Anna Taylor, RD, CDE, a licensed dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, says very-low-carb diets can hurt people with type 2 diabetes if done incorrectly. She and Keratsky say it’s important that anyone with diabetes who wants to try a low-carb or ultra-low-carb diet meet with a dietitian or physician to create a plan and make sure their eating style won’t react negatively with their current medicines.
This diet also works for every type of eater who wants variety in their meals. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had Pistachio-Crusted Sole much less would I know how to make it. But in the “Mediterranean Diet Plan,” everything I need to know is on page 175 along with substitution tips in case I can’t find pistachios or want to try pecans or cashews instead. I also can see the health breakdown too. “The Mediterranean diet incorporates as lot of nuts, like walnuts, pistachios, and cashews which have a lot of fiber,” adds Zogheib. “Also tuna fish, king mackerel, salmon, all have omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. There’s are whole grains, bananas, and one of the best oils to bake with — canola and olive oils. You can replace fatty butter with these oils when baking.”
Though the ketogenic diet is quite safe and even beneficial for diabetics, there is sometimes a chance a patient can develop diabetic ketoacidosis. Anytime you change your body’s primary energy source from carbohydrates to fat, your blood becomes flush with those ketones we talked about. And, anytime there are too many ketones, there is a potential risk for developing ketoacidosis. However, this is most likely to occur in those with type 1 diabetes. It can still happen in individuals with type 2 diabetes, although is it quite rare.
In nature, historically, there were very few ways to store carbs – which were available only for a short time seasonally. The solution to this is that when eating the available fruit in the autumn the sugars switch off the fat burning system and then use insulin to store the sugars as body fat. Carbs signal our body to go into fat storage mode. When the carbs run out then slowly the fat burning more resumes – first of all feeding ketones to the brain and other vital organs and then eventually to the muscles.
Also, reducing sodium doesn’t restrict you to boring, bland food, nor does it mean you have to toss out the salt shaker. Yes, reducing the amount of salt you use and choosing lower-sodium products are key, but opting for fresh foods or whole foods instead of boxed, canned, and ready-to-heat items makes a big enough impact. Experiment with spices and herbs, and use a little salt to enhance flavor. Salt should never be the sole flavoring or seasoning in any in dish.
The other nutritional remedy for T2 diabetes is carbohydrate restriction. In a large, ongoing university-based study, 60% of patients with Type 2 diabetes reversed their diagnosis of diabetes after just one year on a ketogenic diet, supplemented by support via a mobile phone app.11 On this protocol, 94% of participants reduced or eliminated their need for insulin medications while improving the vast majority of cardiovascular risk factors.12
Dr. O’Brien proclaimed that the benefits of the Mediterranean diet as a push away from using animals as a protein source, introducing more fruits and vegetables in meals, while also cutting out butter in favor of using oils cooking. It seemed simple which made me skeptical. I know that in dieting nothing good is easy. When I got back to office I started my research and was surprised to learn that the Mediterranean diet was endorsed by the American Heart Association and Mayo Clinic.
The problem is: it flies in the face of the way we have been taught. Our society (as an American), and our medical community, have preached for years that FAT is bad, and you should limit it. However, recent FACTS beg to differ. So many people rail against the keto diet because they just feel that it can’t be good…after all, you eat so much fat on it, it can’t be good for you! Facts are facts…they don’t care about your feelings. Fat is not the enemy. Sugar is.
Net carbs is simply total carbs minus fiber and non-digestible sugar alcohols, like erythritol. (This doesn’t apply to high glycemic sugar alcohols, like maltitol.) We don’t have to count fiber and certain sugar alcohols in net carbs, because they either don’t get broken down by our bodies, are not absorbed, or are absorbed but not metabolized. (Read more about sugar alcohols here.)
The Mediterranean diet isn’t a regimented plan, like South Beach, the Blood Type Diet or any others; it’s more a way of eating. After World War II, researchers began studying the eating patterns of 13,000 middle-aged men in the US, Japan, Italy, Greece (including Crete), the Netherlands, Finland and Yugoslavia. They noticed that those in countries whose diets had been restricted by the deprivations of the war had lower rates of heart disease compared to American men. Moreover, residents of Crete enjoyed the best cardiovascular health, leading scientists to conclude that their diet — fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and fish — played a major role.
Dairy products such as cream and cheeses. They work well in cooking as they satisfy. The problem is if you’re munching a lot of cheese in front of the TV in the evening… without being hungry. Be careful with that. Or lots of cream with dessert, when you’re actually already full and just keep eating because it tastes good. Or another common culprit: loads of heavy cream in the coffee, many times per day.
In conclusion, these three meta-analyses indicate that low-carb isn’t a “miracle diet,” but it may be one of the best, if not the best diet, for the management of type 2 diabetes and reversal of the condition in some cases. When people with type 2 diabetes follow a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, their health improves, weight is lost, blood sugar and HbA1c levels drop, and other health parameters improve significantly. Even studies that put healthy individuals on a ketogenic diet found similar improvements.
Klein S, Sheard NF, Pi-Sunyer S, Daly A, Wylie-Rosett J, Kulkarni K, Clark NG. Weight management through lifestyle modification for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes: rationale and strategies. A statement of the American Diabetes Association, the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, and the American Society for Clinical Nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80:257–263. [PubMed]
Full disclosure: I have followed a low-carb diet for nearly a decade and find no problem adhering to it. I’ve lost weight and all my cardiovascular biomarkers have improved. Moreover, I’ve studied the science and history behind low-carbohydrate diets, so beyond my personal experience, I bring an evidence-based perspective. (Previously, for 25+ years, I adhered faithfully to a “mostly plants” regimen of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, including my own homemade 7-grain bread, while exercising religiously. Yet during that time my blood lipids were unhealthy, and I never could shake an extra 10-20 pounds.)
Choose Liquid Calories Wisely. Sweetened drinks pile on the calories, but don't reduce hunger like solid foods do. Satisfy your thirst with water, sparkling water with citrus, skim or low-fat milk, or small portions of 100% fruit juice. Try a glass of nutritious and low-calorie vegetable juice to hold you over if you get hungry between meals. Be careful of alcohol calories, which add up quickly. If you tend to drink a glass or two of wine or a cocktail on most days, limiting alcohol to the weekends can be a huge calorie saver.
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)
Because people with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, there’s a specific concern that the saturated fat in the diet may drive up LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels, and further increase the odds of heart problems. If you have type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor before attempting a ketogenic diet. They may recommend a different weight-loss diet for you, like a reduced-calorie diet, to manage diabetes. Those with epilepsy should also consult their doctor before using this as part of their treatment plan.