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Paleo Diet For Diabetics: Benefits and Precautions

There are around 26 million people who are already battling diabetes around the world. There are close to 80 million people who have pre-diabetes (those with high chance of developing the condition). If you happen to belong to any of these groups, or happen to know someone who does, it is important that you stop, and think about the possibility of changing your diet. If you are keen on trying out the paleo diet for diabetics, it may give you the desired results.1 Healthy food choices can bring about a significant change to the condition you are currently dealing with. This article discusses about benefits and precautions of paleo diet for diabetics.

Paleo Diet and Diabetes

In some cases, weight loss is a prerequisite to better health. Anyone dealing with diabetes will know that obesity has a major role to play in causing further damage.

Therefore, dropping the extra pounds can ensure that your blood glucose level is stable and on target. However, it might not be absolutely necessary to drop the excess pounds to boost diabetes outcomes. If you aim to lose around 5-10% of body weight, it can go a long way in helping you lower blood glucose, blood pressure levels and total cholesterol.2 The paleo diet is an eating plan that can help diabetics lose weight, as well reaping other benefits.3 It is important to know how paleo diet can help manage diabetes.

People tend to sway towards buying their meals online or from nearby fast food restaurants. While it is good for an easy fix, for a diabetic, it can have life-altering consequences. Most people do not have the time to prepare their own meals or even keep a check on the kinds of food they eat throughout the day. A majority of experts are of the opinion that the current trend of not preparing whole foods at home has led to a spike in obesity, diabetes, as well as other chronic diseases. This is the major area where a paleo diet can help in diabetics management.

A majority of nutrition researchers and doctors suggest that we turn our attention to simpler diets, the kind that early man followed. Diets based on free-range and grass-fed animal products, whole fruit, fresh seafood, seeds, nuts and vegetables.

The Paleolithic (Paleo) Diet, is also commonly referred to as the Hunter-Gatherer Diet. This healthy eating plan is built around consuming fresh, unprocessed animals and plants. Despite being modeled after human diets that were followed centuries ago, the paleo diet comprises foods that are easy to find like fish, fruit, vegetables, eggs, nuts, and grass-fed meats. However, the diet does not include grains like wheat, barley and rye or legumes like beans. There are a few versions of the diet that make provisions for dairy, if it comes from grass-fed cows or is unpasteurized.4

Those who follow the paleo diet believe that all types of processed fats should be avoided, like vegetable oil, margarine and soya bean oil. Why do these foods fail to make the cut? This is because they are whole foods and may contribute to heart disease. However, a few other supporters of the diet have given their nod to the inclusion of various healthy oils, including flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, walnut, olive and coconut. Sugar can be consumed, but in limited quantities and preferably natural only. This makes it more appealing for people with diabetes and the choice of natural, healthy foods in the best way in which a paleo diet helps diabetics.

If you were worried that you may not be able to eat like our ancestors ate, here is a way to make the diet work. The diet can be tweaked to suit your tastes, weight loss goals as well as blood glucose needs. The diet has its hard and fast rules when it comes to the types of food to consume. However, those foods that are mentioned in the diet can be eaten in unlimited quantities. As the chosen foods are the best to maintain blood sugar levels and hence paleo diet works best for diabetics. Based on the type of diabetes you have, you can choose the amount of carbohydrate, protein or fat you consume on a daily basis. For diabetics wanting to take the leap of faith, the diet will help improve blood glucose control, will ensure higher energy and will help with weight loss.5

Benefits Of Paleo Diet For Diabetics

If you are having second thoughts about switching over to the diet, here are some important benefits of the diet that might help change your mind. It is a vitamin and mineral-diet that does away with unprocessed foods and foods that cause allergic reactions.
Fatigue, lack of energy, disturbed sleep, problems with metabolism are some of the common symptoms experienced by diabetics. Diabetics, in addition to maintaining blood sugar levels, need to protect themselves from other lifestyle disorders and complications of diabetes. Hence, benefits of paleo diet for diabetics that focus on managing diabetes, it symptoms and preventing complications are worth noting.

Some of the important benefits of paleo diet for diabetics include the following.

  • Ability to lower cholesterol and blood sugar
  • Ensures effective blood glucose control
  • Increases insulin sensitivity
  • Boosts brain health
  • Builds stronger muscles
  • Ensures better digestion
  • Helps boost absorption of minerals and vitamins
  • Builds immunity
  • Provides relief from skin diseases and allergies
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Improves sleep6

Precautions Of Paleo Diet For Diabetics

While paleo diet for diabetics offers many benefits, there are certain precautions pertaining to paleo diet for diabetics. For those suffering from poorly controlled diabetes or those having diabetic complications must seek medical advice before beginning with paleo diet. If you are suffering from poor digestion, high blood glucose, allergies or other symptoms that might point to nutritional deficiency, you must consider consulting your healthcare team before following the paleo diet religiously.

When you chalk out how the diet can suit your needs, it can be nutrient-dense, low in allergens. Knowing how paleo diet can be beneficial for diabetics and understanding ways to modify it based on individual requirements can help. The specific precautions for paleo diet for diabetics mainly depend on the individual health concern. Hence, it is necessary to discuss the pros and cons of the paleo diet. There are many variations and modifications in paleo diet for diabetics that can be altered for your needs with medical or nutritional expert. While the basis remains the same for all diets, there are a few differences in each eating plan. However, the ingredients remain the same: whole, unprocessed, and low-allergen foods.

There could also be a downside to the diet, which too must be considered while planning precautions for paleo diet fir diabetics. There are a number of versions of the diet that propose the consumption of full-fat dairy products, red meats and butter. These components can elevate cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of heart diseases, in diabetics. With the primary goal being blood sugar control, certain versions of paleo diet may not be suitable for diabetics. However, for the versions that work, diabetics can benefit greatly from the paleo diet.7

Thus, now you are aware of the facts about how paleo diet can help diabetics, its benefits and also the precautions that you must take when following paleo diet for diabetics. With this knowledge, you can plan an individual paleo diet that can help you maintain sugar levels and eliminate individual health concerns.

  1. https://www.who.int/health-topics/diabetes
  2. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/whats-your-healthy-weight/lose-weight
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/paleo-diet/art-20111182
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_diet
  5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/paleo-diet-for-weight-loss
  6. https://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/experimenting-with-that-paleo-caveman-diet-with-diabetes
  7. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/paleo/side-effects-of-paleo-diet.html

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 24, 2022

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