It's been very well established that restricting dietary carbohydrate is an effective way of managing type 2 diabetes, as far as managing blood sugar goes that is. There's actually two sides to this, and the first side is of course that if we are carb intolerant then it only makes sense to restrict them, unless you are pretty stupid that is.
I don't think anyone would disagree with this in fact, and even the most liberal diabetic diets do take into account that we don't tolerate carbs as well as non diabetics do, and will at least tell you to cut down on refined sugar for instance. Refined sugar tends to get picked on a lot actually and starches and fruit sugar tends to be ignored a lot, but that's another tale for another day.
So the question becomes, not that we need to restrict carbs, but how much we need to restrict carbs. Diet is a huge issue in type 2 diabetes and you will be seeing plenty of discussion from me on this topic on here but I hadn't mentioned it yet so I wanted to get that started, and particularly in reference to a topic I've been posting quite a bit on lately, especially in the articles section, which is the concerns of high insulin levels and how we are essentially hyperinsulinemiacs first and foremost, and this is the cornerstone of our disease actually, and the high blood sugar is just a consequence of too high insulin for too long.
So once again, lower carb, and I don't necessarily mean low carb necessarily here, whatever low carb even is and definitions of this do vary, can help a great deal in managing day to day blood sugar levels. You only need to be testing yourself regularly to figure this one out and even without testing, well it's common sense really, if you increase the glucose load your blood sugar, generally anyway, will go up and your averages, generally, will as well.
I say generally here because this actually is a little more complicated than this but I'll leave the complications to another post down the road.
So there's another benefit and this is a benefit that helps us short term and really helps us long term, and that's the fact that lower carb means lower insulin levels. So if higher insulin levels drive insulin resistance, which it does, and higher insulin levels drive the progression of diabetes, meaning that good control is harder and harder to achieve over time, and require more and more effort over time to maintain, then lowering insulin levels is certainly a good thing.
In fact I would go as far as to say that since diabetes is really about the long game, lower carb lowering insulin is the main benefit, if we look down the road and figure what's going to keep us from getting sick, having higher blood sugar certainly matters but seeing the disease worsen a lot over time does matter a lot indeed..
Sadly, we don't generally measure people's insulin levels, at least we don't really have much as far as how low carb affects them, aside from just knowing that this is an effective way to keep high insulin in check.
We do have the work of Dr. Joseph Kraft though, who is the pioneer of insulin testing in type 2 diabetics on the side of worrying about too much, and in the 5 patterns he identified, pattern 5 is when insulin levels actually do decline, in the end stages of the disease where the toll on the beta cells are so great that they cannot produce normal amounts of insulin anymore, and one must then go on injected insulin like type 1's have to.
So the insulin levels of pattern 5 people are of course lower than normal. He points out that we can see this pattern with people on low carb diets as well, although in this case the low insulin isn't pathological, meaning it should be higher but isn't and that's making us sick, with low carb it's lower because it doesn't need to be higher, which is actually the best situation you ever want to be in.
So he says if you add carbs these people's insulin levels will rise and that the measurements are simply occurring in this case due to a low demand for insulin, not a higher demand but a low supply, like you see in end stage type 2's.
We generally don't have our insulin tested but I did get to see the results from a couple of low carb type 2's yesterday and they both have great blood sugar and low insulin production, low in this case meaning nice and low and right around what's accepted as the ideal.
So we do have at least one weapon anyway against high insulin, and while there are other tools as well, carb restriction to some degree is the cornerstone of the arsenal, and is why we see a lot of lower carbers not have their diabetes progress like it is supposed to, it's not supposed to actually, but we can make that happen easy enough when we take the wrong path, and ignore insulin levels.