Plant Based Diet for Diabetes - Sugar.Fit
Nutrition

Plant Based Diet for Reversing Diabetes

Imagine somebody asking you to stop taking medications for diabetes. What would be your reaction? After a long time of getting into the habit of taking medications and believing that this is going to continue for the rest of your life, it is next to impossible to even think of stopping the medications. If somebody is diagnosed with diabetes, it doesn’t mean that he or she has been consuming a lot of sugary food. It may be a little intricate to understand how it happened in the first place. However, preventing it from further escalating can be much simpler than you actually think it is. 

Whatever happens inside our body is the result of the type of food we take in. We take in a variety of food rich in carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, vitamins, nutrients etc. which is essential for the body to function well. However, taking anything in excess leads to improper function or makes the system work harder to convert it and use it. While the excess carbohydrate is stored in the form of glucose for further use and needs more insulin to release it into the bloodstream. Even taking processed food is not good for our health. As it is high in calories, fat, salt and excess sugar, flavour enhancers etc. Therefore, we need to check all the things that go into our mouths. We might enjoy eating them but they may not be beneficial to our bodies. As the age-old saying goes like this – whatever is tempting to the mouth may not be good for the body.

It is high time to focus on our eating habits and switch to plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains etc. The study has found that plant-based food helps reverse diabetes as it is high in fibre, magnesium and antioxidants that help in promoting insulin sensitivity. These foods also reduce insulin resistance and improve glycemic control.

What is a Plant-based diet?

Plant-based diets are eating patterns that emphasize legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds and discourage most or all animal products like eggs, meat, milk, and cheese. But you should be aware that not all plant based foods are ideal or healthy for maintaining your glucose levels or overall health in general. These include refined sugar, refined vegetable oils, highly processed grains which are actually associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Hence experts recommend focusing on a plant-based diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts customized to what you need to achieve your personal health and lifestyle goals

Impact of Plant-based Diets on Glucose Levels

Dietary choices are a key driver of insulin resistance, especially in an aging, more sedentary population. Increases in consumption of calorie-dense foods, including fast foods, meats and other animal fats, highly refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages, are thought to play a critical role in the rising rates of type 2 diabetes worldwide. Plant-based diets are high in fiber, antioxidants, and magnesium and promote insulin sensitivity through loss of excess weight and maintenance of a healthier body weight.

How to get started with a Plant-based Diet

By using a Continuous Glucose Monitoring device you can now create your own, tried & tested personal optimized, plant-based diet.

  • Test out smaller servings to see your body's response to a fixed amount of plant-based food.
  • Avoid all refined grains and sugars, as they cause more sugar spikes.
  • Added Sugar must be Zero in Value, as even a 'Healthy' Nut or Fruit-based Protein bar might have 15 gms or so of added sugar!
  • Products with 'Low sugar' or 'Low Glycemic' foods can also have added sugars.
  • Test to see how you respond to 50 gms of individual grains like quinoa, oats, rice, millets, barley, corn, ragi, etc.
  • Track your glucose levels from fasting levels to peak to see if you experience glucose spikes from grain-rich diets
  • See which fruit affects your levels, and to what extent.
  • Test different starchy foods like yams, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes separately.
  • Fruit contains fructose, which is converted to glucose, hence increasing glucose levels.
  • Test out adding fat and protein to fruit to test if it minimizes your glucose spikes.
  • Adding chia seeds and nut butter works for some people.
  • Adding almonds to a carbohydrate-rich meal significantly decreases post-meal glucose spikes.
  • You can also mix and match lower sugar fruits. For e.g., instead of a mango, you can have a mix of strawberries, peaches, blackberries, lemon, or oranges, grapefruit, avocados, and honeydew melon, in different small portion combos.

Bottom Line

There have been many advances made to fine-tune diets so that people can live better and more meaningful lives. This includes being aware that monitoring your glucose levels should not be seen as a restriction on your food habits. Building your metabolic consciousness helps you create eating habits in such a manner that you get to eat what you enjoy and still maintain your metabolic health and well-being successfully! A healthy and nutritious diet that helps metabolism and does not negatively impact your blood glucose levels is a worthwhile goal to pursue. Plant-based diets are, in general, a step in the right direction.

FAQs

How can I get rid of diabetes permanently?

Type 2 diabetes can be remission completely by following a healthy plant-based diet. Apart from a low-calorie diet, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight will help in getting rid of diabetes permanently. A strong determination and a positive attitude to have a healthy lifestyle is the key to reversing diabetes.

Is fasting good for diabetes?

No, fasting is not good for diabetes. However, fasting does have some general health benefits as it helps in weight loss, lowers cholesterol and cuts down inflammation. Intermittent fasting can be beneficial to reduce weight if you follow a regular diet for one day and take less than 600 calories the next day. This is beneficial for overweight and middle-aged adults and is not safe for older or younger people.

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