I want to share with you today a nutritional strategy that has helped our clients with Type 1 Diabetes find greater confidence with nutrition and a more peaceful relationship with food.
While I get a lot of questions about what specific diet is best to lower A1C or lose weight, I believe that it’s not always the right question to ask when approaching nutrition and diabetes. What is then? The topic of carbohydrates.
Upon diagnosis, T1Ds are often told to cut back on carbs. Or, somewhere along the way we start to believe that carbs are what makes diabetes difficult to manage, so we choose to eliminate them to make it easier. Or we think cutting carbs is necessary to lose weight. Or we avoid carbs out of fear of insulin and blood sugar spikes because we associate blood sugar rise with being “bad” or ”doing harm.”
What we don’t realize is that in limiting ourselves with this macronutrient, we are at risk for:
- decreased energy, mood, and mental clarity
- increased sugar cravings
- hormonal imbalances
- restrictions that lead to a binging pattern
- decreased workout efficiency
- increased insulin resistance if carb restricting is replaced with greater intake of fat + animal protein
- difficulty with continued weight loss as metabolism adapts to lower carb levels (if weight loss is a goal)
- lack of confidence in dosing when you do want to eat carbs (ex. eating out, mom’s special banana bread, etc.)
These are all things we’ve had clients experience. And while simply eating more carbs may not be the only solution, it could be a good place to start.
We often hear from people living with diabetes that restricting carbs feels like the safe and “logical” thing to do. Our coaching team challenges that belief by helping our clients get curious with questions like:
- How well does my body absorb carbs before or after an intense workout?
- How do the phases of my menstrual cycle impact my desire for carbs and my insulin sensitivity?
- How are my energy and sleep when I consume a certain amount of carbs daily?
When we change our mindset and ask different questions, carbs are no longer the enemy. Instead, they play an important part in our diabetes health and overall wellness.
I want you to feel empowered to make food choices that fuel your life, support your unique body and individual diabetes management needs. That’s why “Your Body, Your Rules” is one of the core values of our Together T1D Community Manifesto.
We’d love to hear from you in the comments: How do you incorporate carbs into your diet? Are there any “rules” that you know work really well for your body?