Low-Carb Diets for Women with Diabetes

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, Low-Carb Diets for Women with Diabetes, Dr. Nicolle

Since diabetes is caused by high amounts of sugar being in your blood, sticking to a low-carb diet with very low amounts of sugar is often recommended. Take a look at this information about being a woman with diabetes and sticking to a low-carb diet.

 

How Low-Carb Diets Help

The reason many people with diabetes or pre-diabetes will go on a low-carb diet is because it helps reduce inflammation, and control the amount of sugar that is in your diet. Many of the foods allow on a low-carb diet, including more extreme versions like keto, are already promoted in a typical healthy diabetic diet. Going low-carb makes it easier for you to make the right options, avoiding the starchy vegetables and high GI fruits you shouldn’t eat with diabetes, helping you get enough protein and healthy fats, and keeping you away from added sugars and processed rice and pasta.

, Low-Carb Diets for Women with Diabetes, Dr. Nicolle

Transitioning to Low-Carb

If you are new to low-carb, you might not want to go cold turkey right away. It is often easier to transition into low-carb slowly, by making small changes one at a time, until you are eventually following a low-carb diet. For example, if your biggest addiction is to potatoes and rice, do not cut them out completely just yet. Start slowly moving to low-carb options, like sweet potatoes for white potatoes, and cauliflower instead of rice. If you like sweets, start reducing the baked goods and candy you eat, and replace it with fresh fruit, which adds more natural sugars into your diet. Make these simple food swaps and you will soon be following a diet lower in carbs and that is more diabetic-friendly.

 

Tips for Moving Forward

You will notice that once you get used to low-carb living, it is easy to find options at home and on-the-go. Here are some more tips for following a low-carb diet to help with your diabetes:

  • Start with low-carb foods you already enjoy

This is a big change, so to make it easier, start with foods you already eat that are low carb. This might be nuts and seeds, a certain type of berries like strawberries, or the lean protein you like to eat.

 

Experiment with new fruits and veggies

Have your fill of fruits and veggies while eating low-carb, experimenting with more low-carb options you haven’t tried. You might want to try a different way to make broccoli in the oven by roasting it, or perhaps you want to add berries to your salad.

 

Meal prep and plan ahead of time 

You might find that your biggest struggle with switching to a low-carb diet is that there aren’t as many convenience foods for you to enjoy. If this is the case, plan and prep ahead of time so that you always have meals and snacks waiting for you.

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, Low-Carb Diets for Women with Diabetes, Dr. Nicolle

 

I wanted to talk about this topic because it is absolutely possible to prevent and even reverse Type 2 Diabetes (but you cannot reverse Type 1).  Yes, it’s possible! and emerging studies looking at lifestyle medicine and prevention support this! But I always tell my patients that you must be dedicated and diligent in adopting a healthy lifestyle to get the best results. You can create certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, to help break the cycle of this chronic disease so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.

 

I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve your blood sugar levels, maybe reverse type 2 diabetes. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.

 

Tools For Diabetes Prevention and Monitoring

Blood Sugar Monitoring

As you know, I always stress the importance of taking control of your health. Monitoring your blood sugar levels is one of the best ways to do this. To do this, a single drop of blood is collected with disposable lancets and placed on a disposable test strip, which you insert into a home blood-sugar monitoring device, called a glucometer.

 

The common times for checking your blood sugar are when you first wake up (fasting), before a meal, 2 hours after a meal, and at bedtime; however, you should check your blood sugar as many times a day as your health care team suggests.

 

Monitoring your blood sugar level provides you and your doctors with important knowledge about how food, activity, medication, stress, and other elements might affect your blood sugar levels. This data will assist you and your doctor in developing a therapy plan that is suited to your demands.

 

There are several types of blood glucose meters, lancets, and test strips to choose from. I often recommend this glucometer, lancets, and test strips.

 

Weight Monitoring

Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases such as diabetes, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).

 

Physical Activity

Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity actually improves insulin sensitivity. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.

 

I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.

 

Yoga

Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.

 

Resistance Training

Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Here are some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.

 

Another alternative for dumbbells/free weights are resistance bands. They are great for physical therapy, yoga, strength training, and excellent for traveling.

, Low-Carb Diets for Women with Diabetes, Dr. Nicolle

Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet and regular physical activity are the best ways to prevent diabetes. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

 

Stay healthy,

 

Dr. Nicolle

 

PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.

Low-Carb Diets for Women with Diabetes

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Low-Carb Diets for Women with Diabetes

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