Diabetes is a disease that acts as a slow-knife. It slowly starts reducing the functions of your body making life really hard for patients. As someone who’s dealt with diabetes patients before, it’s common to see that they’ve either taken matters into their own hands or have been prescribed the “low-carb” diet.
The Carb myth
It’s generally accepted throughout the world that carbohydrates, despite being one of the key macronutrients for the body do more harm than good. Excess carbs, especially sugar can lead to diseases such as diabetes. Moreover, obesity is rapidly increasing because of foods with high quantities of carbohydrates.
However, that does not mean carbs are bad for you. Excess of everything is bad. Also, not all carbs are made equal. Most of the carbohydrates people consume are through highly processed foods which include junk foods loaded with sugar. The amount of processing that all these foods go through is really unhealthy and fattening and is the main cause of diseases like diabetes.
Instead, whole grain and plant-based sources of carbohydrates are much better. They contain “complex” carbs, which are slow digesting carbohydrates. Simple carbs are found typically in processed foods like white bread or junk food. They are an instant source of energy which results in a person feeling out of energy or hungry just a few hours after their meal.
Complex Carbs, on the other hand, are more consistent with energy. Food containing complex carbs are often high in fiber as well, which helps in keeping full. There are lots of other benefits which we will discuss later, but the point here is that carbs are not bad for you. In fact, it’s recommended that diabetes patients especially eat high-carb diets, one with more complex carbs and more fiber.
Why is a high-carb diet good for diabetes patients?
It can lead to lower insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is perhaps the root of the problem when it comes to type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that plays a vital role in sugar regulation in our body. That is why many diabetes patients are prescribed insulin injections to control their sugar levels.
With insulin resistance, cells find it harder to absorb blood sugar and the liver ends up keeping excess sugar. Over time, this becomes too much for the body to handle and it leads to diabetes. There are many factors that lead to insulin resistance. However, these factors mostly consist of unhealthy diets, inflammation, excess calories and the build-up of fats inside our muscles and liver.
With insulin resistance, what happens is that when we eat foods rich in carbohydrates such as fruits, our blood sugar levels skyrocket because our cells aren’t able to absorb that sugar. That also leads to the confusion that carbs are bad for you when it’s really something internal at play. The reason insulin resistance builds in the first place is due to an unhealthy lifestyle, not due to eating carbs, or healthy carbs for that matter.
In fact, healthy carbs such as plant-based foods help to decrease the severity of insulin resistance. These foods help in reducing inflammation and reducing the build-up of fat inside our body. When all of this starts taking place, our bodies become less insulin resistant and blood sugar levels no longer spike after eating carbohydrates.
Whole-wheat or whole-grain foods such as brown rice are actually known to protect people from type-2 diabetes. There is research to prove this, which goes to show that instead of being the cause of diabetes, high-carb foods can actually protect you from the disease.
It is possible to treat type-2 diabetes through a high-carb, plant-based diet
It is possible to reduce the level of glycosylated hemoglobin (a measure of average blood sugar) by taking a high-carb, plant-based diet. Research showed that plant-based foods are great for losing excess weight, lowering cholesterol levels and for reducing the dependency on medicines.
The interesting thing about the research cited above is that the people who lost weight and gained from all the benefits of the foods they were given were never told to measure their food portions. It has been emphasized so often that people wanting to lose weight or those with type-2 diabetes need to regulate the number of calories they eat. The regulation is done by logging and measuring food portions.
For the most part, that is correct as calorie counting can help you avoid overeating. However, the study proved that if you eat healthily, it won’t be possible to overeat! Plant-based foods are so rich in fibers and are so low in calories that it makes it really hard for you to eat above your daily requirement.
Natural plant foods are high in antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients. They also exclude the nutrients such as refined grains and harmful sugars which are associated with diabetes. The nutrients inside these plant-based foods also help to fight against inflammation and they help you stay healthy in the long run.
By eating plant-based, high-carb foods, you have a lower risk to develop diabetes
There are many foods out there that increase the risk of diabetes. Most of these foods are very common in our society. Foods containing added sugars, animal fats, animal protein, white flour and other refined grains all contribute towards chronic disease. Animal protein can even lead to premature death according to a study.
However, that doesn’t mean animal-based foods are bad either. It’s all about moderation. There’s a reason that nutritionists suggest that 60% of your plate should be filled with greens. The greens are responsible for regulating the toxins in your body. Too much of animal-based foods can cause problems.
Of course, some forms of meat are better than others. For example, white meat is generally regarded as better because we can eat it more frequently. On the other hand, it’s recommended to eat red meat only twice a week. This is for the sake of stable uric acid levels and other reasons. There is a trade-off in anything and the general lesson is that excess of everything is bad.
Eating plant-based foods, dramatically reduces the need for foods that can harm your body. Some animal foods have causal links with increased insulin resistance and other diseases. When you switch to healthier foods like beans, lentils, and whole-grain foods, you are instantly in a better position against diabetes and long-term health.
Diabetes is a disease that can ruin your life bit by bit. It’s important that you take care of yourself. Only you can incorporate healthy lifestyle changes for your benefit, no one else. Plant-based, high-carb diets are highly beneficial, contrary to popular belief. Consult your doctor and nutritionist before making the switch so that you can make a healthy transition towards a better life.