I am a low carb eater and i have always thought that i would never become diabetic because i don't eat many carbs and therefore don't need to produce much insulin to remove the glucose from my blood. HOWEVER i have just watched a programme which told me that low carb diets can promote insulin resistance. I always thought a lack of carbs in the diet meant you didn't need as much insulin because there was less to remove from the blood, but now it seems i have got this wrong and by reducing carbs i may be doing myself harm. Does anyone know how many grams of carbohydrates i should be looking at consuming? I'm concerned!
Thanks for any advice/help,
asked byPaleogeordie (0)
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on February 01, 2014
at 11:38 PM
No, Low Carb does not make you insulin resistant.
Hundreds of people on low-carb forums have gotten their blood sugar under control when they cut the "complex carbs" that Conventional Wisdom always recommends diabetics eat more of.
on February 01, 2014
at 10:29 PM
I saw that programme. The low carber's blood glucose went from 5.1 to 5.9. Both perfectly normal numbers and within a normal range. They just needed to find something!
on January 30, 2014
at 02:14 PM
Alright, here is what is happening. On a ketogenic diet or a very low carb diet, the body (the cells in most of your body, except the brain) turns to fat for energy in order to preserve glucose for the brain. This occurs because insulin levels are quite low and therefore the glucose transporters in your cells are inactive, therefore glucose is not taken up but fatty acids are. The reason that fat is taken up is because hormone sensitive lipase is activated when insulin levels are low (low-carb or fasting induce low insulin) and glucagon levels are high; the purpose of hormone sensitive lipase is to begin the breakdown of triglycerides into free fatty acids. This is what the cells utilize for energy through fatty acid beta-oxidation in this state.
Now since in this state the cells in your body are only taking in fat, since that is what you are feeding them, they ignore the glucose in the blood (physiological insulin resistance) so that the brain can use it. Keep in mind however, that glucagon (which is high when insulin is low) tells the liver to engage in gluconeogenesis and produce glucose from excess amino acids and glycerol. This can cause a spike in blood glucose if an excess of gluconoegenic amino acids are consumed, because there is very little insulin and the cells are taking up fatty acids instead of glucose. So the glucose will linger in your blood, until your brain metabolizes it, or until it is substantial enough to force your pancreatic beta cells to release insulin once again to instruct you cells to revert to using glucose, in order to consume the lingering glucose in the blood. This is why true ketogenic diets restrict protein, because in excess they convert to glucose and force the body to go back to using glucose for energy instead of fat.
Moral of the story: VLC will keep your blood glucose low if you eat mainly fat and do not consume more protein than you need to, you'd be surprised how little protein the body actually needs for maintenance and repair. Here in the US the RDA for protein is 50g on a 2000 calorie diet, that is a good starting point.