“Healthy Eating” is in quotes because it has been co-opted by Diet Dictocrats in the Public Health establishment, by their cohorts in Agribusiness and Big Pharma, and by extension, mass media in general. We (followers of The Nutrition Debate/Type 2 Nutrition and like-thinkers), exist in a parallel universe – behind the mirror, as it were. We need to take the phrase back. That’s the reason I write “The Nutrition Debate,” renamed “Type 2 Nutrition,” here.
“Healthy eating” is not just for Type 2 diabetics like me, although it should be self evident that diabetics should not eat a “balanced” diet, high in carbohydrates, as advocated for EVERYONE by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the ADA. “Healthy eating,” as I will describe here and henceforth, advocates that EVERYONE eat, in a way that is a major departure from that construct. “Healthy eating,” as I will define it, will be what I would have been able to eat IF I had not “broken” my metabolism by eating the recommended Standard American Diet (SAD). And perhaps, it is what I would have been able to eat if I had taken charge of my own diabetes healthcare when I was first diagnosed. I didn’t know that then, when the “fix” was within my control. The “fix” was to change what I eat.
The “fix” for most people who today appear to have a healthy metabolism but have gained a little weight is simply to shift slightly away from refined carbohydrates, sugary foods, and foods made with or cooked in vegetable oils. This will shift the proportions of macronutrients away slightly from carbs and Omega 6s (in soybean, corn and other vegetable oils) and slightly toward healthy saturated fats and animal protein. Along the way, you will lose weight, you will not be hungry all the time, and you will feel better. Everyone can do this, and should do it, routinely.
For people who are overweight or obese, making these dietary changes, in extremis, will have all the same effects for you, plus your pre-diabetes (diagnosed or not, if you’re overweight, you probably have Insulin Resistance), or your diagnosed Type 2 diabetes will be “in remission.” In reality, you will regain good blood sugar control and be clinically considered “non-diabetic,” in terms of your A1c’s, SO LONG AS YOU CONTINUE TO EAT THIS WAY.
For long term Type 2s, if you change your diet in a radical way (e.g. Very Low Carb, i.e., 20g of carbs a day), you will be able to eliminate most or all of your oral diabetes medications. I did. After 16 years of seeing my diabetes progressively worsen, requiring more and more medications, I made the transformation. As a result, to avoid hypos, I had to stop taking 2 of the 3 oral diabetes meds and today take only a minimum dose of Metformin. In addition, I lost 170 pounds, my blood pressure went from 130/90 to 110/70 on fewer meds, and my HDL and triglycerides (blood lipids) and hsCRP (inflammation) markers dramatically improved. That was 17 years ago.
I realize that there is a lot of confusing information out there. It’s a problem. Whom do you believe? Extremists like the vegans? Or an extremist like me? “Everything in moderation” is a very appealing concept. It seems reasonable until you realize that “everything” in today’s food environment includes “foods” that are harmful to virtually everyone. Therein lies a clue that might guide you.
Processed (manufactured) foods of whatever stripe are likely to be “unhealthy.” Vegetable oils – all vegetable oils – are a modern invention of the food manufacturing industry. It is only in the last 100 years or so that processing seeds with crushing, cooking to remove “impurities,” then chemically treated to “bleach” them (like white flour is “bleached”) is what we are now eating in large quantities every day in the processed foods we buy and cook.
Why does it not occur to us that this is both unnatural and unhealthy? How could anyone consider that “healthy eating”? So, in the spirit that we (the general population) are all Pre-diabetic (whether diagnosed or not), or worse, I recommit myself to my definition of “healthy eating”: an animal-based diet that includes healthy saturated fats and dietary cholesterol. My diet is high fat (75% fat), moderate protein (20% protein), and very low carb (5% carbohydrate), the way it has been now for these last 17 years. And, for the record, my latest lipid panel: Total cholesterol: 186; LDL 92; HDL 80 and triglycerides 56, non-HDL cholesterol 106. My hs CRP was 1.7, but I am working to get that lower. My hsCRP goal: <1.0mg/L. My most recent A1c was 5.7%. My A1c goal is 5.0%.