Carb counting for diabetics – If you’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, chances are you’ve come across a dietitian, nurse or doctor touting the so-called benefits of carb counting. The theory behind carb counting is that it allows flexibility to choose the carb sources you enjoy by spreading out your carb intake evenly throughout the day.
However, University of Sydney researchers recently concluded that carb counting was largely ineffective in keeping blood sugar levels in check. In a group of diabetics, the researchers tested the response to 120 different carb rich foods on blood sugar levels. They found that using carb counting as a proxy measurement of blood sugar missed the mark.
Instead, the scientists discovered that the food’s glycemic load was a much more accurate indicator of blood sugar changes.
This study highlights the many issues with carb counting, which include:
Good Carbs, Bad Carbs: All carbs are not created equal. But according to carb counting, they are. A carb counter considers 15g of carbs from chocolate cake equal to that of a cup of black beans. In reality, the effect on blood sugar – and health – couldn’t differ more between those two choices.
You’re better off tossing your calculator in the trash and focusing on healthy carb sources like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes.
Symptom Treatment: Carb counting accepts the sad fact that you’ll have diabetes forever. Fortunately, a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis is not a life sentence. By losing weight, staying physically active and cutting out stress you can minimize or even eliminate Type 2 diabetes from your life.
All counting carbs does is minimize the damage from your diabetes, with no intent to cure it.
Impractical: One of the selling points of carb counting is that it’s much more simple and straightforward than the old diabetes exchange lists that diabetics used to use. Fair enough. However, just because they’re less complicated than the MIT-level math required for diabetic exchanges, does not automatically make them easy.
Most diabetics count carbs for a short period of time and quickly ditch the system as they find it too cumbersome for their real life.
Other Food Groups: There’s no question that carbs should be your top priority for keeping blood sugar in check. However, that’s not to say that fat, protein and alcohol don’t play a major role in determining whether your blood sugar is at 99 or 199 mg/dL (5.5 or 11 mmol/L).
Not only do these other foods affect your sugars in the short-term, manipulating these other food groups can help you lose weight and reverse Type 2 diabetes.