Danger of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates can be a very controversial topic!
Carbohydrates can be a very controversial topic!

Never has a topic galvanised the Diabetes Forum as much as the carbohydrate, specifically, how carbohydrates affect and causes diabetes. We thought that a feature about carbohydrates and how they affect diabetes care was long overdue.

However, opinions about how many carbs to eat and how they affect each individual are numerous, and it is worth remembering that diabetes type, general health, medication and carbohydrate type all play a role. It is a complex topic, so where better to look than our forum.

Low-carb can be beneficial

Many forum members have found a low-carb diabetes diet beneficial to manage their blood glucose levels.

Elevated blood sugar is the primary symptom of diabetes, and reducing food in the diet that raises glucose levels should be one of the primary goals of diabetes care. By lowering glucose levels in the diet, medication can be reduced or even (in type 2 cases) stopped.

Carbohydrates are in a lot of foods

Carbohydrates are found in a variety of foods such as white bread, pasta, potatoes and flour. These foods metabolise into sugar and raise blood glucose levels amongst diabetes patients. The goal of a low-carb diet is to restrict/cut down/remove these foods. 

Disrupting sugar levels

Not all carbohydrate foods disrupt blood sugar levels, and some healthy natural/raw/unprocessed foods are considered a normal part of a low-carb diet – even if they contain carbohydrates.

As with all aspects of diabetes management, carbohydrates in food can have different influences on different people. By counting carbs and testing regularly after meals, people can find out which foods they can safely include and which should be restricted.

Carbohydrates, due to the huge impact they have on blood glucose levels, should be restricted up to the point that the dieter maintains a healthy blood glucose level.

Gradually, the amount of information in the public domain regarding low-carbing has soared, just check out the forum perspectives below.

What the community is saying about carbohydrates

  • Sugarless Sue: Sugar is the simple form of carbohydrate. The danger is in consuming too many carbs at a time and therefore your pancreas cannot cope with this and your blood sugars rise . Continual high blood sugar levels lead to diabetic complications over time. Controlling the amount of carbs we eat helps to control our blood sugar levels and thus stave off the complications.
  • Cugila: Sugar is a carbohydrate... It is imperative as a Diabetic to count them, that way leads to better control of your own Diabetes.
  • Dillinger: However, for every percentage point drop in HbA1c blood test results (from 8.0 percent to 7.0 percent, for example), the risk of diabetic eye, nerve, and kidney disease is reduced by 40 percent. Lowering blood sugar reduces these microvascular complications in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Fergus : An effective low carb diet is one which maintains, most of the time, a healthy blood glucose level. The amount of carbs it contains will vary between individuals. The consensus on the forum is that the following applies:
    - Low carb (ketogenic) 0-50g carbohydrate per day
    - Typical low carb 50-90g
    - Liberal low carb 90-130g
    - Moderate carbs 130-170g
    - High carb 170g plus a day
  • Britness: It is always an individual issue. But for me personally, being diagnosed with Type 2 in May, the diabetes clinic I attended showed me that a low carb diet was necessary - and I've lost 15 lbs (can you hear how happy I am!) in 3 months. Most importantly, I've lost the "cravings" for high carb foods that I once adored, home-made white crusty bread, BIG bowls of pasta, nachos with creamy dips...
Explore Carbohydrates and Diabetes
Your Comments
I recently started on a low carb diet this has restored my sugar levels from 13 to a range between 9-7. I am also on insulin and find I am managing my diabetes better than I have done in the past 7 years. Low carbs works for me!
Posted by RITA BROWN , Kent on Monday, August 30, 2010
I'm type 2 diabetic and I was down with cold/flu recently. I comforted myself with reading Dr Bernstein's Diabetes Solution. I am now eliminating carbohydrate in my diet, no fruits but avocados, no other vegetable but cauliflower, cabbage, courgette, spinach, a pinch of sliced onion, aubergine, bok cay, bean sprout, bamboo shoot and a few others. However, when I read the recipes given in the book (and other snippets of account), there seems to be contradictory messages in some ingredients given? Bread is one of those I think. Will try to go through the pages again when I have the time. Are there any of you who are following Bernstein's diet? Could you please let me know of your experiences using this guide? How do we effectively measure the weight of the carb (as listed by Fergus)?
Posted by cinnamon, uk on Friday, August 27, 2010
I attended the hospital last week and they have put me on a very low carb diet, I am a 1.5 type diabetic. I have lost 13lbs in one week, I know a lot of it is water, but hay-ho, how bad is that? and I have no craving for the carbs, they also said to go against all my teachings and to have what little carbs I have, to be white bread,rice and pasta. It seems to be working, and I'll carry on with being a guinea pig as long as I am getting the results, and staying healthy.
Posted by chrisy, Barking Essex. on Thursday, August 26, 2010
I have been type 2 for over four years. I cannot test my blood because my GP will not prescribe testing equipment and I cannot afford the costs of buying them myself. She says that if a patient is not subject to hypos then there is no need to test. I have tried all approaches but to no avail. However, I have never been on a low carb diet and my HBa1c is always well controlled. So, I think a low carb diet is not for everybody.
Posted by jennings, Birmingham on Thursday, August 26, 2010
Following the Ketogenic diet not only has brought my insulin and Metformin requirements right down to a small amount maybe once a week if necessary, but has also reversed all my 'Diabetic Complications', and is helping my body to heal. The only food I eat is pure, natural and unprocessed.
Posted by AliB, Neath on Thursday, August 26, 2010
I am on a low carb diet, my blood sugar is below 5 mmol. Is it true that I can eat anything and lose weight?
Posted by mr.c bartlett, kidderminster united kingdom on Thursday, August 26, 2010
Low carbing restored my active life when I was becoming crippled with muscle pains. How many other conditions could be improved by a low carb diet? Low carbing reduced weight, relieved pain, reduced cholesterol, improved (slight) retinopathy...
Posted by IanD, Southall on Thursday, August 26, 2010
I have type 2 diabetes and eat a lot of potato but restricted amount of bread etc. I am totally confused about what I should eat and what not to eat as anything I seem to eat is sweet or bad like potatoes/pasta etc. I thought I was doing good eating carbohydrates instead of sweet things but now I don't know what to do.
Posted by len killpartrick, west sussex on Thursday, August 26, 2010
I am aware that a low carb diet reduces blood sugars significantly, but I still find it odd that the Medical profession are adamant that diabetics maintain a reasonably high carb diet. This appears to be across the board and is very confusing. I am type 2 and whilst I have my sugars down to 6.5 in the morning and around 8 after my evening I do still eat a fair number of carbs (potatoes,bread,etc.) Will this ever be resolved as it is very confusing for newbies. I was diagnosed 7 months ago with sugar levels at 24.
Posted by Culcroy, Scotland on Thursday, August 26, 2010
Is it possible for someone out there to give me a clue of what I should be eating. I was diagnosed type 2 diabetes in March and have reduced my weight from 14st 10lbs to 12st 9lbs. My blood sugar readings average over the last month is 6.1 this is taking readings 1 or twice a day. My medication is 2x Metformin (500) tablets a day. My problem is, I have not got into system yet to question the professionals about my confusion. Can someone please advise me?
Posted by Donald Kaye, Wakefield on Thursday, August 26, 2010
Thanks for printing this article. Despite low carb diets getting alot of bad press, its important that people are given the option to make a choice for themselves. For me, the choice to switch to a low carb diet came after 16 years of struggling with the normal higher carb diet. I realised that trying a low carb diet was worth it, because the high carb diet was clearly not working. After learning and adjusting to the new low carb diet im pleased to announce that my HBA1c dropped to 6.7. It's never been that low! The main benefit from a low carb diet is through the daily management. As human beings with busy agendas, its almost impossible to monitor our diabetes perfectly. We make mistakes and forget. Thats human nature. With a low carb diet, a mistake is less severe. If you forget to take insulin after a low carb meal, the effect is far less severe than if you forget to take insulin after high carb diet. On top of that, the higher protein diet gives a much steadier energy release throughout the day. For me that stopped the crashing in my energy levels and wild blood sugar swings. On top of that I noticed a more stable sugar level has brought a better feeling of well being. So I get to be happier and calmer too! All in all, im very glad I switched to this new diet and encourage people to give it a try, or at least try an alternative diet/strategy if their current one is not working. Different things will work for different people, but if you are currently struggling with your diabetes, try something new!
Posted by gateian, Newcastle on Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I don't feel the need to cut down so much on my carbs, as they are slow releasing in energy and sugar - why i dont use them for my lows (hypo's).
Posted by Hollie Taylor, Southampton, United Kingdom. on Thursday, August 26, 2010
Have Your Say
This is my Diabetes Forum username
Your Comment* (1000 characters max)
Your email address will not be published. Your comments may be moderated. By submitting your comments, you agree to the Diabetes Community Rules.