Are you trying to find a diet that works for you, but are simply stuck? There are just so many diets out there and it’s difficult to know which ones actually work and if they’re safe for people with diabetes.
You’re in luck. U.S. News and World Report recently published a list of the best diets for helping control or reverse type 2 diabetes. Experts rated 32 diets and found many that they believe are safe, effective and will help prevent and manage diabetes.
Here are the top six diets.
The DASH Diet
DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” This diet encourages participants to eat lean meat, whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and low-fat dairy. It also recommends a decrease of sodium and an increase in potassium. There are a lot of potassium-rich foods you can choose from including sweet potato, winter squash, yogurt, broccoli, cantaloupe, bananas, pork tenderloin, and tuna. The DASH diet offers free meal plans and helps you measure how much you should eat every day depending on age and other factors. DASH is typically known to lower blood pressure and can also help prevent or control diabetes.
The Biggest Loser Diet
Based on the famous show “The Biggest Loser,” the Biggest Loser Diet offers a similar lifestyle to the contestants on the small screen through healthy eating and exercising. The diet provides you with specific menus and snack choices based on your food preferences. It’s focused around three key ideas: eat whole foods, eat small meals every 3 to 4 hours, and eat appropriately for your needs. These steps will give you the right amount of calories to keep your metabolism at a high level and keep you energized throughout the day.
The diet is a 6-week plan stressing portion control and recording in a food journal. It also incorporates a food pyramid of 4-3-2-1 for mealtime: 4 servings of fruits and vegetables, 3 lean proteins, 2 whole grains, and 200 of “extra” calories.
You may not experience the same jaw-dropping results as the participants on the show—they have a very intense regimen of near-constant exercising and heavy portion control. The contestants are also severely obese, thus they have more weight to lose. Don’t set your expectations of weight loss based on their numbers.
Engine 2 Diet
This diet is formed around the belief that plants give you the best source of energy you can find. Engine 2 enthusiasts claim that animal products create bad cholesterol and clog your arteries. The diet can be rather restrictive, so the founders provide participants with a 28-day challenge that helps to slowly transition from animal products to solely plant-based products.
Some famous athletes are advocates of the plant-based way of eating. The Engine 2 website highlights Ruth Heidrich, a breast cancer survivor who cured herself using the diet and went on to win more than a thousand triathlons.
Their slogan sums up the vision of the diet well: “power up your life, go plant strong.”
The Flexitarian Diet
“Flexitarian” is a marriage between the words vegetarian and flexible. This diet is great for diabetics who already don’t like meat since it diminishes meat consumption without ruling it out altogether. The flexitarian diet focuses on eating a plentiful amount of vegetables and replacing protein from meat with other proteins like tofu, beans, lentils, and eggs. It also replaces simple sugars with more natural sweeteners like dried herbs and agave nectar. The diet recommends eating 300 calories for breakfast, 400 for lunch, and 500 for dinner.
The claim is that flexitarians weigh 15% less than “their carnivorous counterparts.” The other claim is that it reduces the risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
The Mayo Clinic Diet
This diet was designed by Mayo Clinic health experts and comes in two phases: Lose It, a two-week phase that jump-starts your weight loss (many people lose 6 to 10 pounds through healthy eating and exercise during this phase), and Live It, which is a lifelong approach to healthy living.
The Mayo Clinic diet slogan is “a weight loss program for life.” The goal is to help you find a healthy way of eating and exercising that will last a lifetime with healthy foods and activities you enjoy. If you consistently exercise and eat a well-balanced diet, you will keep the weight off and reduce your risk of health problems like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. The diet uses the Mayo Clinic Weight Pyramid that helps participants make smart-eating choices.
The Ornish Diet
This is a low-fat diet based on pleasure and abundance rather than pain and restriction. Dr. Ornish, founder of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, focuses his diet on improving 4 components: nutrition, activity, wellness and support. He believes that managing stress and surrounding yourself with supportive loved ones can be as beneficial to a person’s health as nutritious eating and regular exercise.
The Ornish diet categorizes foods into five groups from most healthy (1) to least healthy (5). All foods fall on this spectrum and it is up to the participant to decide what foods to eat. A person may decide to eat a spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette (1 on the spectrum) or a chipotle salad with tortilla chips, cheese, and ranch dressing (5 on the spectrum). If you mess up one day, you can always eat healthier the next day.
The Ornish diet claims to reverse heart disease, but it can also help with diabetes.