Welcome to our collection of pages designed to help you undertake a "real food, lower carbohydrate diet". Lower carbohydrate diets have been shown to be helpful in people with Type 2 Diabetes and Pre-diabetes to return sugar levels to the normal range and put these conditions into remission. A real food, lower in carb diet can also be helpful for weight loss, to treat fatty liver, improve cardiovascular disease risk, reduce high blood pressure, polycystic ovarian disease and arthritis. Many people have also described that it has helped them to generally improve areas such as sleep, mood, fatigue, inflammatory conditions, perimenopausal symptoms and overall sense of wellbeing, regardless of diagnosis. Many people have reported feeling more empowered to help control their conditions through understanding the root causes of their conditions and trying this approach to nutrition.
What is "real food"?
Real food is food as nature intended - unprocessed. Real food contains great vitamins, minerals, naturally occurring fats that nourish and sustain our bodies, allowing us to grow, repair and provide energy. Vegetables (especially those grown above ground which have reduced starchy carbohydrates), fruit (although some fruits contain higher natural sugars), meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, full fat dairy are all naturally healthy ingredients. Often things bought in the shops contain highly processed foods. Cooking from raw ingredients wherever possible is a great starting point.
Why undertake a lower carbohydrate diet?
Carbohydrates (bread, pasta, potato, cereals, biscuits, cakes etc.) are all broken down into sugar. At any time there is only around 5 grams of sugar in your blood stream. This is controlled by hormones, including one called Insulin. Whenever the sugar level rises your body, insulin works hard to make sure it is used (in muscles), stored (in the liver, ready to use if required) or any excess sugar converted to store as fat. Importantly, circulating insulin reduces the body's ability to burn fat instead of sugar. This extra fat in the liver contributes to fatty liver disease and in the pancreas leads to Type 2 Diabetes - both are markers of insulin resistance. The page on metabolic health gives more information on this.
By reducing the amount of carbohydrate (and therefore sugars) in the diet you can reduce the amount of fat in the liver and pancreas, reduce insulin resistance, increase fat oxidation and improve your metabolic health. There are a number of other physiological changes that are thought to occur as a result of reduced sugar, reduced insulin, reduced salt retention, reductions in oxidative stress on cells in the body, which may a play a role in improving other conditions.
Real Food, Lower Carb Nutrition:
How low is low?
We would classify a 'low carb' diet as < 130g/day. However, depending on your current weight, sugar levels and insulin sensitivity you may not actually need to make that big a change to make a significant difference. It might be as simple as just eating more "real food", less processed food, lowering your carb intake or changing what you have for your regular breakfast. For others whose sugar levels are quite high and have more weight to lose, a more significant change may be needed to bring sugar levels down, improve sensitivity to insulin and see improvements in your metabolic health. As far as research goes, lower carbohydrate diets are defined as:
What about my current medications?
It is really important that those on diabetes medication (apart from Metformin) do not make any significant changes to their diet without seeking medical advice. If you are on medication for high blood pressure a lower carbohydrate diet may reduce your blood pressure so this will also need to be kept an eye on. You might be able to reduce or come off some of your medication which would be great.
To get started first answer the following question:
Do you already have one of the following diagnoses?
The following links will take you to a page about the condition before linking back to low carb information.
Metabolic syndrome includes information on cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure & polycystic ovary syndrome.
Alternatively, click on these low carb buttons to go directly to more information
Want to know about your lipid profile or what "healthy fats" are? Click here.
This video 'Beyond Diabetes' was produced by Public Health Collaboration. Health professionals talk about the benefits of low carb diets for their patients who are having surgery or have joint pain, inflammatory arthritis, kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. They discuss the benefits of a lower carbohydrate diet on areas over and above just improving metabolic health and blood sugar control. You may find they are relevant to a specific diagnosis or symptom that you may be thinking about.
This website does not provide personal medical advice.
New Forest PCN take no responsibility for the content of external links.