If you’re anything like many of my clients your blood glucose is high, you’re bordering on pre-diabetes, and have been told by your doctor to get your blood sugars down or you’ll be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and likely have to go on medication.
While this warning from your doctor may have you feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, discouraged and worried, there is good news.
All of this is completely reversible through diet and lifestyle changes.
It’s a common fact today that pre-diabetes and borderline diabetes can be reversed. Both the Canadian and American Diabetes Associations say so on their websites, as do many research studies, and plenty of highly respected doctors and researchers in this field. Some even say it can be cured.
What’s at the root of all of this, is insulin resistance, which comes even before pre-diabetes.
Insulin’s job is to move the glucose from the blood into the cells so it can be stored and used as energy. But in many cases, due to a flood of carbohydrates, the pancreas releases insulin all the time and it becomes ineffective. The insulin doesn’t work as well anymore, the body has become desensitized to it and the glucose doesn’t get stored in the cells as well.
Even though the body is pumping out lots of insulin, blood glucose continues to rise because it’s become resistant to the insulin and can’t be metabolized properly – this is when we get into the territory of pre-diabetes and then possibly Type 2 Diabetes.
50% of adults have either diabetes or pre-diabetes. Even more have elevated levels of insulin and insulin resistance – which can happen many years before a pre-diabetes diagnosis.
The primary treatment for pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes is with drugs. But these are not drug related diseases. They are dietary problems and need to be resolved through diet.
So what’s the typical dietary recommendation for Type 2 Diabetes? Our traditional medical system recommends eating 40-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal, plus more as snacks.
This seems like a lot of carbohydrates for people who have become unable to metabolize all that glucose. Wouldn’t it make better sense to simply have less glucose around for the insulin to have to clean up, rather than recommending more of what’s causing the problems in the first place?
If you are struggling to keep your blood sugars in the normal range, have been told you are pre-diabetic, borderline diabetic or insulin resistant, here are my top five recommendations for what to eat:
1. Restrict carbs. The number one strategy you can implement to lower your blood sugar is to restrict carbohydrates. This means minimizing all sugary and starchy foods. Aim for between 20-30 net grams of carbohydrates a day. You’ll get these mostly through above ground vegetables and lots of dark leafy greens.
2. Eat fat. Skip the low fat, light, fat free foods. Fat is not your enemy – the sugars and carbohydrates are. If they removed the fat they put sugar and chemicals in to make it taste good. Indulge in butter, coconut oil, avocado, oily fish, animal protein, nuts and seeds.
3. Eat real whole foods. Think of foods the way nature intended them. These don’t come in packages, boxes or with fancy wrappings. Real whole foods don’t have labels because it’s obvious what’s in them. A lemon is a lemon. A carrot is a carrot.
4. Use non-grain based flours. You can still bake by using flours made with nuts such as almond or coconut flours. They are great alternatives to gran based flour and give you the feeling you’re eating carbohydrates.
5. Enjoy bullet proof coffee. Breakfast is one of the most sugar and carbohydrate filled meals of the day. If you can skip it and have a bullet proof coffee (coffee with butter and coconut oil) instead you’ll get a good dose of healthy fat and will essentially continue the fast from the night before. A great strategy for lowering your blood sugars.
Over to you. What dietary strategies have you found to be effective at lowering your blood sugars? Tell me in the comments below.
This post first appeared here in the Halifax Citizen on Aug 11, 2015.