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What's the best diet for my diabetic father?

Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:43 am
by Jenniferhele
My dad has diabetes. Recently he had a blood sugar check up, and his was high: 330 mg/dL. What is the diet he should follow for his health? He eats a lot and quite low in fitness.

I did ask the same question in this site
But thought ill get a better answer here and what kind of exercise he can do also.

Any advice
thank you

Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 6:46 am
by hoosegow
Get rid of all processed food. Don't restrict him on fruit, nuts, vegetables, meat, etc. Don't let him eat bread, pasta, taters, anything with processed sugar, or drink.

Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:33 am
by stuward
I hope Jungle Doc and Ironman speak up as they know more about diabetes than I do but Hoosegow is right that a low carb approach works wonders for diabetics.

The problem is with official dietary advice. The biggest health risk for diabetics is from heart disease. Therefore the diet is supposed to be heart healthy even if that is not optimal for other health aspects. The problem is that a heart healthy diet has been wrongly defined for so long, and a huge bureaucracy has been built around that wrong definition.

The normal diet recommendation is a high fibre, low saturated fat diet. Recommended carbs are between 40-75% of calories, preferably low GI.

The alternative Low Carb approach is completely at odds with this. If your father’s doctor is not on board, this will cause fireworks. Personally, I’d find a doctor that was on board before starting.

For exercise, he should start with walking and then introduce a progressive strength building program.

Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:20 am
by stuward
If you search "diabetic Diet" you will get mostly recomendations that follow the ADA guidelines which are guaranteed to fail in my opinion. All the Primal/Paleo site I read have anecdotes about how the diets reverse diebetes. For example:

You may want to check this out. ... 0316167169

Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:56 am
by Jungledoc
I'd agree with what has been said. The first priority is to get the diabetes under control, and the way to do that is with low-carb eating. If he has started on antidiabetic meds already, there is some danger that switching suddenly to very low carb will drop his blood sugar too fast. We don't want him to fall and crack his head and die while we're trying to save him from heart disease.

The best defense against heart disease is to get the diabetes under control. But that said, the best heart-healthy diet whether you have diabetes or not is low carb.

I don't think that the doctor actually has to be on board. Listen carefully to whatever the doc and/or his appointed representative says about diet, then follow it except shift calories from carbs to protein and fats. And don't be afraid of saturated fats. When the blood sugar readings start falling, the doc won't care how closely your dad followed his or her plan. In fact, they will take it as evidence that he followed it closely. Then keep decreasing the carbs, and watch how proud the doctor is! I'll bet the cholesterol sub-types will shift to a more favorable pattern, too. Let the doc have the credit. :lol:

Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:26 pm
by Jebus
What does your father eat now?

Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 1:13 am
by Ironman
I agree with Jungledoc. We need to know what he is taking, if anything. Some things have a greater risk of low blood sugar than others. As long as he isn't taking certain things, you can change the diet gradually without the doctor being on board. Lower carbs is where he needs to be eventually.

I thinks it's always better to address the cause of the problem rather than put band-aids on it. A certain genetic predisposition plus eating lots of processed food is what does it.

So we at least have a good consensus for you.

You know what might be a good idea? If we put together a group of pubmed links to various supporting peer reviewed studies people can print and bring to the doctor. They might read it. Of course you might end up being forcefully given those papers as a suppository. :lol:

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:47 am
by aman
by now you know abt the diet part.

Try this out empty stomach two times a day and you will thank me.


Do a google search on this , you will know what I am talking.

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:51 am
by aman
Things You’ll Need:
Bitter melon
Step 1:
Select firm bitter melons with few or no skin blemishes. The fruit should measure from 5 to 12 inches long, and should be either green or yellow-orange in color. The yellow-orange variety is much less bitter, but may have less of the powerful properties that allows bitter melon juice to help control diabetes.
Step 2:
Look for bitter melon in Asian food markets or in large supermarket chains across the country from about April to September.
Step 3:
Store bitter melons in a paper or plastic bag. Each melon should be loose and free of any rubber bands or netting. They will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
Step 4:
Wash the bitter melons under cool running water.
Step 5:
Slice the melon lengthwise to expose the insides.
Step 6:
Remove the seeds by scraping the flesh out with the tip of a spoon.
Step 7:
Juice the melons by inserting them into a juicing machine or liquefying the entire fruit in a blender. You'll want to use about 4 to 5 bitter melons per serving.
Step 8:
Drink one small glass of bitter melon juice every morning with an empty stomach. Drinking on an empty stomach will help speed the curative properties through the system, helping control diabetes.
Step 9:
Continue to take the bitter melon juice for 3 to 5 months.
Tips & Warnings
Use the leaves of the bitter melon plant to make tea. Simply wash and chop the leaves and boil them in fresh water for about 15 minutes. Strain the liquid and drink about 1/3 cup every morning.
Do not drink bitter melon juice if you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant. The fruit has powerful abortifacient properties and has been known to cause infertility in some animals.
Do not give bitter melon juice or seeds to children. There have been incidences of infants dying from the effects of the red membrane around the seeds (causing hypoglycemic coma).

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:56 am
by aman
We hear a lot about the harmful effects of a poor diet on our health. We hear about how it leads to obesity, how it can lead to increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and how it can mean overall poor health due to lack of nutrition. Another risk of an unhealthy dietóespecially if it includes large quantities of carbohydrates and simple sugarsóis what it does to our blood sugar levels.

Blood sugar is, simply enough, the amount of sugar (glucose) we have in our blood. When we eat, our body breaks down food carbohydrates to produce sugars. The sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, which carries it to every cell in the body. Blood sugar fuels the cells, providing them with the energy they need to keep us healthy.

It is extremely important that blood sugar levels remain consistent and not be too high or too low. The normal amount of sugar in the blood ranges from 60 mg/dL (milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood) to 120 mg/dL, depending on when a person last ate.

How It Works

The amount of sugar in the blood is largely controlled by the hormone insulin. When the body recognizes that we are eating and turning food into sugars, the pancreas secretes insulin. Insulin acts like a travel guide, escorting sugar through the bloodstream and then ìknocking on and unlocking the cellsí doorsî to allow glucose to enter. When the pancreas, insulin, and the cells are not working in harmony, the result can be diabetesóhigh levels of blood sugar.


In diabetes, blood sugar levels are too high. There are two reasons for this.

Insulin-dependent diabetes, which is known as Type I diabetes or juvenile-onset diabetes, is caused by damage to the pancreas. Part of the pancreas, beta cells, manufacture the insulin that escorts blood sugar to the cells. If beta cells are not working, or not working well, you do not produce enough insulinóthere are not enough ìtravel guidesî to get the blood sugar to the cells. The result is that the blood sugar remains in the bloodstreamóhigh blood sugar levels.

In noninsulin-dependent diabetes, which is known as Type II diabetes or adult-onset diabetes, insulin is produced, but the cells remain resistant to itóyou might say they keep changing the ìlocksî so that the insulin cannot bring in the blood sugar. This also results in high blood sugar levels. Type II diabetes is by far the most prevalent, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of all diabetics.

Diabetes and high blood sugar result in frequent urination, extreme thirst, increased appetite, unexplained weight loss, dry skin and frequent skin infections, recurrent vaginitis, blurred vision, fatigue, drowsiness, and nausea. Diabetes has the potential for serious long-term complications that can lead to increased risk for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, visual problems and blindness, slow healing of injuries, kidney failure, and damage to the nervous system.

Diabetes And Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may result from treatment for diabetes. Taking too much medication, missing or delaying a meal, eating too little food for the amount of insulin taken, exercising too strenuously, drinking too much alcohol, or any combination of these factors may lead to low blood sugar levels. This can result in weakness, shakiness, nervousness, anxiety, faintness, and marked personality changes.

Although hypoglycemia is most prevalent as a complication of diabetes, other causes include early pregnancy, prolonged fasting, and long periods of strenuous exercise.

Support For Blood Sugar

Healthy blood sugar levels can be maintained through diet and lifestyle changes. Of special interest are the minerals chromium and vanadium and the herbs bitter melon and Gymnema sylvestre.


Chromium is the major mineral involved in insulin production, and a deficiency in this mineral can interfere with the production and utilization of insulin. Indeed, a chromium deficiency can result in three conditions directly related to blood sugar: high blood sugar levels, an inability of the cells to pick up and use blood sugar (impaired glucose tolerance), and higher insulin levels.

Chromium increases the ability of insulin to bind to cells and leads to increased insulin sensitivity of body tissue. This leads to the body being better able to absorb and use the blood sugar. In other words, chromium helps the insulin ìtravel guideî get to more doors and oils the key that the travel guide uses to unlock our cells to the blood sugar. Studies have indicated that chromium does lower blood sugar and insulin levels in those with Type II diabetes.

The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has noted that current data suggests that chromium supplementation can be useful for people with glucose intolerance, Type II diabetes, gestational diabetes, and steroid-induced diabetes.


Although as early as 1899 it was found that a form of vanadium resulted in a decrease in blood sugar levels, it was not until the late 1970s that vanadiumís insulin-like action was first described. Vanadium may activate insulin receptorsómaking the cell more receptive to the insulinís ìkeyîóand through this exert insulin-like action.

This has been supported in two clinical trials. In one, patients with Type II diabetes received 50 mg of vanadium sulfate two times per day for four weeks. The abstract of this study notes that the vanadium was well-tolerated and resulted in modest reductions of blood sugar and hepatic insulin resistance.

In another trial, patients with Type II diabetes were given vanadium. The authors note that after three weeks, insulin sensitivity was improved.

Bitter Melon

Bitter melon grows in tropical areas, including parts of the Amazon, East Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and throughout South America. It is used as a food as well as a medicine.

Bitter melon does much the same as chromium: it improves the bodyís ability to use blood sugar and improves glucose toleranceóthat is, the bodyís ability to get the blood sugar into the cells.

In one study, using 100 ml of bitter melon juice was found to improve glucose tolerance by 73 percent in a standard glucose tolerance test. In another study, an aqueous extract of bitter melon fruit was found to decrease blood sugar levels by 54 percent.

Gymnema Sylvestre

Like chromium and vanadium, Gymnema sylvestre works to help increase glucose tolerance. Like bitter melon, it may help the pancreas produce insulin.

Gymnema has been used with patients suffering from both Type I and Type II diabetes. In one study with 27 Type I diabetes patients, the gymnema extract reduced the insulin requirements and lowered the fasting blood glucose levels. The abstract notes that Gymnema extract enhances the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin.

As far as Type II diabetes goes, in one study, Gymnema extract was administered for 18 to 20 months to 22 Type II patients taking conventional medication. All the patients showed a significant reduction in blood sugar levels, and five of the 22 diabetic patients were able to maintain their blood sugar levels without conventional drugs.

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:28 am
by stuward
I try to limit fat and calories
That's your problem. Fat doesn't make you fat, fat satisfys your hunger. Carbs make you hungry and encourage you to eat more. Read up on low-carb/Paleo/Primal eating and give that a real try. Make it a lifestyle, not a short term diet fix. Be satisfied with a gradual long term loss and you will succeed. Make your goal good health and the weight will look after itself.

First you have to understand that most official diet advice is wrong. There are lots of reasons for this, some sinister, some stupid, but you have to wipe your mind clean of the advice you've been seeing and start looking at the data with an open mind.

Stay away from diet pills. They are not the answer.
I do cardio for 45 min every other day
More bad advice. It's not usless to do cardio but it's not effective for fat loss. Strength training has to be your number 1 trg priority. Cardio only makes sense if you have a base of strength training and your diet is dialed in. It will always be second priority.

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:08 pm
by Jebus
ardeema, You should also do High Intensity Interval Training with Strength Training.

HIIT is basically running really fast until you cant, walk for about 2 min, then repeat.

Long distant marathon running is $h1t don't do it.

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:46 am
by stuward
Jenniferhele, Here is a recent relevant article you should read. ... -part.html