The Truth About Diabetes and
CarbsBy Dennis Faye
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lot of confusion out there about how people with diabetes should deal with
carbohydrates. The flawed popular logic is that carbs need to be avoided. In
fact, this couldn't be further from the truth. The American Diabetes
Association suggests that 5060 percent of a diabetic's diet consist of
carbs! Furthermore, those uninformed, unfortunate souls who feel that going all
Atkins is the answer are in a world of hurt. Given people with diabetes are
twice as likely to develop heart disease, replacing fruits and veggies with
bacon and eggs only ups their cholesterol and their risk of having a heart
attack. As is also the case with a healthy body, it's best to keep your fat
intake at no more than 30 percent of your calories.
diabetes and why might you get it?
Before we go any deeper into
how to eat, let's have a quick look at what diabetes is. When you eat carbs,
they're broken down into glucose, which enters your bloodstream. There, insulin
helps bring this glucose into your cells which use it as energy. When you have
diabetes, the insulin doesn't do its job, so while there's plenty of fuel
there, it doesn't actually enter your cells, so they starve. This can be life
threatening in a variety of ways, resulting in dehydration, nerve damage, and
diabetic ketoacidosis, which causes the buildup of acids in the blood.
Think of the body as a
car and glucose as the gasoline. The insulin is like the carburetor; it
regulates the gasbut for a diabetic, it doesn't, so the engine floods
There are two types of
diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's own immune system destroys
insulin-producing cells in the pancreas called beta cells. These people need to
take insulin treatments. People with type 2 diabetes, however, actually do
produce insulin, but just not enough. No one knows what exactly causes the
disease, but it's safe to say that obesity and a lousy diet can go a long way
towards the onset of type 2 diabetes.
The symptoms of
diabetes vary, but they can include increased thirst or hunger, abdominal pain,
fatigue, increased urination, vomiting, and blurred vision.
How to change
Here's where the flawed logic comes in. If sugars/carbs
cause the problem, then it would seem that cutting them out would solve the
problem, as one would do with a food allergy. Unfortunately, our bodies need
carbs, just like a car needs gas. They are our primary fuel, so the trick is to
get a slow, constant flow into the system.
As it turns out, eating
to get that constant flow is just plain healthy whether you have diabetes or
not, so a lot of the tips you've picked up from Beachbody are the same ones
that work for avoiding diabetes. First off, instead of packing all of your
daily food into one or two meals, it's important to eat several small meals
throughout the day.
your meals balanced will also help. Protein and fat both slow the flow of carbs
into your system. But careful with that fat! Because of the previously
mentioned heart issues, lean towards unsaturated fats, like you'll find in
olive oil, avocados, raw nuts, and fish, not the saturated ones you find in
meat, eggs, and dairy.
Fiber is also key,
so fruit is okay, as long as it's full of fiber. Bananas are low in fiber, so
you might want to avoid them. Berries, however, tend to be fiber rich, so
they're generally all right in moderation. Other great sources of fiber include
veggies and whole grains.
Finally, stay off
hooch. One or two drinks might be fine for most diabetics, but heavy drinking
can cause complications with many diabetes medicines.
It can also raise fat levels in the blood and cause blood sugar dips.
You see? It's easier
than you'd think. But still, if you think or know you have diabetes, go see
a doctor, and follow the advice of a dietician. It's a serious medical
condition and needs to be treated as such. But don't stress. With the proper
diet and a steady regimen of exercise, people with diabetes can easily live
full, healthy lives.