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Examining Popular Diets and Their Effects on Patients with Diabetes 

some fish, fruit, and vegetables upon a black top table signifying a ketogenic dieetThere is no shortage of miracle diets constantly advertised, talked about, and discussed on websites, television shows, podcasts, and other media. Whether it’s a famous athlete or some spokesperson claiming the incredible results they had, people seem to always be chasing the right answer. As a medical establishment, we must first begin with a disclaimer: this is a quick overview. Most diets require an in-depth look at how they affect the metabolic systems and blood sugar levels of the body. 

At the same time, it is important to assess if the diet provides people with the necessary nutrients, fatty acids, etc, to maintain good health.  Needless to say, talk to your doctor or specialist before you dive in headfirst into any fad diet, but let’s take a look at some of today’s most talked-about diets, what they entail, and potential benefits or downfalls. 

The Intermittent Fasting Trend

Intermittent fasting has become a phenomenon, as it has been praised by regular people to popular athletes and even media figures. In simple terms, the diet involves creating a schedule of alternating periods of fasting and eating. The diet is mostly focused on when you eat, as opposed to what you eat, although people who are dieting for the sake of increasing their nutritional intake will implement what a lot more stringently. 

So the idea is basically this: increase the time during which you fast and limit your eating to a very specific and far more narrower window. It can be as simple as skipping breakfast and extending the period of overnight fasting (while you sleep) deeper into the day. For example, if you eat your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8 p.m., you have technically fasted for 16 hours. For people with Type 2 diabetes, intermittent fasting might raise the possibility of hypoglycemia. 

The Ketogenic Diet

The Keto Diet is another one of these very popular diets today. It basically consists of a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits. Some studies suggest that this particular diet has helped people lose weight and improve health. The Keto diet has some similarities to the Atkins diet, as they focus on low-carb intake. 

When done correctly, the diet can help some people become efficient at burning fat for energy and turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. The key idea here is that the diet itself helps the body change the way that it uses and stores energy, which can be beneficial for people with diabetes. The diet converts fat, instead of sugar, into energy. 

The diet was, in fact, created as a treatment for epilepsy but some in the nutrition community have begun to really look at it as a viable option for people with Type 2 diabetes. There are different types of variations of the keto diet including the standard, cyclical, targeted, and high-protein keto diets. The standard is the most accessible and perhaps the most studied diet with the most anecdotal evidence floating around the internet. This is the low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat diet. 

The Paleo Diet 

It was a few years ago that the Paleo Diet hit the mainstream like an asteroid. This was partly caused, some would contend, with the fitness craze and the rise of popular cross-training programs like CrossFit and other work out regimens. The Paleo Diet claims to be a trip back in time and humans’ dietary roots. The name is short for Paleolithic, in reference to the Stone Age when humans had a simple diet of whole unprocessed foods. The diet claims that going back to eating a diet of fresh foods, humans would be healthier and toxin-free. The diet primarily consists of lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. The diet demands the removal of all processed foods, grains, dairy, and legumes, along with simple sugars and artificial sweeteners.

The main contention for Paleo enthusiasts is the removal of unnecessary toxins in the body and the reduction of inflammation caused by much of today’s modern diet. As far as people with diabetes, there is no solid evidence that this diet is particularly beneficial for people with the disease. In fact, it is somewhat of debate within nutrition specialists. Many of the questions lie in whether the diet actually provides adequate nutrition, minerals, fatty acid, and other essentials.  

Keep It Fresh, Simple, and Healthy

A good rule of thumb is to consume foods that are not processed and eat plenty of fresh veggies and fruits. Maintaining a healthy weight with diabetes doesn’t have to be a mind rattling endeavor. Simply ensuring plenty of protein intake, as well as healthy carbohydrates can keep your body taking in the nutrients and energy it needs. All of this, of course, coupled with the right dose of exercise and physical activity. 

Get Checked, Talk With Your Doctor

Here at Diabetes & Endocrinology Specialists of El Paso we help people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes lead a fruitful and productive life.  Altering lifestyles and diet can make a huge difference in how you feel day today and we want to be part of that. Call us today and find out how we can help you feel better!


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