Lowering Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels
The primary target of the AH program is to reduce blood sugar and thereby lower insulin levels. When insulin drops, fat cells calm down and release their pent-up calories back into the body. As a result, hunger decreases, metabolism speeds up, and you lose weight with your body’s cooperation, not with your body kicking and screaming. This approach may be slower than conventional diets, but without having to restrict calories and endure hunger, it’s more sustainable. To hear the story of one of our readers who has type 1 diabetes, click here!
Benefits of a Lower-Carbohydrate Diet
In addition to benefits for weight loss, reducing blood sugar and insulin levels have obvious potential benefits to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 (previously called “adult-onset”) is strongly associated with obesity and tends to run in families. Initial studies suggest that lower-carbohydrate diets may help some people with type 2 diabetes reduce or eliminate their need for insulin. There may also be a lower cardiovascular disease risk. Phase 1 of the Always Hungry program is similar to these diets in carbohydrate content. Sometimes though, the carbohydrate content is even lower than Phase 1.
Type 1 Diabetes Management
There is also renewed interest in lower-carbohydrate diets for type 1 (previously called “juvenile”) diabetes. Before discovery of insulin in the 1920s, very-low-carbohydrate diets were standard for type 1 diabetes. They kept children with this condition alive for months to years. Preliminary data indicate that people with type 1 diabetes may have an easier time managing blood sugar, and perhaps avoiding complications, with a diet reduced either in total carbohydrate or glycemic index (reflecting how fast carbohydrate digests into sugar). We need more research, and my laboratory is actively investigating this exciting possibility — so stay tuned!
But if you have any type of diabetes, it’s important to speak with your medical provider before making any changes in your diet or lifestyle (e.g. physical activity level), to avoid risk of too high or too low blood sugar.