I’ve read so many articles about low carb eating lately, that it’s left me wondering if there are any people with diabetes out there who still eat them. I’m not about to start telling you what’s right or what’s wrong, because I believe that diabetes management is a very individual issue. But I would like to weigh in with my own perspective on the age old question. I stress, these are my personal opinions only.
Quite honestly, I’ve never been a fan of low carb. The mere sound of the word makes me cringe, simply because it makes me think of restriction. I also think that eating low carb requires a greater level of commitment in the kitchen all through the day, rather than having just one cooked meal in the evening as I do.
The main reason I do not like low carb eating is because the trade off is usually foods that are higher in fat. Foods that are higher in fat tend to produce spikes in blood sugar levels several hours after a meal. I find that protein and fat spikes are very hard to bolus for, and high blood sugar levels are very resilient to insulin corrections. Personally, I do not like chasing highs several hours after meals and would much rather bolus my insulin just once. If there are any low carb people reading this, I’d be interested to hear how you work your way around this.
I am happy to put the work into the carbohydrates I eat. As I wrote last week, pre-bolussing for meals helps me to avoid the post meal spikes. Carbohydrate counting does work when I’ve got my ratios and basal rates right.
That being said, I definitely have changed my thinking around the way I approach carbohydrate foods. Over time I have slowly made gradual changes to the carbohydrates I eat.
I definitely try not to overload on the carbs at mealtimes. On the weekend, we had Turkish bread rolls for lunch, which were 70g. I cut mine in half, simply because I consider 70g way too much to be eating in one sitting. Ditto for the thick slice Cafe-style raisin toast that I have as an afternoon treat sometimes. I also make sure to weigh out my portions when I have foods like rice and pasta, to make sure I don’t overload on the carbs.
I only eat bread as either toast or sandwiches now, and not as a side or appetiser for my dinner plate. I always opt for lower carb, seeded bread, which also tends to carry greater nutritional value with it. Burgen Pumpkin Seed is a real winner for me, with just 11g carbs per slice. Baker’s Delight Cape Seed loaf is another good one.
I have also cut out a lot of the high sugar foods in my diet. Over one very painful year, I gradually cut the two sugars out of my coffee and tea completely. I no longer eat breakfast cereals, because even some of the better ones are still loaded with at least 20g of sugar per 100g. Ditto for muesli bars, which have been replaced by bananas. I often have microwaveable Oats sachets for breakfast, and I have recently switched from the sugar laden fruit flavours to Original.
My approach to eating has definitely centred around eliminating the carbs that I deem unnecessary or unenjoyable. I would much rather put these carbs saved towards foods that I do want to eat. For instance, those yoghurt pots with the stir through fruit jelly? I would much rather have that sugar in a plate of ice cream instead.
When I look at my Dad, who eats bread with anything and everything, I definitely feel that I eat far fewer carbohydrates than I once did. Would I identify myself as a low carbohydrate eater? I still eat the foods that I want to eat. I don’t feel as though I am depriving myself of anything. I’m simply eating a diet with far more balance compared to life prior to diabetes.
With lots of coffee, and the occasional cannoli or cake thrown in.