Diabetes and Elements Meals
Elements Meals … good for Diabetics? Recently, someone posted an opinion to the Elements Meals Facebook page stating that our meals are “not good for diabetics”.
I am grateful for posts like this because they give me the opportunity address correct nutrition principles in specific contexts … with the intent and hope to add accurate knowledge, bring clarity, and provide credible sources to the issue at hand. So, thank you B. Fahnestock for your Facebook comment.
But … before I get into the meat of the post – whether Elements Meals are good for diabetics – consider this relevant thought jewel from Neil Degrasse Tyson:
“One of the great challenges in life is to know enough to think you’re right, but not enough to know you’re wrong.”
It’s call out time. Yes, people are entitled to their opinions. No, I will not abide ignorance or fallacious statements, particularly when they are made in my crib about Elements Meals.
Here is the answer: Over 90% of the time, Elements Meals are excellent for diabetics. Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty of why.
First principles -- Diabetes education, self-management, and asking the right questions. The first principle for any individual seeking to improve their health in a truly sustainable manner, diabetic or not, is self-education.
In a massive 2015 study, Prof. Eran Segal proposed that the question, “What is the right diet for humans?” was the wrong one. He suggested that it is the wrong question because it assumes that the best diet depends only on the food and not on the person eating it.
Hard facts, bad odds. Diet related diseases have exploded in the last few decades. According to the CDC, if you live in the United States, there is over a 70% chance that you are either diabetic, overweight, or have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Bad odds. Moreover, there is overwhelming evidence that diet and lifestyle are major drivers of these conditions.
Get educated about you. Did you know that your genetic make-up, your unique gut bacteria, and your lifestyle may cause your body to react to specific foods differently than I do?
For example, I could eat a quart of ice cream and not experience any blood sugar spike, while you may experience a huge blood sugar reaction to a sirloin steak. It is true.
Listen to Prof. Segal’s Ted Talk© about these facts. His research findings are surprising, enlightening, and helpful. “Our responses to food are personal,” says Segal.
Find his Ted Talk here.
Secondary principles – health goals. If you think there is certainty about nutrition therapy for diabetics, here is what the American Diabetes Association (ADA) wrote in its official position statement:
“Many misconceptions exist concerning nutrition and diabetes. Moreover, in clinical practice, nutrition recommendations that have little or no supporting evidence have been and are still being given….”
Think about that. According to the ADA, clinical practitioners are advising people suffering diabetes to follow nutrition plans that lack supporting evidence. Mind-blowing.
The nutritional goals of someone with diabetes are complex and multi-pronged, including:
- Metabolically speaking, attaining, and maintaining normal range blood glucose levels, lipid and lipoprotein profiles that reduce the risk for macrovascular disease, and blood pressure levels that reduce the risk for vascular disease.
- Preventing and treating the complications of diabetes by changing nutrient intake and lifestyle to prevent and treat obesity, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure (among other things).
- Improving health through healthy food choices and physical activity.
And that is a minimal start. Those goals and outcomes will depend on the person’s age, whether their condition is type 1 or type 2, and behavioral and psychological relationships with food and lifestyle, their gut bacteria, and their body’s unique blood glucose levels to foods.
YOUR best nutrition plan is one that works for you … and is supported by hard evidence.
Tertiary principles – medical nutrition therapy and food sets. The ADA has established guidelines for food sets based on evidence it qualifies as A-level, B-level and C-level. The food sets include macronutrients, e.g. carbohydrates, fiber, proteins, and dietary fat.
They have also set guidelines for micronutrients. Finally, they also provide specific contexts for those guidelines, e.g. age, sex, compromising health conditions, and more.
Find the ADA’s position statement, Nutrition Principles and Recommendations in Diabetes here:
Here is what the ADA says, in relevant part, about macronutrients:
Carbohydrates. “Foods containing carbohydrate from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milk should be included in a healthy diet.
With regard to the glycemic effects of carbohydrates, the total amount of carbohydrate in meals or snacks is more important than the source or type.”
Proteins. “In subjects with type 2 diabetes, it has been demonstrated that moderate hyperglycemia can contribute to an increased turnover of protein, which suggests an increased need for protein.
For persons with diabetes, especially those not in optimal glucose control, the protein requirement may be greater than the Recommended Dietary Allowance.”
Fat: “Less than 10% of energy intake should be derived from saturated fats. Intake of trans unsaturated fatty acids should be minimized.”
So says the ADA. Elements Meals comply with these guidelines and recommendations.
Yet, there are independent, evidence-based studies with different findings. Several studies conclude that low carbohydrate, very low caloric, Mediterranean, and keto diets have also proven effective among diabetics. Such findings are at odds with the ADA’s recommendations.
This proves that the specific eater must be considered! Fortunately, Elements Meals can be incorporated and support any one of these identified diets.
See such a study here.
While the ADA’s recommendations are evidence-based, they are nevertheless general … which means they are not idiosyncratic. That are not personal to you.
Thus, I maintain that knowing exactly how your body specifically responds to specific whole foods you are eating is a much better approach to predictably and sustainably achieving your specific health and fitness goals.
Moreover, all nutritional studies conclude that the best sources of human energy for sustainable health are WHOLE FOODS. Elements Meals are a complex blend of premium animal proteins, vegetables, and fat that I created with world-class food scientists, dieticians, and nutritionists.
Each meal’s ingredients were specifically chosen gathered for a gut-healthy, low-glycemic, macronutrient dense meal. Are they great for diabetics? Over 90% of the time, yes.
Have more questions on this topic? Send me an email and let’s dialogue.
My suggestions about nutrition for diabetes --
- As always … first and foremost … inform yourself. Read the research and the studies. Take the initiative to discover how your body responds to the food you are eating. You may be surprised. Or not. But learn! If you eat foods that maintain normal glucose levels, your need for insulin will be low. This is a particularly good approach.
- Get your gut healthy! Eating quality food will do this. Read the book “Clean Gut”.
- STOP INGESTING ARTIFICIAL SWEETNERS! These bizarre chemical combinations induce diabetic characteristics in non-diabetics.
- Stop eating processed sugars.
Keep a health journal. Record everything you eat every day for a week. It is a revelatory experience. Then you will know what you are eating.
Make daily notes about how you are feeling and any changes you are noticing in your body, your mind, your heart, and your spirit. Next, test your blood glucose levels at each meal for a week. That is about 50 meals.
Chart the meals that give you blood sugar spikes. This is an absolute revelatory experience. I invite you to pursue it.