You might have seen the headlines recently (see image)
When I used to deliver education programmes within the NHS and Public Health with Type 2 diabetes, I often got asked questions like:
“What are the best foods to avoid diabetes?”
“Do you have any diabetic friendly recipes?”
Often, this has come about from reading conflicting stuff on websites, usually about carbs and sugar causing Type 2 diabetes.
But here’s a quick summary of the important MYTHS you need to know about diet and Type 2 diabetes
(DISCLAIMER: this is providing you are not on medication that puts you at risk of going low with your blood sugar levels (a hypo) as you will need to speak to your GP / nurse about adjusting medication before dietary changes):
1)Myth 1: “ONLY eat slow digesting, low GI foods if you have diabetes” → this is often coming from studies where they look at how single foods raise your blood sugar. We eat meals, not foods. So, when you combine carbs with fibre (veggies) and some protein (say lean meats, eggs, yogurt etc), this lowers how quickly your blood sugar goes up…
So, essentially, looking for low GI foods is pretty pointless if you eat a balanced meal and create a calorie deficit (which will help you lose fat and potentially improve blood sugar levels)
Not to mention that your blood sugar response to a meal is also dependent on:
→ How much exercise you have done that day or even yesterday
→ How much you eat (even if something you eat is classified as low glycemic index, if you eat lots of it, this raises the load of glucose)
→ Your stress, sleep…I could go on…
2) “Don’t eat carbs if you have diabetes” – This often comes from the Daily Mail (and others) glorifying studies into extreme headlines based on a study showing that SLIGHTLY lowering carbs may help.
Why? Because it might help you lower calories.
The average person eats 47% carbs in their diet. These studies gave people less than 40%. This is just a slight change. It’s not extreme. It’s no zero carbs.
And shows that you don’t have to go cold turkey (and in fact, for some, going cold turkey can make things worse…making you crave more carbs..)
3) “Eat little and often if you have diabetes” – People often say that this prevents hunger as lower blood sugar levels cause hunger. This is actually not true.
And for some people, creating a calorie deficit and losing fat is EASIER if they eat fewer meals, not just in terms of the fact you don’t have to think about food all day, but because they can eat the foods they love at these meals rather than snacking like a pigeon…
There’s no magic trick. It’s about creating a calorie deficit and losing fat.
However you do this…Is the right diet for you, be it through that 600–800 calorie meal replacement shake diet that has been shown to help
a more steady approach that helps you lose fat and create long-lasting habits that help you keep you fat off.
Either way, you have to do what works for you 🙂
In fact, I have done a whole seminar all about carbs and lifestyle changes for management and remission of Type 2 Diabetes with sample meal plans.
Message me with ‘diabetes’ if you would like me to send it over
Matt ‘myth busting’ Fruci