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Diet For Diabetics Diabetic Diet Plan

What's The Best Diet For Diabetics?

One way for a diabetic to tell how well blood sugars have been controlled is by a commonly available test called the hemoglobin A1C level. This is a simple blood test performed in a doctor's office that gives an idea how well blood sugars were controlled over the prior three month period. This is a better indicator of how a diabetic is doing than a single isolated blood sugar reading. The goal is to lower hemoglobin A1C levels to seven or below which is a goal most type 2 diabetics can achieve with diet and exercise, although some will require medications. The question sometimes arises as to which diet is best to lower hemoglobin A1C levels. A study published in Archives of Internal Medicine shed some light on this important question.

What is the Best Diabetic Diet to Lower Hemoglobin A1C Levels?

To find out the answer, researchers gave 215 newly diagnosed diabetics either a low-fat diet consistent with the recommendations of the American Heart Association, or a low carbohydrate Mediterranean diet for four years. None of the participants were taking medications to lower their blood sugar. The American Heart Association diet restricted fat to no more than thirty percent of the diet and saturated fat to ten percent or less. The Mediterranean diet restricted carbohydrates to no more than fifty percent and fats to a minimum of thirty percent of the diet. Both diets were equal in calories.

Which Diet was Best for Blood Sugar Control and for Lowering Hemoglobin A1C Levels?

The Mediterranean diet proved to be superior to the American Heart Association low fat diet. Fewer people who ate the Mediterranean diet ended up needing medication to lower hemoglobin A1C levels to seven percent or below. Those who ate a Mediterranean diet also had better blood sugar levels, triglycerides, and HDL levels compared to the low fat diet group. Another bonus? they also experienced more weight reduction.

Why was the Mediterranean Diet the Better Choice to Lower Hemoglobin A1C Levels?

A Mediterranean diet emphasizes fresh vegetables and whole grains with less emphasis on meat - particularly red meat. Fish and chicken are the primary meats eaten and usually in smaller quantities than in a typical American diet. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes good fats such as the monounsaturated fats in nuts and olive oil, and the polyunsaturated fats in fatty fish - particularly the omega-3's.

One of the reasons the Mediterranean diet worked so well, may be its emphasis on healthy, complex carbohydrates rather than the simple, sugary ones that make up most American diets. In a Mediterranean diet, dessert is often nuts or a piece of fruit rather than a pastry or other sweet treat. Whole grain bread which causes less fluctuation in blood sugar levels are emphasized. The good fats also have positive effects on HDL levels giving diabetics additional protection against heart disease.

The Mediterranean Diet to Lower Hemoglobin A1C: The Bottom Line

If you're diabetic and have never explored the Mediterranean diet, this now may be the time to give it closer consideration. There are a variety of books and online resources that explain this diet in detail. It looks like it could be a better choice than a low fat Diet For Diabetics.

References:

Ann. Intern. Med. 2009. 151: 306

By Kristie Leong M.D. - I m a family physician with a strong interest in disease prevention and alternative medicine. I m particularly interested in how diet plays a role in disease prevention. Hope I can inspire someone to lead a...  





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