How to Stop Diabetes and Save Your Life - Part 3

We've talked about what diabetes is in Part 1:

We've discussed how we get it in Part 2:

Let’s talk solutions

How do you manage to live your life with little to no carbs? This is a challenge. It requires building some new habits and having a real understanding of what affects your body and what you can tolerate and live with long-term.

We’re going to discuss 3 options that I see most commonly used to help people combat T2D and insulin resistance. All three are based on eating whole foods and keeping things as organic and natural as possible. They are:
  • Vegetarian Diet - This is based on lowering caloric intake and choosing foods that raise blood sugar the least.
  • Ketogenic Diet - This is a Low Carb, High Fat diet that prioritizes fat over carbs
  • Carnivore Diet - This is a form of the Ketogenic Diet that eliminates carbs completely

Let’s get into the details, benefits, and drawbacks of each of these options.

Vegetarian Diet

The key to eating a vegetarian diet is to make sure you eat adequate amounts of protein and healthy fat and choose high fiber carbohydrates that are portion controlled.

How does this diet work if we just talked about reducing the amount of carbs you eat? Isn’t a vegetarian diet mostly a carb diet? Yes, it is. But there’s a little more going on.

The food choices you make on this diet all have 3 things in common. 1. They don’t create as much of an initial increase in blood glucose. This is called the glycemic load, 2. They are high in fiber. 3. The diet as a whole is lower in overall protein.

Fiber is considered a carbohydrate but fiber does not affect blood glucose and has been shown to help reduce glucose levels in the blood.

The high fiber content in the vegetarian diet creates a lower caloric density in the daily intake of food. While fiber is included in the total calorie count of many food items, a large portion of insoluble fiber does not actually have calories that matter.
“This is why it is often recommended that individuals calculating insulin needs should subtract fiber from the total carbohydrates of a food. Therefore, it is often advised that individuals following a carbohydrate-based diet plan not count dietary fiber as a carbohydrate.”

Does Fiber Count?
For someone who is insulin resistant, keeping protein levels at the lower ranges needed for bodily function is important. Insulin resistance can cause the liver to malfunction, increasing the insulin response to protein, making it react like you are eating carbs. Not a good thing. (If you aren’t insulin resistant, this isn’t as much of an issue.)
The benefits of a vegetarian diet that help with fighting diabetes are:
  • Loss of body fat and overall weight
  • Reduced blood glucose levels after eating
  • Better management of insulin
  • Less negative effect from protein
The vegetarian diet is an option that many people have chosen to combat their risk for diabetes and even heal themselves form T2D. While it can be effective it does have its drawbacks. The same reasons it can help with insulin resistance often have other long-term deleterious effects on your body.
  • Lower glycemic load doesn't mean long term glucose levels stay the same. Unless you maintain a caloric deficit you will gain fat. A high fiber diet helps the short term increase in blood glucose. It does not mean the overall amount of glucose isn’t affected. Overtime, eating nothing but carbs, will cause an increase in adipose tissue (body fat) and start to have a diminishing return on weight loss.
  • One of the biggest struggles people have with a vegetarian diet is inflammation. Plant-based foods create high amounts of stress on your digestive and metabolic systems. The combination of plants only containing partial nutrients and compounds that need to be combined and modified in the body after consumption, and the abundance of anti-nutrients they contain, lead to a long list of inflammation based conditions. Increased inflammation leads to acne, psoriasis, eczema, IBS, Arthritis, and more... Do we need veggies?
  • Caloric deficit has long-term deleterious effects. 2 major things happen on a calorie restricted diet.
    • Your body has fewer nutrients and is less able to function.
    • Your metabolic performance decreases (slow metabolism)
      • Burns less fuel (less available resources means your body will burn fuel slower to make it last longer)
      • Increases fuel storage (adds fat layers)
      • Increase catabolic processes (burn protein instead of fat or carbs)
  • The results of extended caloric restriction include.
    • Fatigue
    • Poor sleep
    • Hair loss
    • Fat gain
    • Poor insulin management
    • Weight doesn’t change
  • Protein density in plant-based food is very low. The amount of food material you need to eat is significantly higher that a diet that includes meat. This exacerbates all of the other factors we’ve already discussed. You have to eat more to get more and the long-term effects only increase your risk of developing numerous other conditions that will reduce your quality of life.
The Vegetarian Diet can be effective in healing and preventing diabetes. In most cases there are great initial and short term benefits. Often general health is impacted over time and while diabetes may diminish in priority, other condition tend to develop that still have a negative impact on overall quality of life. The next diet we’re going to discuss offers an alternative that changes how your body works altogether.

Keep an eye out for Part 4 where we'll talk about the Ketogenic Diet and how it fills in some of the holes left by the Vegetarian diet.


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