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.
That's certainly the case with the ketogenic diet—a very low-carb meal plan—based on the findings of two recently published studies.1,2 Dr. Saslow and her team report that the individuals with type 2 diabetes who followed the keto diet lost significantly more weight than those on the low-fat diet espoused by the American Diabetic Association.1 These dieters also were able to get their hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) below 6.5%, suggesting that some may have reversed their type 2 diabetes.1
2- Eat more vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. The base of the Mediterranean diet pyramid should make up the base of every meal. When you can, opt for vegetarian entrees like this Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew; Spicy Spinach and Lentil Soup; or Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie). Rely more on satisfying, flavor-packed salads to make up a good portion of your plate. Some ideas: Kindey Bean Salad; Mediterranean Chickpea Salad; Greek Salad; Bean and Lentil Salad.
What the expert says: ‘Like with atkins, you will lose weight quickly. The ketogenic diet is used in medicine, but under strict supervision and for set periods of time, so with appropriate support it can be safe in the short to medium term. The brain does use glucose as its fuel of choice, so ‘brain fog’ lethargy are common side effects. You’ll known when your body is running off ketones by your breath – it’s known as ‘keto breath’, and it’s bad. It also can affect your ability to exercise by due to a lack of quickly accessible energy.
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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.
I think the larger question is why we are seeing such a sudden rash of anti-keto stories. So many of them quote no experts sources and do not provide citations for their claims. Skeptics with little acquaintance with the diet are quoted exclusively instead. From a journalistic perspective, this lack of balance of viewpoints and the failure to back up claims with evidence falls below basic reporting standards. Offenders on this list include even the Harvard School of Public Health, which recently published more than one unsourced, one-sided article on the keto diet (This is in addition to the Lancet Public Health article cited above, by Harvard researchers, which suggests that a low-carb diet kills you). These stories could reflect lazy reporting or they could very well be scare tactics to steer people away from the keto diet. Why would reporters or scientists at Harvard be doing such a thing? That’s material for another post. Stay tuned.
What the expert says: ‘There have been a number of cases where GPs have said, “You’ve got IBS, go on the low-FODMAP diet”,’ says Dr Megan Rossi (@theguthealthdoctor). ‘The only support they give you is a printout with a limited explanation of the diet from the internet. I’ve had clients come into my practice who’ve been given a list of 10 “friendly” foods to survive on, which is nutritionally dangerous.’
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]
Once upon a time, keto was the original “diabetes diet” prescribed to type 1 diabetes patients before the advent of insulin, as this would prolong their lives as it has less of an impact on blood sugar levels. More recently, Doctor Bernstein has popularized the keto diet for people living with diabetes in his book: Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars
Keto Diet is NOT strictly 20 grams of carbs per day. Not only are you biased but you are not being truthful. 20 grams per day is just the recommended guideline for maintaining ketosis. Many people can consume 40, 50 even 60 and 70 grams of carbs per day and stay in ketosis. It depends on the person. Age, size lifestyle and exercise all factor into how many carbs can be allowed and maintain ketosis. It is ok to not recommend a diet but when you leave out important aspects you do both your readers and yourself an injustice. Don’t base your article on one or two 3 page leaflets you read on ketosis written 20 years ago.
For me, I chose to become a CDE because I had worked as a Registered Nurse first on a medical unit, then in a Medical ICU. These are the units where most of the people with diabetes are, so I had seen every horrific complication that diabetes can cause. When I had a chance to become a Diabetes Educator…to actually help PREVENT some of those horrible complications…I jumped at the chance!
SOURCES: WebMD Feature: "With Fruits and Veggies, More Matters." 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author, The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids. Elaine Magee, MPH, RD,author, Comfort Food Makeovers. Brian Wansink, PhD, professor and director, Cornell Food and Brand Lab, Ithaca, N.Y.; author, Mindless Eating. Barbara Rolls, PhD, professor of nutritional sciences; and director, laboratory for the study of human ingestive behaviors, Penn State University; and author, The Volumetrics Eating Plan.
The trick here is not only to avoid all obvious sources of carbohydrate (sweets, bread, spaghetti, rice, potatoes), but also to be careful with your protein intake. If you eat large amounts of meat, eggs and the like, the excess protein will be converted into glucose in your body. Large amounts of protein can also raise your insulin levels somewhat. This compromises optimal ketosis.
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.
AND i’m losing weight! I’m losing about 1 lb per week and actually have the energy again to workout regularly. If you have diabetes, you know how fatiguing of a disease it can be. I feel less sluggish, more “awake”, just better in general, while restricting my carb intake. Yeah, I miss some fruits, but I sure as heck don’t miss what I felt like after eating them. Besides, berries are allowed on keto 🙂
I would just like to share with you that my patients are HORRIFIED if their physicians ask them to cut out “everything white” in their diet. This is what some doctors ask for…essentially asking for the Ketogenic diet and most of my patients are in shock! Not only would I never want to skip a year of my birthday cake, but I wouldn’t ask my patients to either! One slice of cake is certainly not going to harm anyone with diabetes and hopefully you know enough about carbohydrates and their short term effect on BG levels to know this too! I am not a Registered Dietitian, so I couldn’t speak to this diet in regard to children with epilepsy. Are you a Neuro RN? TheDiabetesCouncil did just post another article where 25 Registered Dieticians weighed in regarding the Ketogenic Diet, so I would encourage you all to check that out!
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.
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat dietary regimen which has been linked to improvements in insulin sensitivity and higher rates of weight loss — both positive factors in managing type 2 diabetes. Lowering carb intake induces a metabolic state known as ketosis, through which the body produces ketones which burn fat — rather than carbohydrates — for energy.
I can tell how passionate you are about this subject. As you can see on one of my reply’s above, CDE’s do not recommend the same number of carbs for every person we see; we use an individualized approach. It varies depending on the person’s height, bone structure/muscle mass, amount of weight they may need to lose (or gain) and the amount of exercise they may or may not do per day/week.
Thank you SO much for this! My husband approached me about the Mediterranean diet being good for depression and suggested I give it a try. But I already knew this was not the best term to describe what I needed, even before reading your article on the subject. However, I did have an idea of what they meant and I have struggled to find recipes that fit the bill. Too many well-meaning people have made it more “healthful” by cutting back on the fat. ANYWAY . . . This little meal plan is going to be immensely helpful to me and I am poking all around the site and your social media. Thank you for sharing!
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.
Switch to Lighter Alternatives. Whenever you can, use the low-fat versions of salad dressings, mayonnaise, dairy products, and other products. "You can trim calories effortlessly if you use low-fat and lighter products, and if the product is mixed in with other ingredients, no one will ever notice," says Magee. More smart substitutions: Use salsa or hummus as a dip; spread sandwiches with mustard instead of mayo; eat plain roasted sweet potatoes instead of loaded white potatoes; use skim milk instead of cream in your coffee; hold the cheese on sandwiches; and use a little vinaigrette on your salad instead of piling on the creamy dressing.
The average American consumes approximately 15.5 pounds of pasta each year—and most of it is the refined white stuff. Unfortunately, this type of noodle is usually void of fiber and micronutrients. Spaghetti squash, on the other hand, boasts only about 40 calories per cup—more than 75 percent fewer calories than a cup of plain pasta—and is an excellent source of vitamin A and potassium. Make this simple swap to jumpstart your weight loss and you’ll be fitting into your skinny jeans in no time! For more swaps to save you calories, don’t miss these 25 Food Swaps That Cut 2,500 Calories a Week.
I do have a couple of questions. I’m not vegan, but is there room for tempeh (as an alternative)? I love yogurt but I also love cottage cheese – would that be allowed and what about green tea or organic matcha? Oh, one more question, after doing weight watchers, I became obsessed with weighing my food and watching my portion sizes. When I was an unhealthy eater that was my downfall. I’ve mainly been trying to eat clean for the last year, but I still weigh/measure my food. What is the rule for portion sizes in the mediterranean lifestyle? Sorry for all the questions, but thank you for your time!! I look forward to trying all your recipes.
Whole grains: They contain more vitamins, minerals, and protein than white-flour products and have a stabilizing influence on blood-sugar levels. Experiment with nutrient-dense, nutty-tasting exotic whole grains such as barley, amaranth, quinoa, and faro. But watch your intake: One cup of cereal equals two servings, as do two slices of pumpernickel bread.
Sleep enough – for most people at least seven hours per night on average – and keep stress under control. Sleep deprivation and stress hormones raise blood sugar levels, slowing ketosis and weight loss a bit. Plus they might make it harder to stick to a keto diet, and resist temptations. So while handling sleep and stress will not get you into ketosis on it’s own, it’s still worth thinking about.