Diabetic nutrition news has been changing our thinking about what a diabetic diet should be. But one thing has not changed, and that is the large and confusing number of diets. It does not help that every one of them has its fans and its statistics to prove it will work to help you lose weight and feel good.
So which one is best for diabetics? We’ll look at a few of the popular diets and compare them. Since we all have different tastes, some will appeal to you more than others. But which ones are best for a diabetic?
Nutrition News About Atkins Diets
Also known as a very low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet, the Atkins diet puts all of its focus on the carbohydrate side of food. Instead of counting overall calories, it restricts high glycemic carbohydrates, counting them by the number of grams you eat.
Carbohydrates include vegetables, fruit and grains as well as desserts. People on the diet do not have to count how many grams of meat, cheese and fats they eat. This kind of diet causes ketosis, a state where your body uses fat and muscle stores instead of the glucose from carbs to feed your cells.
Weight loss is fast at the beginning, especially if you are used to a high carbohydrate diet. A drastic drop in carbohydrates will lead to quick weight loss until your body adjusts.
And blood sugar is often lower. That’s because your pancreas is stimulated to produce insulin by the presence of carbohydrates. Fewer carbs means less insulin.
Most people who go onto an Atkins type diet drop their calorie intake by as much as 1,000 calories a day because there is less available to eat on this diet. And that explains the weight loss.
One problem with this diet for a diabetic is the high protein intake that is required. Many type 2 diabetics have borderline kidney problems, and some of us have chronic kidney disease.
For kidney disease, dietitians recommend less than 1 gram of protein per kilogram of weight per day, and that is far too little protein for the Atkins diet. Another problem with the diet is carb hunger.
If you want to really change your life, you need to find a plan you can use for the rest of your life. The very low carb diet is very hard to stay on long term. But you can lose weight this way.
The South Beach Diet and Diabetes Nutrition
This diet was invented by a cardiologist who put an emphasis on the difference between “good and bad fats” and “good and bad carbohydrates.” He relied heavily on the glycemic index that had been invented in the 1980s, and he wrote a book that became a best seller.
The diet is similar to the Atkins diet but is not as strict about carbohydrates. However, it does rely on meat and saturated fats, and it restricts the use of fruit and some vegetables.
As with the Atkins diet, the more drastic the change is from your usual way of eating, the more weight you will lose at first. The inventor was trying to help people stay on the very low carb diet. He saw how difficult it was for his patients to stay on it for very long.
The South Beach Diet makes many promises and claims that have not been proven by research studies, but as with the other diets, people have lost weight, and they find it easier to stay on this regimen than the Atkins low carb diet.
And the terms “good fat,” bad fat,” “good carbs” and “bad carbs” have made their way into the U.S. language so that they show up in popular news shows and recipe web sites. Without any hard evidence they have been accepted as true.
The Mediterranean Diet and Diabetic Nutrition News
Ads for the Mediterranean diet claim you can “eat all you want” and “never feel hungry.” That sounds great, but things that sound too good to be true often are.
This diet, according to diabetic nutrition news, is modeled on the way many Greeks, Spanish and Italians eat. It uses olive oil as the main source of fat, and there is very little red meat but lots of fish, beans, fresh fruit and vegetables. Dairy is eaten mainly as yogurt and cheeses, and cereal and bread are only from whole grain sources.
Even though the diet is high in fat and salt, Greeks and Italians who live this way have far fewer cardiovascular problems than those who have switched to a Western diet. But there is more to it than that. Portions are smaller in these countries, and the people are in general more active.
Many in depth studies have been made of this diet, and it consistently produces lower triglycerides, lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar. And it always shows a reduced risk of becoming diabetic over time.
Because the diet emphasizes lots of unprocessed fruit and vegetables, nuts and whole grain, it is very high in antioxidants. Even olive oil has antioxidant benefits because it is a natural vegetable oil. Fish and poultry are the main meat sources, with other animal protein in very small amounts, once a week or less.
So why can you “eat all you want?” Because you are not eating any processed foods, white flour or sugary desserts. It is possible to overeat on any kind of diet, but it’s harder to do on the Mediterranean diet.
It’s also important to point out that those who recommend this diet also tell you to exercise every day and get a dose of sunshine for vitamin D. And they encourage eating with family and friends, not alone. It’s the Mediterranean way. Perhaps that is why there appears to be less depression among people who eat the Mediterranean diet.
Diabetic Nutrition and Paid Weight Loss Programs
Jenny Craig and South Beach as well as other similar plans will provide you premade and proportioned diet meals for a price. Such plans are a simple way out if you are bewildered by the whole thing. They have already figured out a variety of meals in the right calorie range. The meal plans are expensive, though, and everything is processed and frozen.
Weight Watchers has been around since 1963, and they now have a program specifically for diabetics. Many people have had success with their approach of using points and exchanges instead of counting calories, as well as their use of support and a feeling of community. There is a monthly fee, but it is far cheaper than the prepackaged meals.
Every one of the popular meal plans and weight loss diets mentioned above will help you lose weight. You can be successful with any one of them. They’ve all been proven to lead to weight loss. So which one should you choose?
A Good Diet for Type 2 Diabetics
Looking at diabetic nutrition news and the latest studies, there are things that a good lifetime diet for a diabetic should include. These are some questions you could ask yourself as you look at your choices.
First, does the diet include lots of fresh vegetables and fruit for antioxidants, whole grains and nuts for fiber and vitamins, and protein sources that rely more on fish and poultry than red meat? Will you be eating enough calories to get the nutrition you need in order to live with and fight diabetes?
Are the foods on the diet appealing to you? You need to like the things you will be eating for the rest of your life. Otherwise you won’t stick with the changes to your eating habits.
Are the foods on the diet easy for you to find at your local markets? Can you afford them? Changing your eating habits does not have to break your budget. And make sure there are plenty of things on the diet that are familiar to you.
Last question – does the plan talk about exercise? Any good diabetic diet plan should encourage exercise. It is the key to the kind of weight loss that improves all the systems that are affected by type 2 diabetes. If the plan you are looking at downplays exercise or says you don’t need it, that would be a good time to move on.
You need to do what works for you. No food is banned for diabetics. But there are some things that are better for you than others, and some that will make your life with diabetes easier. Armed with some information, you can decide for yourself what your choices will be. It’s your journey!
Martha Zimmer invites you to visit her website and learn more about type 2 diabetes, its complications and how you can deal with them, as well as great tips for eating healthy that will make living with diabetes less painful.