Managing diabetes involves various aspects, but keeping a count of your carbohydrate intake is the most important. Specifically for Type 2 diabetes, people must be more cautious regarding their carbohydrate intake. But what is the optimal count? How many carbs should a person with type 2 diabetes eat daily? Well, it is a long debate.
Type 2 diabetes is considered one prevalent ailment in the US. If left untreated, Type 2 diabetes affects the functionalities of other organs, including the kidney, pancreas, eyes, and brain. Therefore, staying on the safe edge is prime.
This article will be a comprehensive guide on how many carbs works best for type 2 diabetes, why it is essential, and how carbohydrate levels affect your health.
Why Should You Count Carbs: Carb Counting
Counting carbs plays a pivotal role in diabetes management. By keeping a carbohydrate count, an individual makes profound dietary decisions.
Unlike other nutrients, the fate of carbohydrates is different. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose molecules absorbed within the blood, thus affecting the normal blood sugar levels.
By meticulously tracking carbohydrate intake, individuals with diabetes gain valuable insights into their dietary choices and unlock the ability to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
In addition to this, keeping a carb count comes with the following other benefits:
- It helps in weight management by giving insight on calorie-intake
- It reduces the complications triggered due to diabetes, such as cardiovascular issues, kidney failure, nerve damage, and retinopathy.
- It also helps in making mindful food choices.
How Carbs Affect Type 2 Diabetes
Carbohydrate intake plays a significant role in developing and managing type 2 diabetes. So, if you think you can work your diabetic complications without considering carbohydrate count, then you are on the wrong side.
Blood Sugar Impact
As we know, carbohydrates get metabolized into constituent glucose molecules, which get absorbed into the blood, resulting in an immediate rise in sugar. This is where insulin makes its way. It increases the demand on cells for energy and makes them use glucose as much as possible, resulting in glucose regulation.
But in the case of type 2 diabetes, they either have insulin sensitivity or insulin is incapable of doing its function. As a result, the sugar regulation in the blood gets impaired.
Glycemic index and load
The glycemic index refers to a measure of how quickly carbohydrate in food raises blood sugar levels. Food with high GI, such as refined grains or sugary snacks, results in a rapid spike in glucose levels within the blood. At the same time, the food with low GI has the opposite effect. It gives a very subtle rise in blood glucose levels.
Therefore, monitoring the GI of food, we eat could help us manage hyperglycemic conditions much better.
In type 2 diabetes, the body cells become resistant to insulin. Carbohydrate-rich food triggers insulin release, but type 2 diabetics can’t respond effectively. Therefore, reducing carbohydrate intake can reduce insulin demand by the body, thus managing insulin resistance.
How Do I Count Carbs for Type 2 Diabetes?
It involves the tracking and monitoring of carbohydrates in your diet. Following are some ways to monitor your carb count in the best possible way:
Learn the carbohydrate content of food
Learn about the carbohydrate content of different foods. You can use reliable sources such as food labels or nutritional databases. Do consider the serving size since carbohydrate varies proportionally with it.
Understand your portion size.
Portion size plays a vital role in keeping a good carb count. You can manage the portion size using manual help from visual cues or a food scale. Getting a dietitian's guidance is best as he will help you decide the optimal portion size.
Consult with a dietitian.
Ask your dietitian to construct a diet plan as per individual needs.
How many carbs should I eat daily if I have type 2 diabetes?
There is no exact limit or recommended dose of carbohydrate for type 2 diabetes. The recommended dietary intake of carbs for type 2 diabetics depends on various factors, including:
- Activity level
- Health condition
Carb Restricted Diet for Type 2 Diabetes
However, some common recommendations also do not fit everybody:
Moderate Carbohydrate Diet
This diet involves a moderate addition of carbs to your diet while keeping balanced eating patterns. A generally sensible carbohydrate diet makes up 40-56% of the daily calorie intake for type 2 diabetes. It encompasses complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits. Moderate carb diet promotes portion control, balanced meals, and mindful carb choices.
Low carbohydrate diet
It represents low levels of carbohydrate count. Generally, this diet sources you with only 20-40% of calories from carbohydrates, which works best for hyperglycemia conditions. This diet includes non-starchy vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fat.
A low carbohydrate diet also helps type 2 diabetic people manage weight.
Deficient carbohydrate diet
This diet, also known as the ketogenic diet, strictly restricts carbohydrate levels to a minimum. It limits the carb intake to 20-50 grams per day. This low-carb intake is primarily done to induce the body's natural ketosis, a process where the body depends on fat for energy sources rather than carbohydrates.
4 Healthy Carbs for People with Type 2 Diabetes
You might be assuming carbohydrates as your enemy, but no. carbs are your body’s health friend. They are needed by your body to function correctly. Even in diabetic conditions, a controlled carb intake is necessary for sustenance.
Like supplements, there are various food sources for rich and healthy carbohydrates. Food has the following three categories of carbohydrates:
Bean-fiber Packed Sources of Carbohydrate
Beans are a vegan source of healthy carbohydrates. This is why it makes the top portion of a vegetarian diet for Type 2 diabetes. Beans are rich in fiber which makes them promising in weight management. They are most commonly known for fulling fibers, which regulate the appetite and slow down glucose absorption.
They also represent low Glucose index, thus making it more healthy for type 2 diabetes. In addition to this, regular intake of beans is also helpful towards insulin sensitivity.
Nuts: Powerpack of vitamins and minerals
It's time to go nuts with nuts.
As per research in the Journal of circulation research (2019), people with type 2 diabetes who actively consume nuts show a 17% reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases compared to those without.
Nuts are generally rich in minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Also, vitamin E. Their nutrient profile makes them food for reduced inflammation, improved glycemic control, and better artery function.
Vegetables: go green
The best way to pamper your health is to add as many vegetables as possible to your diabetes type 2 friendly diet. Leafy green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and cauliflower might be low in calories, but they are rich in glucosinolates that work great for both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Fruits; tangy twist to type 2
The best thing about fruit is that they source your body with natural sugar instead of the refined ones. In addition, they also provide healthy nutrients which regulate blood sugar levels in the best possible way.
Fruits are rich in fiber, slowing down sugar metabolism and its absorption within the bloodstream. Opt for fruits with higher fiber content, such as berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries), apples, pears, and oranges.
Plus, fruits also have low GI, which further explains why fruits should be added to type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, taking natural sugar controlling supplements like Glycemia Care can effectively lower your blood sugar levels.
In conclusion, it is always the best approach to keep a regular carb count if you have type 2 diabetes. Eliminating the carb source is never a good option since various processes are entirely fueled on glucose. So, it's best to get a recommendation from a dietician to prevent any discrepancies.