Effectiveness of Low Carb Diet forType-2 Diabetes
Worldover, the low carbohydrate diets are proving to be very effective in Diabetes Management including the possibility of complete reversal of diabetes and is extremely effective in weight loss. For anyone interested in understanding the complete science of the effectiveness of low carbohydrate diet, we strongly recommend the book “The Art and Science of low carbohydrate Living” written by Steve Phinney (MD, PhD) a physician-scientist and Jeff Volek (PhD) a dietician-scientist.
They eloquently trace back the origin of the current diabetes and weight loss epidemic to the 1977 McGovern Committee’s publication of “Dietary Goals for United States” which recommended a very low fat diet, which they argue was more influenced by personal opinion rather than technical expertise in the field. Based on more than 15 years of direct research in this field, and hundreds of peer reviewed articles, the authors forcefully argue for low carbohydrate diet as a solution to most of the new age health issues including diabetes, obesity and in general for the metabolic syndrome.
The key to understand why low carb diets work for Type -2 diabetes is to understand the actual body condition in diabetes. Most people would be aware, that unlike Type-1 Diabetes where the body is not producing any insulin, Type -2 diabetes, which is what is widely prevalent, is a condition where the body is actually producing insulin (in some cases – a lot of insulin) but it is not working effectively.
With respect to Insulin, what is clearly known is – insulin acts as a key to open the cells to allow glucose to be transported across the cell membrane to be used for energy. If this key does not work well, then glucose is stuck in the blood. This condition where the insulin has become ineffective is referred to as ‘Insulin Resistance’. It is very important to understand that Type-2 diabetes is primarily the case of insulin resistance. Though the exact reason why some people develop this insulin resistance is not conclusively identified, the fact that insulin resistance is the key reason for diabetes type-2 is clearly established.
When we take food which is primarily carbohydrates, the carb in the food gets converted into blood glucose which stimulates insulin release from the pancreas. For a normal healthy person this insulin should help push the glucose into the cells and reduce the blood glucose level. However for people whose body has developed resistance to this insulin action, the blood glucose remains elevated, a condition we know as Type-2 diabetes. The key point to understand is – the body already has insulin but it is not effective.
Hence, for people with Insulin resistance, dietary carbohydrate becomes a burden for the body and reducing this burden allows the body to function more normally. A well structured low carbohydrate diet will help in body using fat as primarily fuel and thereby avoiding this blood glucose problem.