How Do You Eat a Raw Food Diet If You're Diabetic or Pre-Diabetic?
Well, you grab some uncooked food, you stick it in your mouth, chew, swallow, and repeat. Really though, the raw food diet can be eaten the same way by diabetic, pre-diabetic, and non-diabetic people. The difference lies in how much benefit it can provide: diabetics and pre-diabetics stand to get more out of the raw food diet because it is so low in sugar and simple carbohydrates: two ingredients which are particularly troublesome for diabetics.
The Root of Diabetes
Those with type 2 diabetes (which make up almost 95% of all diabetes cases) either cannot produce enough insulin or cannot properly utilize the insulin they do produce. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to increasing blood glucose levels. Insulin is required for cells to absorb glucose (the sugar of blood sugar) from the bloodstream. Because glucose cannot be efficiently absorbed in those with diabetes, their blood sugar levels remain chronically high. Not only can their cells become starved for energy but they can also suffer damage to their blood vessels and organs from excessive amounts of glucose in the blood.
The Raw Food Diet
Raw Foodists, as participants in this diet are referred to, eat no meat, no alcohol, no dairy, no caffeine, no refined foods, no sugar, and no junk food of any kind. They believe that cooking food (i.e. heating it above 116 degrees Fahrenheit) limits its nutritional value and life force. Temperatures above 116 degrees break down enzymes that are thought to aid in digestion and absorption of food.
So What Exactly Do Raw Foodists Eat?
The basic guidelines of the raw food diet are to eat only unprocessed, preferably organic, whole foods, including:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Dried fruit
- Freshly juiced fruit and vegetables
- Purified water
- Young coconut milk
The only cooking techniques to be used are dehydration, soaking (nuts and dried fruits), sprouting (seeds, grains, and beans), juicing, and blending.
How This Diet Can Benefit Diabetics
The raw food diet is essentially devoid of simple carbohydrates found in pretty much all processed foods (which make up a major part of the normal Western diet). Simple carbohydrates can be dangerous for diabetics because they are digested so quickly, causing blood sugar levels to rise too fast. The very little amount of sugar in the raw food diet is also very beneficial (hopefully for obvious reasons) for diabetics. The blood vessel damage caused by excess glucose in the blood puts diabetics at an increased risk of developing heart disease and experiencing stokes. Diets high in fat and cholesterol can increase this risk dramatically in diabetes patients. The greatly decreased amount of trans fats and saturated fats in the raw food diet makes it a great option for diabetics. If you have uncontrolled blood sugar from diabetes you might consider trying the raw food diet in addition to exercise. But as always, first talk with your doctor to address any nutrient deficiencies that could result. You may need additional supplementation to stay healthy.