In And Of Itself A Traditional Mediterranean Diet Has Some Major And Extremely Important Factors:
- High plant-based foods
- High fish, low red meat
- High good fats, low in saturated and trans fats
- Low in refined sugar and processed foods
- Low in refined carbohydrates
- High in antioxidant-rich foods
And this balance can play an important role when it comes to blood sugar. So there is so much research supporting the authentic Mediterranean diet in the prevention and management of diabetes. That tells us that the diet decreases our insulin resistance, it decreases our fasting blood sugar levels and decreases our HbA1c levels, which indicate the levels of glucose built up in our red blood cells. So, its not only effective at better regulating blood glucose over the short term, but over the longer term as well.
Not only that, but the Mediterranean diet is a key weight management strategy as well. And we know that excess weight is a key risk factor in the development and management of diabetes.
Watch my latest video, and keep reading below, to find out not only what to eat, but how to eat it for managing blood sugar. As always, if you would like support for managing your condition, reach out to book a 1:1 consultation.
How Does A Mediterranean Diet Influence Pregnancy Outcomes And Ivf Success
Younger women whose diets were least comparable to a classic Mediterranean pattern had lower rates of pregnancy and also of live birth . In contrast, those with the highest MedDietScores had a 50% rate of clinical pregnancy and 48.8% live birth.
There was no significant association between diet and IVF success in women over 35. This may reflect the more complicated circumstances surrounding fertility and pregnancy outcomes as women grow older.
As the investigators point out, an observational study such as this cannot determine causality. Nonetheless, they suggest that sticking to a Mediterranean diet might improve a womans chance of success with IVF. Since following a Mediterranean diet has numerous other health benefits, we couldnt disagree.
What Are The Drawbacks Of The Mediterranean Diet
While they seem few and far between, there are some drawbacks to the Mediterranean diet, and eating this way may not be for everyone.
Always work with your doctor and/or nutritionist before beginning any new eating plan.
People who struggle with alcohol addiction, are in recovery, people who are pregnant or are planning on becoming pregnant, or people who have liver and/or kidney issues or deficiencies should be cognizant that the diet allows a moderate consumption of alcohol, especially red wine, and the diet may pose some issues with your lifestyle and/or stage of life.
The diet also allows for moderate consumption of caffeinated teas and coffees, so if caffeine is an issue for you this is something to look out for.
Some people report that the diet is expensive, and may not fit into every budget .
Additionally, fresh fruits and vegetables may not be readily available where you live year-round, so access to a well-balanced Mediterranean style of eating may prove difficult for some people who dont live in warmer climates.
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Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
In one study, participants on the Mediterranean diet were 52% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than a control group over the span of four years, even without any calorie restriction!
In another study of people with type 2 diabetes, following a Mediterranean diet was linked to both lower blood sugars and lower hba1c levels, most likely due to the fact that eating fewer processed foods improves insulin sensitivity and reduces insulin resistance.
Choosing Whats Right For You
When choosing or creating a diabetes meal plan, its important to consider how different foods will affect your blood sugar and weight loss goals . Because Mediterranean-style eating limits processed foods and those high in sugar, it can help. But whether you follow this style or not, people with diabetes are advised to limit or avoid processed food.
There are things you should look out for when choosing a diabetes meal plan. For example, some eating plans can be high in carbohydrates . Mediterranean-style eating includes foods like pasta, rice, and bread, all of which can cause weight gain and spikes in your blood sugar. Fortunately, there are healthier alternatives. Instead of regular pasta you can choose whole-grain or vegetable noodles. You can also eat brown rice instead of white rice. Making these simple substitutions and paying attention to portion size can help you limit the amount of carbs you eat.
Theres no one way of eating to manage diabetes, so experiment and find what works for you. Whether its Mediterranean-style foods or any other, the right food plan for you will depend on your health needs, lifestyle, beliefs, taste, and culture. Work with a diabetes care and education specialist to help create yours. Working together, you can find a diabetes food plan that suits you best.
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What Foods Should Be Avoided If You Have Type 1 Diabetes
People with type 1 diabetes should avoid many of the same unhealthy foods that everyone should limit. In short, this means restricting processed foods and food with a high glycemic load. This includes
- processed/refined sugars ,
- trans fats , and
- high-fat animal products.
Restrict white foods i.e. pasta, bread, scones, cookies, flour, sugar, white potato, etc. This is an easy way to remove high glycemic load foods. It is important to remember that, unlike type 2 diabetes, food choices didn’t specifically contribute to developing type 1 diabetes but they do impact how someone manages diabetes. People with type 1 and 2 diabetes alike are at risk for the complications that stem from high blood sugar, such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. Because of this, attention to healthy eating is important and foods that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease should be avoided.
Why Is The Mediterranean Diet Recommended
The diet is often recommended by health charities and the NHS because it has a higher proportion of unsaturated to saturated fats, includes plenty of fresh vegetables and depends on largely unprocessed foods.
The diet is not a restrictive diet and so it is not linked with vitamin or mineral deficiencies and therefore gets further praise as an easy diet to adopt and follow.
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Colorful Fruits And Vegetables
Aim to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables of all colors.Fruits and vegetables should be the base of every meal. They provide volume for little calories and offer a host of health benefits including vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and more. They are also considered anti-inflammatory foods.
Each color of fruits and vegetables provides its own benefits. Therefore, eating a variety of colors not only makes a diet more fun but also provides different types of beneficial nutrients.
For example, orange, yellow, and red fruits and vegetables are rich in carotenoids, which have been shown to combat free radicals and promote eye health. -carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene and amongst the most common carotenoids. They are found in foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, collard greens, butternut squash, pumpkin, peppers, spinach, turnip greens, and tomatoes.
Other vegetables that should be eaten in ample amounts for this type of eating style include artichokes, arugula, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, celeriac, chicory, collard cucumber, dandelion greens, eggplant, fennel, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions , peas, parsnips, potatoes, purslane, radishes, rutabaga, scallions, shallots, spinach, turnips, zucchini.
Timing Meals For Stable Energy
The last factor in managing carbohydrate consumption with diabetes, is the timing. Is your distribution of carbs stable across the day? What we dont want to do is load up on a high-carb meal, then restrict carbs for the next meal. While you might think youre doing your blood sugar a favour, whats happening is youre creating that roller coaster of sugar spikes. Remember, what were aiming for is stable energy.
Whats great about following an authentic Mediterranean diet, is the emphasis on high-quality, low GI carbohydrates with each meal. We typically have smaller amounts of carbohydrate but spread out across the day. Following the Med Diet at the lower end of the carb recommendations will help you hit the right quantities as well as offer a highly nutritious, quality carbohydrate. The small, regular consumption helps you get the timing right for sustained release.
As always, its best to avoid severe restriction when managing diabetes, or with any path to health and wellbeing. Its about the quality, quantity, and timing of carbohydrates when you have diabetes or are pre-diabetic. Remember, carbs are not the enemy, we need them in the diet. Its about managing them and achieving balance. This aspect is enjoyable, and feels natural, when following an authentic Mediterranean Diet.
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Keep In Mind That Portion Size Still Matters
Weight management in diabetes is important for controlling blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, says Movsas. For that reason, even if youre eating healthy foods, portions matter. Excessive calories can come from overeating healthy foods like olive oil, whole grains, and beans, she says. Drizzle vegetables in 1 tablespoon of olive oil or stick with a half cup of brown rice rather than eating unlimited amounts.
Carb Quality And Low Glycaemic Index Foods
Glycaemic index talks about the quality of carbs, not necessarily the quantity of carbs. It tells us how fast or how slow the carbohydrate is going to break down into sugar molecules, and how fast or slow it will release into the blood. We want that process to be as slow as possible because that keeps us fuller for longer and it stabilises our blood sugar levels across the day. Low GI foods help us prevent that rollercoaster of sugar spikes and falls. If we were to graph our blood sugars, we dont want the highs and the lows, we want stability across the day. Stability improves our satiety or how hungry we feel. It also improves mood, prevents irritability, and stabilises our energy levels.
So, if youre diabetic, its in your best interests to be following a low GI diet, which the Mediterranean diet is. That is one of the first steps Id recommend when trying to improve your diet with diabetes making swaps from high GI food sources to low GI.
For instance, white bread to either a sourdough or a whole meal bread, swapping white potato to sweet potato or legumes. Swapping out your white cracker like a Salada to something with more fibre, like a Vita-Weat. Reaching for fresh fruit instead of dried, tinned or juiced.
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Why The Mediterranean Diet Is Good For Diabetes
There are several reasons why the Mediterranean diet is good for diabetes. First, it’s flexible. Following a rigid diet plan with several off-limits foods not only doesn’t work long-term, it makes it hard to enjoy meals with your family. Managing diabetes requires a lifestyle changeshifting to more homemade meals, increasing activity, incorporating plenty of healthy Mediterranean diet foods that help manage blood sugars and limiting the foods that raise blood sugars quickly . If you have diabetes, your risk of heart disease increases, which is why the Mediterranean diet is such a great choiceit includes heart-healthy unsaturated fats while limiting saturated fats from red meat, sweets and high-fat dairy items. Plus, it incorporates plenty of high-fiber foods, like whole grains, legumes and fresh produce, which can help improve blood sugar control. Fiber is digested slowly, which slows down the rate at which sugar enters your bloodstream, helping to prevent blood sugar spikes.
Findings Similar Across Race/ethnicity And Prepregnancy Body Mass Index But Stronger In Women Aged 35 Years Or Older
THURSDAY, Dec. 29, 2022 Adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes , according to a study published online Dec. 22 in JAMA Network Open.
Nour Makarem, Ph.D., from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues assessed whether adherence to a Mediterranean diet pattern around the time of conception is associated with a lower risk for developing any APO. The analysis included 7,798 racially, ethnically, and geographically diverse women with singleton pregnancies who had complete diet data.
The researchers found that the prevalence of high, moderate, and low concordance to a Mediterranean diet pattern around the time of conception was 30.6, 31.2, and 38.2 percent, respectively. A high versus a low Alternate Mediterranean Diet score was associated with lower odds of any APO , as well as, specifically, lower odds of preeclampsia or eclampsia and gestational diabetes . Findings were similar by race, ethnicity, and prepregnancy body mass index. However, associations were stronger among women aged 35 years or older .
Intervention studies are needed to assess whether dietary modification around the time of conception can reduce risk of APOs and their downstream associations with future development of cardiovascular disease risk factors and overt disease, the authors write.
Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
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Less Dairy Eggs Cheese
Eat dairy, eggs, and cheese less often. This eating style limits the intake of dairy, eggs, and cheese. This is likely because these types of foods contain larger amounts of saturated fat. These foods aren’t off-limit but are limited. The total amount of servings will depend on your needs.
One serving of dairy is considered to be about 1 cup of milk, 6 ounces of plain yogurt, and 1 ounce of cheese. Eggs are also allowed. Some experts suggest limiting the number of egg yolks to about three to four per week and allow unlimited egg whites, but this is also individualized based on individual needs.
Getting The Carb Quantities Right With Diabetes
Yet another reason not to consume high GI foods, is because its important to reduce the quantities of carbohydrates with diabetes. If you are fuelling your body with low GI carbs the fewer servings will be more likely to sustain you across the day. To give you an idea of quantity, we look at the Mediterranean diet and adjust the quantities to suit.
- Starchy vegetables. The Mediterranean diet typically recommends starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, potato, beans, and pumpkin at one to three times a week. If youre looking to manage your blood sugar, you might aim for the lower end of that range.
- Wholegrains. We recommend whole grain consumption of around two to eight serves a day. But if were looking at stabilising blood sugars, aim for the lower end of that range as well. So, you might go two to four rather than two to eight serves a day.
- Dairy. An authentic Mediterranean diet includes two serves of dairy a day. Just be mindful that flavoured yoghurts are going to have excess sugar in there naturally. If you dont eat dairy milk, consider which milk is lower GI. Almond milk will be lower GI than something like oat milk or rice milk.
- Fruit. Stick to fresh fruit as your source and aim for one to two serves a day.
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Complete Food List: Diabetes
Switching to a Mediterranean diet isnt as radical or complicated as it might sound and, though we wouldn’t discourage you from visiting, you dont have to move to southern Europe to adopt the regions eating style. Like many healthy diets, it starts with choosing fresh fruits and vegetables whenever you can, and using lean protein sources such as fish, skinless chicken, and legumes rather than red meat, says Dr. Hatipoglu.
Fill your kitchen with a few staples to help you make the transition. As Kennedy says, The key with the Mediterranean diet is that it emphasizes minimally processed foods.” Here’s a shopping list to help you stock up:
Study Design And Participants
We performed a two-center cross-sectional study targeting the whole sample of children and adolescents with T1D, who regularly followed up at the diabetes units of both centers. These centers are located in southern Spain, a region included in the Mediterranean lifestyle. All participants were on carbohydrate counting. Recruitment and data acquisition were performed from January 2020 to January 2021. Every patient with ages between 4 and 16 years, diagnosed with T1D, using either continuous glucose monitoring or intermittent glucose monitoring devices, and a disease duration of more than 1 year were included. Patients requiring additional specific nutritional therapy, such as those with microalbuminuria, hyperlipidemia, chronic renal failure, or celiac disease were excluded.
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What Is Mediterranean Diet
Originally, the so-called Mediterranean diet simply refers to the typical eating habits found in countries surrounding the Mediterranean sea, including Greece, Italy, Spain, and other countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region.As the cuisines from these countries travelled to North America, theyve become one of the focuses of enthusiasts of healthy living because of their healthy, naturally sourced ingredients largely free of artificial food additives.
A Mediterranean diet, in a nutshell, advocates for a primarily plant-based eating structure, with the main source of protein from seafood and poultry, occasional consumption of red meat and the main type of oil used in cooking being olive oil.
While in many of the Mediterranean cultures processed carbohydrates are eaten, such as bread and pasta, in the dietary structure referred to by people who are dieting, any processed foods are eliminated or severely limited. Instead, the modern Mediterranean diet trending in North America insists that we eat only whole grains, such as rice and oat, among others.