In the USA, almost every newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic is thoroughly indoctrinated in the recommendations and guidelines of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) through doctor-mandated, certified diabetes education programs. Emphasizing highly processed, packaged foods, the ADA diet is designed to keep diabetics eating the same foods that they ate as they progressed from prediabetes to full-blown diabetes, only in smaller portions. But are they really best for type 2 diabetics?
Placing the blame on the diabetic, not the diet. There is a tremendous but usually overlooked advantage in the American Diabetes Association diet for diabetes professionals. The success of diet is attributed to the professional who prescribes it, but any failure of the diet is placed on the diabetic who tries to follow it. That's the major reason the ADA diet really isn't the best of all the type 2 diabetes diets. It may, in fact, be the worst. But placing responsibility for success and failure of this diabetes eating plan is not the only issue.
Even if you follow the American Diabetes Association diet perfectly, you still can get variable amounts of carbohydrate flowing into your bloodstream from the food you eat. This is because, at least in the USA, food labeling laws permit manufacturers to have up to 20% more carbohydrate in the product than is listed on the label. This means that you could be counting your exchanges and measuring your portions with perfect accuracy, and still get blood sugar levels that are too high. Even sugar substitutes for diabetes sometimes contain sugar! This is also a problem for people who carefully follow all type 2 diabetes food lists, including the Weight Watchers point list, and for all those who have masted the South Beach Diet meal plan basics. Defective labeling leads to defective dieting for these plans.
Why there is no American Diabetes Association weight loss program. The ADA plan is not a diabetes diet for weight loss. That is because all those little departures from your ADA diet, which can be due to the way food is labeled, may not show up in your fasting blood sugar levels. At least in the early stages of type 2 diabetes, the beta cells of your pancreas can work hard all night to bring high blood sugar levels back down to normal by early morning before breakfast, which is the time that most type 2's do their testing.
The problem is that every time your blood sugar levels go above the normal blood sugar range, your fat cells, your muscle cells, and your liver cells all become insulin resistant. There are no insulin resistance symptoms to warn you this is happening. You may not notice anything at all. But at a cellular level, insulin receptors that carry sugar into cells shut down to protect the cells from a flood of free radicals from being generated by the burning of sugar as a fuel. Your pancreas has to work harder and harder to produce more and more insulin to try to find some active insulin receptor to move glucose sugar out of the bloodstream.
Moving sugar out of the bloodstream, however, is not the only function of insulin. This essential hormone also helps store fat. You won't gain weight if you are consuming fewer calories than your body needs, but that's also a problem with labeling. You can easily eat more than you think you are eating. All the additional insulin pouring into your bloodstream is ready and waiting to fill up your fat cells. Even if you follow your American Diabetes Association diet perfectly, it's almost a sure thing you will gain weight.
Insulin resistance, HGH, and weight loss on the American Diabetes Association diet. There actually are some type 2 diabetics who do reasonably well on the American Diabetes Association diet, and some who even lose weight. The type 2's who do well on the ADA diet are almost always those who “get to busy to eat.” There is a reason this helps them lose weight, and it's not all about calorie balance.
It's a simple fact that fat cells do not store fat and release (or burn) fat at the same time. Type 2 diabetics who are able to manage their diets so they do not eat constantly are far more likely to be able to burn fat, and far less likely to store fat. Even type 2's who overeat at mealtime may be able to avoid fat storage if they go long enough between meals that the body starts making human growth hormone, also known as HGH. The beauty of HGH is that is preserves muscle tissue when food is not being consumed. It keeps muscle from breaking down. It encourages the burning of fat. Your body does not begin to generate large amounts of its own HGH, however, until you have fasted for at the very least 12 hours, and preferably 18. This means that if you can avoid midnight snacks, you are far, far more likely to avoid weight gain on the ADA diet or any other diabetic meal plan.
What is the right diet for a person with type 2 diabetes?
The right diet for any type 2 diabetic is always the diet that matches the flow of sugar into the bloodstream from digested food with the flow of insulin into the bloodstream from the pancreas (or, if necessary, insulin injections). If your blood sugar levels soar after you eat, then even if they go back down to normal later, your fat cells are being primed to store every extra calorie you consume Reading blood tests for diabetes you take at home with your own glucometer is the only way you will ever know if the ADA diet or any other diet is working for you. The diet information for diabetes that usually gets left out is whether it keeps your blood sugar levels under control after you eat, not just your blood sugar levels taken first thing in the morning before breakfast.