Raw food diet and diabetes
There's no one "right" diet when it comes to diabetes, but raw food has recently come into focus as a way to improve metabolic health, increase energy and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Before making any major dietary changes, it's important to talk to your physician. A 100-percent raw food diet may not be right for you; however, many people can still benefit from eating raw foods for the majority of their meals.
What Is Raw?
The raw food diet is heavily based on raw vegetables, fruits and legumes. Less strict raw diets may also include some cooked foods, or foods cooked at low temperatures.
Traditionally, raw food diets don't include any foods that are cooked above about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. They also don't include any processed or packaged foods (unless these foods are raw).
Why Is It Beneficial?
The theory behind the raw food diet is that cooking destroys the valuable nutrients and enzymes that are available in fresh foods.
Research has yet to conclude that raw eating is beneficial for diabetics, but many health professionals claim that it can reverse aging, prevent heart disease, cure cancer – and help treat diabetes.
The beneficial effects may be largely due to a reduced overall intake of processed carbohydrates, packaged foods with additives and chemicals or foods that require a lot of energy to digest ("problem" foods like dairy, gluten or meat).
What Can I Eat?
On a traditional raw food diet, you can eat fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, seaweed, sprouted grains and other unprocessed or natural foods like dates or coconut meat.
Special kitchen equipment, like a dehydrator and juicer, can make eating and preparing raw foods easier.
Things to Keep in Mind
If you have diabetes, you may still need to be careful about carbohydrates on a raw food diet as it's easy to have too much sugar from fruits or grains.
Additionally, eating completely raw may leave you with certain nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of calcium, iron, B12 or protein.
Experimenting with a percentage of raw food per day, such as consuming 60 percent raw foods and 40 percent non-raw foods, could be a safer way to introduce yourself to the raw food diet without compromising your condition.
Again, dietary changes should be discussed with your doctor, especially if you're taking insulin or diabetes medication.