Six of the Best Diabetes Diets
It's difficult to talk about diabetes treatment without noting the importance of diet.
What you eat plays a crucial role in how well you can manage your blood sugar, avoid excess weight gain, and prevent other diabetes-related complications.
If you're confused about what you should be eating, check out these six diabetes diets, which are endorsed by top health agencies and experts as safe and effective.
The DASH Diet
The DASH Diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is ranked as one of the top diabetes diets. The emphasis of the DASH Diet is whole grains, vegetables, fruit, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Free plans are available for helping you determine how many calories you should eat for your age and activity level, as well as where those calories should come from. Another tenet of the DASH diet is to reduce salt intake.
The Biggest Loser Diet
Emphasizing both healthy eating and exercise, The Biggest Loser Diet is based on a simple six-week plan of eating right and incorporating more movement into your daily activities. The claim is that practicing simple techniques like portion control, using a food journal, or eating regular meals can help prevent or reverse diabetes, as well as other health problems. You can choose a Biggest Loser book to follow based on how long you want to be on the diet for, which will include meal plans and fitness tips.
Engine 2 Diet
According to U.S. News and World Report, the Engine 2 Diet comes in third place as one of the best diabetes diets. It's plant-based, following claims that animal products threaten your health by clogging your arteries and raising "bad" cholesterol. Plants, conversely, provide the nutrients needed to reverse diabetes symptoms. The plan cuts out vegetable oils entirely, however. Those who are ready for an immediate diet overhaul can follow the Engine 2 Diet, but there's also a 28-day challenge option that helps dieters gradually eliminate animal products.
The Flexitarian Diet
If you think you could eat "mostly" vegetarian, the Flexitarian Diet might be right for you. "Flexitarian" is the marriage of "flexible" and "vegetarian," suggesting that you don't have to completely eliminate meat to reap the health benefits of plant-based foods. Flexitarian eating involves adding food groups to your diet to replace meat, like tofu, beans, lentils, eggs or other sources of protein. There's a 3-4-5 regimen associated with the diet, where breakfast choices are around 300 calories, lunches are 400, and dinners are 500. Snacks can be about 150 calories each. Total caloric consumption on the Flexitarian Diet is ideally around 1,500 calories, depending on your age, weight, gender and activity level.
The Mayo Clinic Diet
The Mayo Clinic Diet revolves around coaching dieters to have lasting healthy habits that help you reverse and avoid diabetes. With a unique food pyramid, you can recalibrate your eating habits to break bad ones and implement new and healthier choices. The claim is that you'll lose about six to 10 pounds in two weeks, and you'll continue to lose one to two pounds every week until you hit your goal weight. The thing that sets this diet apart from others is that you don't count calories, and you can eat all the fruits and vegetables you want. Also, no food groups are completely off limits.
The Ornish Diet
A meal plan that emphasizes less saturated fat and cholesterol, the Ornish Diet matches the guidelines set forth by the American Diabetes Association. The plan has been found to lower A1C levels in diabetics, which is a positive sign of better blood sugar control. Ornish eating emphasizes a "buy this, not that" methodology, helping dieters to understand that they can start somewhere and work their way up to better choices. For example, wheat bread is better than white bread, but sprouted grain bread is better than wheat bread. Stress-management techniques, exercise, and emotional support are also a part of this diet's foundation, which is a more holistic approach to disease management and weight loss.
Source: US News and World Report
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