Carboholic Help: Choosing a Diet

I really, really enjoy carbs like bread and pasta, sweets, and don’t forget potatoes! My favorite meal is a bowl of mashed taters topped with some cheese and sour cream. Oh, man!

Busted

So, here I am just enjoying my carbs when BAM! My doctor tells me, “You have Type 2 Diabetes.” I was busted and more than a little depressed. In fact, there have been tears shed. I was (and still am to some degree) mourning the loss of my emotional refuge: food.

I understand. I’ve been there. It’s confusing and overwhelming. I am here to offer the carboholic help in choosing a diet. First, let’s look at carbs: What are they? Do we need them?

You Need Carbs

Carbohydrates are the foods that sustain our energy. The body breaks them down making glucose (a form of sugar). Glucose fuels every cell in our bodies, and most notably the brain. Because of the high number of neurons or nerve cells contained there, our brains use over half of the sugar energy in our bodies. Functions like thinking, memory and learning have been closely linked to levels of glucose.

Too little glucose can cause a reduction in the neurotransmitters breaking down the communication between the nerve cells. However, too much glucose can cause lapses in memory and deficiencies in cognitive function.

Not all carbohydrates are good for you, so it’s important to choose carb sources wisely. Carbs include grains, beans, potatoes, fruit, milk, candy, cookies, and soda (not the diet ones).

Knowing that my body needs carbs to function properly, I wanted a diet plan that made sense to me. One that I would stick to that would help me control my diabetes. I looked at four plans. I will share them with you and you can decide if any are right for you.

Paleo

The Paleo diet is based on the idea that we should be eating like our forefathers who were hunters and gatherers. For me, this diet was a big fat NO. It is expensive, first of all, because it focuses completely on fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. No frozen or canned. I live in a rural area. Going to the store daily is not an option that works for me.

The second thing I didn’t like was that there is no dairy, no grains, no legumes (peas, peanuts, etc.), and no potatoes.

To be fair, my chiropractor followed this diet plan. He lost weight and the inflammation in his joints went down. There are definite health benefits to be had, if you chose this diet plan. Besides that, there are cookbooks and plenty of websites to offer guidance and support.

Mediterranean

Yep, the Mediterranean diet is still around; although, it’s not in the spotlight as much these days. I have read two books by Dr. Don Colbert who highly recommends this diet. (The books are: What Would Jesus Eat and Reversing Inflammation.)

The plan is mainly focused on plant based foods: whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Greek yogurts and some cheeses are approved. Poultry, fish, and eggs are also allowed.

Watch out though if you’re diabetic! Combining grains, beans and dairy can be a carb overload.

Keto

Keto is the new fad. The classic Keto diet was originally developed to treat epilepsy. It emphasizes high levels of fats and proteins, and very low carbs.

My biggest concerns with this diet is, in fact, the fat intake. Heart disease is closely linked to diabetes, so I have to be careful from what sources I am getting my fats and oils. Plus, I already confessed, I love my carbs. I don’t want to give up bread and pasta completely.

Another thing that kind of bothers me is the recipes.  Many of the recipes substitute coconut flour or almond flour for regular flour because of the lower carbs.  Well, I don’t like coconut so that leaves that one out.  Almond flour is outrageously expensive.  It’s like twelve bucks for three cups of flour.  (I could be exaggerating, but not by much. It is expensive.)

However, the diet does work for weight loss.  A friend of mine has lost 20 lbs with Keto.  I’m just not comfortable with diets that suggest eliminating all of something our bodies need, and I need

Atkins

I really like the Atkins diet. The emphasis with the Atkins plan is whole foods and fresh foods. It includes some dairy. Some phases of the plan include limited starchy vegetables (POTATOES), and whole grains. They emphasize healthy fats which is what my diabetic counselor also recommended like butter, canola oil, and flax seed oil.

Atkins says no to refined sugars, fried foods, breaded foods, and partially hydrogenated oils. All of which are not good for a diabetic anyway.

The Atkins website is like a one-stop shop. They have a mobile app to help you track your carb intake. I use the website a lot because I like the layout. The food tracker, helps me see my carb and calorie intake. I can track how many cups of water I drink, and chart my weight and exercise goals. There is a community for support and recipes for each phase. Plus, a shop for all things Atkins.

Besides the website, finding Atkins products is easy. Even in a rural area, I can pick up my favorite Atkins snack at the store or even find them on Amazon. They have been around a long time. There are many books and cookbooks available. Best of all, they have a good success rate without my having to give up all the things a carboholic loves.

Choose Wisely

Everybody is different and our dieting needs and goals are a reflection of that fact. That is probably why there are so many diet plans to choose from. I chose Atkins because it fits the best with my goals and what I enjoy eating. Hopefully, you can find a diet that fits your needs and your goals.

As always, leave me a comment or a question. Tell me , what is your go-to carb?