Pros And Cons Of Carb Counting
Carb counting is an easy way to follow a low-carb diet, but the quality of food you’re eating still plays a big role in your overall health.
Carb counting can be a helpful application for those looking to follow a low-carb diet
Nutrition labels on packaged foods make it easy to count carbs
Keeping a target carb number in mind is a tangible measure of how much to eat
Keeping track of carbohydrates alone does not necessarily equate to a healthy diet
It may be easier to rely on packaged foods with nutrition labels than whole foods like fruits and vegetables, which don’t have carbs listed on them
Not all foods contain carbohydrates, but still may be high in calories and fat, such as steak or baconthis can become hard to track if you’re only counting carbs
The takeaway here is that carb counting can be a healthy way to manage blood sugar and make it easy to visualize and keep track of your intake, but that the quality of the carbs you’re eating does matter. For best results, focus your carb choices on high-quality, less processed foods such as whole grains, fresh or frozen fruit, and vegetables.
The American Diabetes Association recommends carb counting for people with type 1 diabetes on intensive insulin therapy as it helps to improve overall glycemic control. The ADA notes that, when consuming a mixed meal that contains carbohydrate and is high in fat and/or protein, insulin dosing should not be based solely on carbohydrate counting.
Understand Cortisol And Its Impact On Blood Glucose
We all live stressful lives, but some of us have a harder time reducing or releasing our stress. That fact may play out in restlessness, poor sleep, insomnia, or feelings of anxiety or constant tension. Cortisol is the stress hormone that mediates the fight or flight physiologic response. And it has a direct bearing on our glucose levels.
Prolonged cortisol stimulation will raise blood glucose levels, notes Dr. Jason Fung, who wrote an entire chapter on the stress hormone in his 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code.8 In it he describes how cortisol, released from the adrenal glands, sends a message to the body to release glucose to prepare for a perceived threat, spurring gluconeogenesis in the liver. In prehistoric times, that surge of glucose energy was usually used up fighting or fleeing from the threat. But in current days, often that stress goes unreleased, the energy not used, which can lead to prolonged higher glucose levels
I, too, discovered the same stress impact, especially with sleep. Since this spring, I am doing yoga in the early evening, focusing on other stress reduction activities and wearing earplugs and an eye shade to help ensure a better night sleep. Doing so drops my FBG back into the normal range the next morning.
Drinking a glass or two of wine at night can lower readings, too, because the liver metabolizes the alcohol first before turning to gluconeogenesis, but I dont want to drink daily.
Rising Blood Sugar: How To Turn It Around
Rising blood sugar signals a need for weight loss and more exercise.
Whenever you have routine blood tests at a physical exam, chances are one of the numbers will be a measurement of your glucose, or blood sugar. A normal blood sugar level is less than 100 milligrams per deciliter of blood after an eight-hour fast. You have diabetes if your blood sugar is 126 mg/dL or higher. But between those two numbers lie many opportunities for action.
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- Research health conditions
- Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
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Take A Pass On The Bread Bowl
Its obvious that sugary stuff leads to an increase in blood sugar, but starchy foods can do the same thing. Your body processes simple carbs quickly and turns them into sugar, and it needs a lot of insulin to absorb them. That means a bag of Doritos is as likely as a candy bar to cause a spike.
If youre in the middle of a blood sugar spike, its best to curtail your carb intake. Check the glycemic index if youre not sure about a food.
Surprisingly, popcorn and white potatoes are worse than ice cream, according to the index. If you stick to low-carb/low-glycemic-index foods, your blood sugar will return to normal much more quickly.
Ultimately, its best to limit your carb intake. A 2004 study found that a diet of 20 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 50 percent fat lowered fasting blood sugar and kept blood sugar from spiking after meals.
This was a very small study, but the results suggest that lower carb intake can lead to generally lower blood glucose. In general, most people with diabetes eat 40 to 45 percent of their calories in the form of carbohydrates. Choosing nutrient-rich sources of carbs is best.
Another promising study found that after two years on a low-carb diet, many participants with type 2 diabetes were able to manage their condition without medication or resolve it entirely.
The occasional baked potato isnt a problem, but frequent trips to the drive-through are not a good idea. Find a few veggie-and-protein-heavy meals and make them your go-tos.
Ramp Up Your Movement Each Day
Exercise helps improve blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and the bodys ability to use glucose as energy, according to the American Diabetes Association. In type 2, exercise helps improve insulin resistance, says James G. Beckerman, MD, a cardiologist in Portland, Oregon. The end result is lower blood sugars.
Crandall Snyder tells patients that exercise is like spring cleaning for the body. It takes the stored form of glucose and uses it for energy so the next time you eat carbohydrates there’s a place to put it, she says.
Because exercise can immediately reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, work with your healthcare team to determine the right amount of activity and timing for you. A study published in September 2017 in Frontiers in Endocrinology found exercising 30 minutes after the start of a meal is usually best for maintaining blood sugar controls.
Learn more about managing your blood sugar in Diabetes Daily’s article “HbA1C: Everything You Need to Know.”
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What Is A Prediabetes Diet
A diet for prediabetes looks a lot different than a typical American one. I like to tell my clients to reserve half of your plate for vegetables, a quarter of your plate for protein, and a quarter of your plate for healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains and fruit, says McKittrick.
A person with prediabetes should not eat processed carbohydrates that are high in sugar, but instead get carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, legumes, and starchy vegetables . If you want to cut out carbs, you certainly can, but you dont have to, McKittrick says. They taste good, they give you energy, and usually it’s not sustainable to give them up completely.
Also shoot for 25-30-grams of fiber from food each day, as fiber-rich foods such as oatmeal and crunchy vegetables improve insulin resistance and keep you fuller, longer.
Take The Medication Unless Your Doctor Tells You Otherwise
Your doctor isnt medicating you for the sake of it. There are certain health problems that will require medication to help you control your levels. This is the case with diabetes.
Its important to visit your doctor regularly. Arranged for morning appointments when you have your checks to get your morning levels recorded on a regular basis. This way your doctor can see if your medication is still needed and whether there are other things you can do instead.
Only stop taking your medication if your doctor tells you so. Youll get a good idea by your glucose levels. Track them yourself to see if theyre getting lower one week to the next. If you see a significant drop, talk to your doctor about your options for cutting back or out your medication and trying more holistic options.
If you believe you need a second opinion, dont be afraid to get one from someone reputable. Just follow the advice from those who have the degrees!
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How Can I Treat Low Blood Sugar
If youve had low blood sugar without feeling or noticing symptoms , you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low and treat it. Driving with low blood sugar can be dangerous, so be sure to check your blood sugar before you get behind the wheel.
Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry or have other symptoms, check your blood sugar. Even if you dont have symptoms but think you may have low blood sugar, check it. If your blood sugar is lower than 70 mg/dL, do one of the following immediately:
- Take four glucose tablets.
- Drink four ounces of fruit juice.
- Drink four ounces of regular soda, not diet soda.
- Eat four pieces of hard candy.
Wait for 15 minutes and then check your blood sugar again. Do one of the above treatments again until your blood sugar is 70 mg/dL or above and eat a snack if your next meal is an hour or more away. If you have problems with low blood sugar, ask your doctor if your treatment plan needs to be changed.
Talk To Your Doctor Or Nurse
If you use insulin and your blood sugar is frequently or consistently low, ask your doctor or nurse if you:
- Are injecting your insulin the right way
- Need a different type of needle
- Should change how much insulin you take
- Should change the kind of insulin you take
DO NOT make any changes without talking to your doctor or nurse first.
Sometimes hypoglycemia can be due to taking the wrong medicines. Check your medicines with your pharmacist.
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Add More Resistant Starch To Your Plate
Resistant starch found in some potatoes and beans bypasses the small intestine and ferments in the large intestine, which means it doesnt raise glucose levels and promotes the growth of good bacteria in the body, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Its a fiber-filled starch and helps with glycemic control, says Joelle Malinowski, RD, a certified diabetes care and education specialist with Ellis Medicine in Schenectady, New York. And the effect will last through your next meal, Weisenberger says. Its called the second-meal effect, she says.
Interestingly, resistant starch can change with heat, and some foods, like rice, are higher in resistant starch when cooked and cooled than when cooked and served warm, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Resistant starches are also found in:
Just be sure to keep carb count in mind when incorporating foods with resistant starch into your diet.
Will Intermittent Fasting Lower Blood Sugar The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting Are Vast Like Weight Loss And Impact Blood Sugar Levels Too
Diabetes is a very serious health condition and the one thing it affects the most is diet. People with diabetes need to make sure that they monitor what they eat and when they eat it because it could cause health issues.
That is why everyone is asking, will intermittent fasting lower blood sugar? The question is valid, especially if you want to lose weight but are also diabetic. Luckily, there is an answer and even research that backs the results.
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How Do I Treat Low Blood Glucose
If you begin to feel one or more symptoms of low blood glucose, check your blood glucose level. If your blood glucose level is below your target or less than 70 mg/dL, follow these steps
What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels
- Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
- Eat at regular times, and dont skip meals.
- Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
- Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
- Drink water instead of juice or soda.
- Limit alcoholic drinks.
- For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
- Control your food portions .
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What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms.
When too many ketones are produced too fast, they can build up in your body and cause diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. DKA is very serious and can cause a coma or even death. Common symptoms of DKA include:
- Fast, deep breathing.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Stomach pain.
If you think you may have DKA, test your urine for ketones. Follow the test kit directions, checking the color of the test strip against the color chart in the kit to see your ketone level. If your ketones are high, . DKA requires treatment in a hospital.
DKA happens most in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign of type 1 in people who havent yet been diagnosed. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but its less common.
Preventing A Low Blood Sugar Level
If you have diabetes, you can reduce your chance of getting a low blood sugar level if you:
- Check your blood sugar level regularly and be aware of the symptoms of a low blood sugar level so you can treat it quickly.
- Always carry a sugary snack or drink with you, such as glucose tablets, a carton of fruit juice or some sweets. If you have a glucagon injection kit, always keep it with you.
- Do not skip meals.
- Be careful when drinking alcohol. Do not drink large amounts, check your blood sugar level regularly, and eat a carbohydrate snack afterwards.
- Be careful when exercising eating a carbohydrate snack before exercise can help to reduce the risk of a hypo. If you take some types of diabetes medicine, your doctor may recommend you take a lower dose before or after doing intense exercise.
- Have a carbohydrate snack, such as toast, if your blood sugar level drops too low while you’re asleep
If you keep getting a low blood sugar level, talk to your diabetes care team about things you can do to help prevent it.
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A Low Blood Sugar Level Without Diabetes
A low blood sugar level is uncommon in people who do not have diabetes.
Possible causes include:
- a gastric bypass
- other medical conditions, such as problems with your hormone levels, pancreas, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands or heart
- some medicines, including quinine
See a GP if you think you keep getting symptoms of a low blood sugar level. They can arrange some simple tests to check if your blood sugar level is low and try to find out what’s causing it.
How Can I Treat High Blood Sugar
Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. Your doctor may suggest the following:
- Be more active. Regular exercise can help keep your blood sugar levels on track. Important: dont exercise if ketones are present in your urine. This can make your blood sugar go even higher.
- Take medicine as instructed. If your blood sugar is often high, your doctor may change how much medicine you take or when you take it.
- Follow your diabetes meal plan. Ask your doctor or dietitian for help if youre having trouble sticking to it.
- Check your blood sugar as directed by your doctor. Check more often if youre sick or if youre concerned about high or low blood sugar.
- Talk to your doctor about adjusting how much insulin you take and what types of insulin to use.
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Have A Protein/fat Snack
This is something to try the night before, but you can do it first thing in a morning if youre not going to eat your breakfast right away. Protein and healthy fats break down slowly in the body. This means the length of time you will fast is technically shorter: since it takes more time to get rid of the food and create the empty space.
Youll hear that cheese before bed is bad for you. It gives you nightmares because your digestive system is still working while you sleep. Well, sometimes its worth putting up with the initial nightmares to keep your glucose levels to a minimum on a morning.
So, what can you do on a morning instead? Start your day with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and eat a slice of cheese. The two working together will help to balance out the hormones and get your digestive system working sooner than if you waited for breakfast.
Cheese is the protein/fat element, but the apple cider vinegar will have a direct effect on the blood sugar levels. Scientists havent worked out why it is so effective, but it has been proven. Check out more info on what kind of cheese can a diabetic eat here
You can also have a handful of nuts to get the same benefit. The nuts will also give you the selenium that your body needs to help balance out some of your hormones. You can keep nuts in your draw beside your bed to grab a handful before you get up!