First off I want to state that the dietary program that I am suggesting is not a managing one. If we are trying to manage a condition we are simply running west to see the sunrise. Remember the disease of diabetes does not define you. The disease state of diabetes is a fancy diagnosis that basically states you have a fastening blood glucose over 126, a random blood glucose over 200, or an HbA1C over 6, or a whole bunch of other symptoms. But this is just a set of clinical measurements so doctors can diagnosis you. In reality we believe that Diabetes Mellitus is cause by multifactoral reasons. Since Naturopathic Doctors don’t work within standard deviations and we understand that everybody is different. We can work to address the underlying condition, which is unique to you.
There are many diets out there and you will find that some work great but others do not i.e. someone will do great on a Vegan diet while others will become sicker on this diet. This is where I believe people should stop and think. If we are all different we should all be eating different foods in our diet. I am not interesting in reducing the statistics of people with Diabetes because that is a very allopathic approach. I don’t want to manage diabetes with a diet only to produce another disease. I hence work with an individualize diet plan that is different for every single person–The Genotype diet.
The basic diabetic dietary food protocol consist of one with a low glycemic load. There are plenty of tables out there that can summarize how one can count the glycic index of foods so I will only go into brief summary. The standard piece of white bread has a glycemic index of 100. Other simple carbohydrates such as rice, instant potatoes, wheat, honey, etc have higher numbers than one hundred. Other foods that have a glycemic index between 99-50 are, potatoes, bananas, corn, orange juice, grapes, spaghetti, apples, milk, and tomatoes. Foods below 50 are skim milk some beans, peaches, sausage, plums, soybeans, peanuts, red meat, fish, poultry. By watching your glycemic index you are limiting simple carbohydrates so they can’t increase your blood glucose to an unhealthy state (check out www.nutritiondata.com more information on glycemic index)(1). There are many ways to control how quickly food is broken down in your body. To slow down digestion of certain foods you can add fiber and proteins to your diet (2).
Beans in general have both of these compounds hence the low glycemic index. Another important point in the diabetes diet is how food is prepared. Some foods like potatoes have a lower glycemic Index when they have a chance to cool off after cooking (2). Remember to be brave and try different foods on your genotype diet, and of course new cooking methods and recipies.
In general your diet should consist of eating a variety of foods in small amounts at six different mealtimes a day. The diet should be rich in nutrients and low in trans-fat and within a normal calorly range. There should be an emphasis on non- starchy fruits and vegetables (for the fiber and nutrient content). Simple carbohydrates need to be avoided. This is for the simple fact that these foods are really easy for you body to break down. This fast metabolism of simple carbohydrates causes an increase in blood glucose levels (1). So try to avoid white breads and sugar heavy foods and try eating brown rice and vegetables.
Eat protein in every meal. This general statement is design so you don’t burn through your carbohydrates fast. This little bit of protein with every meal will help you to control blood glucose spikes (1). Try eating small fatty fish like sardines, wild caught salmon, or free range/organic turkey and meats.
Fiber, Fiber, Fiber needs to be increased in every meal. This can be found in fruits and vegetables and can help control blood glucose and weight lose. Fiber is best attained from whole foods (Oat bran is great for most people). This natural form or fiber is much more bioavailable than the synthetic fiber pills. Certain fibers can help you lose weight, stay hydrated, and gain crucial nutrients. Fiber will also help with your bowel movments and thus when I ask you, about all of those personal bathroom habits, you will have a positive response for me.
One of the key things to help with glucose control has to do with weight loss. There are many ways to lose weight but our goal is to lose a pound a week. This means 100-500 calories should be removed from your diet daily. This is done via many different ways none of which are designed to starve a person. Of course exercise is involved but we are going to focus on diet here. Besides the fact that we need a proper balanced diet to have enough energy for exercise we also need the proper nutrients and foods to lose weight. I am next going to be very general and use the old but relavent research of blood type diet to set a foundation for the genotype diet. This is mainly due to the fact that I can’t talk about your individulized genotype diet at this time.
People with the blood type B and blood type O antigens (Blood types B, AB, and O) have higher amounts of alkaline phospotase. This compound is used to metabolize fats and proteins. This is one of the reasons why people with blood type B, AB and O antigens can lose weight while eating heavier proteins (4). (This does not mean that you can eat as much red meat as you want.) Remember you need to look at the top of your genotype diet and see the frequency and serving size of your different proteins (red meats, poultry, and live proteins). Another important compound to think about when you are trying to lose weight is adiponectin. The more obese a person is the less adiponectin they have. This compound is important in the break down of fat in central obesity. It works be inhibiting liver gluconeogenesis, promotes fatty oxidation, and counteracts TNF alpha inflammation in artery walls. Thus helping to reduce weight and inflammation (3).
Another important pathway that Robert Brody might talk about is the AMPK and MTOR genes. AMPK is a gene found in the liver that helps process excessive glucose in the blood. If you are on Metformin (prescription drug) to help control your diabetes this is the pathway where this drug works. Robert Brody will seek to activate AMPK to help your body deal with glucose. This allows your body to take over the role in the long term and thus returning to a healthier state. The way the AMPK gene is activated depends on your genotype but an herb (Withania somnifera) is often used. Another added benefit of activating this pathway has to do with detoxification. By activating AMPK the MTOR gene is turned off. This gene extends extracellular life and increases autophagie of toxic materials. This is just like taking a vacuum cleaner to the inside of your cells to get them squeaky clean and properly functioning (5). This allows for proper functions of your insulin receptors on your cells. Hence reducing the incidence of insulin resistance.
Remember that science is in service to the art and that I can find any study to prove anything. This is why Naturopath Doctors don’t work in standard deviations. We care about the individual. Thus we try only to use science to help explain “why” something is happening to you. Thus we are working with you and all you baggage to get YOU the best fitted diet.
Since the genotype diet is individualize and you have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting the exact same diet as someone else. Some foods will be very beneficial to every body but the majority will not be. Remember your digestive tract will attack and bind to foods the same way it does with bacterial. So in order to reduce inflammation we need to avoid lectins in foods that your body is hyperactive to. This means that black olives might be good for one person but extremely bad for another. In the next section we will talk about foods in general terms. But remember do not go off your genotype diet unless you discuss it with your doctor.
For blood type A to help reduce some of the negative side effects from cardiovascular disease (CVD) try to eating more ginger and artichokes (4).
For blood type AB try eating more garlic to reduce CVD. For metabolic enhancement try to consume watermelon seeds and ginger root. For general liver support for AB’s try to eat beet leaf/root, Licorice tea, and curcumin (4).
For blood type B consume beet leaf/root, Licorice tea, curcumin for general liver support. For metabolic enhancement consume watermelon seeds and ginger (4).
For blood type O eat artichoke leafs to reduce CVD. For metabolic enhancement eat dandelion greens (4).
Non-secretors in general should eat dandelion root for CVD prevention (4).
One importanct food that might be beneficial for you(depending on your genotype) can be sardines. Sardines contain uridine and uridine is responsible for RNA synthesis. When consumed this compund found in fish has been shown to be more beneficial that fish oils (EFA) to reduce inflammation and promote a healthy cell membrane (all needed to reduce weight and help fix insulin receptors). Some other great foods and condiments are; olive oil, different meats, fish, oats, mushrooms, green tea, and spices.
All of these foods have high Chromium and Vanadium and can help with the uptake of glucose by your cells. Remember to avoid all black pepper even though it has high vanadium because of the lectin on it that (for a majority of people i.e. 90%) can agglutinate healthy cells.
1. Marz, ND, R. (1999). Medical nutrition from marz. (2nd ed., pp. 260-261). Portland, OR: Omni-Press.
2. Gaby R. Alan. Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Perlberg Publishing; Concord, NH. 2011.
3. Pizzorno Jr E, Joseph and Katzinger, Joseph. Clinical Pathophysiology: A Functional Perspective. Mind Publishing; Canada, 2012.
4. D’Adamo, P. (2002). Eat right for your type. complete blood type encyclopedia. (pp. 216-222). New York, NY: Riverhead Books.
5. Jones, D. (2010). Textbook of functional medicine. Gig Harbor, WA: Institute for Functional Medicine.
6. Pizzorno, Joseph and Murray, Michael. Textbook of Natural Medicine. Chapter 44,163. Churchill Livingstone; 1999.