Is there such a thing as the ideal diabetic diet?

October 20, 2010 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Scientific evidence is piling up showing that lifestyle interventions, especially dietary interventions, may be more effective than drugs when it comes to the management of certain chronic diseases. This is especially true in the case of diabetes. The only problem is, which diet?

Unfortunately, experts cannot agree as to which diet is best for those with diabetes. This is the day and age of food customized to individual dietary requirements. Let us take a look at what is out there:

The Atkins diet

So what is the Atkins diet i? It is basically a low-carbohydrate diet which supposedly makes you lose weight without making you hungry. WebMD describes how it works:

“By restricting carbohydrates drastically to a mere fraction of that found in the typical American diet, the body goes into a state of ketosis, which means it burns its own fat for fuel. A person in ketosis is getting energy from ketones, little carbon fragments that are the fuel created by the breakdown of fat stores. When the body is in ketosis, you tend to feel less hungry, and thus you’re likely to eat less than you might otherwise. However, ketosis can also cause a variety of unpleasant effects (such as unusual breath odor and constipation) in a small number of people…As a result, your body changes from a carbohydrate-burning engine into a fat-burning engine. So instead of relying on the carbohydrate-rich items you might typically consume for energy, and leaving your fat stores just where they were before (alas, the hips, belly, and thunder thighs are popular fat-gathering spots), your fat stores become a primary energy source. The purported result: weight loss.

Although originally thought out for weight loss, Dr Eric C Westman of Duke University in Durham, NC advocates the Atkins diet for the management of diabetes based on his talk at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) conference last month. After all, “years before medications were available to treat diabetes, a low-carbohydrate diet was used as the primary treatment of diabetes mellitus.

Westman is a co-author of the latest book on Atkins diet “New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great.”and is a consultant at Atkins Nutritionals.

Some of the experts’ comments on the Atkins diet are:

According to Dr Robert Eckel of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, also a spokesperson on nutritional issues for the American Heart Association (AHA):

“It’s a terrible diet to be on; 24% of the calories are from saturated fats. I would never prescribe an Atkins diet to a person with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.”

Other experts, however, believe that the Atkins diet may be “too restrictive for people to stay on long term and potentially unsafe” for diabetics.

The South Beach diet

The South Beach diet is very similar to Atkins but is less restrictive because it allows “good carbs.” South Beach, too, doesn’t let you go hungry.

Again, we rely on WebMD experts to give us an overview on the South Beach diet.

Fats. The South Beach Diet bans unhealthy fats but strongly promotes healthy ones.

Carbs. The South Beach Diet doesn’t count grams of carbs. The Atkins diet seeks to change a person from a sugar-burning machine into a fat-burning machine. The South Beach diet looks at how much sugar is in a carb. Low-sugar carbs — those with a low glycemic index (they don’t cause the blood sugar levels to rise and fall as quickly) — are good (this point may sound very familiar to fans of the Sugar Busters diet).”

Of course there are other diets out there but these two are currently in the limelight in connection with diabetes.

The American Diabetes Assocition (ADA) currently does not recommend the Atkins-type diet for diabetics. In fact, ADA spokesperson Stephanie A Dunbar, director of nutrition and medical affairs for the AD thinks it is at this point difficult to make dietary recommendations for people with diabetes because “there are no long-term data comparing the different diets in diabetes management… I don’t think there is one particular diet that is going to work for every person. Our real recommendation for people with diabetes is that they need to have an individualized approach to meal planning, whether they need to go to 35%, 40%, or 45% of calories from carbohydrates, that needs to be individualized.”

This is the day and age of food customized to individual dietary requirements. So when do we get the ideal diabetic diet?

Fad Diets – Bad Idea

November 13, 2007 by  
Filed under OBESITY

It seems almost as if there is a new fad diet every week. Many of these contain elements of truth, but on the whole they contain much more good marketing than good science.

There is the 3-day diet, which touts eating little more than fruits for three days, followed by vegetables or meat or grains the other days. There are lots of variations.

While it’s certainly true that eating fruit regularly is a key element to good health – most contain needed carbohydrates, vitamins and fiber – eating almost exclusively fruit for three days leads to imbalance – in carbohydrates, fiber and additional otherwise healthy components. To an extent the body will equalize and store what it needs for later, but there are limits.

Similarly, the ‘low carb, high protein’ diets, such as Atkins, recommend cutting way down on carbohydrates and eating substantial amounts of food high in protein. Here again protein is vital to proper nutrition, but so are carbohydrates. Putting too much emphasis on the first over the second leads to rapid, temporary weight loss, but at a high cost.

Carbohydrates are essential for supplying energy for all biochemical processes. Though the body, when needed, will use other sources, such as fat and protein. Too great an emphasis on protein reduces the ability of the body to store and regulate the appropriate amount of water, whereas carbohydrates help that.

There are very attractive sounding ‘chocolate diets’. Nearly everyone loves chocolate and, contrary to some reports of a few years ago, it is healthy – in moderation. Chocolate contains anti-oxidants and other compounds that are helpful. But, as with anything, too much of a good thing is just that – too much. Also, since many will seek chocolate in forms that come with high fat, high sugar amounts it’s possible to get some not-so-helpful elements along with the good.

There are ultra-low fat diets. Once again, the problem isn’t with reduced fat, but going to extremes. A certain amount of fat in the diet is a healthy thing.

Any diet which makes promises of radical, rapid or quick weight loss – or any other extreme claim – is almost guaranteed to be more harmful than helpful. The human body has evolved over millions of years and decades of good nutritional research still confirms the common sense truth: balance is good, moderation is healthy.

Eat moderate portions at regular intervals of fruits and vegetables (for vitamins, carbohydrates and fiber), grains (for carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fiber), protein (for amino acids) and dairy products (for calcium, unless you’re lactose intolerant). For the average person, between 2000-2500 calories per day is appropriate. Less for women, on average, and for those seeking rapid weight loss.

A balanced diet, coupled with age-appropriate, moderate and regular exercise, will lead to a healthy percentage of body fat, good muscle tone and a well-tuned system. You’ll find you feel better and look good.

Atkins Criticism

August 17, 2007 by  
Filed under OBESITY

By Lisa Sequera

The Atkins diet is very popular, but it also comes with a lot of criticism. Health experts, doctors and diet specialists come from all different opinions when it comes to the Atkins diet and other low carb diets. Some believe that it is dangerous, some say that it is a healthy method to lose weight and others say that it works on a short-term basis.

However, there are also thousands of individuals who have found success with the Atkins diet. They can speak from personal experience and know that the diet works and it is an effective means of keeping weight off. There are thousands of testimonials that tout the benefits of the low carb way of living.

There are many typical criticisms of the Atkins diet. One of the first is that the diet it too high in fat. The butter, oil and fatty meats that are used in the Atkins diet are a far cry from the low-fat diet fad that recently swept the nation. For many people, the low fat mindset has prevailed and they cannot fathom eating real butter or cream with their meals. It seems like too much fat at first glance. However, those that pay close attention to Dr. Atkins guidelines and follow the program closely know that the diet focuses on good fats. Extra virgin olive oil and other helpful fats are emphasized. The proper use of these oils is important to brain function and mood management.

Another popular Atkins criticism is that it focuses too much on food and not enough on exercise. This is an unfair claim because the Atkins books clearly spell out a need for exercise. There is a lot of attention paid to food choices because they are an integral part of the program, and they are different foods than what people are normally used to eating. However, this does not mean that exercise is not an integral part of the Atkins program. Aerobic and anaerobic exercise regimens are encouraged, and both will greatly increase your weight loss efforts.

Many Atkins critics feel that the diet is hard too keep up in the long term. Critics in this category will admit that Atkins is effective in short-term weight loss efforts, but point out that the lifestyle is hard to maintain over time. However, people who have had long term success with Atkins claim it is one of the easiest diets to follow for significant periods of time. The Atkins plan has rich food that is forbidden on other programs, and it has appetite-suppressing effects. When you combine this with the quick weight loss, a motivating factor for many people, Atkins is easy to stick to long term.

The side effects of Atkins, like constipation and bad breath, have also been a topic that Atkins critics are quick to point out. However, these side effects are not as common as critics make them out to be. If they do occur, the side effects normal only last through the first phase of the diet. Additionally, drinking additional water will normally take care of both problems rather quickly.

There are pros and cons to many diets. If you don’t particularly enjoy preparing and eating meat, then Atkins is probably not for you. But if you are considering Atkins, make sure to look beyond the common criticisms for the truth about the diet.

For more related articles, visit www.funhowtobooks.com/articles

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lisa_Sequera

Atkins Diet Basics

August 17, 2007 by  
Filed under OBESITY

By Lisa Sequera

The Atkins diet is not a new phenomenon. The diet first appeared in the late 1970s and has grown popularity in recent years in response to the low-fat diet craze. As dieters had trouble with low-fat plans, they searched for a new solution and Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution book found a new audience.

A lot of people have jumped on the Atkins bandwagon and there has been a lot of hype as a result. But what are the basic principles of the Atkins diet?

The Atkins diet is based on a theory of why we get fat. According to Dr. Atkins, the over-consumption of carbohydrates and simple sugars leads to weight gain. The way your body processes the carbohydrates you eat have more to do with your waistline than the amount of fat or calories that you consume. In his book, Atkins outlines a phenomenon called “insulin resistance.” He theorizes that many overweight people have cells that do not work correctly.

When you eat excess carbohydrates and sugar, your body notices that sugar levels are elevated. Insulin is released from the pancreas in order to store sugar as glycogen in the liver and muscle cells for extra energy later on. However, your body can only store so much glycogen at once. As soon as your body reaches its limit for glycogen storage, the excess carbohydrates are stored as fat. This happens to everyone who eats too many carbohydrates.

However, insulin resistant individuals have an even harder time of using and storing excess carbohydrates. The more insulin that your body is exposed to, the more resistant it becomes. Overtime, the pancreas releases more insulin and cells become insulin resistant. The cells are trying to protect themselves from the toxic effects of high insulin. They create less glycogen and more fat.

As a result, insulin resistant individuals gain extra weight. The carbohydrates get converted into fat instead of energy. Other side effects include fatigue, brain “fog” (the inability to focus, poor memory, loss of creativity), low blood sugar (which can leads to hypoglycemia), intestinal bloating, sleepiness, depression and increased blood sugar. There is much more than weight at stake when you are insulin resistant.

The remedy for people who are insulin resistant is a diet restricted in carbohydrates. The crux of the Atkins diet is a limitation of carbohydrates in all of its forms. The foods restricted on the Atkins plan include simple sugars (like cookies, sodas and sweets) and complex carbohydrates (like bread, rice and grains). Even carbohydrates that are considered healthy, such as oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat bread, are restricted on the program.

The diet has you restrict your carbohydrate intake to less than 40 grams a day. This will put your body in a state of ketosis. While in ketosis, your body will burn fat as fuel. According to Dr. Atkins’ research, the ketosis state will also affect insulin production and it will prevent more fat from being formed. Your body will begin using your stored fat as an efficient form of fuel, and you’ll lose weight.

Another benefit of the Atkins plan is that ketosis will end your cravings for carbohydrates. If you’ve been living on a carb-heavy diet, you may have found that you simply cannot get enough carbohydrates. With carbohydrate restriction and ketosis comes a reduction in carbohydrate cravings. People who have been on the Atkins diet for some time report that they do not crave carbohydrates as they once did.

Although the initial phases of the Atkins diet are rather strict, the program teaches you to restore balance to your diet in the long run. People who use the diet slowly reintroduce minimal amounts of carbohydrate into their eating until they find a comfortable balance between their health and carbohydrate use.

The basic principles of the Atkins diet have been adapted to many other low-carb diet plans. However, Atkins popularity still remains strong as one of the most effective low-carbohydrate solutions for those who are insulin resistant.

For more related articles, visit www.funhowtobooks.com/articles

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lisa_Sequera

Related Posts with Thumbnails

NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.