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Health Guide Review: 3,2/5

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Diabetic Diet Review

What is it? 

The Diabetic Diet is a diet plan for people who are looking to either control their diabetes, or prevent the likelihood of suffering from diabetes. The benefits of this diet are that it helps control blood sugar while reducing complications caused by diabetes.

This diet plan is described slightly differently depending on where you get your information. In the medical community, it’s known as a MNT, which stands for a medical nutrition therapy strategy. A MNT requires:

  • Less restrictions, but more focus: It’s not meant to get rid of anything in particular, but the attention is placed on eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and natural foods. This is why the Mayo Clinic describes it as being:

“the best eating plan for everyone” 

It’s essentially a general strategy incorporating the foundation of most basic diet plans. So this includes both healthy eating solutions, as well as general suggestions for overall health.           

  • Typically involves intervention: A doctor will prescribe this plan to people who are in need of changes. This will require the insight of a dietician. They take your height, weight, lifestyle, and health problems into account.

This is why information on this diet can be slightly different depending on where you read about it. There’s not one specific book or guideline available, though the information available is often quite similar.           

  • Basic dietary standards: This includes reducing fat, alcohol, salt, sugars, and eating smaller portions through the day. These smaller amounts of food are added to help control blood sugar, instead of causing spikes that happen when the body has no food.
  • Varied plan: There’s not one single resource available that describes what it takes to properly use this diet. It’s based off of one’s individual needs, though there is some standards set in place.

As mentioned previously, it requires the insight of a dietician to properly form a plan, which can require extra time and money.

The Diabetic Diet can be either a defense, or a solution to those who are diabetic. It’s not a weight loss diet technically, but by implementing some healthy eating patterns it’s possible to lose some weight.

Foods Allowed by the Diet 

The diet emphasizes many key foods:

  • Whole grains.
  • Vegetables.
  • Fruits.
  • Unprocessed foods.

It’s not too restrictive of a diet, though it does require you to watch your sodium, salt, alcohol, and consumption of processed foods. Nothing is banned by this diet, though there are some clear restrictions. Though no specific quantities are given or exact portion sizes. Nor is there a recommendation for how many calories or total nutrients should be eaten.

No official foods list is provided, and no special foods are needed.  There are also no recipes provided by the few websites that describe this diet.

 What are recommended however, are the following foods groups:

Healthy fats: This includes monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.  You can find these in foods like avocados, nuts, olives, peanut, olive ,and vegetable oils. Though it’s advised to limit fats as well,. As fats contain 9 calories per gram.

Nutritious carbohydrates: Instead of simple carbohydrates, the diet advises you to eat a combination of what’s known as complex carbohydrates. This is really important tin this diet, as other forms of  carbohydrates can cause a sudden increase of blood sugar.

Healthier options known as complex carbohydrates includes sweet potatoes, beans, whole grains, oatmeal and vegetables.  Example of simple sugars includes white rice, white bread, and other foods that have been stripped of their fiber and trace minerals.

The benefit of complex carbohydrates is according to Live Strong.com, that they:

“take longer to (break down) and offer vital nutrients the body needs along the way”

 “simple carbohydrates… offer little nutrition ad are broken down rapidly causing a sharp spike in blood sugar”

 This is why it’s important to regulate your carbohydrate intake to just nutrient dense foods. Otherwise, the spike in blood sugar can increase symptoms related to diabetes.

For diabetics it’s still important to eat some carbohydrates, but it’s especially concerning to avoid this macronutrient in high amounts.

Heart healthy fish: Fatty meats often have more fat, calories, and cholesterol than lean fish. Fatty acids are also good for brain health and for fighting inflammation. It’s important to limit fatty meats as it can clog ones arteries, increasing the symptoms of diabetes.

So by eating less saturated fat you also improve your overall heart health. This can help a doubling up effect that can happen from spiked blood sugar and heart disease, both of which can link together causing more side effects.

High fiber: Fiber has a potent role in helping control blood sugar levels. When you eat this type of nutrient, your body also is able to digest foods properly. Many foods contain a high amount of fiber such as oatmeal, peas, apples, peas, carrots, and several other vegetables.  Fiber also keeps your blood sugar stable for a long time. This can help one from feeling side effects that diabetes patients have such as fatigue, mood swings, and flu like symptoms.

Though it’s important to keep in mind that these foods are not specific. This is more of a basics outline for eating healthier and preventing blood sugar increases.

It’s basically a general outline to dieting that you’ll likely see repeated from other diet plans.

 How Does the Diet Work? 

By eating less processed foods and keeping your intake of sugar, alcohol, and sodium low, the diet is made to help control blood sugar.

There’s no doubt that by making these dietary choices that you’ll be able to experience these effects, but the guidelines you follow are basic of most diet plans.

This might be why there’s no official guide that explain the tenants of this plan. It’s more of a general outline as opposed to a real diet plan.

If you’re looking for a more detailed approach, health websites will recommend seeking a dietician’s support to help find out what your specific needs are.

The Diabetes Awareness website advises that when considering this died, one will:

“require care and dedication and the support of your diabetes health team”

 Therefore, for those suffering from diabetes, it would be best to actually get individual support. It’s important to not take diabetes lightly and assume you can control your symptoms with such a few guidelines.

Pros 

  • No special foods need to be eaten, it centers on making fairly obvious healthy food choices.
  • You can still eat sugar, alcohol, and processed foods, but only in moderation. No specific limits are set either, it just mentions to eat sparingly.
  • The diet isn’t very strict, allowing for one to make their diet plan based off of basic healthy decisions.
  • You’ll be able to control your blood sugar if you make sure to follow the plan as directed.
  • If a dietician specifically monitors your diet plan, this can make it easier to reduce your likelihood of diabetes related issues. It is advised to take this extra step if you’re already suffering from diabetes. 

Cons 

  • There’s nothing unique about this diet, it’s essentially a basic template for healthy eating. You restrict more of the bad things, and eat more wholesome foods. You’ll often hear these types of tips off of all basic diet plans.
  • It’s not made for weight loss, only for helping those with diabetes control their symptoms. Weight loss might be a benefit that happens, but it’s not the intended result. 
  • No official guide or recipes are featured for this diet. It also requires a dietician to fully figure out your individual demands.
  • There are no guarantees that this will help cure diabetes, just that it might help reduce symptoms. This is why it’s advised to seek the help of a professional team to help make sure you get the help you need.
  • The information is really straightforward and obvious. These eating habits have long been known to be healthy solutions. There are also no specific guidelines, which can make overeating easy.

 Better Alternatives to the Diet

 There’s no denying the fact that eating more natural foods high in fiber, nutrients, and without processed ingredients would be a healthy choice.

The main issue with this diet is that it’s not strictly made for weight loss. It’s more of a general plan that is essentially the basic building blocks of most diets. More specific plans are available that can help directly with weight loss.

There are no major flaws to this diet, but it’s not unique enough to help with actually sustaining real weight loss results. Any weight loss is an additional benefit to having your blood sugar controlled.

 Conclusion 

The Global Diabetes Community summarizes this diet plan best:

 “there is no special diet for people with diabetes”

It’s clear from researching this diet that the advice given is general. That’s why for people who truly need diabetes support, it’s advised to seek a dietician. Only a licensed dietician can take into account ones individual needs to suggest a possible diet.

Though what is recommended isn’t bad, it does emphasize some things that are often already a part of most dies. There are fresh vegetables, complex carbohydrates, low sugar, minimal alcohol, and reduced sodium that are emphasized.

The diet does not focus on strict weight loss, though this may be a consequence of eating healthier. Still, one still might increase weight since there’s no specific limits set on food intake.

Still, better options are available that deal strictly with weight loss as well as an overall healthier blood sugar control.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own physician.