If we’re just talking about prevention and you don’t yet have pre-diabetes or diabetes, then the best diet is a healthy balanced combination of whole “real” foods as described below. Healthy eating for disease prevention is a permanent change, not a temporary fad diet.
Here are the basics (for a more detailed diet plan more tailored to your individual health history, see a Naturopathic Doctor):
WHAT TO EAT:
Whole grains – rice, quinoa, oats, wheat pastas, breads, crackers, etc.
Fruit (2-3 servings/day), fresh or frozen, unsweetened dry fruit, unsweetened fruit jams
Lots of fresh or frozen veggies (3-5 servings/day); limit potatoes, yams, and sweet potatoes
Good quality protein sources – seafood, beans, legumes, nuts; organic animal proteins such as chicken, turkey, dairy, and eggs
Good oils – for cooking use olive, coconut, grapeseed, safflower, and palm oils. For salads try flax, walnut, and avocado oils
Beverages: water (you should drink half your body weight in ounces per day), unsweetened tea, unsweetened coffee, club soda, no more than 4oz juice/day, 3oz wine
Okay sweeteners: Stevia, erythritol, xylitol
WHAT NOT TO EAT:
Refined grain, ie “white flour” in any form (bread, pasta, crackers, donuts, cakes, cookies, etc) – this quickly turns to sugar in the digestive tract and spikes insulin. It’s also nutritionally deficient, as the vitamins and minerals in the germ of the grain have been removed in processing.
Red meat (beef, pork), processed meats (bacon, sausage, pepperoni, hot dogs, lunch meat) – new studies have correlated these meats with up to 50 percent increased risk of diabetes
Bad oils: margarine, trans fats – found in packaged baked goods, fried foods, most fast-food restaurants, and any product that lists “partially or fully hydrogenated vegetable oil” on the label.
Artificial sweeteners: sucralose, splenda, sweet-and-low, aspartame – these have actually been shown in studies to increase weight gain
Beverages: any sugared soda, highly sugared drinks such as cappuccinos, lattes, sweet tea, beer, limit cow milk (it’s high in the sugar, lactose) – Reducing sugar-sweetened beverages leads to the most weight loss!
Desserts or sweet snacks: if you want to allow yourself sweet treats, keep it down to 1-2 times per week, a SINGLE serving size, and try to avoid artificial flavorings and colorings.
Sticking to these basic diet guidelines will not only decrease your risk of diabetes, but you will likely experience better energy, a more positive and stable mood, healthier skin, and a healthier weight and body image. Along with regular exercise, a sensible low carbohydrate diet can lead to a slow healthy weight loss of 1-2 lbs per week. If you’re already overweight or obese, losing 7 to 10 percent of your current weight can cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes in half.
For more information about naturopathic medicine or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Leia Anderson at Natural Paths to Wellness, call 717-494-4500 or check out: http://www.naturalpathstowellness.com/