Best Diet for Diabetes Keto – Vegan or Mediterranean
A lot of diets claim to provide the best health benefits for people with diabetes but when considering a diet for diabetes it’s important to make wise choices rather than quick fixes. For long term and lasting health, you need to emphasize on good nutrition. So go for practical options and lifestyle changes that you can stick to in the long run. Here’s a comparison between three diets that have gained popularity over time in terms of their benefits against diabetes management. When you decide to choose a particular diet consider the one that fulfils the following criteria.
- Allows minimum amount of added sugars and refined grains.
- Emphasizes on whole grains and non-starchy vegetables.
- Focuses on unprocessed, whole foods and healthy fats.
A very low carbohydrate diet is also known as the ketogenic diet. Ketogenic diets are popular? Well yes, they are fairly popular. And they basically consist of very low amounts of carbohydrates and high amounts of fats and fatty protein. Now carbohydrates how much carbohydrate can you eat on a ketogenic diet? 20-50 grams of carbohydrates only. Let’s talk about how much 20 grams of carbohydrate actually is a little bit later, so don’t miss out and keep reading.
What does the Ketogenic diet consist of?
The idea of a Ketogenic diet is to get more calories from fats and proteins and a minimal amount of calories from carbohydrates. It allows you to have 75% of calories from fat, 10-30% from protein and no more than 5% that is 20-50g from carbohydrates.
Foods allowed in Ketogenic Diet
- You can eat butter and lard which normally you won’t be eating on other diets
- Coconut oil can also be consumed in the ketogenic diet
- fatty cuts of meat that’s what you’re going to eat
- egg yolks are fine with the ketogenic diet
- full fat sour cream and mayonnaise is allowed mayonnaise
- avocados, bacon, nuts, nut butters heavy whipped cream this is all allowed
- cream cheese, yes this is what you can eat with ketogenic diet
Foods you need to limit
What you are going to be cutting out is:
- sugar, soda, candies, pastries are not allowed
- white bread, pasta, starchy vegetables like potatoes are to be avoided
- Legumes, cereals intake is minimized
- Whole grains, oatmeal are just another form of starch that’s needs to be limited on this diet
Amount of carbohydrates allowed
All right just to put this into perspective one banana has approximately 19 grams of carbohydrates. And you’re supposed to have 20 to 50g of carbohydrates in the ketogenic diet. But most people stick to 20g. Some people who are really fundamentalists with the ketogenic diet cut it down to 10 grams. So you cannot even have a banana with a ketogenic diet. One slice of bread is around 12 grams. So two slices of bread are all you can potentially have. If you’re gonna meet only that 20-gram criteria. A regular size apple is about 20 grams itself. So one apple and that’s it no other carbohydrates.
So basically eating any bread or rice is totally out of the question and this will definitely push you over the carbohydrate limit because you will be getting carbohydrates unexpectedly from other sources which you don’t even know about.
Keto Diet in a nutshell
A lot of people get benefits if they’re able to keep up and do follow this diet for diabetes, properly. While a lot of other people find it fairly difficult to follow this type of diet. There are research studies that talk about how low carbohydrate diets improve glucose control by breaking down fat in the body. So it may actually help overweight diabetic individuals. But, let’s not ignore the fact that this diet is high in all sorts of unhealthy fats. It has the potential to raise your blood cholesterol levels and may lead to adverse health effects in the long run.
Vegan/Vegetarian Diet for Diabetes
Let’s move on to the next diet which is the vegan or the vegetarian diet. And are normally low fat and high carbohydrate diets. Now let’s just talk about the types of carbohydrates we’re going to be having especially with the vegan type diets. The risk of developing diabetes is inversely related to vegetarianism. This means the more vegetarian you are the less diabetes you will most likely have.
What you can eat?
With the vegan diet, you have to eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, lentils, nuts. And you’re going to be cutting down on saturated fat and trans fat. This is one of the holy dogmas of the vegan diet that you’re cutting down on saturated fats. You’re cutting down on a lot of fats. This is what vegans are normally famous for.
Protection against diabetes
Now it definitely has benefits. Research shows that people who are on the vegan diet may actually have less than half of the rate of diabetes. As compared to the general population. Another study shows that the rate of diabetes is relatively lower in the vegan group. And the risk is approximately two to three times higher in non-vegans and non-vegetarians.
Protection against overweight/obesity
The same study showed that there was a significant difference in the weights of vegetarians and non-vegetarians. With non-vegetarians mostly being overweight. The difference between the weights of vegetarians and non-vegetarians definitely indicates a substantial potential of vegetarianism to protect against obesity. Which ultimately offers protection against type 2 diabetes by decreasing insulin resistance.
Quality of carbohydrates matters
It also depends on the quality of the carbohydrates that you are eating. If you are eating carbohydrates in the form of junk foods such as fries, cakes all the time. Then that does not meet the criteria of whole grain, fruits and vegetables as stressed by vegans.
Vegan diet in a nut shell
While there is a huge number of health benefits of a vegan/vegetarian diet for diabetes. But going on a meatless diet has certain cons that cannot be overlooked in terms of their long term effect on health. They have a lower intake of calcium, iron, Vitamin B12 and zinc. All of these are abundantly present only in animal sources of food. And long term deficiencies of these nutrients can lead to weak bones, risk of fractures, iron deficiency anaemia and neurological effects that may be irreversible.
Mediterranean Diet: Best diet for diabetes
Moving on to the third and most preferred diet, the Mediterranean diet. It is the most balanced diet and most studies showed favourable effects of the Mediterranean diet on glycemic control as well as heart disease. Because you are eating more fruits, veggies whole grains, olive oil, nuts and all sorts of healthy foods in this diet and cutting down a little bit on your proteins and but you’re getting your proteins from only the healthy like fish and poultry. And you’re eating less of the unhealthy sorts of food like red meats and sweets. It is a much more balanced diet that is also easier to follow.
Evidence from the research
Now we do have studies on the Mediterranean diet as well. So several studies with more than a thousand patients compared controlled diets with a Mediterranean diet. And results showed that the Mediterranean diet group had further reductions in the haemoglobin a1c. HbA1C is the average blood sugar level over the past 3 months, as well as fasting plasma glucose levels. The body weight was lower, which is always good and likewise, concentrations of total cholesterol and triglycerides were also lower. Also in this group, people had lower blood pressure, high levels of good cholesterol called HDL
Everyone is different and different styles may suit different people. But go for the diet and lifestyle in which you can gain more and lose nothing. Because health should not be compromised in any case. Choose a balanced and wholesome diet that fulfils all your nutrient requirements. And stick to it and put your mind to it. In the end, whatever you eat has a direct impact on your health. So choose wisely!
“You are what you eat”