- Get the right tests. Most doctors focus on fasting blood sugar. This is actually a poor indicator of diabesity. The best test to tease out the condition is an insulin response test where insulin levels are measured fasting and then 1 and 2 hours after a glucose drink.Demand this test from your doctor.
- Get smart about nutrition. Despite the media hype and the seeming confusion amongst doctors, the basics of nutrition are extremely simply. Eliminate sugar and processed carbohydrates, include whole real foods like lean protein (chicken or fish), veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains.
- Get the right supplements. There has recently been a frenzy of negative reports about supplements. Most of them are unfounded. Supplements are an essential part of treating diabesity. A good multivitamin, vitamin D, fish oil, and special blood sugar balancing nutrients like alpha lipoic acid, chromium polynicotinate, biotin, cinnamon, green tea catechins, and glucomannan should also be included.
- Get relaxed. Stress is a major unrecognized contributor to insulin resistance and blood sugar imbalance. Push your pause button every day with deep breathing, visualization, yoga, and other relaxation techniques.
- Get moving. Aside from changing your diet, exercise is probably the single best medication for diabesity. Walk at least 30 minutes every day. For some, 30-60 minutes of more vigorous aerobic exercise 4-6 times a week may be necessary.
- Get clean and green. Environmental toxins also contribute to diabesity. Filter your water, look for green cleaning products, and avoid plastics when you can.
- Get personal. While the steps above will address 80 percent of the problems with diabesity, some may need to take additional steps to optimize key areas of their biology. Remember, the medicine of the future is personal medicine. Seek out your own biological imbalances and look for ways to address them.
- Get connected. Research is beginning to show that we get better more effectively when we get together. Invite your friends, families, and neighbors to change their diets and lifestyle along with you. Together we can all take back our health.
Dietary Recommendations to Reverse Diabetes
Eating in a way that balances your blood sugar, reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, and improves your liver detoxification is the key to preventing and reversing insulin resistance and diabetes.
This is a way of eating that based on a whole foods diet that’s high in fiber, rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, and low in sugars and flours, with a low glycemic load.
It is a way of eating that includes anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxifying foods. It includes plenty of omega-3 fats and olive oil, soy products, beans, nuts, and seeds.
All these foods help prevent and reverse diabetes and insulin resistance. This is the way of eating than turns on all the right gene messages, promotes a healthy metabolism, and prevents aging and age-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Here are more specifics.
- Eat protein for breakfast every day, such as whole omega-3 eggs, a soy protein shake, or nut butters.
- Eat something every 4 hours to keep your insulin and glucose levels normal.
- Eat small protein snacks in the morning and afternoon, such as a handful of almonds.
- Finish eating at least 2 to 3 hours before bed. If you have a snack earlier in the day, you won’t be as hungry, even if you eat a little later.
- Controlling the glycemic load of your meals is very important.
- You can do this by combining adequate protein, fats, and whole-food carbohydrates from vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruit at every meal or snack.
- It is most important to avoid eating quickly absorbed carbohydrates alone, as they raise your sugar and insulin levels.
Two handfuls of almonds in a zip-lock bag make a useful emergency snack. You can eat them with a piece of fruit. Remember, real food is the best.
What to Eat
- Choose from a variety of the following real, whole foods:
- Choose organic produce and animal products whenever possible.
- Eat high-quality protein, such as fish – especially fatty, cold-water fish like salmon, sable, small halibut, herring, and sardines – and shellfish.
- Cold-water fish such as salmon, halibut, and sable contain an abundance of beneficial essential fatty acids, omega-3 oils that reduce inflammation. Choose smaller wild Alaskan salmon, sable, and halibut that are low in toxins. Canned wild salmon is a great “emergency” food.
- Eat up to eight omega-3 eggs a week.
- Create meals that are high in low-glycemic legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and soybeans (try edamame, the Japanese soybeans in a pod, quickly steamed with a little salt, as a snack). These foods slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream, which helps prevent the excess insulin release that can lead to health concerns like obesity, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
- Eat a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables teeming with phytonutrients like carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols, which are associated with a lower incidence of nearly all health problems, including obesity and age-related disease.
- Eat more low-glycemic vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
- Berries, cherries, peaches, plums, rhubarb, pears, and apples are optimal fruits. Cantaloupes and other melons, grapes, and kiwifruit are suitable; however, they contain more sugar. You can use organic frozen berries (such as those from Cascadian Farms) in your protein shakes.
- Focus on anti-inflammatory foods, including wild fish and other sources of omega-3 fats, red and purple berries (these are rich in polyphenols), dark green leafy vegetables, orange sweet potatoes, and nuts.
- Eat more antioxidant-rich foods, including orange and yellow vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables (kale, collards, spinach, etc.), anthocyanidins (berries, beets, grapes, pomegranate), purple grapes, blueberries, bilberries, cranberries, and cherries. In fact, antioxidants are in all colorful fruits and vegetables.
- Include detoxifying foods in your diet, such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, and Chinese broccoli), green tea, watercress, dandelion greens, cilantro, artichokes, garlic, citrus peels, pomegranate, and even cocoa.
- Season your food with herbs such as rosemary, ginger, and turmeric, which are powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and detoxifiers.
- Avoid excessive quantities of meat. Eat lean organic or grass-fed animal products, when possible. These include eggs, beef, chicken, pork, lamb, buffalo, and ostrich. There are good brands at Whole Foods and other local health-food stores (also see mail order sources).
- Garlic and onions contain antioxidants, enhance detoxification, act as anti-inflammatories, and help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
- A diet high in fiber further helps to stabilize blood sugar by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates and supports a healthy lower bowel and digestive tract. Try to gradually increase fiber to 30 to 50 grams a day and use predominantly soluble or viscous fiber (legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit), which slows sugar absorption from the gut.
- Use extra virgin olive oil, which contains anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants, as your main cooking oil.
- Soy Products such as soymilk, soybeans, and tofu are rich in antioxidants that can reduce cancer risk, lower cholesterol, and improve insulin and blood sugar metabolism.
- Increase your intake of nuts and seeds, including raw walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, and pumpkin and flax seeds.
- And yes … chocolate can be healthy, too. Choose only the darkest varieties and eat only 2 to 3 ounces a day. It should contain 70 percent cocoa.
Decrease (or ideally eliminate) your intake of:
- All processed or junk foods
- Foods containing refined white flour and sugar, such as breads, cereals (cornflakes, Frosted Flakes, puffed wheat, and sweetened granola), flour-based pastas, bagels, and pastries
- All foods containing high-fructose corn syrup
- All artificial sweeteners (aspartame, Sorbitol, etc.) and caffeine
- Starchy, high-glycemic cooked vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, and root vegetables such as rutabagas, parsnips, and turnips
- Processed fruit juices, which are often loaded with sugars (Try juicing your own carrots, celery, and beets, or other fruit and vegetable combinations, instead)
- Processed canned vegetables (usually very high in sodium)
- Foods containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (which become trans fatty acids in the bloodstream), such as most crackers, chips, cakes, candies, cookies, doughnuts, and processed cheese
- Processed oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, and canola
- Red meats (unless organic or grass-fed) and organ meats
- Large predatory fish and river fish, which contain mercury and other contaminants in unacceptable amounts, including swordfish, tuna, tilefish and shark
- Dairy — substitute unsweetened, gluten free soymilk, almond milk, or hazelnut milk products
- Alcohol — No Alcohol.