Explainer: How People With Diabetes Can Go On A High-Carb Diet And Lower Their Blood Glucose

This video by Dr. Neal Barnard should be watched by every medical professional. It’s 11 minutes, but I encourage you to stick with it. It comes together in the end:


The buildup of fat inside cells, largely from dietary sources, interferes with insulin sensitivity. That makes it difficult for glucose to enter cells which results in high blood glucose levels. (He shows a diagram beginning around the 7:06 minute mark that illustrates this.)

Here’s the randomized clinical trial he ran, and that he refers to, where he showed that a high-carb, low-fat, vegan diet lowered blood glucose more than a lower-carb diet prescribed by the American Diabetes Association: A Low-Fat Vegan Diet Improves Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in a Randomized Clinical Trial in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes

These are people with diagnosed diabetes, not prediabetes, not occasional high fasting or post-meal glucoses. I’ve talked about this concept, this particular study even, for years but people keep saying, “But I can’t eat carbs, they make my blood sugar go up.” Yes, when you first go on this diet, your blood glucose with go up. But it comes down after a few days. And it keeps coming down if you stick with the diet:

9:51 “… the effects are pretty consistent that you see improvements. And that’s really, really important because a plant-based diet has rice in it, and it has pasta, and it has beans, and you’re encouraging your nervous patient to eat these foods and they have been hearing for years that these things are going to affect them.

And they will. They go home and they eat your spaghetti and their blood sugar rises for the first few days because they’re very insulin resistant. And then after a while something happens, which is their blood sugar starts to fall and fall and fall and fall.

And what we believe is happening is that intramyocellular lipid is starting to dissipate. Their insulin resistance is starting to go away. Their insulin sensitivity is returning and you’re reversing the course of this disease.

How far will it go? It really depends on how soon you intervene in their life. You can’t expect that a person whose pancreas has been pummeled by this disease for 25 years to throw their medications away and be diabetes free. But on the other hand it makes sense to have every patient begin this kind of regimen as soon as you can. And all the side effects are good ones. Their cholesterols fall, their blood pressures fall. We’ve seen many patients where their erectile dysfunction improves, it goes away.”

Yes. People with diabetes can go on a high-carb diet and see their blood glucose fall, their HbA1c fall. The clincher: they have to eat low-fat. If they continue eating olive oil, yogurt, cheese, butter, eggs, chicken, fish, beef, bacon, etc. … it won’t work.

2 thoughts on “Explainer: How People With Diabetes Can Go On A High-Carb Diet And Lower Their Blood Glucose

  1. Bix Post author

    It’s exasperating. I’ve been saying this for years. I’ve been posting evidence. Still: “But I can’t eat carbs they make my blood sugar go up.” Ah!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s