Diabetes Diet Plan

Real Health Talk radio show notes 09/26/12 Treating diabetes naturally through diet

Controlling Diabetes is the key

The goal with any diabetic diet is to ensure your blood sugar stays in the range of non-diabetics. This is both feasible and realistic. If your blood sugar as a diabetic stays in the range of a non-diabetic your chances of developing secondary complications of diabetes–kidney, eye, cardiovascular, nerve disease-are remarkably reduced.

Key points to follow
  1. Limit carbohydrates
  2. Limit saturated fats–triglycerides
  3. Watch portion control
  4. Watch protein intake: adult women take in 46g protein per day, males 56g per day
  5. Increase vegetables
  6. Limit fruit
Read all your food labels

You not only want to check the ingredient list but also the column above that lists the grams of carbs, protein and fats. In general shop for ORGANIC FOOD at Healthy Food Stores such as Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Gentle Strength Coop, Trader Joe’s, AJ’s Fine Foods, and others. Many typical supermarkets also have healthy food aisles/sections.


Carbs and proteins

According to the CDC, people with diabetes should get about 45% of their calories from carbs and the National Institutes of Medicine recommends a daily protein intake of 35% or less. (The average intake for adults in the U.S. and Canada is about 15% of total calories.)
Caveat: Diabetics and other people suffering kidney disease challenges should limit their meat protein drastically.

Here are typical Daily Amounts for carb grams and protein grams on a diabetic diet:
Protein: 7-1/2 oz for women and 9-1/2 for men. (Meats are measured in ounces, but protein amounts in packaged food are listed in grams. 1 oz of protein=6 grams of protein.)
A carb serving is measured as 15 grams per serving. That means most women need 3 to 4 carb servings (45–60 grams) per meal, while most men need about 4 to 5 carb servings (60–75 grams).

Less carbs are allowed in the morning, because blood sugar tends to rise naturally in the morning.

Grains are no-no

Grain intake is the your biggest diabetic restriction. You absolutely need to avoid: Hot cereals, cold cereals, pasta/noodles, bread, pancakes, pastries, rolls, rice, and other products made from grains. Gluten products in particular are horrible for diabetics.
DO NOT EAT “LOW CARB” grain products in general
You can eat small amounts of rice crackers/rice cakes.

Here’s how to figure out how many carbs are in a serving of rice crackers by taking TOTAL CARB GRAMS and subtracting FIBER GRAMS (we do not absorb fiber so it doesn’t count)–the end result is the grams you count for your total meal amount.
The carb/fiber gram formula works like this:

  • Two rice crackers typically have 11 grams of “Total Carbs”, but 3 of those are often fiber grams: Therefore, 11 carb grams minus 3 fiber grams equals 8 grams total.
  • Always watch out for and avoid Partially Hydrogenated Oils.
Oils good and bad

It is very important to only eat good oils as they contain essential nutrients that nourish you and are required for your body to be healthy and stay healthy. Good oils help with insulin sensitivity, help lower lipid levels, decrease inflammation, help you lose weight easier, are anti-carcinogenic, and help in numerous other ways.

Neutral oils, found in dairy and meat, are pretty okay, usually, but in moderation.

You do NOT use insulin to metabolize oils, so healthy oils do not count as fat grams against daily intake totals.

Oil wisdom
  1. Avoid Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs)–Also listed on ingredient labels as Vegetable Fat, Trans Fat, and Vegetable Shortening. This type of evil oil is the number one food additive in processed foods, and is VERY UNHEALTHY to eat diabetic or not.
  2. READ LABELS!!–Basically most anything processed will have PHOs in them: margarine and other fake butter products, Crisco/shortenings, crackers, peanut butter, Cool Whip, non-dairy creamers…essentially most frozen and prepared foods.
  3. Use Good Oils In Your Home: Organic butter; (organic) extra virgin olive oil; refined or unrefined high oleic safflower oil, also known as monounsatured safflower oil; organic unrefined coconut oil. Some other oils like sesame, or walnut, can be used for particular types of cooking. If you are dairy sensitive, you can buy Earth Balance, or Smart Balance instead of butter and margarine. Canola oil is NOT a good oil–PERIOD. Grape Seed Oil can be used for those very rare occasions when you do deep fat frying. No margarine of any type are ever okay.
  4. Refrigerate all oils except extra virgin olive oil, which you can just store in a cool, dark cabinet.
Vegetable wisdom

Potassium is a vital nutrient to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. Fresh veggies have lots of this and also contain antioxidants and other nutrients that keep your body strong and protect it from suffering the ravages of diabetes.

Eat at least 5-9 servings of vegetables everyday (a serving is ½ a cup), equaling 2-5 cups of veggies a day–they can be either fresh or frozen but fresh organic is best. No canned veggies. No boiling of veggies. No microwaving. No head/iceberg lettuce: use only red or green leaf, romaine, spinach, kale, cabbage, collard green, beet greens, mustard greens, etc. The darker the green the better. Chard was found in a study to lower blood sugar levels. You can gently stir fry any of these with olive oil. Ideally, the best way to eat veggies is to gently stir fry, lightly steam them, or oven bake them. If you steam them, drink the water that’s left over containing the nutrients removed in the process. This steam juice contains most of the potassium and several of the B vitamins that get leached from the veggies when they are steamed.

Especially healthy veggies are those from the cruciferous family–broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, radish, cabbage; onions and garlic; the orange veggies–carrot, squash, tomatoes; and the deep green leafy ones. But, ALL veggies have their worth and you should strive for both frequency of intake and variety.

  • Avoid these veggies: potatoes of any sort, yams, sweet potatoes, corn, tomato paste/sauce.
  • Eat only a little of these at a time: onions, carrots, tomatoes.
Wisdom salad

Salads can be both interesting and fun: Try adding pickles, olives, sunflower seeds, grated cheese, turkey, chicken, salmon salad, tuna salad, walnuts and feta cheese, herring–there are LOTS of ways to add protein to salads. For salad dressings use olive oil with vinegar or lemon juice. I love plain ole mustard on mine. Another great dressing is flax seed oil and any vinegar BUT NOT BALSAMIC.

DO NOT USE FAT FREE DRESSINGS! remember that good oils help people with diabetes get better. Oh, and “Annies” brand has organic dressings like Caesar which are naturally low carb.

Fruit Wisdom

Fruit simply is too full of carbs and sugars to be helpful to you right now. Type II–under control can have 1 piece of fruit a day.

Meaty wisdom

My favorite go-to meat is wild-caught salmon and other small fish. Regular meat eaters should have this at least 2 or 3 times a week. Other good fish are (wild caught) herring, cod, trout, sardines (double layer is best), halibut. Canned fish is merely OK in a pinch because the BPA in the can liners. Avoid tuna, mackerel, catfish, sturgeon, swordfish, and shark due to high environmental toxin content. All fish are a bit contaminated, but some more than others. Other fish, such as perch, red snapper, orange roughy, tilapia, etc., do not contain good oils in them, but are not always overly polluted either, so are merely “okay” to eat on occasion. Shrimp, clams, mussels, crab, lobster and so forth are also okay to eat. AVOID FARMED FISH if at all possible–almost all “Atlantic Salmon” on the label actually means farmed salmon and has little health benefits.
** Cook fresh fish lightly (broiling or bake – NEVER MICROWAVE).

Game meat and/or organically grown, pasture-fed-and-finished meats are the BEST meats to eat regularly. There are plenty of organic ranchers selling organic buffalo, venison, chicken, beef, ostrich, lamb, and pork at cheaper prices than in stores.

Optimally, you shouldn’t eat meat more than once per day. Roasting/slow baking meat is the healthiest way to prepare meat–frying and barbecuing are the worst.

Processed meat products are only acceptable when prepared by an organic rancher: hot dogs, sausage, pepperoni, bacon, bologna, salami, and even beef jerky can be found. Health Food Stores and Trader’s Joe’s sell these sorts of meat. Processed meats from regular supermarkets tend to be less quality meats, full of nitrates, and other chemicals/hormones/etc.

Protein substitutes wisdom

Not everyone eats meat and there are some reasonable substitutes like beans, peas, lentils (use “beano” as a bean digestive aid, if needed). Keep in mind that you CANNOT eat these proteins until your blood sugar is under control, but you may be able to do so once you are in better control.

Nutty wisdom

You CAN eat these proteins now: Raw nuts (Peanuts should be eaten roasted, but other nuts should NOT be roasted or dry roasted except occasionally). All nuts are good to eat unless you have a particular food sensitivity: walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, filberts, almonds, Brazil, etc. Soaking nuts overnight before eating them activates digestive enzymes for breaking the outer layers of nuts down for assimilation. You can soak them and then dehydrate them again to keep them fresher longer as soaked nuts soon spoil.

Why are nuts so good for diabetes
  1. Low glycemic index (GI) and GI-lowering effect–they reduce the overall Glycemic load of a meal. (A low-GI diet has been shown to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and help in its management.)
  2. High carbohydrate food
  3. Rich source of healthy fats–nuts contain mostly healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, plus are low in saturated fat and free of trans fats Like other plant foods, they also contain no cholesterol.
  4. Great source of fiber–diets high in fiber help manage diabetes and weight and can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
  5. Natural source of plant sterols which can help to lower cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol reabsorption in the intestine.
  6. High in potassium and low in sodium, providing benefits for blood pressure and general heart health.
  7. Good source of arginine–this amino acid helps keep blood vessels elasticity and helps prevent blood clotting, hardening of the arteries and blood clotting can lead to heart disease.
  8. Rich source of magnesium–a higher intake of magnesium is linked with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  9. High in vitamin E–an essential vitamin and antioxidant which can help protect against heart disease. Some studies suggest that vitamin E may protect against diabetes complications.

Yes you can have nut butters! Any nut butter is fine (unless you have have that nagging food sensitivity): peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter, Tahini, etc. You can find good peanut butter with no added sugar or added partially hydrogenated oils in higher end brands. I keep my nut butters stored upside down in the fridge for easy use. That way the oil will naturally be mixed in with the nut butter and puddled on top.

UNSWEETENED almond milk is great.

NEVER do soy products–soy can lower the functioning of the thyroid and exacerbate diabetic complications.
Soy meat analogs–Nope…TOO MANY CARBS IN THEM.
FYI, “Morningstar” and “Boca Burgers” use GMO soy.

Eggs–all healthy food stores and most supermarkets now carry organic eggs–not just “free-range”. Organic is the first word you want to see on the container. Soy-free fed if possible. Cook eggs for breakfast or make egg salad with avocado-based mayo, celery, dill and put on salad or dip with rice crackers.

Dairy wisdom
  1. DO NOT EAT ARTIFICIAL CHEESES–EVER! Velveeta, Pasteurized Process Cheese Foods, American cheese–these are not food in my world.
  2. Avoid Cottage Cheese. Other cheeses are fine. Try to buy organic as much as possible.
  3. Milk-You simply cannot drink milk! Sorry…
  4. Yogurt-Eat plain regular fat organic yogurt (NOT low fat). Most if not all fruited yogurts are highly sweetened.
  5. Cream-You can use REAL cream or half and half in small amounts as a flavoring in certain things unless your blood sugar is not in control .
Fast food wisdom

AVOID FAST FOODS and DEEP FAT FRIED FOODS. You would be “relegated” to eating grass-fed burgers without buns and salads without prepared dressings as many of those are LOADED with carbs.

AVOID REGULAR RESTAURANT FOODS At best, get a piece of broiled and un-breaded meat, fish, or chicken, with an undressed, no-crouton salad and steamed veggies. Skip the dinner rolls, baked potatoes, pastas, etc. Most restaurants now have Low-Carb, Gluten-Free menus and meals that will fit your diet. Ask for their gluten free and special needs menus and choose wisely.

Drinking wisdom

DON’T DRINK SWEETENED DRINKS! Regular sodas, sweetened ice tea drinks (Arizona, Lipton, Snapple), sweetened fruit drinks (Ocean Sprays, Lemonade, Kool-Aid, Powerade, Gatorade, Sunny Delight, Crystal Light, Hawaiian Punch, all the other sugar water products) in pretty bottles on the supermarket shelves, cocoas/hot chocolate/chocolate milk. Oh, and some of those “healthy herbal” drinks are also very sweetened. Avoid!
DON’T DRINK DIET DRINKS Many studies have shown that diet drinks cause people to gain MORE weight than regular drinks and regular drinks definitely cause weight gain.
COFFEE CAUTION Coffee/Decaf–Limit the amount to a maximum of 1-2 cups a day. CAVEAT: Type I cannot have any coffee/decaf.

Okay to drink are spring water/RO water/Alkaline water (a.m. only); unsweetened almond milk; herb teas; green tea; plain sparkling mineral waters/(add a fresh lemon squeeze for pizzazz).

Alcohol = NONE for Type I ever and limit to 1 serving per week for Type II–If blood sugar is under control.

Sweet wisdom

AVOID WHITE AND BROWN AND CANE SUGAR, AND ALL ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS! Honey is not some freebie sweet that is okay to use all the time–use minimally. A little xylitol or Stevia is recommended for now and then use. Sugar in any form, “healthy” or otherwise, promotes the need to have things taste sweet to be good. It is habit-forming.

If you just have to have a little sweet, limit to one small piece of fruit daily.

  • SWEET LEAF Stevia makes liquid flavors that are LOVELY. You can use those in moderation instead of imbibing diet drinks.
Sweet-fake wisdom

Synonyms for bad sugars: sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose, maltose, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, high fructose corn syrup solids.

Snack wisdom

You do not have to eat snacks regularly; if you crave it then you do not have your meals in balance with insulin levels, or with caloric needs vs. physical activity. However, every now and then healthy snacks are fine. Pork rinds are a great snack cookedminnthegood oils, being made of all fat so they won’t affect your blood sugar or insulin needs, plus they are crunchy and there are very few crunchy foods you can otherwise eat. Trainingn your palet to eating lots of veggies as snacks is best: loose-leaf lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, zucchini, little cherry tomatoes, jicama, turnips, etc.

Diabetes Basic Diet Ideas

BREAKFAST: 2 egg omelet with an ounce of cheese and some veggies.
2 or 3 rice cracker with turkey breast, sardines, cheese, etc.
Organic bacon or sausage with an egg.
LUNCH: Salad and berries with chicken salad, or salmon salad, or egg salad on it.
Walnuts and feta cheese, or grated cheese, or cubed cheese with ham and rice crackers.
Herring, or turkey, and/or sunflower seeds in a salad with olives, pickles, radishes.
SUPPER: Meat and veggies
Stir fry a couple of cups or more of any type of veggie: peas, broccoli, cauliflower, red or green peppers, any type of mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, and add Italian spices or Curry spices.
Add in a lamp chop, or a piece of flank steak, or a salmon filet grilled.
How about shrimp, or red snapper, or scallops, or orange roughy?
Or an almond chicken stir fry using Braggs Enzymes for an Oriental meal.

Leave your meal ideas in the comments section below.

Authored by Cancer Nutritionist Craig Stellpflug NDC, CNC, Dayspring Cancer Clinic Scottsdale, AZ
Copyright 2012 Craig Stellpflug© Permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute this article but only in its entirety