Here’s the advice I gave to my physicist friend James when he asked me what to do about dealing with his recent diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.
1. Reduce carbohydrates – In general, the amount of carbs that you include in your diet should be directly related to the amount of your daily physical activity. Here’s a simple equation to remember: Very little physical activity equals very few carbs. If you have a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet and engage in regular exercise, at least five times a week for 30 minutes, your general carbohydrate intake should be about 200-250 grams. If you are not active and don’t engage in exercise, you will want to cut that down to about 150-175grams.
2. Eat more complex carbohydrates – Whole grains such as whole wheat, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, teff and buckwheat, as well as legumes such as lentils and dried beans.
3. Add more soluble fiber – Fiber like oat bran, flaxseeds, whole grains, legumes and fruit pectin prolongs stomach emptying so that sugar is released and absorbed more slowly. The recommended daily intake of fiber for anyone with diabetes is 50 grams.
4. Add healthy fats to each meal – The addition of healthy fats will help keep blood sugar managed. Healthy fats include fish oil, extra-virgin olive oil, macadamia-nut oil, pure coconut oil, organic flaxseeds, avocados, nuts, and seeds.
5.Add good-quality protein – Eating enough protein with your meals, along with fats and fiber, will slow down the absorption of carbohydrates. A good rule of thumb: Eat about 20 grams of protein per meal (three meals each day). Keep in mind that seven grams of protein is equivalent to one ounce of cheese, fish, meat, chicken; one egg; one cup of milk or soymilk; a cup of yogurt; ½ cup beans; or ¼ cup seeds or nuts.
5. Eat more antioxidants – Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods that can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body, and that may also enhance immune defense and therefore lower the risk of cancer and infection. Look for brightly colored foods!
6. Avoid concentrated sugars – Scan the labels of juices, ketchup, dressings, and candies for “hidden” sugars: barley malt, corn syrup, buttered syrup, caramel, brown sugar, cane sugar, glucose, fructose, dextrose, malt syrup, sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and corn sugar (which is just another name for HFCS).
7. Get moving – consistent daily exercise helps increase sensitivity to insulin, control the utilization of blood sugar, and rid you of excess fat.
8.Utilize safe, natural ingredientsand herbs – You must supplement your lifestyle and diet! Alpha-lipoic acid at 100mg three times per day has been shown to help manage blood sugar. Cinnamon (150mg three times a day), bitter melon (60mg three times each day), and Indian herbs such as black plum (50mg three times a day) and Indian Kino (50mg three times a day) have all been studied for their positive benefits in managing healthy blood (and cell) sugar.
Just like a physicist would, James spent the next three months methodically implementing each of my suggestions. He was happy to report that Newton’s third law of motion (for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction) works in both ways. He got his blood sugar down, so therefore his cell sugar went back up, which led to his self-esteem and overall health climbing, as well!
If you are struggling with the results of poor diet and lifestyle choices, please know that there are simple and easy action you can take to get the equal and opposite reaction. Success is just waiting for you to take action!
Dr. Holly Lucille, ND, RN, is a nationally recognized Naturopathic physician, author, educator, consumer advocate and natural products consultant. She is on the Worldwide Scientific Advisory Board of VivaPrime, A lifestyle company offering Holistic Nutritional Solutions for specific conditions.
Dr. Holly Lucille, ND, RN, is a nationally recognized naturopathic physician, author, educator, consumer advocate and natural-products consultant. She is on the Worldwide Scientific Advisory Board of VivaPrime, a lifestyle company offering holistic nutritional solutions for specific conditions. You can read her full biography here.