.
If you want to cut costs even more you can replace the avocado in the tuna salad (if you are not lucky enough to find avocados on sale) with more vegetables. A drizzle of some extra olive oil on the salad will compensate for the reduction of fat from the avocado. You can also substitute any of cheeses in the recipes for other types of cheese that you may find on sale.
If you treat your diabetes with insulin or any other medication that puts you at risk of hypos (low blood sugar levels), following a low-carb diet may increase this risk. Speak to your healthcare team about this so they can help you adjust your medications to reduce your risk of hypos. Your team may also support you to check your blood sugar levels more often.
Basic no-cook plates: Away from a kitchen or not wanting to cook for a meal? Sliced deli meats, cheese, and vegetables with dip make an easy lunch. Or boil up a dozen eggs and keep them ready in the fridge to grab for lunch or snacks. A can of tuna or salmon, with some full fat mayonnaise and vegetable crudités, is a simple lunch. Smoked oysters, sardines, herring with raw veggies or a salad are other easy no-cook choices.
The Mediterranean-style low carb diet approach, which we recommend in The Blood Sugar Diet, is a low sugar diet, low in starchy, easily digestible carbs, but packed full of disease-fighting vitamins and flavonoids. It is rich in olive oil, fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables, but also contains lots of lovely things that down the years we have been told not to eat, such as full fat yoghurt and eggs.