Moving Beyond The Glycemic Index
“The best diet for anyone, and this includes Type 2 diabetics, is one that leads to a very high level of daily micronutrient intake over time.”
The question is, how do you get there in a way that does not lead to any sense of failure and frustration and that ensures that you do actually get there? This article outlines some practical approaches to incorporate increasing levels of micronutrients into your diet each day. At PEERtrainer, we help foster permanent changes in behavior and thinking, but do this in as practical and realistic a manner as possible.
If you only incorporate a couple suggestions from this article, it will have a positive impact on your weight and health over time.
What Are Micronutrients And Why Do I Need A Lot Of Them??
Micronutrients are the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals per calorie of food. Vegetables, greens and fresh fruits have the highest levels of micronutrients per calorie. Oils, cheeses, white rice and cookies have the lowest levels. Lean meats and fish have moderate aggregate micronutrient levels.
When you consume micronutrient rich foods (often called “Superfoods”), you allow the body to heal itself over time. You are giving it what it needs and wants. The exact levels you need vary, but the basic idea is that you need to consume very high levels of greens, salads, beans, fruits each day. Research has now proven that a diet high in vegetables will help in both the prevention and treatment of diabetes. (And the often painful complications that result.)
For reversing disease, this can mean pounds of food and a strong focus on foods like spinach, brussels sprouts, romaine lettuce, Boston lettuce, vegetable juice, strawberries, tomatoes, blueberries, oranges and grapefruit.
Black beans, chickpeas and sweet potato can help to cheaply round out your diet each day to help you feel full. Feeling full is critically important because low carb and diets that only restrict calories leave you hungry and don’t give your body what it needs. This leads to nearly a 100% failure rate. You cannot stick to a diet where you are starving yourself, which you know.
What About The Glycemic Index?
The Glycemic index is a great starting point with people who are in the metabolic range or who have Type 2 diabetes. It simply ranks carbs on their effect on blood glucose levels. Some carbs are “bad” while others are “good.” A good rule of thumb is to avoid the white stuff- flour, sugar, rice, potatoes, pasta.
The problem this introduces is that it is hard to avoid those foods. They are cheap and plentiful. Many people tend to go super low carb and start to ratchet up the protein intake. While there may be short term benefit in terms of weight loss, these types of diets lead to a yo-yo effect. We all know people who can go on Atkins and drop 40 pounds only to see the weight come right back once the person starts eating bread again.
Just Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes or Metabolic Syndrome: Where Do You Start?
It may be that you have been recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes or Metabolic Syndrome. Maybe your doctor has put you on some medication. Those medications tend to work pretty well to control the symptoms of Diabetes, but if you want to get off them you will have to completely overhaul your diet over time.
Your doctor has also probably told you about the Glycemic index and made some recommendations. Following those recommendations will absolutely help, and form the basis of adopting a diet that will be the best to help treat the symptoms of Diabetes. Start bringing down the white stuff, start hitting the superfoods.
The new PEERtrainer Cheat System is an easy to follow system that will help you work both sides of this equation. It is free and you can download it from the page that is linked to.
You are also going to want to start working on your portion control. We find that when people rapidly increase their nutrient intake AND really learn how to do portion control, people can make more progress than they ever thought possible. It often just comes down to learning how to make some choices.
In a situation like the one you are mostly likely in, you cannot get enough help. And you need to find what works for you, and really get out of the mindset of only using one diet approach at a time. There are great ideas all over the place and you have to find what works for you. (At PEERtrainer we call this approach “Diet Fusion.”)
The two commercial diet approaches that we have seen people have real success (at least for the short term) with are NutriSystem and Weight Watchers. And they are very different.
NutriSystem D is the new meal delivery system from NutriSystem, and it is based on this idea of the Glycemic Index. You order the program (it costs roughly what you already spend on food), and they measure out the portions and they send it to you. If you follow the program you will lose weight, which is likely to help your symptoms a great deal. When you lose weight, make sure to have your doctor adjust any medication you are taking btw. This is very important.
If NutriSystem is something that you feel will help you kick off this process, make sure to begin each meal with a large serving of vegetables or salad. NutriSystem is now advising people to consume large quantities of vegetables, greens and salads with their program because it boosts success levels and adherence dramatically.
You will feel much fuller and you will get conditioned to consume the foods that may ultimately help you eliminate the needs for medication. That should be your long term goal, even if your doctor thinks you can’t lose weight.
Weight Watchers is sort of the “next step” in this process, and requires you to do some more work than simply order a program and follow the directions. Two of the main benefits to Weight Watchers is that they teach you to do portion control on your own, and they often provide a ton of great support.
They based their new diet in part on the work of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who they consulted with prior to launching their new program. Dr. Fuhrman has been a pioneer in the area of reversing disease through micronutrient rich diets.
Regardless of the approach or path you take, you MUST make sure to master both portion control and a dramatic increase in greens. The best diet for Type 2 diabetics is one that is highly effective at helping you meet these two objective. For those of you who choose to download the PEERtrainer Cheat System, you’ll probably find it easier than you think. The main thing we ask you to do is make choices, NOT deprive yourself.
The Mental and Practical Aspects Of Changing Your Diet
One of the reasons that Weight Watchers in particular has been so popular is their focus on support. They have online programs, and you can follow elements of their diet on your own. But the core of their company are their in-person weekly meetings. There are a lot of practical things they teach you at these meetings, but a critical component is that you have support outside of your immediate friends and family.
If you are in metabolic range or have Type 2 Diabetes, the odds of your friends and family helping to foster your bad behavior or sabotaging your attempts at change are very high.
When you go to these weekly meetings you get a new support system that also comes with some good advice, depending on the leader and how nice the other people are in the meetings. We hear sometimes that men are no so welcome in the meetings, but we also hear about men who have tremendous success on Weight Watchers. It really will depend.
Other Resources For Diabetics
At PEERtrainer we have developed a simple and free email program that might be a great help to you as well. It is called The Tip Of The Day and it sends you an idea or suggestion each day. What is nice about it is that you “set it and forget it.” The email will come to you with a suggestion on how to make one adjustment that day. It can even serve as a simple reminder to get back on track each day. There is a lot of focus on the practical elements of weight loss in the program, and lots of focus on ways to adopt the superfoods that are really going to help you. There is also a lot of focus on emotional eating, night eating and stress eating.
The reality is that there are a ton of factors that go into creating the best diet for you. Simply take it slow, and realize that if you set out to eat higher quality foods over time, this is something you really cannot fail at. And what will happen is that things will get easier for you over time as you do the work bit by bit. The key is to really be open to new ideas and start to shift your thinking. Yes, most people will choose to simply “manage” their disease.
But others will set out on a journey to radically transform themselves. Which you can do if you decide to. You can change what you expect or believe about your life much more quickly than you think. But you have to really look inside, take some personal responsibility for things. Maybe forgive a ton, and just let it go.
Once you do this, you really need to get into mindset of involving other people in the problem. You would be stunned at the amount of people out there who are willing to help you, and who can provide some real impact on your life. Maybe you are surfing through the internet and got to this page and this discussion. Maybe you are part of PEERtrainer in some way. Look at some of the groups and teams here on the site that are there to support you. Make sure to join our free Tip of The Day program.
We are going to keep updating this page, and have some FAQ’s below as well as links to comment on anything in this article. If you have questions, ask them and we will reach out to our team of MD’s, therapists as well as the extensive PEER network we have on the site.
We are all here to help you, and it is important to know that we have tremendous belief in your ability to change things a ton. You may feel frustrated and confused, but you can make changes that will help you. And if you feel like your doctor is not encouraging you to lose weight, find another one. While the medications work, over time they are likely to simply make you more diabetic.
Danger Of Low Carb Diets For Diabetics:
Low carb diets often restrict the fruits and vegetables in a diet. This is a huge mistake. The research points to plant-based foods having the things in them that help to control the symptoms of diabetes, and in some cases can help to eliminate the disease if the levels of plant-based foods are high enough in the diet. If you restrict fruits and vegetables and go on a low carb or high animal protein diet you cut yourself off from the foods that you need.
And you cannot rely on supplementation. We know that the properties in plants are great for health, but scientists are just beginning to learn about this. They have not isolated all (or even most of) the nutrients or have any sense of the interplay between the various compounds in plant based foods. We simply know there are tremendous positive benefits.