Managing diabetes can be a winnable but complicated journey involving diet plans, weight loss, and exercises. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that personalized meal plans are central to controlling your blood sugar.
A low-carb diet like Atkins could help you achieve your metabolic goals. Many studies support this notion. For example, in one of such studies published in the BioMed Central Nutrition and Metabolism Journal, type 2 diabetes patients were on a low-carb diet for six months. As a result, their weight and glycemic control remained well controlled 42 months later. The rest of this article explores the Atkins diet and how it can help improve your diabetes management.
What does the Atkins diet entail?
Atkins diet is a low-carb eating plan that a cardiologist, Dr. Atkins, developed in the 1960s. The diet replaces carbohydrates with protein and fats. This is against the low-fat diet common in conventional American dishes.
There is no calorie counting or portion control involved in the diet. Instead, you track your carbs using the net carbs system. This is the total carbohydrates of food minus the fiber content. Recently, the diet has evolved to encourage eating high-fiber vegetables.
This approach of significantly reducing carbs helps you burn excess fat stores to shed your body weight, achieve healthy blood sugar levels, and improve your overall health. In addition, you do all these without the hunger that comes with counting calories.
The Atkins diet is divided into four phases. These phases differ based on how many carbs you are allowed per day. You can pick a phase that suits your weight loss goals.
• Induction phase: This is the first and strictest phase of the diet plan. It involves cutting off almost all carbohydrates, except for a mere 20 grams of net carbs daily. Depending on your weight loss goals, you stay in this phase for two weeks. These carbohydrates will often come exclusively from vegetables. The standard options include broccoli, cucumber, asparagus, celery, and green beans.
Every meal will be protein-rich with options like poultry, cheese, eggs, fish, and meat. You can enjoy oil and fats as you desire. Most processed foods like bread, baked goods, and pasta are forbidden. Alcohol, nuts, grains, and most sugary fruit are also avoided. Instead, you drink a lot of water, about eight glasses daily.
• Balancing: You slightly ease off the strictness of the induction phase by slowly introducing some high-nutrition carbs. These include fruits like berries, nuts, and seeds.
However, you still need to stay true to 12-15 grams of the foundational vegetables. You stay at this phase until you are 4.5kg(10 pounds) away from your target weight.
• Pre-maintenance: The phase you stay in until you reach your target weight. You slowly increase the forms of food you can take by incorporating more starchy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
However, you still need to cut off sugary beverages. Add extra 10 grams of carbs to your diet every week but cut back on these if your weight loss stops.
• Lifetime maintenance: The phase you move into once you achieve your weight loss goals.
Is Atkins Diet Good For Diabetics
Studies show that a person with diabetes can benefit from a low-carb diet like Atkins. Especially at the initial stage of your journey when you need to get a better grip on your weight. However, because of the limited research on long-term effects, your physician may advise you to relax those constraints once you have your weight in check.
You can lose weight within the first few weeks of starting the Atkins diet. Dietitians report that this could be due to water weight at first. However, over the next couple of weeks, you lose more weight if you stick to the low carbs. The weight loss method is due to your reduced calories since carbs make up more than half of our calories.
A healthy weight translates to reduced insulin resistance and better blood glucose levels. Staying within this healthy weight for height also helps to reduce some of the long-term complications of diabetes.
Most of the time, the most important thing is not losing weight; it is the ability to keep those extra pounds off. This is a particular area in the Atkins Diet is reported to be superior to other diet plans. You can easily keep off the lost weight and consolidate your goals even after the stringent phases.
Better blood sugar control
Because of the significant weight loss that follows an Atkins diet, there is reduced insulin resistance and a reduced level of bad cholesterol.
The increased insulin sensitivity results in better blood glucose control than other low-carb diets like the keto diet. However, it is difficult to conclude if these changes persist as most diet studies have been short-term.
Besides lowering your sugar, restricting carbohydrates is a stepping stone to optimal health. Other health benefits like a reduction in diastolic blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, low-density lipoprotein, and risk of metabolic syndrome were observed in adherents of the diet.
Some disadvantages of a low-carb diet like Atkins
The Atkins diet may not be a good idea for everyone. People on drugs like insulin, diuretics, pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid the plan. I recommend you talk to your healthcare provider before starting this diet.
Some observed side effects include constipation, usually caused by reduced total fiber intake. You can prevent this by increasing your dietary fiber with low glycemic index vegetables. Other side effects of the diet include:
Weight loss, eating healthy, and exercising are central to managing type 2 diabetes. Sometimes, a more radical approach to weight loss might be necessary to give you a stepping stone.
However, choosing a diet plan is not straightforward because of the pros and cons of each diet plan and the unique metabolic state diabetes presents.
The Atkins diet is one of the options you should consider. A deficient carbohydrate diet that studies have shown to be effective in helping obese adults lose weight.