“What am I supposed to eat?”. This is one of the first questions someone who is newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes often asks. If you have ever searched the internet, you know that there are a myriad of diets out there.
It is no surprise then that for people living with diabetes, the simple question about what to eat can become very overwhelming.
Recently, US News and World Report evaluated over 35 popular diets with input from experts in various fields in health and fitness. They came up with top-rated diets suited for different health and fitness goals and released a list for 2020.
The Mediterranean diet was rated as the number 1 diet for people living with type 2 diabetes. Four diets were all tied for second place. These were the DASH diet, the Flexitarian diet, the Mayo Clinic Diet, and the Vegan diet.
Number 1 Mediterranean Diet.
The Mediterranean diet consists of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, modest amounts of poultry, red meat and fish, nuts and legumes and red wine in moderation.
The Mediterranean diet has been extensively researched. Over 50 studies have shown that by eating this way there is an improvement in overall metabolic health parameters- reduced waist circumference, improvement in lipid profile, blood pressure, weight, and blood sugar levels.
“Eat foods. Not too much. Mostly plants”
Number 2 DASH diet
DASH is an acronym that stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet was created from a research trial conducted by the National Institutes for health, which studied the effects of diet on blood pressure control.
The original DASH diet places an emphasis on eating fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, lean meats, and whole grains. There have been several additional variations created since the original diet. These include a low sodium option, low carbohydrate, and a healthy low-fat DASH diet. Learn more about the DASH eating plan.
Number 2 Flexitarian diet
The flexitarian diet was popularized by Chicago based Registered Dietician, Ms. Dawn Jackson Blatner. In her book Flexitarian diet- the mostly vegetarian way to lose weight, be healthier, prevent disease and add years to your life, Ms. Blatner describes the Flexitarian diet as mainly a plant-based diet, that allows for a moderate intake of meat products. I like the versatility of this eating plan. It’s not so stringent as the vegetarian/vegan diet and allows for some flexibility.
Number 2 Mayo Clinic Diet
The Mayo Clinic diet plan assigns foods based on ‘energy density’. Energy density is a term used to describe the number of calories for a specific weight of foods. High energy-dense foods are foods that have a large number of calories per serving size. For instance, a cup of white rice has more calories in it than say a cup of broccoli. So, a cup of white rice is a high energy-dense compared to a cup of broccoli which is a low energy-dense food.
The Mayo Clinic diet plan emphasizes foods that have low energy density. Examples of these foods include fruits, vegetables, and grains. There is also an eating plan created by the Mayo Clinic specifically for people living with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. For more information about the Mayo Clinic Diet Plan, click here.
Number 2 The Vegan Diet
The vegan diet is more stringent than a vegetarian diet or a plant-based diet. Vegans do not eat any dairy or eggs and even food that may be processed with animal or dairy-based products such as margarine or lard. Some vegans are even more extreme and will not wear any products made of leather for instance.
In summary, these 5 diets are a nice starting point for anyone living with type 2 diabetes. I suggest you experiment with all of them.
A functional nutrition plan is a more personalized eating plan that takes into consideration individual goals and helps to target specific nutritional needs. A functional nutrition plan is based on the premise that food not only provides nutrition, but it can also be therapeutic and in this way can alter the cellular makeup of our bodies.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
If you are interested in learning more about how a personalized functional nutrition plan can benefit you, schedule a consultation by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To your health and wellbeing,