Fad Diets and Diabetes

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There are alot of new diets out there. Are they safe for me?

Fad Diets and Diabetes

Every time you open a newspaper, there is another diet being touted as the best new breakthrough in losing weight.

Quick and easy schemes for losing weight may seem appealing, especially if the doctor has told you to drop pounds in order to better control your diabetes, and losing weight has not been easy for you, in the past. But what impact do these fad diets have on your body and your disease?

Some popular "new" or fad diets are:

* Atkins Diet
* Southbeach Diet
* Blood Type Diet
* Mediterranean Diet

In looking at each diet, there are both risk and benefits for the diabetic person that need to be considered, and discussed with your physician, before beginning the diet.

1. The Atkins Diet - this diet is based on the belief that our bodies do not manage carbs effectively, and we must retrain them. The diet is high protein and fat, and gradually adds carbs.

Risks: 1) High fat diets can increase cholesterol - a risk factor for developing diabetes and complications of diabetes,
2) High protein levels have been implicated in diabetes in young people, are difficult for the kidneys to process and can cause ketoacidosis - a serious complication of diabetes associated with the body using protein and fat for fuel, instead of carbs

Benefits: 1) rapid weight loss

2. Southbeach Diet - a three-phase plan that is also low-carb, high in proteins, but low in fats, in which you gradually add your carbs back in, using a list of "Foods to Enjoy" and "Foods to Avoid."

Risks: 1) Low carbs and high proteins can cause ketoacidosis - a serious complication of diabetes

Benefits: 1) Three meals + six snacks each day decreases cravings and roller-coaster blood sugars, 2) Uses Glycemic Index (the rate at which a food raises the blood sugar) to help make food choices - leans toward whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies.

3. The Blood Type Diet - touts that different blood types need different types of nutrients, and that eating the "wrong" food their their blood type would cause serious injury to the body.

Risks: 1) Not based on scientific fact, the information in the diet may frighten or mislead the readers, into unnecessarily limiting intake, 2) Limits foods for certain blood types, that have known health benefits, which may result in high cholesterol, ketoacidosis, anemia, and malnutrition.

Benefits: 1) None identified.

4) The Mediterranean Diet - based on intake of a wide variety of grains, fruits and vegetables, moderate protein, unsaturate fats and seafood.

Risks: 1) Suggests wine in moderation - causes blood sugar fluctuations and can contribute to mood swings.

Benefits: 1) Low in red meats and animal fats, touting fish and unsaturated fats can decrease cholesterol, 2) Balanced diet including all food types, to provide core nutrients, 3) High in essential fatty acids and antioxidants - touted as cancer preventatives

Each diet listed above has both risks and benefits, with some demonstrating greater potential risks for complications for persons with diabetes, due to the complex needs of your body.

Obtain information about the diet you are considering, and then meet with your physician, Nutritionist or Diabetes Educator to discuss the risks and benefits of the diet, and it's potential impact on you.



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