Did you know that Atkins could do a lot more than just help you lose weight? It can also help you prevent or manage Type 2 diabetes. I’ve seen a lot of people talk about this on the community forums, so I thought it may be time to talk about the science behind it as well.
The hormone insulin is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates. In excessive amounts, insulin can promote fat storage, inflammation, and plaque formation. The elevation of blood sugar that characterizes pre diabetes and Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to use insulin effectively (insulin resistance). Most Type 2 diabetics have elevated insulin levels because the insulin they produce is ineffective at lowering blood sugar so the body makes more of it. The frequent medical practice of providing more insulin with injections or other oral drugs can accelerate cardiovascular complications and make weight management problematic. Type 2 diabetes can cause damage to the nerves (neuropathy), the eyes (retinopathy) and the kidneys (nephropathy). How long it will take to reverse the condition will depend on how much damage has already been done and how long you have traveled on the path of eating too many carbs and breaking down glucose metabolism.
Other clinical results also demonstrated that the Atkins Nutritional Approach can help reverse Type 2 diabetes by controlling symptoms of the metabolic syndrome. This cluster of conditions includes abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL, high blood pressure and glucose intolerance. The data showed that patients who follow a controlled-carbohydrate lifestyle may be able to reduce their dependence on medications relating to blood sugar abnormalities (i.e., metabolic syndrome and diabetes). Subjects studied were able to reduce their blood sugar levels and improve their lipid profiles; half of them were able to normalize their blood sugar levels completely and stop their medication by following an Atkins-type regimen. Patients also demonstrated lipid profiles consistent with other studies on low-carb diets, which include a significant decrease in triglycerides and increase in HDL, the “good” cholesterol.
The focus of the Atkins approach is the blood sugar regulation. So the answer is, yes, you can overcome blood sugar problems using Atkins. The reason for this is because protein, fat and low-carb veggies have the least effect on blood sugar, which means they will not cause your blood sugar to go too high or too low. Therefore you will not subject yourself to the reactions that can be caused by eating high amounts of sugar when following a high-carb diet. To help further regulate your blood sugar levels, even when following Atkins, remember that it is important for you to eat six small meals or every three to four waking hours.
Are you ready to give it a try? As always, if you do have a condition like diabetes, or hypoglycemia be sure to tell your doctor about your nutrition plan first. Adjustments in medications will be necessary.
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Do you have diabetes or pre-diabetes? If so, tell me how Atkins has helped manage your condition. I’d love to hear! Please share your thoughts with the Atkins Community and also let me know what you’d like to hear about in the future.