Can I Go on a Low-Carb Diet?

A frequently asked question of doctors is what kind of diet should I be on to manage my diabetes? Can I go on a low-carbohydrate diet?

These questions come from several different places. All of us want to eat and live healthy lifestyles. However, can someone with diabetes go on a low-carb diet?

According to Salynn Boyles, there were some studies in the early 2000s suggesting that low-carb diets actually could help people with diabetes significantly. Some instances showed insulin use being cut in half (Boyles, 2006).

The American Diabetes Association, ADA, does not suggest this kind of diet since it is difficult to maintain long-term (Boyles, 2006).

Recently, the ADA did write information on carbohydrate counting.

They state, “Carbohydrate counting, or ‘carb counting,’ is a meal planning technique for managing your blood glucose levels” (ADA, 2016).

They suggest carb counting as a way to maintain blood glucose levels. If you are able to balance exercise and medication with a restriction on your dosage of carbohydrates in a meal, you should be able to maintain your blood sugar a lot better.

However, this means that diets will change depending on the person. I suggest discussing with your doctor on how many carbs you should consume in one day.

Your carbohydrate intake should depend on how active you are. Also, consider what medications you are taking. How is your diet going currently? What spikes your blood sugar? All of these are things you should discuss with your doctor before starting.

The ADA suggests you start at 45-60 grams of carbohydrates a meal (ADA, 2016). After determining with your doctor what the right amount of carbohydrates are right for your diet, then plan your food and portion sizes.

Once again, I would suggest you plan this with our doctor. Make sure that you are eating consistently at the same time each day. Do not skip meals. Eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner can help you to avoid other complications short-term and long-term.

The ADA also suggests that you include healthy fats and protein inside of your diet. Do not cut these out to help you save on carbs. Although you have the freedom to do a low-carb diet, it should be a priority to have a balanced diet.

Therefore, if you have diabetes, can you go on a low-carb diet?

YES…but you should make sure that you discuss everything with your healthcare provider first. Since diet plans are based off of the individual, it would be best to plan with your physician who can study how you have reacted to different eating habits.

Your doctor will be your best resource in meal planning. It is important to maintain frequent contact with them.

Also, make sure to take into consideration how much you exercise. It is recommended that you do 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. This is very important in maintaining your blood sugar at your target range level.

Although you can do a low-carb diet, make sure to talk to your doctor first. This will assure you that you are taking care of your body the best that you can.


American Diabetes Association. (2016). Carbohydrate counting. American Diabetes Association. Retrieved from

Boyles, S. (2006). Do low-carb diets help diabetes?. WebMD. Retrieved from