There is no doubt; good nutrition is at the foundation of health and diabetes reversal. Often, my diabetic patients are already trying to make healthy choices and follow common diabetes guidelines. But good diabetes nutrition isn’t just about choosing low-sugar foods and managing insulin. There are other factors you’re likely overlooking that trigger inflammation and perpetuate high blood sugar. If you’re already putting in the effort to improve your diet, don’t mess it up with simple mistakes that are easy to correct.
These top 4 diet adjustments can mean the difference between simply managing diabetes and reversing it for good.
1. Say Goodbye to GMO
If your food started in a science lab, it is not doing you any favors. Most food on grocery shelves today contains genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. This means the food’s DNA was genetically changed to hold up against pests, invasive weeds, and chemical pesticides and herbicides. This allows farmers to spray tons of chemicals–like Monsanto’s Roundup–on your food without killing the crop. While this means your farmer yields more product, those chemicals are passed onto you when you eat foods that contain GMO crops such as wheat, corn, soy, etc.
It doesn’t stop there! GMO crops feed livestock that eventually makes it to your plate, giving you a concentrated dose of toxins that your “steak” or “pork chop” consumed.
These chemicals are known to disrupt hormone function and insulin sensitivity.
Scientists are also concerned that our bodies do not digest GMO foods efficiently, which may lead to more inflammation. Reversing diabetes means cleaning up your body and reducing toxic exposures, so kick out the GMOs and stick to foods labeled organic or non-GMO.
2. Avoid Allergens
Healing from diabetes means cooling down inflammation and removing sources that trigger your immune system. More often than not, the gut is under attack in diabetics. This means that your body is at a higher risk of food sensitivities and allergies. Even foods that seem totally safe like vegetables or spices could be triggering inflammation in your body. Allergens are unique to each person, so your best bet for eating allergen-free is working with a functional medicine doctor that can order advanced lab tests to reveal your specific sensitivities.
Given processed foods’ already low nutrient content, consuming many foods in the SAD give way to malnourishment, despite the high calorie count.
3 .Don’t Forget Fat
If you are diabetic, chances are you have been told to avoid high-fat and high-sugar diets, but that advice is too general.
The right fats can do wonders for supporting, healing, and increasing energy.
Saturated and trans fats in processed foods should definitely be avoided, but polyunsaturated fats in nuts, seeds, vegetables, and certain vegetable oils can reduce inflammation and promote healing. Omega-3 fats in flax and fatty wild fish will cool the immune system and support blood sugar balance. In fact, medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. The right fats help fuel and protect your cells and keep you full longer, meaning you’re less likely to crave sugar and crash between meals.
4 .Up Your Veggie Variety
Most people get stuck eating the same 5 or 6 veggies each day. Experts urge people to glean the full benefits of vegetables and fruit by eating between 9-13 servings a day depending on your body size. On top of that, switching it up and trying new produce means that you are getting a better variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs to get back to its best. Better yet, amping up your veggie variety means your healthy gut microbes will benefit from the diversity of fiber that helps them work harder for your health. Remember to avoid high glycemic fruits like banana and watermelon and stick to fruits like berries, avocado, and green apple.
Every person is different, which means optimal nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all recipe, but avoiding these mistakes will take your nutrition to the next level. Don’t get frustrated by trying to reverse diabetes alone; instead, partner with a functional medicine doctor who has been specially trained to help you identify your needs and tailor a nutrition plan to your exact health goals.