I feel like that is the question as a diabetic. You can eat carbohydrates, and you have insulin which enables you to eat them, so why shouldn’t you?!
Well, aside from the ill effects you feel as a diabetic eating carbohydrates from the spike in blood sugar (feeling sick, dizzy and light-headed), there are the following factors you have to consider:
1. They are impossible to accurately measure
You have to your estimate carbohydrate intake, then also estimate your insulin intake to equal your postprandial (2 hour post-meal) blood sugar levels.
Carbohydrates(meal) + Insulin + 2 hours later = Postprandial Blood Sugar
Sounds simple, right? Well there are 3 little hitches in this simple equation that your diabetes specialist may fail to tell you. These are:
- Companies are allowed an error margin when labelling the carbohydrate content of their food.
- There are differences in gastric emptying between people (The rate at which your food is digested and moves to the intestines).
- There is up to a 30% difference in your insulin absorption.
In addition: Most people are advised to inject in the abdomen. This is because the insulin is absorbed faster than if you were to inject in the upper arm, buttock or thigh.
That’s a lot of variables, which makes estimating your insulin needs to match your carbohydrate consumption next to impossible. The inevitable outcome is to go too high (hyper) or too low (hypo).
2. Being a diabetic is kinda like being carbohydrate intollerant
You wouldn’t dream of turning to an alcoholic and advise them to sip a can of beer before going to an AA meeting., the same as you wouldn’t imagine advising a person with a peanut allergy to have some nuts before using their EpiPen. You also wouldn’t think of advising someone who is lactose intolerant to have a glass of milk. All of these would be socially frowned upon.
And so I ask, why would you tell someone whose body is incapable of metabolising carbohydrates, that they require them?
Insulin was invented to keep diabetics alive, to keep their blood sugars below a dangerous level. It was not invented to cover whatever you want to eat.
3. YOUR BODY IS An incredible HYBRID MACHINE THAT CAN BE ADAPTED TO USE FAT FOR FUEL INSTEAD OF CARBOHYDRATES
Being told your body needs a substantial amount of carbohydrates to survive is a downright lie. If you reduce your carbohydrate intake enough, your body will become ‘fat adapted’ – otherwise known as entering ‘ketosis‘ whereby it will burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
4. You can achieve a normal hba1c result…
When I was diagnosed with diabetes, my HbA1c result was 12.5%, and I was already showing signs of nerve damage. Several months down the line and well into a low carbohydrate high fat diet, and my HbA1c result was 5.4% – matching that of a non-diabetic.
5…without suffering hypos or hypers.
When I was on a regular high carbohydrate diet, hypers and hypos were a weekly event, at least. Sometimes they’d occur multiple times a day, and they were exhausting. A low carbohydrate diet almost completely eliminates these risks, because you’re not eating enough carbohydrates to cause big enough blood sugar spikes. And the carbohydrates that you do eat are small enough to bolus for with a small amount of insulin – decreasing the variables mentioned above considerably and thus reducing the chance of a hypo.