Getting ahold of your diabetes can often feel stressful. What may be even worse, though, is the onslaught of confusing and conflicting information that makes it impossible for you to know how to best support your body.
Here’s the truth: Reversing diabetes is an individualized process, and one-size-fits-all advice doesn’t address your personal needs.
Of course, there are basic guidelines you can follow: eat whole foods, stay away from sugar, drink your recommended daily dose of water– but these recommendations are far too vague. I often see patients who are completely exhausted and frustrated that their healthy eating habits aren’t placing them on the road to recovery. For your benefit, I’ve compiled a few common mistakes that often impede progress.
1. Crash Dieting
Losing weight is a common prescription doctors give diabetics. It is true that the fat around your midsection causes inflammation, which leads to unregulated blood sugar. That being said, losing weight can help you regain control over your blood sugar, but this is not to be achieved with a quick-fix solution. Crash dieting restricts your calories, and therefore, restricts your nutrient intake. This tells your body that you’re starving, and your metabolic activity drops. Your body then becomes stressed because it must struggle to regulate blood sugar, and this actually makes it harder for you to lose weight. Commercial weight loss programs are also duds; they’re chock-full of processed chemicals and preservatives. This means that you’re not getting the nutrients you need to heal. Instead of taking the easy way out, find a whole food diet tailored to your needs. You’ll have a lot more energy, and your body will thank you.
2. Forgetting to Address Allergies
Sure, losing weight might help you, but has your doctor told you that your digestive tract has probably been damaged by high blood sugar. If your gut is suffering from damage, you have an increased risk of being intolerant and sensitive to foods.
This means that your immune system is being pushed into overdrive, leading to a cycle of insulin resistance and unruly blood sugar.
Food allergies and sensitivities can also increase your risk of developing autoimmunity and other diabetic complications. You should consult a functional medicine practitioner who can perform an advanced allergy test, which will help you pinpoint foods that cause pain, brain fog, poor digestion, and other unwanted symptoms.
3. Eating Too Much Meat
Eating a low-carb diet is all the rage these days, and it could be a good way to reduce your blood sugar. That being said, if you’re avoiding carbs, your next go-to food might end up being meat. Eating too much meat, especially grilled, smoked, or processed meats ( loaded with carcinogens) is unhealthy can bring about much damage to the body.
If you’re going low-carb, make sure that around 80% of your diet is plant-based, meaning you should be consuming lots of veggies, low-carb fruits, nuts, seeds, and plant oils (avocado, coconut, olive, and flax).
This will help your body heal itself from damage. Not only that, but also you’ll lose weight and begin the process of becoming disease-free. If you can’t stay away from meat, just eat it in moderation and try to bake, stew, or sauté it.
These are common mistakes that you don’t have to fall victim to. But don’t just take my word for it. Consult your functional medicine provider so that he or she can help you design the perfect nutritional plan with your specific needs in mind.