Here’s a very common question we are asked a lot throughout the year, “is a Paleo diet recommended for diabetes?”. It makes a lot of sense for a type 2 diabetic (with Diabetes Mellitus) to ask this question as, it’s likely that poor diet choices or habits which led in part to the development of their type 2 diabetes. Now formally diagnosed, in order to keep their life on track they need to understand more about which food groups, in particular carbohydrates and proteins, convert into glucose and at what speed, so now they need to understanding the glycaemic index (GI) and how to calculate the glycaemic load (GL) of each meal.
Those with diabetes can attain tremendous benefit from a paleo diet, primarily because a paleo diet limits foods that became common when farming emerged about 10,000 years ago. These limits are on dairy products, legumes and grains which often have high fat content or appear high on the glycaemic scale.
It is scientifically proven that meat, dairy products and eggs increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. By simply cutting back on meat, you can help manage diabetes better and in some cases even reverse the disease completely. By cutting back on meat, you can get closer to the nutritional value of the food you need, along with reducing the glycaemic load of a meal, to help balance blood sugar levels across the day.
Paleo is a diet plan which is based on the foods and eating habits of our ancestors, thousands of years ago. For many, it can often be a difficult journey to find an optimal diet plan and to stick to it.
Some of the diet plan options available to people with diabetes include the following;
* An exchange diet – This diet plan is based on foods that are of equal value to each other, such as the paleo diet. This means that it is similar to the way our ancestors would have eaten, such as berries, meat, seafood, fish, vegetables, fruits and vegetables.
* An isocaloric diet – A diet plan in which the calories are equal are equally apportioned across carbohydrates, proteins and fasts, such as the paleo diet. Again, similar to how our ancestors would have eaten, as described above.
* Nutritional alignment diet plan – This is a diet in which the preferred macronutrients, carbohydrates, fats and proteins, are balanced with the micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, with meals.
* Protein and carbohydrate counting – This involves counting carbohydrates and protein at meals, and choosing how many carbohydrates you will eat with each meal.
In order to optimise each meal it is strongly advised you reduce your meat intake, in particular red meat as well as eggs, and replace it with fish. For diabetics, who go on a fish diet, after having been on a meat diet for several months, find the new diet much easier as they do not need the extra supervision they used to need to follow before. For those who have not been on a high fiber/fibre, high plant food diet before, the change to a fish diet is not as hard as it seems. The main difference between a low or high fat diet, is the change from meat to fish and from fish to dairy products. The low fat diet does not have as much of an impact on the digestive system, so you are able to have small amounts of dairy products.
The best way to manage diabetes, is to eat your main meals at regular times, instead of eating three meals a day, and snacks in between meals. Eating at regular intervals across the day keeps your blood sugar level in check and, as you eat little and often, you do not feel hungry between meals, this technique is often referred to as grazing.