Elena Paravantes, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Writer and consultant specializing in the Greek Mediterranean Diet and Cuisine. She has been active as a clinician, consultant and lecturer for 20 years, both in the U.S. and Greece. An expert on the Greek Mediterranean Diet, her interviews and articles have been published in many publications including CNN, U.S. News and World Report, Prevention, NPR, and Shape. Elena has collaborated with a number of organizations including Loyola University, Yale University, University of Missouri, Louisiana State University, and the American College of Greece.

On keto, I’ve adjusted my basal rates and I barely need to bolus at all. My blood glucose numbers have definitely improved and what I find really extraordinary is that I’m needing about 60% less total daily insulin, than I did before starting keto. What’s even more fascinating to me is seeing a steady straight line across my pump for 6, 12, and even 24 hours – no crazy spikes or dips in my blood sugar.
My pick for the healthiest meal plan for diabetes? My favorite is the Mediterranean Diet. It’s high in fiber, low in saturated fats and includes no processed foods which is the challenge for all of us at this point in history. If we could all eat like they do in Italy and Greece! Think of Sicily and the coasts of Greece where their diet consists of fresh fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds, olives and olive oil, lean meats such as chicken and pork, some eggs and little red meat. The American Heart Association recommends it as well as the American Diabetes Association as being one healthy diet choice for people with diabetes.

Prior to the advent of exogenous insulin for the treatment of diabetes mellitus in the 1920's, the mainstay of therapy was dietary modification. Diet recommendations in that era were aimed at controlling glycemia (actually, glycosuria) and were dramatically different from current low-fat, high-carbohydrate dietary recommendations for patients with diabetes [1,2]. For example, the Dr. Elliot Joslin Diabetic Diet in 1923 consisted of "meats, poultry, game, fish, clear soups, gelatin, eggs, butter, olive oil, coffee, tea" and contained approximately 5% of energy from carbohydrates, 20% from protein, and 75% from fat [3]. A similar diet was advocated by Dr. Frederick Allen of the same era [4].


Prior to the advent of exogenous insulin for the treatment of diabetes mellitus in the 1920's, the mainstay of therapy was dietary modification. Diet recommendations in that era were aimed at controlling glycemia (actually, glycosuria) and were dramatically different from current low-fat, high-carbohydrate dietary recommendations for patients with diabetes [1,2]. For example, the Dr. Elliot Joslin Diabetic Diet in 1923 consisted of "meats, poultry, game, fish, clear soups, gelatin, eggs, butter, olive oil, coffee, tea" and contained approximately 5% of energy from carbohydrates, 20% from protein, and 75% from fat [3]. A similar diet was advocated by Dr. Frederick Allen of the same era [4].
Also, as I believe is mentioned, this diet has been around for along time and was the only way to treat diabetes. And some people did die. However, people still end up dead from t2d even after all the diet advice from educators and with all that pharmacy has to offer. An industry which gains nothing if people just choose to eat less. But has lots to gain if we just keep taking the tablets.
What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.

It reduces risk of disease. A growing number of studies suggest that people who follow a Mediterranean diet are less likely to die of heart disease than people who follow a typical American diet. (1) What’s more, evidence is emerging that shows people who eat this way have a lower risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer, and some head and neck cancers, according to studies published in September 2016 in the British Journal of Cancer and in February 2018 in the Journal of Urology. (27,28,29)


The Mediterranean diet is rooted in an abundance of fresh plant-based foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes, with olive oil being the primary source of monounsaturated fat. Fish and seafood follow as a primary source of protein with moderate amounts of poultry, dairy, and eggs to follow. Red meat and sugary treats should be consumed relatively rarely and in moderate portions.
Recently, I had the chance to speak with the author of “The Mediterranean Diet Plan,” Susan Zogheib, a registered dietician about her diet plan. Susan will be joining me for an upcoming episode of HeartTalk presented by Capital Cardiology Associates this month (Sunday, June 24th). I wanted to share the highlights of conversation before YOU grocery shop this week so that you can discover the join of healthy eating this summer.
Today’s healthy pasta meals have roots that stretch back to ancient times. Thousands of years ago, people ground wheat, mixed it with water to make a wheat paste, dried it, and then boiled it to go with meals. Today’s consumers welcome pasta to their tables for its versatility and convenience, just as nutrition scientists recognize pasta meals for their place in healthy eating patterns, such as the “gold standard” Mediterranean Diet and the traditional Latin American diet.  Read more
Benefits It packs lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that is associated with a reduced risk of some cancers, like prostate and breast. Other components in tomatoes may help reduce the risk of blood clots, thereby protecting against cardiovascular disease, according to a review published in December 2013 in the journal Annual Review of Food Science and Technology. (9,10)
H. Guldbrand, B. Dizdar, B. Bunjaku, T. Lindström, M. Bachrach-Lindström, M. Fredrikson, C. J. Östgren, F. H. Nystrom, “In Type 2 Diabetes, Randomisation to Advice to Follow a Low-carbohydrate Diet Transiently Improves Glycaemic Control Compared with Advice to Follow a Low-fat Diet Producing a Similar Weight Loss,” Diabetologia (2012) 55: 2118. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-012-2567-4.
Elena Paravantes, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Writer and consultant specializing in the Greek Mediterranean Diet and Cuisine. She has been active as a clinician, consultant and lecturer for 20 years, both in the U.S. and Greece. An expert on the Greek Mediterranean Diet, her interviews and articles have been published in many publications including CNN, U.S. News and World Report, Prevention, NPR, and Shape. Elena has collaborated with a number of organizations including Loyola University, Yale University, University of Missouri, Louisiana State University, and the American College of Greece.
Without peer-reviewed clinical trials, many of the benefits remain anecdotal. For instance, Weiss himself has been on a low-carb high-fat (though not strictly ketogenic) diet for more than six months, and claims he does feel much better. But he’s clear about what he knows and what he doesn’t. He’s lost weight and his borderline pre-diabetes is gone.  

This is a helpful article. But there are some inaccurate things too. I have type two diabetes and use a keto genie diet to lose weight (45# so far). I was able to get my cholesterol down, Triggs down, and my A1C to 6! I went off and followed a Mediterranean diet for a year. I gained back 15# and my diabetes got worse. So I am back on keto. I am using a closer to Mediterranean keto both then and now.
On day 2, cook a cup of oatmeal with an ounce of chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup of sliced apples for a breakfast high in fiber and protein; sprinkle in a teaspoon of cinnamon and maple syrup. Have this breakfast again on day 5, but vary the add-ins -- try 1/2 cup of strawberries with thinly sliced almonds. If you like milk with your oatmeal, opt for unsweetened almond or soy.

The following weekend I was looking for a book on this diet at Barnes & Noble in Colonie Center. A title caught my eye, “The Mediterranean Diet Plan,” written by Susan Zogheib. After reading the book’s introduction I quickly skimmed through the background of the diet and stopped at the diet plans. I smiled. I thought to myself, “I could totally do this!” I skipped ahead to the recipes. At that moment I knew I had found my diet plan! The book has four, four-week diet plans complete with recipes for every meal that are structured on the level of comfort you have with making the switch. One month of meals AND recipes, I couldn’t wait!
A small, randomized crossover study published in the Journal of Diabetes Sciences and Technology found that after three months, people who followed a modified, low-carb paleo diet saw greater reductions in their A1C, their triglycerides, their diastolic blood pressure, and their weight than those who followed a traditional diabetes diet. (The approach also increased their levels of LDL, or "good” cholesterol.) The diabetes diet in the study involved consuming no more than 6 g of salt per day, reducing saturated fat and total fat intake, and upping intake of veggies, fiber, whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Compared with the diabetes diet, the paleo diet involved eating less dairy, beans, potatoes, and cereals, and more veggies, fruit, meat, and eggs.
It's important to note that the drop-out rate was substantial and reports of symptomatic hypoglycemia 1-5 episodes) were experienced by 69% of those in the study. The mean carbohydrate intake was 35 grams (+/- 15) daily. Based on self-reported results, the change in HbA1c was -1.45% (+/- 1.04, P < 0.001) with an average HbA1c of 7.2%  associated with greater hypoglycemia; yet, these results are comparable to other study findings. The average blood glucose levels were 104 mg/dL (+/- 16). 2  Final lipid profiles were mixed. The results were similar for adults and children.
There are theoretically no restrictions on where the ketogenic diet might be used, and it can cost less than modern anticonvulsants. However, fasting and dietary changes are affected by religious and cultural issues. A culture where food is often prepared by grandparents or hired help means more people must be educated about the diet. When families dine together, sharing the same meal, it can be difficult to separate the child's meal. In many countries, food labelling is not mandatory so calculating the proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrate is difficult. In some countries, it may be hard to find sugar-free forms of medicines and supplements, to purchase an accurate electronic scale, or to afford MCT oils.[53]
I must tell you when looking at this link they say the American Diabetes Association Guidelines call for 60-75 carbohydrates per meal and that is simply not true. The ADA has recommended since 2013 we use our best clinical judgement in recommending a low carbohydrate diet for people with diabetes, recognizing it needs to be individualized. 60-75 grams is the carbohydrate amount I would give to a very tall, large boned man or perhaps an active teen or young adult. I would never recommend that many carbohydrates for an average size man who was trying to lose weight; he would get 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 15-30 grams for snacks. A women trying to lose weight would get 30-45 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 15 grams for snacks.

Thank you for your comment and your kind words Beverly! The diet you follow is quite restrictive and restricts most foods that are part of the Mediterranean diet. I have not seen any evidence of such a diet being anti-inflammatory. A traditional Mediterranean diet is considered an anti-inflammatory diet. The arthritis foundation also recommends a Mediterranean diet (https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory-diet.php). You can also check this article from Harvard for additional insight: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation

Check the nutrition labels on all your products to see if they’re high in carbs. There are hidden carbs in the unlikeliest of places (like ketchup and canned soups). Try to avoid buying products with dozens of incomprehensible ingredients. Less is usually healthier.Always check the serving sizes against the carb counts. Manufacturers can sometimes recommend inconceivably small serving sizes to seemingly reduce calorie and carb numbers.

The ketone bodies are possibly anticonvulsant; in animal models, acetoacetate and acetone protect against seizures. The ketogenic diet results in adaptive changes to brain energy metabolism that increase the energy reserves; ketone bodies are a more efficient fuel than glucose, and the number of mitochondria is increased. This may help the neurons to remain stable in the face of increased energy demand during a seizure, and may confer a neuroprotective effect.[55]

Spinach is a great source of iron, which is a key component in red blood cells that fuel our muscles with oxygen for energy. But researchers in Sweden identified another way in which these greens might keep you charged: Compounds found in spinach actually increase the efficiency of our mitochondria, the energy-producing factories inside our cells. That means eating a cup of cooked spinach a day may give you more lasting power on the elliptical machine (or in your daily sprint to catch the bus).


The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution was chosen as one of top new diet plans of 2013 by The Today Show, while The DASH Diet Action Plan was named one of the top life-changing health books, by Huffington Post readers. See more recent news stories about the DASH diet. Meet the author and learn more about the weight loss plan by watching our Dr. Oz episode, the PBS show, or join one of our free support groups for weight loss or for the mostly vegetarian plan, or our new group for the Med-DASH plan on Facebook!
That doesn’t mean keto causes diabetes; it’s amazing for most diabetics. However, if your cells are great at processing fat, but suck at processing glucose or carbohydrates, you won’t be able to run at full power, and parts of your body that prefer glucose over fat — like the glial cells in your brain that handle immune function and synaptic pruning — don’t work as well over time.
Bueno NB, de Melo ISV, de Oliveira SL, da Rocha Ataide T; “Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” (2013) British Journal of Nutrition 110(7): 1178-1187. Accessed 4/23/2018 https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/6FD9F975BAFF1D46F84C8BA9CE860783/S0007114513000548a.pdf/verylowcarbohydrate_ketogenic_diet_v_lowfat_diet_for_longterm_weight_loss_a_metaanalysis_of_randomised_controlled_trials.pdf
What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.
You'll find lots of free Mediterranean diet resources on the Oldways website, including an easy-to-understand food pyramid; a printable grocery list; gender- and age-specific tips on making the Mediterranean switch; a quick-read "starter" brochure; a recipe newsletter; and even a glossary defining Mediterranean staples, from bruschetta to tapenade.

I have been a type 1 diabetic for most of my life. I live a very active lifestyle of long distance running and hiking. I’ve always had a very healthy diet, but would still have those after meal blood sugar spikes that would leave me feeling unwell. I decided to try the keto diet to see how my blood sugar did It’s been amazing. I’ve cut my insulin in half and my head is clear. I no longer have the brain fog. I sleep better and have more energy. I have been doing it for a year and have no desire to go off of it.

I lived the last 10 years with this disease and a mentality of “Well all those other people around me are eating and drinking this stuff, so I want to be normal like them” I’m lucky that mentality didnt kill me. I’ve had A1C of 12, bad cholestoral in the high 600s and triglycerides of almost 2000. And yes, the author is right, our lives are ridiculously built around food. That’s why we have an obesity epidemic in this country. I am the only person I know that eats healthy. Everywhere I went for the last 10 years I was surrounded by food and drink. Oh well. Moderation is only the key for people with good genes. For people like me, sacrifice is the key. I don’t want a normal life anymore. Excuse my vulgarity, but I want energy, six pack abs, and a hard dick again. This disease wrecked my life and I’m never going back there again.
– As far as weighing your portions, I would have to say that is something that professional RD is more qualified to advice on. Generally speaking, we eat more of the foods at the bottom of the pyramid, and less of the foods at the very top…and we do so consistently, day after day. So you see, it’s a way of living, not so much a diet. The weight loss is a bonus, but it is not the complete focus of this healthy lifestyle. If you’re after a controlled diet plan, the best thing to do again is to seek professional support.
Similar to the CICO diet, the Body Reset has gained popularity via social media, and there isn’t any definitive research that suggests the approach is safe and effective. Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak created the plan, which is essentially a three-phase liquid diet comprised of smoothies and moderate exercise. While U.S. News notes you may lose weight on the diet, it may be tough to stick with, and isn’t safe for people with diabetes and heart disease. (38)
I think what bothered me most about the article was the way in which the writer has put her own fears about living without cake onto the shoulders of any diabetic she might treat. In the same way an epileptic might choose a life without cake in order to remain seizure free I choose a life without cake to remain “undiabetic”. I must admit that when I was researching this diet I did worry that I would not have the stamina, but the thought of going blind is a useful motivator.
January 6, 2016 "What makes a diet best? In Best Diets 2016, the latest set of exclusive rankings from U.S. News, the DASH diet beat out 37 others.  To be top-rated, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease. The government-endorsed Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) snagged the top spot."
According to the Mayo Clinic, the DASH diet calls for eating lots of fresh veggies and fruits, but it requires consuming only a moderate amount of whole grains, as well as lean sources of protein and healthy fats, such as fish and nuts, respectively. (6) This distinguishes the DASH Diet from other popular plans, such as the Atkins diet and the ketogenic diet, or the high-fat, low-carb diet.
Drink lots of water. This is especially crucial on a low carb or keto diet. Why? When you eat carbohydrates, your body stores the extra as glycogen in the liver, where they are bound to water molecules. Eating low carb depletes this glycogen, which allows you to burn fat – but it also means you are storing less water, making it easier to get dehydrated. Instead of the traditional recommendation of 8 cups of water per day, aim for 16 cups when following a low carb lifestyle.
Bueno NB, de Melo ISV, de Oliveira SL, da Rocha Ataide T; “Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” (2013) British Journal of Nutrition 110(7): 1178-1187. Accessed 4/23/2018 https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/6FD9F975BAFF1D46F84C8BA9CE860783/S0007114513000548a.pdf/verylowcarbohydrate_ketogenic_diet_v_lowfat_diet_for_longterm_weight_loss_a_metaanalysis_of_randomised_controlled_trials.pdf
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Several comprehensive studies and meta-analyses have demonstrated that after a few months or even a year of a low carb diet versus a moderate/high carb diet, there are no significant differences in the amount of weight lost (2,3,4,5).  I will say, however, most of these diets are NOT keto and are simply lower carb (i.e. 20%).  Also, long-term effects (beyond 1 year) are not often studied due to budgetary constraints, so interpret results as you wish.

In 1993 Oldways created the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid – in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health and the WHO – as a healthier alternative to the USDA’s original food pyramid. Today, the Mediterranean Diet is more popular than ever, with new research every month documenting its benefits, and chefs and home cooks alike embracing Mediterranean ingredients and flavors. Starting at the base of the pyramid, you’ll find:

“When we measured fasting plasma levels, we found low insulin and low glucose, which is good — not suggestive of diabetes,” he says. “However, when we challenged the animals with glucose — giving them a relatively large amount of glucose, as they would get by ingesting a meal — we found that their plasma glucose levels went higher than mice on normal chow and stayed high longer.”
Your recipes sound wonderful. I have tried a few. I am a senior living alone and adjusting them can be a challenge. Let’s face it eating the same thing several days in a row can make even a good thing boring. Another thing you and most others posting recipes forget is some of us have very little to spend on food so reading your recipes is many times the only dream of good food.
A: You’ll find a detailed menu earlier in this article (also, recipes from Everyday Health!), but generally, you’ll want to make plants and whole grains the stars of your plate. If you look at a Mediterranean diet food pyramid, sweets are up top (indicating they should make up only a small part of your diet), followed by meat and dairy, and then fish. Last are fruit, veggies, and whole grains (suggesting they can be eaten liberally). Also, enjoying food with friends and family is a tenet of the eating approach, so make your meals a social affair!
When foods are processed, their potassium levels actually decrease. So, choosing whole or minimally processed foods can improve blood pressure regulation from both a sodium and a potassium perspective. In addition, you’ll usually decrease your intake of saturated fat, added sugars, and overall calories—all of which can help you lose weight, and keep it off for good. 

Throughout this article, we looked at the data and the principles behind how low-carb dieting affect patients with diabetes, but we never addressed what you can do about it directly. If you’d like to learn about practical strategies that may help you reverse insulin resistance and improve your blood sugar and HbA1C levels, I recommend reading these articles:
How would you like to take all the great weight-loss results you’ve just read about—and double them? That’s what happens when you supplement your diet with a combination of vitamin D and calcium, according to a Nutrition Journal study. Just four weeks into the 12-week experiment, subjects who had taken these two nutrients—found in abundance in some yogurts—lost two times more fat than the other group! To get similar results at home, start your day with one of these Best Brand-Name Yogurts for Weight Loss.
Keep eating low carb to continue losing weight, feeling good and becoming healthier!Try making any of our hundreds of recipes available on the site. We make sure each and every recipe is delicious, nutritious and will keep you under your daily carb limit, even if you go for seconds. In addition, we provide step-by-step instructions to make the process as easy as possible. If you ever run into any issues or have any questions, be sure to leave a comment or contact us directly! We’re always happy to help.

And most important, she notes: Her blood sugar is at an all-time low. About a year ago, she went to the ER because her blood sugar levels rose to between 600 and 800 mg/dL — indicating she was at risk of a diabetic coma. But now, her postprandial glucose is between 150 and 200 mg/dL. “My sugars have been on a steady decline since March,” she says. Her A1C — a two- to three-month average of blood sugar levels — also went from 10.4 to 8.7, an improvement, though still in the range for type 2 diabetes, according to according to the ADA.
Keto breath, on the other hand, is less of a side-effect and more of a harmless inconvenience (your breath literally smells like nail polish remover). Basically, when your body breaks down all that extra fat on the keto diet, it produces ketones—one of which is the chemical acetone, Keatley previously told WomensHealthMag.com. (Yes, the same stuff that's in nail polish remover.)
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