Know This First and Foremost
First, remember I am not in any way shape or form an expert in diet, nutrition, biology, biochemistry or medicine. There is very little I have any particular expertise in, truth be told. I am not offering any advice here, only my opinion and you are free to agree or disagree with it as you will.
Okay, got that bit out of the way.
Can’t Find The Diabetes Diet?
There is no such thing as a diabetes diet. For 85% of the type 2 diabetics, the problem as explained to me is that fat cells surrounds other cells and block the absorption of glucose. For me and so many other type 2 diabetics, the key is to lose weight and keep it off. Do that and you stand a very good chance of controlling or beating or curing your diabetes.
I like to call it, lose the fat and lose the problem.
That leaves you with a mind numbing range of diets to guide you to lose your fat. By diet I mean a consistent approach to food, a regimen, a way of eating for the rest of your life. Remember, the diet is never over. It is the way you will eat for the rest of your life.
Your choices are on one end a low-fat, high carbohydrate vegan diet as recommended by Drs. John McDougall and Dean Ornish to the high-fat, high protein diets as recommended in Paleo-diet and Adkins Diet. These diets and everything in between will have their research and supporters backing up their claims and why they have the answer and the others are wrong. I think the passion people have for one dietary approach over another rivals the passion people have for politics or religion.
There is really no Mediterranean diet, but foods long eaten in the Mediterranean countries are considered healthy. The commonality between both is an emphasis on multiple servings of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, lean meats and fish and some dairy. The DASH diet does emphasis portion control and all of the fruits and vegetables do keep me satisfied.
I also try to stick to foods that rank high on being low on the glycemic scale. That means carbohydrates that digest slowly and mitigate spikes in my glucose reading. We also cook a lot of McDougall-type recipes because they are quick and easy to make and clean up is also quick and easy. Time counts for a lot in this busy life.
There are very few foods now I don’t or won’t eat. I try to load up, moderately load up, on the good stuff and save the bad stuff for special occasions.
I mostly avoid deserts. Now I often get a sugar buzz from a slice of cake or pie and I don’t like that feeling, so I avoid it for the most part. My indulgence is a slice of birthday cake. I try to consistently choose foods likely do my body good. Every morning I make my morning fruit medley which is three for four servings of fruit. I like to start my evening meal with a large salad. Even my Tex-mex fix is now mostly grilled chicken or fajita and vegetables.
For me, this works because I don’t feel I am giving up anything, just choosing to emphasize other foods I like.
Before You Start, Consider This
Here a few anecdotes to keep in mind.
- The Twinkie Diet. The originator, nutritionist Dr. Mark Houb, went on this diet for 10 weeks, lost 27 pounds and by the numbers became healthier by eating what is considered unhealthy foods. He emphasized calorie control. He is also the only one to ever go on it to my knowledge and does not recommend it to others. Still, it worked.
- The Drinking Man’s Diet. The writer of this diet, Robert Cameron, promoted a low-carb, high protein and fat diet and portion control. He passed away at age 98 and followed his own advice for most of his life. He had a heck of a life, too.
- The inventor of Doritos, Arch West, lived to be 97 and ate Doritos every day. He seemed to generally enjoy living and the daily Doritos just made life that much better. Pictures of him would suggest he used portion control.
- Fat Head. Writer Tom Naughton ate only from the menus of popular fast food restaurants for a month and lost weight. He just used – are you ready? – portion control and common sense. This really is a funny documentary and worth watching.
My approach to diet is simple. Find a diet you like and works for you and don’t eat too much. As my mom said often, too much of anything will make you fat.