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Recently my family has delved into yet another diet in our house, the low carb, high fat diet to deal with my husband’s pre-diabetes. As his mother is dying from complications of diabetes, it is quite motivating to bring those blood sugars down into a range that will not do damage in the body. Another name for this diet is the ketogenic diet.
The American Diabetes Association recommends a diet for diabetics that has a wide variety of foods. Many things about their recommendations are good but not all. In their article on planning your dinner plate they leave a small section of the plate for grains and starchy foods. In regard to healthy fats they simply say to “choose healthy fats in small amounts.” The general recommendation is to consume 40-65 grams of carbs per meal plus snacks. (source)
As I have researched and studied this area it is becoming more apparent that continuing even with small amounts of grains and starchy vegetables will be too much of a stresser on the pancreas and metabolism and will yield continued high blood sugars for the average diabetic, type 1 or type 2. Eating a potato or rice or a slice of bread is like eating a tsp or two of sugar and it cause insulin levels to go up and tells the body to store fat. According to Sarah Hallberg, diabetes is a “state of carbohydrate toxicity…. Insulin resistance is a state of carbohydrate intolerance.”(Hallberg, Sarah)
On the other hand, eating healthy fats is what is going to get our blood sugar and insulin levels to stabilize. If you are dealing with insulin resistance or pre-diabetes or full force diabetes, you need to move your body into ketosis, which is burning fat for energy rather than carbohydrates.
My focus in this article is on diabetes treatment and prevention because it is what we are dealing with in our family. But this diet is also effective in cancer treatment and prevention because it seems to starve out the cancer cell’s ability to replicate and reproduce.
Principles for a diabetic diet
1. Eat real food. This means foods that that are close to the state in which they are produced. I disagree with many of the diabetes educators who say that artificial sugar substitutes are okay. The only one I am comfortable with is stevia in limited amounts and the closer it is to the green stevia leaf the better.
2. Avoid grains, all grains and starches and sugar. That also includes rice, beans like black beans and kidney beans, chips, and many snack foods Dr. Bernstein in his book Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution recommends 20 grams of carbohydrate per day. That is not much folks. Start looking at the carbs in foods you buy; you will be surprised. 1 medium potato has 37 grams of carbohydrate. There are 27 grams of carbohydrate in a sweet potato. 1 slice of wheat bread has 12 grams. See why you have to cut out the grains and starches?
3. Eat lots of good fats, including animal fats, coconut oil, cream and butter(preferably unpasteurized if possible) and bacon. Eat lots of bacon. Fats will not raise your blood sugar and they will satisfy your hunger pangs.
4. Eat protein with each meal. Be reasonable in your amount and see how your blood sugar responds. Some people can eat more protein than others. Eat what you are comfortable with of all kinds of meats, eggs, chicken, fish. Be more careful with nuts and cheese as some of that has carbohydrates in it.
5. Eat vegetables that grow above ground. This includes kale, spinach, lettuce, zucchini squash, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, mushrooms, brussel sprouts, cabbage, onions, peppers, tomotoes, etc. Generally 1 cup to 1 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables or salad should satisfy your diet.
6. Be very careful with fruit. Most fruit is too high in sugar to eat regularly. Save berries and melon for special treats instead of sweet desserts.
After 2 months on this diet my husband has lost 25 lbs and his blood sugars are much more in line with recommended blood sugars. He is sometimes down below 100 and sometimes around 110-120. Ideal blood sugar according to Dr. Bernstein is 83, so there is still some work to do. We have found that when he eats more fat and is very very careful on his carbs he has better blood sugars. It does work.
So have you considered a low carb, high fat diet? Have you tried it? What are you thoughts? I would love to hear from you.
I have help for you if you want to prevent diabetes in your own life. Check out my Diabetes Prevention Program complete with health coaching.
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