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Effects of the Atkins diet on Diabetes

Updated on March 31, 2017
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With diabetes patients predicted to top 500 million by 2030 if current diagnsis trends continue, an effective method for controlling the disease without the use of side effect laden drugs has never been more needed.

The Atkins diet has been heralded by some as a potential cure for type II diabetes, with numerous success stories of sufferers losing weight, stopping medication and stabilizing blood sugar levels, often after many years of struggling with other methods.

How does Atkins help?

Atkins similarly to other low carb diets, has been shown when followed correctly to both aid in weight loss and keep blood sugar levels stable. Both things important in the treatment of type two diabetes.

Carbohydrates when used by the body as a primary source of energy tend to cause spikes in blood sugar shortly after consumption due to the fact that they are broken down easily. Fats on the other and, the main energy source on low carb diets, are broken down slowly, leaving blood sugar levels more stable throughout the day.

The weight loss that goes along with following the Atkins diet of course helps lessen the symptoms of diabetes in its own way, improving blood circulation, lessening fluctuations in blood sugar levels and reducing the need for medications.

Some proponents of this approach even claim that following such a diet is a better way of treating the condition than through the use of drugs.

Side effects of Atkins

While there remains controversy over the long term use of low carbohydrate diets, due mainly due to the potentially dangerous impact that a diet high in animal fats could have on the kidneys in particular, many of these claims tend to lack the necessary research to support or deny them fully. Such claims include reduced athletic ability, loss of bone density, kidney and liver problems, excess ammonia production and compromised immune system function.

There are however short term and less serious side effects that many people report experiencing that can affect their ability to stick to the diet.

  • Insomnia
  • Food cravings
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation

Has the Atkins diet helped to effectively control your Diabetes symptoms?

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Can Atkins and similar Low-carb diets cause Diabetes?

While the general consensus in the scientific and medical communities is that Atkins and similar low carb diets are effective in controlling diabetic symptoms, there are also those who suggest that such diets could in fact trigger the onset of diabetes in otherwise healthy people.

The argument put forward by some doctors is that a high protein diet can lead to both insulin resistance and higher blood cholesterol, both of which can potentially lead to diabetes.

The validity of these claims has yet to be verified extensively due to two main factors. Firstly there is a distinct lack of long term research into the Atkins diet and its possible effects on the body. Secondly such diets if followed properly shouldn't tend to raise blood cholesterol, and it can be argued that many of the negative claims surrounding such diets are down to them not being followed correctly rather than inherent problems with the programs themselves.

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    • profile image

      Larry Wall 4 years ago

      Blueheron,

      If it is any help, but I eat a lot of high fiber cereal for breakfast. I found a bread that is low is carbs but very filling. I eat reduced fat peanut butter, low sugar jelly and lean meats. You can get in some rice or potatoes and probably maintain or increase your weight while keeping your blood sugar in check.

      Hope this helps.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 4 years ago from Odessa, MO

      I too am a type II diabetic. My trouble with most diabetic diets is that I am an underweight diabetic, and almost all diabetic diets are weight-loss diets. I need a diet that will get some meat on my bones. I can control my blood sugar pretty well in summer, by eating mostly vegetables, but winter calories needs makes this much more dificult. The craving for carbs can get pretty intense!

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 4 years ago from Odessa, MO

      I too am a type II diabetic. My trouble with most diabetic diets is that I am an underweight diabetic, and almost all diabetic diets are weight-loss diets. I need a diet that will get some meat on my bones. I can control my blood sugar pretty well in summer, by eating mostly vegetables, but winter calories needs makes this much more dificult. The craving for carbs can get pretty intense!

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 4 years ago

      I am a type II diabetic. Many can control it by reducing the carb intake. The problem with Atkins is that it did not take other illnesses or condition into consideration. I test myself a couple times a week. I have not had any excessive readings in the 10 or so years I have been doing it. I lost 20 pounds when I was diagnosed and have managed to keep 15 of it off. I drink sugar free soft drinks, low carb milk and use Splenda on my cereal. It works for me.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 4 years ago from Odessa, MO

      The issue with diabetes is ALWAYS: How can I get enough calories to keep from starving to death, while severely limiting carbs? It's a real catch-22. The only way you can get calories without carbs is by eating fats and proteins. It's really hard to get even 1500 calories a day while at the same time eating, say, 90 grams of carbs a day (which is actually kind of generous). Almost the only way you can do it is to depend heavily on protein and fat.

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