It cannot be emphasized enough. Diet is absolutely essential in the treatment of diabetes; it can even reverse pre-diabetes (the precursor to the much more serious type 2 diabetes).
The diabetes diet focuses on controlling blood sugar levels through careful food monitoring. Stabilizing blood sugars involves eating small meals throughout the day and avoiding all foods that rapidly spike blood sugar levels. A low-glycemic, nutrient-dense diet can, in many cases, dramatically reduce or even eliminate the need for insulin injections and/or oral medications.
Dietary recommendations for diabetes:
- Eat more fiber. People who are diabetic and/or obese typically have a low-fiber diet which puts them at increased risk for colorectal cancer. Fiber is a bulking agent that is very effective in stabilizing blood sugar levels. Increase your intake by adding high-quality fiber to your diet, such as ground flax meal.
- Increase the amount of nutrient-dense, low-glycemic foods in your diet such as dark, green leafy vegetables, sprouted whole-grain bread, and sweet potatoes (instead of high-glycemic white potatoes).
- Increase your omega-3 intake. Omega-3 is found in fish oil, wild-caught salmon, minimal-mercury albacore tuna, sprouted nuts and seeds, and ground flax meal. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can lower triglyceride levels, reduce plaque buildup in the arteries, and reduce heart disease risk.2 Diabetics are at higher risk for developing heart disease.
- Toss out the notions of the low-fat diet. The American Diabetic Association and the American Heart Association have steadily promoted a low-fat diet for diabetics, mainly because diabetics tend to also have high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). However, that idea is overly simplistic and misleading. Not all fats are bad, and in fact, some fats are essential for good nutrition. A healthy balance of good fats is more important than eliminating ALL fats. Also, watch out for deceptively low-fat food products that are actually high in refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, and unhealthy processed carbs — all of which worsen diabetes. Read more about good fats and bad fats.
- Use organic virgin coconut oil for all your cooking needs. Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is a saturated fat with antimicrobial properties that can help regulate blood sugar levels.
- Increase your magnesium intake. New studies now show that adequate magnesium intake can reduce diabetes risk by as much as 34 percent.4
- Add cinnamon to your diet. Recent studies have found that a half teaspoon of cinnamon added daily to your diet can reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. Soaking a cinnamon stick in a cup of tea was enough to produce a significant effect on blood sugar levels.12
- Choose high-quality, organic, hormone- and antibiotic-free “grass-fed” meats.
- Eat raw, organic vegetables.
- Choose organic, cage-free eggs.
- Choose unpasteurized, raw dairy items that have live, active cultures (probiotics), such as yogurt and kefir.
- Drink purified water throughout the day.
When managing diabetes, it is essential to AVOID the following foods:
- All simple or refined carbohydrates (white flour, white rice, white bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, crackers, processed snack foods, etc.)
- All foods containing refined sugar or artificial sugar-substitutes such as Aspartame, Splenda® etc. Artificial sweeteners may increase the risk of (or worsen) diabetes.5Choose a low-glycemic sweetener like Xylosweet instead.
- Alcoholic beverages, which can rapidly spike blood sugar levels
- Fruits that have a high glycemic index such as apricots, raisins, bananas, papaya, and mango (these spike blood sugar levels). Choose low-glycemic fruits instead.
- Sweetened fruit juices, since they spike blood sugar levels too rapidly
- Carbonated soft drinks that cause blood pH levels to become acidic
- Bottom crawlers, such as oysters, clams, and lobster that may contain toxic levels of mercury
- Deep-sea fish such as tuna, mackerel, and swordfish that may contain toxic levels of mercury. Choose minimal-mercury albacore tuna instead.
- Farm-raised fish that contain PCBs and not enough omega-3 essential fatty acids, due to their land-based diets. Choose wild-caught salmon instead.
- Sodium Nitrite found in processed foods such as hot dogs, lunch meats, and bacon
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) found in many foods as a flavor enhancer
- Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils found in many processed foods, deep-fried foods, fast foods, and junk food. Diabetics are particularly susceptible to the negative effects of bad fats, since they are at higher risk of developing heart disease. Read more about trans fats.
- Caffeine intake. Caffeine intake after a meal surges blood sugar levels in diabetics, making blood sugar control more difficult.6
- Eliminate smoking altogether. A recent study links smoking to increased diabetes risk.7
Another essential component for regulating blood sugar levels is exercise. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, a chronic condition that frequently co-exists with diabetes. If you are overweight, choose light exercises such as yoga and stretching to begin. Take daily walks in sunlight to increase your production of vitamin D. Work up a sweat to release toxins from the body. Above all, diabetics need to know that starting any exercise is the first step to successful diabetes management.
Other tips for sufferers of Diabetes
- If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels regularly with a home glucose monitoring device found at local pharmacies.
- If you’re overweight, lose weight. Losing weight can reduce or even eliminate pre-diabetes. Read more about a healthy weight.
- Heavy Metal Toxicity can produce vague symptoms that sometimes are mistaken for other chronic conditions. Discuss heavy metal toxicity with your healthcare professional before receiving any diagnosis or treatment for a serious chronic condition. Read more about heavy metal toxicity.
- If you have “silver” dental fillings, get an evaluation from a mercury-free dentist who specializes in the safe removal of mercury amalgam fillings. Mercury in the body can cause wide-spread damage, especially in the brain and digestive tract, and may have an underlying relationship to diabetes. Find a mercury-free dentist in your area now!