Success Story: Cutting Out Sugar May Not Be Enough for Diabetics
A couple weeks ago we met a patient who was in his mid 50â€™s and suffering from diabetes. His blood sugars had been alarmingly high, even with his attempt to follow a â€śdiabetic friendly dietâ€ť. The problem was that his idea of a good eating plan to keep his diabetes in check was not exactly correct.
I wasnâ€™t surprised at his usual daily dietary intake. It was consistent with what is usually prescribed in the world of modern medicine. He stated that he had been watching his portions.
He was having juice, oatmeal, and fruit for breakfast.
Lunch would include either a sandwich or salad, and dinner is typically meat, vegetable, and potato or rice.
His snacks consisted of fruit, whole wheat crackers, and nuts. Throughout the day he was drinking maybe 40 ounces of water and then having two 20-ounce diet sodasâ€¦on top of the juice at breakfast and sometimes dinner! Yet, his blood sugars were still extremely high. This is why he decided to sit down with us and see if there was something else he could be doing. If following this plan hadnâ€™t helped, then why is it the standard he wanted to know?
Traditional Diabetic Diet
The eating plan typically given to Diabetes patients is in reference to the Food Guide Pyramid. It suggests eating a healthy, balanced diet by following these guidelines:
- Eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Eat non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, carrots, broccoli or green beans with meals.
- Choose whole grain foods over processed grain products.
- Include dried beans (like kidney or pinto beans) and lentils into your meals.
- Include fish in your meals 2-3 times a week.
- Choose lean meats like cuts of beef and pork that end in “loin” such as pork loin and sirloin. Remove the skin from chicken and turkey.
- Choose non-fat dairy such as skim milk, non-fat yogurt and non-fat cheese.
- Choose water and calorie-free “diet” drinks instead of regular soda, fruit punch, sweet tea and other sugar-sweetened drinks.
- Choose liquid oils for cooking instead of solid fats that can be high in saturated and trans fats.
- Cut back on high calorie snack foods and desserts like chips, cookies, cakes, and full-fat ice cream.
Something to think about, if this is representative of the food guide pyramid, then why is it considered a diabetic diet? It is actually a very general, generic diet that everyone is told to follow. When a person has a condition that is highly affected by nutrition, then my opinion is that they should be put on a very specific meal plan for them! Instead of getting rid of a personâ€™s problems, this all-purpose diet could make new issues arise.
A better approach to nutrition for diabetics
The main nutrient we want to pay attention to with diabetics is carbohydrate. Many people ask what exactly a carbohydrate is. To clarify: sugar, anything grain (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, oatmeal, cereal, etc.), vegetables, and fruits are all carbohydrates. This includes fruit juice, whole wheat/grain bread and rice, not just white grain products.
Cutting out just simple sugars and carbohydrates may not be enough. Even though whole grains are healthier carb options, to a diabeticâ€™s body, or anyone for that matter, they are still carbohydrates!
I discussed with the patient the problem with taking in all the juice, sugar, and carbs. He had not realized or looked at it in that way. His general practitioner had emphasized whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as being a big part of his diet.
Because of how severe this disease can get and the fact that there had not been much improvement, he was more than willing to make a change to a higher protein diet or more specifically, The Hauser Otter Diet.
Although, it is too soon to tell, Iâ€™m very hopeful that in our follow up appointment his blood sugar average will have dropped, and will continue to drop. There will be no more juice and fruit at breakfast for this patient. Itâ€™s time for bacon and eggs! The Otter Diet incorporates much more protein and fat into the diet versus low fat carbohydrate foods. I have seen many-a patient turn around high blood sugar levels just by switching their diets from carbohydrate based to protein/fat based. It just goes to show you that there is no one diet for everyone.
If you are a reader like this patient and you have concerns with diabetes, I would highly recommend coming in for a consultation with one of our natural medicine physicians and myself. Getting the disease under control is crucial to your well being!