Best Diabetes Diet Tips for Weight Control

The Diabetes Diet is growing in popularity, not only for those who are diagnosed, but as a means to prevent the condition in the first place. It's also an excellent guide for people looking to lose weight, as it is based on healthy eating guidelines and cutting out refined carbohydrates of many processed and packaged foods.

Diabetes is reaching epidemic numbers across the world, including the UK, which has around 5% of people medically diagnosed with the condition. The number of individuals with late-onset diabetes (type II) is likely to be much much higher due to poor lifestyle and diet choices over time.

Surprisingly, there is also a much higher proportion of children being diagnosed with diabetes, indicative of the changes towards 'junk' eating habits and lower daily activity levels.

Although genetics (the DNA you inherit from your parents and their parents) play a part, the major reason people develop diabetes late in life is diet. There's just no getting around the scientific evidence.

Even at the pre-diabetic stage, the likelihood of serious healthy problems is seen by increases in weight and obesity.

One remedy that should immediately spring to mind, you would think therefore, is to stop doing the things that cause it and this form the basis of any diabetes diet.

A correct diet gives you good control of sugar levels, so a diabetic needs less medication (which is always a good thing due to the various side effects long term). More importantly, the wrong diet makes things much worse so you'll need more drugs.

As always with my tips, I'm a great believer in the power of knowledge. Once you understand what's happening in the body when you eat, you can see how what you eat has a profound effect on how your body responds.

If you know how it all works ... THEN you can get your body to do what you WANT it to do.

What Happens When you Eat Sugar or Carbs

When you eat too much sugar - 'white' or 'beige' carbs - in one go - without the buffering of grains or protein for example - they are broken down (= metabolised) very quickly causing a rush of sugar (glucose) into your blood.

This is where the hormone INSULIN comes in. It's produced in the pancreas as and when it's needed in response to increases in blood sugar levels. However, please note there are other things that keep it hanging around the body longer, such as caffeine.

So if you eat a lot of sugary foods or refined carbohydrates, chances are your insulin will generally also be high. This is typical in Type 2 (late onset) diabetes (not Type 1 early onset diabetes where insulin is usually low.)

It's actually a viscous circle, because if you frequently provoke your insulin system, consistently high insulin levels over time causes insulin resistance. So the very receptors the insulin is intended to work on to lower blood sugar levels by moving the sugar molecules into the cells stop working. The body's response? Release more insulin to try to do the job!

Too much insulin stores fat!!!

The flip side of having a lot of insulin hanging around is that insulin stimulates the deposit of excess sugar/carbs as fat IN your FAT CELLS! (I did a project on this at University! - messy stuff, fat!) especially around the waist and hips, which is why this is always a sign of increased risk compared with your ideal weight.

If you overload the sugar-insulin system time and time again, with daily 'bad' habits, you run huge risk of developing diabetes.

The 'Heavy' Problem with Diabetes
In someone with diabetes, this whole sugar-insulin system doesn't work properly - either you don't produce enough insulin (type 1) or it doesn't trigger the response as it should (e.g. hormone receptors are faulty) and insulin is either overproduced or stays around much longer.

The biggest stimulus for the production of insulin is food - predominantly carbohydrates. Some proteins can trigger it, fat never does. Other factors like stress or medication can also stimulate the pancreas to produce too much insulin.

The raised insulin in type 2 diabetes is more than likely what causes patients who are either pre-diabetic or diagnosed to increase their weight and produce more fat.

Either way, the blood stays loaded with glucose, which puts a strain on a lot of body functions, raises blood pressure, can cause blindness, high cholesterol and heart attack or stroke.

Need I go on ... yes, you need to know how to prevent diabetes and help you lose weight - there is a solution :-)

Insulin causes excess calories to be stored as fat. To add insult to injury ... it actually PREVENTS breakdown of fat cells, so your body cannot use up stored fat as energy.

It figures therefore that you only want as much insulin hanging around as you need to keep you blood sugar in control.

For the diabetes diet, this means controlling the release of sugar into the blood - so the body has more capacity to deal with it.

So What's a 'Good' Diabetes Diet?

One of the best sources of guidance is the GI Diet - you can find loads of books on this because it was a craze a while back. However, there are some variations that may be confusing.

So just stick to the general principles of cutting back on sugars and refined carbohydrates, whilst ensuring you maintain the essential nutrients of our food pyramid.

GI stands for Glycemic Index, which is a measure of the effect of food on raising blood sugar levels. Sticking to low GI foods will reduce the speed at which sugar is released into the blood when you eat.

Knowing the list of low GI foods is truly helpful in making better choices. The GI diet provides a reasonble first step for a diabetes diet or if you're trying to avoid getting diabetes in the first place! It's been shown to lower insulin levels and blood glucose, but also (and this is back to my point about the fat cells above) ... to reduce 'bad' fats and increase the 'good' fats.

A GI diet does not equate necessarily to a low-carb diet, because in the good versions, you can eat unlimited vegetables, which do contain unrefined carbs. However, in all versions, you significantly limit or avoid refined carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice, flour-based and sugary foods - hence the term 'white' or 'beige' carbs.

A good diabetes diet thus might start with limiting the refined carbs and making informed choices about which vegetables are most suitable (low GI). This goes for fruits too, as like vegetables, fruit contain unrefined sugars, some more than others.

The FAT content of food must also form an important part of the diabetic diet. But not all fats are bad for you. As with healthy eating, fish oils and essential fats should be included. What you need to eat less of are the dairy fats, oil dressings, eggs, nuts, and totally cut out the 'trans' fats in pre-packaged foods.

Alcohol is not completely out! Best to abstrain completely of course, at least for a few weeks while you get your body onto an even keel again. But if you do drink, exclude white beers and sweet white wines, champagne, sherry, port etc.

There's a great book just out with new research that can really help you plan an effective diabetes diet. It's by Dr Charles Clark and published by Vermillion. You can grab it from Amazon. ...

Once you start following this kind of diabetes diet

... eating healthily, including the low GI foods and 'good' fats, avoiding refined carbs (no more than 60g a day) and cutting back on alcohol, and ensuring you get the protein you need to protect your muscle mass ...

you should see a remarkable change within a matter of weeks. The lower we keep our insulin levels, the body is much more directed to burn its fat stores preferentially.

So reduce your need for insulin by reducing the amount of refined carbs you eat. EASY!

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1 comment:

  1. It is really hard to be on diet while curing diabetes but I have found an alternative of it i.e. Diabetes Miracle Guide. It is damn easy program to follow and can get exciting results in short time span.