Type 2 diabetes requires constant monitoring and management. Failing to adhere to the prescribed lifestyle plan can lead to a number of life-threatening health complications such as heart disease and stroke. Many people find sticking to a low-carb diet is a simple way to cover a number of bases, including improving diabetes control and weight loss. Why should people cut down on carbs? Diabetes.co.uk explained: “Carbohydrate is the nutrient which has the greatest effect in terms of raising blood sugar levels and requires the most insulin to be taken or be produced by the body.
“Lowering sugar levels is clearly a benefit for people with diabetes. Lower need for insulin is also particularly useful as lowering insulin in the body can reduce insulin resistance which can help towards reversing type 2 diabetes.
“Insulin is also the fat storage hormone in the body, so reducing insulin in the body with a low-carb diet can help with losing weight.”
A low-carb diet brings a wealth of health benefits for people living with type 2 diabetes, added the charity, these include:
- Lower HbA1c
- Improved weight loss
- Less chance of high sugar levels occurring
- Lower risk of severe hypos
- More energy through the day
- Less cravings for sugary and snack foods
- Clearer thinking
- Lower risk of developing long-term health complications
Diabetes UK recommends the following seven-day low-carb meal plan:
- Breakfast: Wholemeal toast with scrambled eggs
- Lunch: Cauliflower and leek soup
- Dinner: Lower-fat cauliflower and broccoli cheese with a medium grilled salmon fillet
- Pudding: Greek yogurt with raspberries
- Choose from snacks including fruit, nuts and rye crackers with avocado.
- Breakfast: Greek yogurt with raspberries and pumpkin seeds
- Lunch: Chickpea and tuna salad and strawberries
- Dinner: Beef goulash
- Pudding: Rhubarb fool
- Choose from snacks including granary bread with peanut butter, avocado, Greek yogurt, crudités and nuts.
- Breakfast: Porridge with almonds, blueberries and pumpkin seeds
- Lunch: Mackerel salsa wrap
- Dinner: Chicken casserole with broccoli
- Pudding: Greek yogurt with strawberries and blueberries
- Choose from snacks including nuts, wholemeal rice cakes with peanut butter and crudités with guacamole.
- Breakfast: Mushroom omelette with mushrooms and grilled tomato
- Lunch: Creamy chicken and mushroom soup and Greek yogurt with raspberries
- Dinner: Beef burger with green salad
- Pudding: Summer berry posset
- Choose from snacks including oatcakes with light cream cheese, nuts and avocado.
- Breakfast: Scrambled egg on granary toast with mushrooms
- Lunch: Beef and barley soup and Greek yogurt
- Dinner: Italian-style braised lamb steaks with brown rice and broccoli
- Pudding: Microwave mug: Chocolate, banana and almond cup with half-fat creme fraiche
- Choose from snacks including nuts, cheese and guacamole with crudités.
- Breakfast: Wholemeal toast with grilled bacon and mushrooms
- Lunch: Bang bang chicken salad
- Dinner: Coq au vin with broccoli
- Pudding: Hot chocolate
- Choose from snacks including raspberry smoothie and nuts.
- Breakfast: Scrambled egg with smoked salmon on granary toast
- Lunch: Ham, leek and Parmesan frittata with avocado, celery, cucumber and lettuce
- Dinner: Roast chicken, roast potatoes, green beans and gravy
- Pudding: Greek yogurt with raspberries
- Choose from snacks including olives, nuts, dried fruit and oatcakes with light cream cheese.
A healthy diet plan should be complimented with an active lifestyle. UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines state that physical activity can reduce your chance of developing Type 2 diabetes by up to 40 percent, as well as reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
According to Diabetes UK, the manifold benefits exercise brings to people living with diabetes includes:
- Help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
- Increase the amount of glucose used by the muscles for energy, so it may sometimes lower blood glucose (sugar) levels
- Help the body to use insulin more efficiently – regular activity can help reduce the amount of insulin you have to take
- Improve your diabetes management (particularly Type 2 diabetes)
- Strengthen your bones
- Reduce stress levels and symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Improve your sleep.
According to the NHS, any activity that gets you out of breath can bring material benefits, this could be:
- Fast walking
- Climbing stairs
- Doing more strenuous housework or gardening
What constitutes a healthy waist size will depend on a person’s gender and ethnicity. According to Diabetes UK, women should be less than 80cm (31.5in), men should stay below less than 94cm (37in), and South Asian men should aim to be less than 90cm (35in).