How carbs can be your best friend for losing weight and reversing diabetes...

Maybe you took a look at my Naturally Vegan Foods Cheat Sheet and thought, "Hey, there's a lot of carbs here. I'm not supposed to eat rice, potatoes, beans, fruit, bread or pasta because of my high blood sugar," or, "All these carbs are going to make me gain weight."

All carbs are not created equal

Many of the carbs on my list are largely "unrefined carbohydrates" or those that most resemble a whole food, how it grows in nature, like the foods in the chart below from the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine. Think: whole grains (like oats), fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans and lentils), nuts and seeds.

These whole food, unrefined carbohydrates offer all of the fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals (plant chemicals) and essential fatty acids your body needs while providing no cholesterol, explains Brenda Davis, R.D., in her book, "Becoming Vegan." She says they take up more room on your plate and in your stomach, too.

Why your doctor told you to limit your carbs

Now, to the point of why you may have been told to reduce or count carbs: Most people eat a lot of highly processed carbs (junk food, fast food and lots of bread, pasta and sweets made with highly refined white flour) along with butter, cheese, eggs, milk and meat at every meal with very little whole foods such as grains, beans, fruit and vegetables. So, doctors, and even the American Diabetic Association, make the mistaken blanket statement to limit or count all carbs, which is simply the source of the glucose that your cells need for energy. Because the animal protein is ingrained in our eating habits and is the main source of calories and fat - and the only source of cholesterol - in most people's diets, you can struggle to lose that extra weight even when counting and limiting carbs.

How fat and cholesterol actually cause the high blood sugar levels

When it comes to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, research has found it's that build up of fat around your middle (whether you are slim or overweight) which is actually causing your cells to ignore the insulin released by your pancreas so cells can't use up the glucose you eat for energy. This leads directly to your high blood sugar levels and other symptoms. That's why they generally say you can measure your diabetes risk by the size of your waist: Over 40 inches for men and over 35 inches for women signifies a very high risk of diabetes, all by itself.