What was once thought to be a passing trend, the Paleo diet has been shown in several studies to be an effective approach for treating and reversing diabetes.
The Paleo diet isn't just about eating healthy - it's about replacing inflammatory foods with those that help to retain muscle mass, burn fat and lower blood sugar. The diet, which is rich in meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and some starches, excludes dairy, sweets and most grains.
While patients adhering to the Paleo diet may need to make certain adjustments for their health, here are three ways it can help reverse diabetes:
1. It improves health markers often treated by drugs.
While the medications used to treat diabetes help patients manage symptoms, they don't treat the underlying cause of disease. The Paleo diet, however, has been shown to improve blood sugar, triglycerides, blood pressure and other key markers of health. One study even found that the Paleo diet can improve insulin sensitivity, lipid profiles, and cardiovascular health in patients who don't exercise.
2. It leads to fat loss and metabolic improvements.
Several studies have shown that eating Paleo is linked to a smaller waist circumference - a health marker that is linked to lowered risk for diabetes and disease. Research has also shown that the Paleo diet outperforms a low-fat diet in overweight women in terms of fat loss and metabolic improvements. Additionally, paleolithic eating is associated with less stored fat in the liver - by up to 50 percent, one study found.
3. It encompasses lifestyle changes.
Eating a Paleo diet may also come with lifestyle changes, as the diet encourages food choices that are local, organic and sustainable (grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, etc.). Popularized by the Crossfit movement, the paleo diet is also popular among fitness enthusiasts. Another lifestyle aspect of the Paleo diet that is beneficial for diabetics is its flexibility - dieters naturally tend to eat fewer carbohydrates on the Paleo diet, but you can increase or decrease carbs intake depending on your needs. Unlike traditional diabetes diets, the paleo diet may be a more realistic way of eating - for life.