By Josh Redd, DC on August 19, 2019
Although the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is behind the ball compared to the rest of us, they have finally included lower carbohydrate diets among their recommendations for diabetics.
In the world of functional medicine, we have known low carb diets improve health and stabilize blood sugar for decades. We also know that typical western diets that are high in sugars and processed carbohydrates promote chronic inflammation, weight gain, hormonal imbalance, and brain degeneration.
High blood sugar causes not only insulin resistance and diabetes, but it is also linked to heart disease, stroke, autoimmune disease, and Alzheimer’s. In fact, Alzheimer’s is referred to as type 3 diabetes by researchers because of how damaging high blood sugar is to the brain.
It’s good news that the ADA is finally getting on board with stabilizing blood sugar as a way to lower dependence on insulin. However, they still recommend foods that have been shown in research to trigger autoimmune attacks on the pancreas, promoting autoimmune diabetes in both type 1 and type 2 diabetics.
Previously, the ADA recommended people not eat fewer than 130 grams a day of carbohydrates a day because that would deprive them of energy and essential nutrients.
However, because numerous studies and countless case reports have proven the benefits of lower carb eating for diabetes, obesity, heart health and more, the ADA now includes a lower carb diet in its recommendations.
This could finally usher in saner government guidelines, which for far too long have been recommending low-fat, high-carb diets based on biased, corporate-funded science. Research shows a lower carb diet better manages health than a low-fat diet.
The ADA does not recommend low-carb diets to everyone with diabetes. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people who have eating disorders or at risk of developing eating disorders, people with kidney disease, and for those taking SGLT2 inhibitor medication are excluded from the recommendation.
Unfortunately, the ADA fails to recognize the research demonstrating that some foods they recommend on their list of ADA-approved low-glycemic foods trigger autoimmune attacks on cells that cause type 1 diabetes.
The most common triggers of diabetes-related autoimmunity are gluten and dairy, although other foods also cross-react with cells involved in pancreatic function. This does not mean these cause an autoimmune attack in all people, but studies show certain foods increase the risk of triggering or worsening type 1 diabetes. You can screen for these foods with testing from Cyrex Labs.
People with type 2 diabetes should be concerned, too. About 10–20 percent of people with type 2 diabetes, which is lifestyle induced, go on to develop type 1 diabetes, sometimes called type 1.5 diabetes.
Most Americans eats significantly more processed carbohydrates than the human body is able to handle without consequences. Inflammatory disorders caused by high blood sugar, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, chronic pain, depression, dementia, and neurodegenerative diseases, are crippling the US healthcare system.
What diet should you eat? A very low-carb ketogenic diet is highly therapeutic for some people. For others, especially those with chronically compromised brain function, a ketogenic diet can be disastrous.
Dialing in your optimal grams of carbohydrates takes some trial and error. You can use a glucose monitor to help you and check your HbA1c levels regularly. Either way, you don’t need sugars, high fructose corn syrup, processed carbohydrates, and industrial oils. Instead, your diet should consist of a diverse array of vegetables and fruits (be careful not to go overboard on fruits) that you rotate through regularly, and healthy fats and proteins.
It’s also important to engage in daily physical activity, time outdoors, and healthy social interaction.
Ask my office for help on customizing and diet and lifestyle plan designed just for you.