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  • Writer's pictureWayne Drury

How do Carbohydrates Affect Your Quality of Life ?

Photo Credit: 123RTF 

 

 

Introduction 

 

The idea that carbohydrates make you fat is a topic of significant debate, but asking the question, about 90% will say carbohydrates make you fat.  For us with type 2 diabetes, carbohydrates add the dimension of having a huge impact on our blood sugar that, along with being obese, can be a killer. 

 

I am a walking, breathing example.  When I was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I was 95 kg on an 80 Kg body.  I heard all the normal stuff: exercise, lose weight, don’t eat this, don’t eat that, use a divided baby plate, to a nutritionist, don’t drink, cut out all sweets; it sounded like I would have to become a rabbit. 

 

Some very frustrating and angry times that I have worked out.  I am now on a path to living a great quality of life with type 2 diabetes, which led me to begin diabetes.  My frustrations and anger put a strain on me and my family, but I have dropped 13 kgs and now do not use any medications for diabetes treatment.  I am living the life I want with type 2 diabetes.  If I can help to ease this for you, give us a shout through our website.   

 

Now, let's move on to the real reason for this blog. 

 

The Reality of Carbohydrates and Weight Gain 

 

Weight Gain occurs when you consume more calories than your body expends—of course, we already know this. It’s easy to say, but harder to do something about.   

 

Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram, the same as protein, while fat provides 9 calories per gram. So, what does this suggest?  Read on. 

 

Types of Carbohydrates 

 

Simple Carbohydrates are found in sugary foods and drinks, they can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, leading to quick energy crashes and increased hunger, which can promote overeating. 

 

Complex Carbohydrates are found in whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits.  They are digested more slowly, providing sustained energy, and promoting satiety, which can help control overall calorie intake. 

 

Insulin Response 

 

Carbohydrates stimulate the release of insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin also promotes fat storage, but this effect is more complex and depends on overall diet and activity levels. But it comes down to taking in more calories than you use, and the result is increased weight by getting fat. 

 

In healthy individuals, insulin efficiently manages blood sugar. However, in individuals with type 2 diabetes, carbohydrate consumption can exacerbate metabolic issues, potentially leading to weight gain if not managed properly.  I am a living, breathing example of this and something I had to learn to control to have a better quality of life living with type 2 diabetes. 

 

Low-Carb Diets and Weight Loss 

 

Low-carb diets often lead to rapid initial weight loss, largely due to water loss, and then the long-term effects kick in. It is not just about a low-carb diet; it is about what and how much you eat and if you change your lifestyle habits.  Let me provide examples of two different paths: 

 

  1.  Go on a low-carb diet, but do not do some form of exercise and continue to eat all those processed meats – Do you know how many calories a fast-food burger has, even without the bun? 

 

  1. Go on a low-carb diet, but add walking a few blocks per day and cut out processed meats and fast foods as much as possible.  

 

I say, “as much as possible,” because I cheat occasionally when the craving gets to me.  However, I understand what processed and fast foods do to my body and how they can affect my quality of life.  By taking Path No. 2, it is amazing how good I feel every day, and that is what sustains me.  It can sustain you, too. 

 

Individual Differences can affect what you should do and your results.  But please, before making any changes to your lifestyle habits, discuss where you want to go with your healthcare provider who is in the best position to advise you.   

 

Conclusion 

 

Understanding the impacts of carbohydrates on weight and quality of life with type 2 diabetes presents many challenges. We all hear “quality over quantity” and the importance of being mindful of how many calories we eat. Then there is exercise, which most of us hate.  

 

I have been through this. I have lived and breathed the lifestyle changes, and you can make them, too.  Make bite-sized changes that you have agreed to with your healthcare professional, and the easiest place to start is when you go shopping; just don’t buy that junk. 

 

Best wishes from .... 

Vancouver, Canada 

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