Why Low-Carbs Diets Are Bad For People With Diabetes

Most people who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes remember how it felt: immense thirst, high urination (and severe skin infection around the genitalia in some cases), disorientation, stomach pain, lack of energy, dizziness, etc. When diagnosed, blood glucose was sky-high and there was an excessive amount of ketones, a condition called ketoacidosis, that is life threatening. The situation returned to normal by using insulin. However, low carbs diet constantly add the risk of ketoacidosis to people with diabetes and should be avoided.

As insulin production decreases, the body cannot get its primary source of energy: glucose. Glucose is essential for the body to function. For instance it’s constantly needed by the brain, every second of the day and low glucose condition immediately affects the brain. Glucose easily comes from digesting carbs (we’re genetically designed to convert carbs to glucose).

Besides diabetes, a low glucose condition occurs when consuming a low-carb diet, such as Atkins or Paleo as those diets limit the consumption of carbs. Under a low glucose condition, the body initiates a process called lipolysis which essentially converts fats into glucose (because the body absolutely needs glucose to work). This process results in by-products called ketones that must be eliminated (straining the kidneys over time, which are already taxed by eliminating the excess of proteins when following a low-carb, high-protein diet).

For people with diabetes though, the inability for the body to absorb glucose yields itself to hypoglycemia (high glucose condition) and activates lipolysis, which further increases the amount of glucose in the blood while releasing excessive amount of ketones (ketoacidosis). The administration of insulin allows the body to absorb glucose, reduce blood glucose to normal level, shutdown lipolysis and eliminate in the following hours the excess of ketones.

Glucose level requires constant monitoring and that is what the pancreas does very well. People with diabetes are required to monitor themselves their blood glucose, which fluctuates not only based on the food consumed, but also by physical activity, hormones, etc. Despite carefully managing their condition and living healthy, glucose level can easily get too low or too high, regardless of the diet consumed. Going low-carbs still requires constant glucose monitoring and administering insulin, but it also adds the risks of ketoacidosis when glucose levels are too low, which can happen more often due to the low consumption of carbs. A diet consisting of quality carbs (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes) is a much safer alternative.

Source:
http://guardianlv.com/2012/12/atkins-diet-causes-diabetic-ketoacidosis-in-diabetes-mellitus-sufferers/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001363/
http://dtc.ucsf.edu/living-with-diabetes/complications/diabetic-ketoacidosis/

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