There’s no one diet that fits all. This is why there’s an abundance of various diets out there that deliver different results. The question is—which one is sustainable for you? How can you shift your health?

This blog will answer the infamous question—what to eat when you’ve been diagnosed with Diabetes or Metabolic Syndrome?

Nutrition is the core pillar of how you shift your health. Yet it’s also a complex question to answer, even after the tons of research done about it already.

As you keep reading, you will learn about the science behind:

  • The Plant-based Diet
  • The Low-carb High-fat Diet
  • The Carnivore Diet

Let’s dive right into it!

The Plant-based Diet

A plant-based diet consists of foods that are only obtained from plants. It includes everything from fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, to nuts, seeds, and beans.

No animal-sourced or processed foods. Going on a plant-based diet is not equivalent to going vegan.

This diet has been a part of the nutritional world and has been studied extensively in the field of nutritional sciences since the 1940s.

Why should you go on a plant-based diet?

  • More Sustainable: As Dr. Dean Ornish said, “It takes 10 times more energy to eat higher on the food chain i.e. when you’re eating animal-based food as opposed to a plant-based diet, it takes ten times more resources to make that possible.” A plant-based diet is good for your body and the planet.
  • Scientifically Proven Safe: There’s countless evidence to support the benefits of the plant-based diet—culturally and scientifically. Research shows that countries that eat mainly plant-based have less mortality rates and a lower ratio of chronic diseases that are relatively high around the Western world with an abundance of animal-based protein.
  • Helps in Lowering High Cholesterol: The plant-based diet is proven to lower bad cholesterol levels from about 15% to 30% as it is relatively low-fat and removes oil from the diet.
  • Good for Heart Patients: This diet is confirmed to be good for the heart as eating multicolor, leafy food, and fiber can reduce the risk of stroke, and lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  • Beneficial to people with Metabolic Syndrome: The plant-based diet has demonstrated efficiency in lowering each of the five risk factors—high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar, abdominal fat, and high triglyceride level—for developing metabolic syndrome. It also helps in the prevention of metabolic syndrome with the removal of oils and processed food from the diet.

All in all, plant-based diets are designed to get to the root cause of the disease and shift your health on a diet-and-lifestyle level.

When causality is treated with plant-based nutrition there is:

  • No mortality from the diet
  • No morbidity from the diet

And the health benefits improve with time.

If you have been eating predominantly the Standard American Diet (SAD), the easiest transition into a healthy lifestyle with a safer diet is going plant-based.

Foods included:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Legumes
  • Seeds
  • Nuts

Foods to avoid:

  • Oil
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Fowl
  • Dairy
  • Coffee

Loopholes in the Plant-based Diet

Even though there are numerous benefits to the plant-based diet, people still tend to fail in seeing results or sticking to it.

Especially for diabetics, the transformation is slow because when you have high insulin resistance, getting the blood sugar down at the start is very difficult and takes a long time.

Reasons:

  • People may not have involved a variety of plants in their diet.
  • People may not have stopped consuming oils totally.
  • They might consume too many fruits, dried fruits, and grains that increase sugar surges and don’t help with overcoming sugar addiction.
  • Involving too many fruits and fewer plants can lead to severe insulin resistance.
  • They are gluten-sensitive.

The Low-carb, High-fat Diet (LCHF)

The low-carb, high-fat diet is mainly low in carbohydrates, high in fats, and moderate in protein.

The diet demands the complete removal of processed carbohydrates and a 38% increase of healthy fats in the diet.

The Rules of the LCHF Diet

  1. Avoid all processed or low-fat foods.
  2. Consume whole foods.
  3. No GPS- Grains, potatoes, and sugars.
  4. Eat foods you like, only when you are hungry.

Foods included:

  • Cheese and butter
  • Avocados
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Broccoli, asparagus & cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Berries
  • Olive and coconut oils
  • Chia and flax seeds

Foods to avoid:

  • White rice
  • White pasta
  • Bread
  • Baked goods
  • Low-fat foods
  • Diet drinks
  • Food and drinks with added sugar
  • Beer
  • Sugary coffee

How does it help with diabetes?

The low-carb, high-fat diet aka LCHF diet helps in improving insulin sensitivity and aiding weight loss, both of which help in managing type 2 diabetes.

When a body is in the LCHF diet, it replaces glucose that comes from carbohydrates with ketones from fat to produce energy. As a person reduces their carbohydrate intake by the day, the body is forced to use fat stored in the cells as fuel, which may aid weight loss.

It also reduces leptin resistance and helps improve the risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

Cons of the LCHF Diet

  • This diet can significantly increase caloric intake.
  • If the ketosis doesn’t go off well, the diet can backfire with some weight and fat gain.
  • People can experience increased levels of LDL and Non-HDL cholesterol on a low-carb diet.

The Carnivore Diet 

The carnivore diet is a nutrient-dense diet that is full of animal-sourced foods with a limitation of plants to the degree necessary to provide health benefits and restrict all carbohydrate intake.

How does it help with Diabetes?

Foods that are high in added sugars are considerably challenging for diabetics as they increase blood sugar levels. This diet demands a complete elimination of high-carb foods, refined carbs, and sugars that are often recommended to manage diabetes.

Benefits of the Carnivore Diet

  • Appetite regulation; increases satiety
  • Easy transition for those who hate vegetables
  • Eliminates sugar addiction
  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Helps with hyperinsulinemia
  • Lessens a load of processed food in the diet 

Foods included:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Bone marrow
  • Bone broth

Foods excluded:

  • Processed sugars
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Cons of the Carnivore Diet

  • Boosts the levels of highly oxidized LDL cholesterol: High LDL levels thicken the walls of your blood vessels which increases the chances of stroke, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, and heart attack.
  • Leads to a deficiency of plant-based micronutrients.
  • High in sodium and fat.
  • Fiber deficiency. Due to the lack of fiber in the diet, the risk of Diverticulosis shoots up. Diverticulosis is a condition in which small, bulging pouches develop in the digestive tract, because of high consumption of meat and processed food. Higher the fiber in the diet; the lesser the diverticulosis.

Tip: Consider getting certain tests—such as your cholesterol profile, Omega-3 indexes, inflammatory markers—done before going for any of these diets.

All these diets have their pros and cons. What’s going to work for you might not for another body. It all boils down to how sustainable the diet is for you.

All three diets have one thing in common: eliminating processed foods and refined sugars from the diet. If you do this one thing, it will be a huge step in the right direction of making the right dietary changes for your body and living a healthier life.

The root cause of most diseases is the lifestyle choices that we make each day.

Always remember that our bodies are extraordinarily self-healing, as long as they are provided the right nutrition and conditions to thrive in. Diet and lifestyle can be prevented, but they can also be the treatment.

Health is intuitive and it’s your business.

This blog covers the highlights from the latest episode of Chillin with Dr. Chellam on The Eternal Diet Question Answered by Dr. Nisha Chellam, Board Certified Internist, and Founder of Holistic ICON. You can check out the full video on our YouTube channel by clicking this link: https://youtu.be/nkfu_QrgPuQ

Hoping this blog was helpful. If you have any other questions related to diets, please drop us an email with your question and a brief about yourself at drchellam@holisticicon.com or marinas17@holisticicon.com, and we will get back to you shortly.

Health Education3 Healthy Diets for Diabetes Patients and Prediabetics