Do you, or a loved one either have type 2 diabetes or have what is called Pre-Diabetes, AKA Syndrome X? I have a lot of patients coming in with these two disorders, so before I talked about it, I decided to look into exactly what the American Diabetes Association is saying about it.
While I was encouraged to see that they are starting to acknowledge that diet plays a part in diabetes, I found some of their information confusing. Here’s some things I found very confusing, that I’m copying directly from their website:
“Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Fact: The answer is not so simple. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.
Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain. Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people should avoid intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent diabetes. Sugar-sweetened beverages include beverages like:
- Regular soda
- Fruit punch
- Fruit drinks
- Energy drinks
- Sports drinks
- Sweet tea
- Other sugary drinks
These will raise blood glucose and can provide several hundred calories in just one serving!
See for yourself:
- Just one 12-ounce can of regular soda has about 150 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrate. This is the same amount of carbohydrate in 10 teaspoons of sugar!
- One cup of fruit punch and other sugary fruit drinks have about 100 calories (or more) and 30 grams of carbohydrate.”
So does sugar cause diabetes or not? While it’s true that alcohol doesn’t cause alcoholism, shouldn’t alcoholics avoid it 100%? I have found in my own personal experience in working with diabetics that getting off sugar 100% works best.
I found this pretty confusing as well:
“Myth: If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.
Fact: Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks. In addition to these starchy foods, fruits, beans, milk, yogurt, and sweets are also sources of carbohydrate that count in your meal plan.
Wondering how much carbohydrate you can have? The amount of carbohydrate you need will vary based on many factors. You and your health care team can figure out the right amount for you. Once you know how much carb to eat at a meal, choose your food and the portion size to match.”
Sounds to me like they’re saying you should only have small amount of starchy foods. Why do they say it’s a myth, and then say the opposite? By the way, I totally agree with greatly reducing or eliminating starchy foods while you are reversing Type 2 diabetes. Doesn’t the fact that you have diabetes indicate you should only be eating very small servings of starches, if at all?
There’s some other points I don’t agree with on their website, like saying “There’s no cure for diabetes”. While this is true for some (actually the minority of people by far), it’s much more true that the proper diet, exercise, supplementation, and intermittent fasting can reverse Diabetes Type 2.
Let’s Look at the Bright Side
So in a nutshell, I’m very happy that the American Diabetes Association is starting to talk about food’s relationship to diabetes. And I think if they were a little clearer cut, they would encourage more people to take control of their diabetes to the best of their ability. With this all being said, this is what I’ve seen help the majority (90%) of cases that come in to my office reverse Type 2 diabetes.
But before we go in to this, let’s discuss what the intent is of the food plan I am going to suggest. Its main aim is to minimize blood sugar fluctuations, to cut down insulin secretion, and to resensitize your body to insulin. In doing so, it will also decrease stress hormones such as cortisol by minimizing blood sugar swings. It will also help balance testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone by minimizing insulin production. All in all, this diet helps to support most, if not all, hormone imbalances that accompany Diabetes Type II.
The Strategy– Adopt a low carb, high veggie, moderately low protein diet, while supporting weakened blood sugar controlling organs.
We have seen people reverse their diabetes by cutting sugar and carbohydrates and supporting the digestive organs as determined by a Nutrition Response Testing® program. There may be a deficiency of enzymes or B vitamins in diabetes, and these deficiencies are caused by eating TOO MUCH SUGAR! For cases of borderline Type 2 diabetes, or newly diagnosed Diabetes Type 2, switching to a diet of protein, veggies, nuts, seeds, oils, and a little fruit, along with the correct supplement regiment as determined by Nutrition Response Testing rolls back diabetes over 90% of the time.
So what does a meal and exercise plan look like?
Start With Reducing Meal Frequency
Well, first off, every time you eat, you secrete insulin, so we minimize the times we eat to 2-3x/day. Seems like the intermittent fasters got it right! A lot of my patients will skip breakfast or lunch to minimize insulin surges.
Keep Carbs Low
Second, considering sugars and carbohydrates cause the secretion of insulin, keep carbs low. You don’t want to eliminate them though, because carbs from non-starchy vegetables help to cleanse your liver, colon, kidneys, and skin. These foods also provide you with lots of vitamins and minerals. So eat lots of non-starchy vegetables at each meal, such as kale, all types of lettuce, peppers, broccoli, you get the idea. About 3 cups of non-starchy veggies for each and every meal is right for most people. I tell my diabetic patients to just stay away from grain and starches (even a little bit is often too much for them), and to stick with berries other than cherries if they want to eat fruit, such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
Include Plenty of High-Quality Protein
Protein also causes the secretion of insulin, but you need this to stoke your metabolism (protein intake increases calories burned to a certain degree), retain muscle mass, and satisfy your hunger. So you need to include protein, but not go overboard. About four to six ounces per meal seems to work best for my patients, depending on their size, metabolism, and activity level. Any kind of protein seems to work well, such as fish, chicken, beef, or even eggs. I don’t usually recommend dairy as a main source of protein as it can be a food sensitivity for some people. I do tell people that if they add a little cheese or cottage cheese to what they eat, it will not spike their insulin levels, and will add a little variety to their food. I’m not totally overbearing!
Enjoy Healthy Fats!
Fat does not cause the release of insulin, so enjoy nuts, seeds and high-quality oils with each meal. I usually recommend one per meal, but you could try more if it tickles your fancy. Good ones to try are avocado, coconut oil, and all kinds of nuts, seeds, butters, and so forth. Butter, cream, and cheese also have plenty of fat, so these are fine too.
Track Your Food
Get a calorie counting app. But not specifically to count calories. Calorie counting apps, such as My Fitness Pal will tell you how many grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates you are eating. It also tells you other important data, like how much potassium, vitamin C, and fiber you are eating. Just make sure to adjust the macronutrient settings to something like 30% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 40% fat. You can go higher on the fat and protein, and lower on the carbs, but I find that these are pretty safe numbers. If you can achieve these numbers each day while adhering to the above 4 steps, you’re definitely going to see improvement in your blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
And Of Course–Exercise!
Start moving! People who have Diabetes Type II or are prediabetic always have inflammation and high stress hormone levels. Walking is the perfect exercise for them. It decreases stress hormones, sensitizes insulin, and burns calories. It also gets your body used to exercise and more “in shape” so that you can exercise more vigorously later if you feel like it. I recommend one hour per day for my clients. It’s even better to exercise first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Doing this will increase your insulin sensitivity and really increase your body’s output of Growth Hormone (the master healing hormone of the body). Other good choices for decreasing stress hormones are yoga, qi gong, and tai chi. If relaxation is not your style, you can lift weights, run, swim, play sports or whatever floats your boat. Just remember, the harder you exercise, the less you should do of that exercise (You can always mix difficult levels of exercise-I lift 3 days per week, and walk about 3-5 hours per week). The rule of thumb is this (you can mix and match these):
- 5 hours per week of gentle exercise, such as walking, yoga, tai chi, etc.
- 3 hours per week of moderate exercise, such as jogging, swimming, weightlifting, etc.
- ½ hour (or less!) of high intensity interval training.
There you have it, the exact diet and exercise plan I use every day in my office with my Diabetes patients.
So, I’m Worried About My Blood Sugar, What Do I Do Now?
A thorough nutritional blood test is crucial to identify your problems and from that, we can recommend a customized treatment program as well as preventive measures including diet and lifestyle changes, and proper supplementation based upon your individual test results. It is time to take your health into your own hands. Find out where your nutritional status lies by completing a nutritional blood test. Take a couple of months to try a safe natural drug-free approach. You can often see positive changes in just a few days or weeks. Let us guide you down the right path with an individualized plan that we tailor specifically towards your needs and help you discover a safe and natural option to benefit your health.