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Is Paleo Diet Good For Diabetics

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Further Benefits Of A Paleo Diet

Is the paleo keto diet a groundbreaking diabetes treatment?

A Paleo diet is also helpful for diabetes because it reduces or eliminates other foods that contribute to inflammation, including

  • Soybean oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, and other industrial seed oils
  • Trans fats
  • Additives, preservatives and artificial ingredients
  • Gut irritants

A Paleo diet also emphasizes foods that help with healing from inflammation, healing the gut, and restoring insulin sensitivity, including

  • Probiotic and fermented foods
  • Well-sourced protein and healthy fats

When Youre Managing Diabetes And Prediabetes Your Eating Plan Is A Powerful Tool

But figuring out what to eat can feel like a hassle, right? Well, it doesn’t have to because there are easy things you can do to add flavor to your daily routineincluding healthy twists on your favorite foods.

One key to feeling your best lies in the food you eat. You can start by working with a registered dietitian nutritionist to make an eating plan that works for you. In it, be sure to include the foods you likeand dont be afraid to try something new.

Most importantly, remember that eating welland adding activity to your daily routine by moving moreare important ways you can manage diabetes. And were here to help you every step of the way.

Type 2 Diabetes Diet Definition And Facts

  • Type 2 diabetes involves problems getting enough glucose into the cells. When the sugar can’t get where it is supposed to be, it leads to elevated blood sugar levels in the bloodstream, which can lead to complications such as kidney, nerve, and eye damage, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Foods to eat for a type 2 diabetic diet meal plan include complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, beans, and lentils. Foods to avoid include simple carbohydrates, which are processed, such as sugar, pasta, white bread, flour, and cookies, pastries.
  • Foods with a low glycemic load only cause a modest rise in blood sugar and are better choices for people with diabetes. Good glycemic control can help in preventing long-term complications of type 2 diabetes.
  • Fats don’t have much of a direct effect on blood sugar but they can be useful in slowing the absorption of carbohydrates.
  • Protein provides steady energy with little effect on blood sugar. It keeps blood sugar stable, and can help with sugar cravings and feeling full after eating. Protein-packed foods to eat include beans, legumes, eggs, seafood, dairy, peas, tofu, and lean meats and poultry.
  • Five diabetessuperfoods” to eat include chia seeds, wild salmon, white balsamic vinegar, cinnamon, and lentils.
  • Healthy diabetes meal plans include plenty of vegetables, and limited processed sugars and red meat.

Glycemic index and load

Carbohydrates can be classified as either

  • complex carbohydrates, or
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    Can The Paleo Diet Help Diabetics

    Sometimes, better health means that weight loss is necessary. Obesity increases the risk for diabetes, and losing weight can help keep your blood glucose level on target.

    Luckily, it may not be necessary to lose all those excess pounds to improve diabetes outcomes. Losing just 5-10% of your body weight can help lower your blood glucose, total cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. Here, we will outline one eating plan that can help people with diabetes lose weight, among many other possible benefits.

    Other Foods And Lifestyle Factors

    Is the Paleo Diet Good or Bad for Diabetes?

    Very briefly, Paleo is also helpful for diabetes because it reduces or eliminates other foods that contribute to inflammation, like

    Paleo also emphasizes foods that help with healing from inflammation, healing the gut, and restoring insulin sensitivity, like

    • Vegetables
    • Protein and healthy fats

    Paleo also focuses on lifestyle choices like exercise and the importance of good-quality sleep every night And of course, Paleo is a good diet for weight loss, particularly losing belly fat. There may be such a thing as healthy obesity, but the apple-shaped, beer-belly pattern isnt it. Belly fat independently causes inflammation and insulin resistance.

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    Conventional Medication For Type 2 Diabetes

    Type 2 diabetes is typically treated with the following classes of drugs:

    • Sulfonylureas
    • Dipeptidyl-peptidase 4 inhibitors
    • Sodium-glucose transporter 2 inhibitors

    These medications vary in their mechanism of action. Some increase the secretion of insulin, others inhibit the release of glucose from the liver, and still others suppress appetite.

    But none of them address the real, underlying causes of type 2 diabetes: the environmental factors that lead to blood sugar problems in the first place. These include poor diet, lack of exercise and too much sitting, and poor sleep, among others.

    Whats more, these drugs also have side effects which range from relatively minor discomfort to serious complications. They include:

    • Sulfonylureas: low blood sugar, upset stomach, skin rash or itching, weight gain
    • Biguanides: upset stomach, tiredness or dizziness, nausea, kidney complications
    • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors: stomach pain, gas, diarrhea
    • Thiazolidinediones: heart failure, heart attack, fractures, increased risk of bladder cancer
    • Meglitinides: low blood sugar, weight gain, nausea and vomiting, headache
    • Dipeptidyl-peptidase 4 inhibitors: upper respiratory tract infection, sore throat, headache, pancreatitis and increased risk of pancreatic cancer
    • Sodium-glucose transporter 2 inhibitors: urinary tract infections, yeast infections, renal and gall bladder issues, bladder cancer

    The Paleo Diet And Diabetes

    So is the Paleo Diet ideally suited to diabetes?

    Theres actually a heated scientific debate going on about that right now, according to Dr. Steve Parker, an Arizona hospitalist and author of Paleobetic Diet.

    He points out the lack of hard scientific data on what is the best way of eating for people with diabetes .

    When I started exploring the Paleolithic diet as an approach to diabetes several years ago, my first concern was whether it provided adequate basic nutrition. I.e., enough vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, fiber, protein, etc. I convinced myself it is indeed adequate, Dr. Parker says.

    On the question of whether he specifically recommends Paleo for PWDs , he says: As your readers are aware, each case of diabetes is unique Whether type 1 or 2, PWDs have variable degrees of insulin resistance and sensitivity, which will affect food choices. The individual PWD may have to experiment with different diets to see which is best for , based on overall sense of well-being, glycemic control, other medical conditions present, age, cost, food preferences, etc.

    We posed the same question to a number of experts, and the consensus seemed to be that Paleo eating is basically diabetes-neutral, meaning its not inherently better or worse for people with diabetes than most other diets.

    Experts agree that lean meats, vegetables, and nuts are all great choices for PWDs, yet as Oerum notes, the Paleo emphasis on fruit definitely gives some people pause.

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    Sleep Deprivation Contributes To Insulin Resistance

    Another factor that makes higher-carb diets dangerous is sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation reduces insulin sensitivity by affecting important hormones for healthy insulin regulation. For example, sleep deprivation raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol keeps your blood sugar high. If you had to run away from a tiger, that would be really helpful , but as a chronic, constant state of living, its a problem.

    Sleep deprivation also damages the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. And it causes gut problems, which then go on to cause insulin resistance of their own.

    How Paleo Impacts Blood Sugar And Insulin

    My Experience with Paleo as a Type 1 Diabetic

    There is a growing body of research on the impact of a Paleo diet on blood sugar and insulin response in the overweight, obese and diabetics. Below is a brief summary.

    The Paleo Diet vs. American Diabetes Association Diet

    How does the Paleo diet stack up against the diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association ? The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the two dietary interventions in 24 people: 14 on the Paleo diet and 10 on the standard ADA diet. After only two weeks, the Paleo diet group displayed significant improvement in insulin function , while the standard ADA diet group had no improvements in insulin. These are powerful findings that shed light on the troubling fact the standard ADA diet contains far too much sugar, carbohydrates and processed foods, which are the likely culprits of excessive caloric intake and blood sugar dysfunction.

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    Carbs And Fat: Which Is Good And Which Is Bad

    The USDA Diabetes food pyramid is based on a high-carb, low-fat diet. That approach gets a lot of scorn in Paleo circles, because it just doesnt seem to make much sense. To break down carbs and use them for energy, you need healthy insulin function. People with diabetes dont have healthy insulin function. So a carb-based diet will just keep them stuck in that awful cycle of sugar highs and crashes, right? How does that make sense?

    A lot of recent research basically backs that up: low-carb diets can be very effective for Type 2 Diabetes. Some research shows that low-carb diets may be particularly effective for people with insulin resistance. But its worth noting that low-carb in these studies can be up to 40% carbs by calories, which is medium-high carb by Paleo standards .

    These improvements arent coming from a straight diet of steak and lettuce. Some people might do very well on that a very low-carb ketogenic diet can also be great for diabetes. But other people might feel better with more carbs, especially in the context of other anti-diabetic lifestyle factors. This study found that, in teenagers, a low-calorie diet with 40-45% carbs was just as good as a diet with 55-60% carbs if the subjects exercised and took metformin.

    This still doesnt mean that carbs cause diabetes. It does mean that for people who are already metabolically sick, reducing carbs can be a therapeutic option to treat the existing problem.

    What Are The Potential Risks Of The Paleo Diet

    When first adapting to a paleo diet, ones insulin requirements may change drastically to account for the reduction in carbohydrates. Its recommended to consult with a doctor before beginning to eat the paleo diet.

    Be aware, that following a paleo diet can put you at a higher risk for developing an eating disorder. According to, Paleo interacts with eating disorders the diet itself can trigger orthorexia by feeding an unhealthy obsession with eating the right food its all too easy for the diet to consume your life to the point where your dedication to health is doing more harm than good.

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    What Types Of Diet Or Meal Plans Are Recommended For People With Type 2 Diabetes

    Several dietary patterns have been studied, and have shown to have beneficial effects on type 2 diabetes. Because multiple patterns work, people can choose the eating pattern that works best for them. However, there are commonalities among all healthy diabetes diets. All healthy diabetes meal plans include:

  • a lot of vegetables, and
  • limit processed sugars and red meat.
  • People with type 2 diabetes must be extra aware of the carbohydrate content of their meals so their blood sugar levels don’t rise, or if they are using injectable insulin, so they can dose insulin appropriately.

    A vegetarian or vegan diet can be a good choice for people with diabetes. Vegetarian and vegan diets are typically high in carbohydrates – about 13% higher than a diet with that includes both plant and animal products which we generally think is bad for diabetes. However, a vegetarian or vegan diet is typically fiber-rich and lower in calories and saturated fat, so the inflammatory risks associated with high meat consumption are avoided. Research studies that have tested vegetarian and vegan diets for people with diabetes have found them to be beneficial at reducing blood sugar.

    A good quality vegetarian or vegan diet:

    • Is high in vegetables and fruits
    • Includes quality proteins such as beans, nuts, and seeds
    • Includes plant-based fats such as olive oil and avocado
    • Prioritizes whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa rather than refined carbohydrates

    Paleo Diet And Its Effect On Diabetes Blood Sugar And Insulin Levels

    The Best is the Paleo Diet Good for Diabetics

    Due to the Paleolithic diets, food composition comprising mostly of low carbohydrate intake and healthy fat consumption, it leads to visible improvements in insulin sensitivity, glycemic index control, reduction in weight/waist and hip circumference and thus, automatically eliminating some of the predisposing risk factors of diabetes.

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    What Is A Paleolithic Diet

    The Paleolithic diet is also referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet, and huntergatherer diet. This diet consists of foods that are assumed to have been available to humans prior to the establishment of agriculture. The Paleolithic period began approximately 2.5 million years ago, when humans first started to use stone tools. The period ended with the emergence of agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago. The principal components of this diet are wild-animal source and uncultivated-plant source foods, such as lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, roots, eggs, and nuts. The diet excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils, all of which were unavailable before humans began cultivating plants and domesticating animals. Observational studies of modern-day Paleolithic types of populations support a conclusion that a Paleolithic diet prevents obesity and metabolic syndrome. The main ingredient lacking in a Paleolithic diet is calcium, which must be supplemented to prevent bone mineral loss.

    Can A Paleo Diet Benefit People With Diabetes

    Because it focuses on nutrient-dense foods, avoiding processed ingredients, sugar, and grains, a Paleo diet is likely to be lower in carbohydrate content than a more traditional western diet. Minimizing the number of carbohydrates, while consuming more foods that are lower on the glycemic index, such as non-starchy vegetables, may help more effectively manage blood glucose levels. In fact, some researchers suggest that limiting carbohydrate intake should be the main tool for managing type 2 diabetes and an important supportive treatment to insulin therapy for type 1 diabetes.

    Several studies have been conducted to evaluate the effects of the Paleo diet on type 2 diabetes management, demonstrating the potential health benefits of the diet. Specifically, research studies indicate that adhering to a Paleo diet is effective in lowering BMI and A1C levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

    At least one study showed that a Paleo diet resulted in lower average triglycerides and blood pressure in type 2 diabetics in comparison to those following a more traditional diet. Research also suggests that eating Paleo, even for a short period, can result in improved insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles. Interestingly, when compared to a Mediterranean diet, following a Paleo diet resulted in significantly improved glucose tolerance in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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    Lab Values And Blood Tests

    Gluten Free Paleo Cake – Type 2 Diabetes

    If an individual isexperiencing any of the unusual symptoms listed below, medical testing for diabetes may be ordered:

    • Severely increased thirst
    • Increased hunger
    • Tingling of the hands or feet

    In order to confirm the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, a test known as a fastingplasma glucose test will be ordered. According to the American Diabetes Association, the fasting plasma glucose test is the preferred method for diagnosing diabetes due to its ease, convenience, and minimal cost.

    Fasting blood glucose or blood sugar levels will range from 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL in normal individuals. When two separate bloodtests reveal that a fasting blood glucose level is greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL, the diagnosis of diabetes can be confirmed.

    However, there are instances in which a normal fasting blood sugar will require a glucose tolerance test, particularly if an individual has risk factors or symptoms associated with diabetes. If the glucose tolerance test reveals a rapid rise in blood sugar upon consumption of glucose, a diagnosis ofimpaired glucose intolerance is made, and testing should be repeated at regular intervals to continue to monitor for the development of diabetes.

    For more information on blood glucose monitoring, particularly in response to non-fasting ranges or postprandial ranges, click this link.

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