In this article, we will explore the basic strategy of getting off insulin for diabetic patients.
What is diabetes?
Our body is made up of cells. Cells need the energy to work. They get this energy from a sugar (carbohydrate) called glucose. Glucose comes to the cells from blood. Now, this glucose cannot enter into the cells on its own. It needs the help of insulin to get into the cells.
In diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), due to some reason the beta cells of the pancreases (insulin-producing cells of our body) get damaged and are unable to produce insulin. As a result, there is less insulin present in the blood and due to this less glucose enters the cells. Since less glucose enters the cells, more of the glucose is stuck in the blood and the blood sugar rises.
Why does high blood sugar cause a problem?
Due to higher blood glucose, the blood becomes viscous (i.e. thicker) and there is difficulty in this thick blood to pass through the small blood vessels in the eye and kidneys. That’s why eye and kidney damage is common amongst diabetes patients. The heart also finds it more difficult to pump thick blood and so the blood pressure also rises as the heart needs to pump more strongly. Hence, hypertension usually follows the diagnosis of diabetes in patients. Sugar is the ideal food for bacteria. Hence, if there is an infection or wound, in diabetics it takes ages to heal as the blood sugar is high and that is the best growth factor for bacteria. We notice that many antibiotics appear to be ineffective in diabetes patients.
Diet Strategy for Diabetics
The basic issue is that the body cells need glucose for energy and the cells need insulin to bring in that glucose into the cells.
There is another sugar, fructose, that can be used by the body cells to produce energy. And the good thing is that fructose does not require insulin’s help to enter the cells. It can enter the cells on its own and the cells can use it to produce energy very efficiently. Fructose is commonly found in many fruits and some vegetables.
The 2nd part of the diet strategy is to avoid carbs post lunch till breakfast the next day. This gives the beta cells and their progenitor cells enough rest (16 hours) so that they can rejuvenate. If we eat carbs in all the meals, the beta cells will be under persistent pressure to produce insulin and not get enough time to rest.
A Sample Diet for Diabetics
Bowl of fruits (we can take a mixture of 4 fruits eg. Apple, Pear, Mango and Papaya). We can substitute mango with banana also. Avoid banana and mango together as they both contain some glucose. We can add berries (blackberries, cranberries, strawberries) as well.
Dry fruits (like pista, almond, walnuts, chilgoza)
Salads (like a mixture of cucumber and tomato). This is a potent natural insulin
Green vegetables with 1 roti made of almond flour
Brown rice with gravy vegetables (This can be taken maximum twice a week)
Small fruit bowl or vegetable soup
Chicken / Fish with veggies
This is just a sample diet. Various permutations are possible.
NO BREADS. NO WHEAT. NO ROTI’s
What else can be taken?
Sugar-free ice creams, soya snacks, etc.
Roti’s made from Almond Flour and Coconut Flour can be taken.
There is a two-pronged diet-based strategy to get diabetics off insulin. Firstly, switch over to fructose (as that does not need insulin to enter the cells) as the fuel to give energy to the cells and secondly, give rest to the pancreatic cells (by taking carbohydrate-free diet) from lunch to the next day breakfast. This allows natural rejuvenation to occur in the beta cells.