Type II Diabetes and Low Carb Food Finds

By Jordan Stachel, MS, RDN

August 12, 2022

Diabetes Low Carb

Type II diabetes occurs when the body cannot make enough insulin to combat the sugar or carbohydrates consumed. Blood sugar normally rises after eating and then drops within 1-2 hours with the help of insulin as the glucose shuttles into cells. But, for people with type II diabetes, blood sugar can remain elevated for hours.

Although several factors contribute to the development of type II diabetes, a diet high in sugar or refined starches is a common cause.

Use these low-carb food finds for managing blood sugar for people with type II diabetes.

Foods with fiber

One food element that is helpful for lowering carbs is fiber. This is because, the more fiber a food has, the fewer carbs it has. This concept is also known as “net carbs.” To calculate net carbs, you simply subtract fiber from the total carbohydrates.

Because fiber passes through the gastrointestinal (GI) system undigested, it is vital to be cautious about how much fiber you consume to avoid GI upset. Start with a small amount (foods with 5-10 grams) and see how your system responds. Over time, increasing fiber to ~35 grams per day can be a helpful tool for managing blood sugar.

The great news regarding fiber and finding foods low in carbs is that many products on the market now contain added fibers to help with blood sugar stabilization. While some foods are naturally high in fiber, such as beans, whole grains, and some veggies, certain foods have added fibers. Some of these foods include protein bars, whole grain cereals, pasta, and tortillas.

Use some of these low-carb product recommendations as a helpful jumping-off point:

  • Protein bars: Quest, No Cow, Raw Rev
  • Whole Grain Cereals: Fiber One, Catalina Crunch, Smart Bran, Three Wishes
  • Pastas: Fiber Gourmet, Impastable
  • Tortillas: Ole Xtreme Wellness, Mission Carb Balance, La Tortilla Factory Low Carb

To determine which foods contain added fibers, check the nutrition label. For example, when comparing two tortillas next time you are at the grocery store, you could experiment with choosing the one enriched with fiber.

Cauliflower crust pizzas

While cauliflower-based food products are definitely “trendy," they can be helpful for low-carb snack options. There are lots of cauliflower crust pizzas on the market, and they can be a delicious, low-carb snack option. Pro tip: experiment with getting the mini, or individual-sized, crusts for a perfect snack portion.

Additionally, the topping combinations are endless, helping with snack variety. Experiment with these toppings:

  • Tomato sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni
  • Pesto sauce, shredded chicken, and basil
  • Mozzarella, shredded chicken, sliced onion, and low sugar BBQ sauce

Use some of these low-carb cauliflower crust pizza brands as a helpful starting point:

  • Cali’flour foods, Caulipower, Outer Aisle Gourmet

Parfaits

Parfaits are another great, low-carb food option for people with type II diabetes. Building a carb-smart parfait does not have to be difficult if you choose the right type of ingredients. Use these tips to help you build the perfect parfait:

  • Start with unsweetened Greek yogurt. The “unsweetened” kind will save you in sugar and carbohydrate content and allow you to add your own sweetness as desired. Some low-carb brands to experiment with are: Two Good, Oikos Triple Zero, and Greek Gods keto.
  • Next, find low-carb granola and/or cereal to mix in. Some low-carb brands to experiment with are: Purely Elizabeth keto flavors, NuTrail Keto, and SOLA.
  • Third, drizzle on your favorite nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.).
  • Lastly, top with a ¼ cup to ½ cup serving of your favorite fruit (pro tip: strawberries make a great parfait topper and are low in sugar when compared with other fruits).

Thin-sliced toast with toppings

Lastly, including whole grains is helpful for individuals with type II diabetes as they are a great source of fiber and B vitamins. People are often confused about bread consumption, but adding a few servings of whole grains daily can be very helpful for satiety and overall nutrient intake.

Getting some thin sliced, whole grain bread is an excellent option as it is lower in carbohydrates, and you can get creative with toppings. There are even keto breads on the market now, made to be especially low in carbohydrates (as they are typically enriched with fiber), so experimenting with some of those may be helpful. Some helpful brands include: Dave’s Killer Bread thin-sliced, Carbonaut, Base Culture, and Nature’s Own Keto.

Try these topping ideas below:

  • Peanut butter and a sprinkle of chia seeds
  • Smashed avocado with a fried egg
  • Hummus with sliced cucumber
  • Yogurt with blueberries
  • Smashed avocado or hummus with turkey slices

Overall, optimizing carbohydrates for people with type II diabetes can help improve quality of life and overall blood sugar management. Use these low-carb food finds and report back which ones you enjoyed trying the most.

Jordan Stachel holds a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from The University of Southern California and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She has several years of experience helping clients reach their health goals through her clinical work within private practice. Jordan is most fulfilled when guiding others towards making stepwise, sustainable changes that add up to big results over time. Jordan works with a wide variety of individuals, ranging in age from children to the elderly, with an assortment of concerns and clinical conditions. She helps individuals optimize overall health and/or manage disease states using personalized medical nutrition therapy techniques.

References:

  1. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/disease-prevention/diabetes-prevention/#what-is-diabetes
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/crank-up-your-fiber-intake-to-manage-blood-sugar-and-diabetes
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