Food can be powerful in preventing and reversing diabetes. However, dietary approaches have changed as we have learned more about the disease. The traditional approach to diabetes focuses on limiting refined sugars and foods that release sugars during digestion-starches, breads, fruits, etc. With carbohydrates reduced, the diet may contain an unhealthful amount of fat and protein. Therefore, diabetes experts have taken care to limit fats- especially saturated fats that can raise cholesterol levels, and to limit protein for people with impaired kidney function. The new approach focuses more attention on fat. Fat is a problem for people with diabetes. The more fat there is in the diet, the harder time insulin has in getting glucose into the cells. Conversely, minimizing fat intake and reducing body fat help insulin do its job much better. Newer treatment programs drastically reduce meats, high-fat dairy products, and oils.[46,47,48,49,50] At the same time, they increase grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. The study found that patients on oral medications and patients on insulin were able to get off of their medications after some days on a near-vegetarian diet and exercise program. During 2 and 3-year follow-ups, most people with diabetes treated with this regimen have retained their gains. The dietary changes are simple, but profound, and they work.[51,52,53]
Eating right and exercising more often is good for everyone. But it's especially important for people with type 2 diabetes. When people put on too much body fat, it's because they're eating more calories than they use each day. The body stores that extra energy in fat cells. Over time, gaining pounds of extra fat can lead to obesity and diseases related to obesity, like type 2 diabetes.
 Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Long-term effects of lifestyle intervention or metformin on diabetes development and microvascular complications over 15-year follow-up: the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. 2015;3(11):866‒875. You can find more information about this study at the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study website.
We tend to hear much emphasis on calories, carbohydrate counting and the glycemic index when asking about type 2 diabetes management through diet. The most often forgotten nutrient for health is the most important: water. Many of our clients with type 2 diabetes are on the run and may remember to eat, yet do not take adequate time for drinking calorie-free, caffeine-free beverages to rehydrate. Since our bodies are comprised of nearly 70% water, it makes good sense to take in fluids daily to balance out our needs. Sometimes the recommended “8, 8 ounces of water per day” is not enough. A quick assessment of the color of urine coming out, depending on vitamin supplements and medications, can help determine what the right amount of liquid is daily. The lighter the color, the better!
There is convincing evidence that diets rich in whole grains protect against diabetes, whereas diets rich in refined carbohydrates lead to increased risk (53). In the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II, for example, researchers looked at the whole grain consumption of more than 160,000 women whose health and dietary habits were followed for up to 18 years. Women who averaged two to three servings of whole grains a day were 30 percent less likely to have developed type 2 diabetes than those who rarely ate whole grains. (21) When the researchers combined these results with those of several other large studies, they found that eating an extra 2 servings of whole grains a day decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 21 percent.
Hot liquids fill you up better than most anything else – coffee, teas, non-fat hot chocolate. I have become a big fan of soup. I make it myself by browning onions in non-stick cooking spray (to bring out the flavor), then add whatever vegetables I have around with some broth (vegetable or chicken). When the veggies are soft, cool slightly, then blend in small batches. Season with S&P, or experiment with turmeric or cardamon. Makes a lovely thick, creamy soup without the calories. I use sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, whatever.
As a renal dietitian my focus can’t be solely on diabetes. Although a very large percentage of our patients with chronic kidney disease are here due to unmanaged blood sugar control, that is just one of our problems. I have to prioritize my counseling in other ways – the most important being control of potassium, then sodium (fluid), protein and phosphorus.
After the birth of her oldest son, Crawford went on Weight Watchers. Eight months later, she had dropped 40 pounds, had an A1C of 5.2, and was able to stop diabetes and blood pressure medications. Her workouts started with daily walks and progressed to cardio and strength training three to four times a week. "I was able to do things I couldn't do before," she says. "I can do push-ups. I can do sit-ups."
More than 86 million American adults—approximately one-third of those over age 18 and half of those over 65—have prediabetes, and most of them don’t even know it. If you have prediabetes, it means your blood sugar levels are consistently higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes puts you at higher-than-normal risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control, up to 30% of overweight men and women with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years of diagnosis. You don’t have to be one of them! Here are five steps you can take to reduce your diabetes risk.
Controlling Type II Diabetes by diet is an absolute must. Eating low glycemic foods and staying away from highly processed foods that contain hidden toxins as well as hidden sugars is important. You cannot always trust food labels so I suggest eating as many foods that DO NOT have labels – fresh vegetables, lean proteins and nutrient rich complex carbohydrates. Some examples include, spinach, kale, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice or bean pastas – and of course lots of lean proteins from chicken, turkey and fish. Eliminate high sugar vegetables such as peas, carrots and corn and stay away from white foods such as white flour, bread, pastries, cakes, dairy and milk products (eggs are ok).
Eat Slower: Once we start eating, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes for our bodies to realize we are full. Eating too fast can lead to overeating, which can lead to a spike in blood sugar and/or weight gain…which can lead to greater insulin resistance. Consciously aim to eat slowly – give yourself at least 15 minutes – especially if you start a meal very hungry. If you are a fast eater or do not have a lot of time, eat 50% to 75% of your planned portion and then wait 10 to 15 minutes (call a friend, work a little, take a walk, anything). If you are still hungry, then eat half of what’s left. Repeat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Pay attention to how much food it actually takes to make you full so if you are in a pinch, you can make sure your eyes don’t become bigger than your stomach.
5. Cut back on refined carbs and sugary drinks. White bread, white rice, white pasta and potatoes cause quick increases in blood sugar, as do sugary soft drinks, fruit punch, and fruit juice. Over time, eating lots of these refined carbohydrates and sugar may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. To lower your risk, switch to whole grains and skip the sugar — especially the sugary drinks.
A few weeks ago, I made almond butter at home for the first time. I have always avoided purchasing almond butter at the grocery store because it can be so pricey. Whether you choose to make your own almond butter at home or to pick up a jar at the store, be sure check the nutrition label and the ingredients list for hidden additives. Check out this comparison of a few almond butter brands below. Kristie’s Honey Almond Butter… Continue reading »
Jitahadi bought books on diabetes, nutrition, the glycemic index, and diabetes-friendly meals. Instead of slightly modifying her diet, Jitahadi decided to completely overhaul it. "I started realizing that what ['watch what you eat'] really meant was I needed to eat healthier, more balanced meals," she says. She wrote down everything she ate. And instead of dining out, she cooked meals from scratch. Jitahadi swapped white sugar for lower-glycemic sweeteners, traded in white rice for brown, lowered the amount of sodium she consumed, cut a lot of carbs, and made veggies the mainstay of each meal. (Her favorite: grated cauliflower sautéed with veggies and chicken or egg for low-carb fried "rice.")
Consider signing up for a virtual coach. Trying to make these changes on your own, at your own pace, and in your own time is very hard. So consider joining a support group like Overeaters Anonymous so you don't have to go it alone. Another way to gain insights and get some help as you attempt to make some changes is to find an app that offers personalized tips and ideas. Having a virtual coach is both convenient has been shown effective in improving diabetes care.
As a bonus, stress relief may help you sleep better, which is important because studies show that not getting enough sleep can worsen type 2 diabetes. Sleeping less than six hours a night has also been found to contribute to impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that often precedes type 2 diabetes. In fact, a review published in 2015 in Diabetes Care analyzed 10 studies that involved more than 18,000 participants combined and found the lowest risk of type 2 diabetes in the group of participants that slept seven to eight hours per day. That’s the minimum recommended amount of sleep for most adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
People are missing the forest through the trees while trying to be perfect in the way they eat. It has become difficult to accept the tip “eat more fruits and vegetables”. All the food “philosophers” (aka non-science based food guru) have filled our heads with lies about the types, packaging and serving of these foods. Saying things like “they are worthless if they are packaged in such-and-such a way”. STOP with the “all-prefect or nothing” mentality. Just eat fruits and vegetables! Canned, fresh, frozen, cooked, raw, or pulverized; just get them in your belly.
First – When eating foods with simple sugars (high glycemic index foods) that quickly raise your blood sugar, combine them with something to slow that process down, whether it is protein, healthy fat, or fiber. For example, if you are having birthday cake and ice cream, eat it after a meal with lean protein, fiber rich vegetables and/or grains, and healthy fats. The meal will slow the digestion of the sugar in the cake and ice cream. But if you are counting carbs, be sure to count those in the cake and ice cream.
The DPP study showed a similar result. In this study, there was also a group taking metformin (Glucophage) as a preventative measure. At the end of the study, the lifestyle group actually did better at prevention of diabetes than those taking metformin. In fact, the study was stopped early, because the benefit of weight loss (the weight loss group lost about 15 pounds on average and kept it off) was so dramatic.
The process of type 2 diabetes begins years or even decades before the diagnosis of diabetes, with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the beginning of the body not dealing well with sugar, which is the breakdown product of all carbohydrates. Insulin tells certain body cells to open up and store glucose as fat. When the cells stop responding your blood sugar rises, which triggers the release of more insulin in a vicious cycle. Insulin resistance is associated with abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and low HDL ("good cholesterol"). When these occur together, it is known as metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes. It is a risk factor for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.