By Edibel Quintero, MD
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes.
If you live with diabetes or prediabetes, you know how it feels and what it means.
Your day-to-day life is never the same. It is hard, and you need to change a lot in your life.
The food was the hardest part for me.
I didn’t expect diabetes to be so stressful.
The grocery shopping after my diagnosis was a complete disaster that almost ended in a breakdown…
For several years, I searched for a solution that would work for me. And I have finally found it.
However, before that, I tried many different diets and approaches I’d like to share with you.
I wish someone in my life had shared such information at the time I was diagnosed.
It would have helped me understand how each of these diets affected my diabetes and avoid a lot of failures.
So this is my review of the diets I tried to lose weight and manage my diabetes, and the one approach that really worked for me.
I just want to say that this is my personal experience. Believe me, I know that what works for somebody else doesn’t necessarily work for you.
The effects of these diets could differ for other people, but this is my honest experience with each of them, which may help you decide if you want to try them.
Generally, the keto diet works by cutting back on carbs and replacing them with mostly fat and protein.
While on this diet, my body was burning fat for fuel, so my weight was decreasing, and my blood sugar was at an all-time low.
However, I was experiencing dizziness and fatigue during this period. I read that it was normal as the body needed to adapt to the new eating style.
I think I haven’t eaten so many avocados and eggs in one month before.
Honestly, the reason I didn’t keep up with it was that it was too restrictive for me.
The diet required me to get 60 to 80% of my calories from fat. I could basically eat only about 20 grams of carbs per day.
I wasn’t prepared to eat like that forever. Only eggs and avocados started to bore me pretty quickly…
I realized that it was more suited to being a short-term diet than something I could follow and enjoy every day.
|My verdict: I found the keto diet too restrictive because I was only allowed to consume fats. For my body, the transition was simply too much.
Another low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet.
You might be laughing at me right now as I just said keto was too extreme for me. What’s the difference here?
Well, the main difference with Atkins is that it’s broken down into four phases, which are based on your daily allowance of carbs.
As you go through these phases, your daily net carb allowance increases.
And throughout these phases, I did lose weight – 14 lbs in total. My blood sugar was getting lower, and it was pretty much stable.
The downside of this… this diet let me understand that, in the end, I do hate eating only fats. Two months in, and I couldn’t look at cheese and beef.
Although it was better than keto when it came to carbs, it didn’t contain enough foods that I would enjoy in the long term.
I found myself craving carbs even more than before the diet.
Plus, I read that eating saturated fat can raise bad cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease. I didn’t want to risk that…
|My verdict: Atkins includes a lot of saturated fat, which is a risk factor for heart disease. It also made me realize that I can’t enjoy eating that much fat in a long term.
This diet encourages an eating pattern of people who live in the countries around the Mediterranean sea, such as Spain, Greece, and Italy.
It emphasizes a plant-based eating approach loaded with vegetables and healthy fats, including olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids from fish.
It also allowed one glass of wine with my dinner, so I really enjoyed that!
It wasn’t restrictive at all compared to keto or Atkins, so I was eating a variety of foods.
When it came to results, my blood sugar wasn’t as low as with keto or Atkins, but it was mostly in a healthy range.
I didn’t lose any weight while on this diet, but I didn’t gain any, either.
What made me get off this diet was actually the lack of specific guidelines.
There are a lot of grains, fruits, and vegetables in this diet, so the meals can be high in carbs.
I felt that because I had diabetes, I needed to exclude a lot of things from my diet, and I wasn’t even sure if I did it right.
|My verdict: This diet lacked clear guidance when it came to diabetes, and I didn’t really notice any difference in weight or blood sugar levels while on it.
A gluten-free diet excludes any foods that contain gluten, which is found in wheat and several other grains.
It means eating only whole foods that don’t contain gluten, like fruits, vegetables, meat, and eggs, as well as gluten-free bread and pasta.
The major advantage I noticed with this diet was how it improved my digestion. I didn’t feel so bloated anymore.
However, other than that, I have to say this diet was probably not the right choice to make with my type 2 diabetes.
It lacked the fiber and vitamins I needed.
And it was so hard to order something at the restaurant because a lot of people didn’t even know what gluten was…
It didn’t affect my weight. I may have even put on a few pounds, and the gluten-free alternatives still spiked my blood sugar levels.
|My verdict: This diet was really good for reducing my bloating, but that was the only benefit it brought me. It wasn’t really suitable for my type 2 diabetes.
Intermittent fasting means that you don’t eat for a period of time each day or week.
It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them.
There are several ways you can do it, but I chose the 16:8 method.
It meant I could only eat for 8 hours, e.g., 1–9 PM, then fast for 16 hours.
The clear benefit was that there was no calorie counting involved, and I didn’t have to restrict myself while eating.
The main rule here was not to overeat during my eating period.
After a few months, I noticed I had lost a few pounds.
However, my glucose levels weren’t that impressed with this diet. I still got spikes, depending on what I ate that day.
However, the worst part was being around others while I was fasting. I felt hungry and irritated.
I just started to cancel the nights out with my friends.
Usually, my friends would be eating all sorts of snacks and desserts, so it felt weird not having anything to eat in front of them.
|My verdict: I couldn’t keep my blood sugar levels stable with this diet. Plus, it was really hard to adjust my social life to this type of eating.
I needed to create a balanced and healthy eating pattern that fit my habits instead of following a diet that required changing my whole lifestyle and needs.
So, I decided to visit a dietitian and ask for more personalized help.
I could instantly tell that the plan I received would work differently.
It contained more of the meals that I could see myself making every day.
However, there was one downside to this – it was extremely expensive.
But I knew that I didn’t have a choice, really.
I had to lose weight, and I had to try to lower my blood sugar.
I had a personalized plan made for 3 months. And the results I got made me really happy.
I was seeing actual changes in my body and health while eating the foods I liked. I lost about 10 pounds.
However, when the time came to repurchase the plan for another 3 months… I just couldn’t allow it financially.
I already spent quite a good amount of money buying all the products in my plan, which were kind of expensive.
So I had no other choice but to cancel.
I thought I might be okay despite canceling, as I had followed the 3-month plan and thought I had good knowledge of what foods worked for me.
However, soon enough, I understood it wouldn’t work…
After a month, I already felt that I was going backward.
I was skipping meals and eating double afterward, my eating schedule was a mess.
But I knew I couldn’t afford the dietitian’s plan again.
A second best, even better alternative to a dietitian’s plan, if you ask me.
It’s an app that creates a fully personalized meal plan only from the foods you like.
It’s all based on a short quiz you take about your personal preferences, eating habits, health conditions, age, activity level, and habits.
It’s basically a pocket-sized dietitian that gives you daily educational tips.
It plans out the whole week’s meal schedule and gives you the grocery list to help you shop for the right products.
The best part is that you don’t have to follow the plan exactly as it is if you don’t like something. You can just change the meals in the day’s plan until you find something you like or have ingredients for.
There are over 45,000 recipes to choose from, so most likely, you will find something that fits your cravings.
When I started using it, I once again felt a sense of clarity and consistency that was missing.
It cost me 11 dollars per month. That’s like two cups of coffee.
If you ask me, it’s damn worth it.
And not to mention, the products I needed for my meals were not as expensive as in the dietitian meal plan, so I saved even more money.
Fast forward to today, I have lost over 35 pounds, and my A1c is down to 5.7, all with the help of Klinio.
This program has proved that there is a solution to both controlling my diabetes and enjoying my favorite foods.
I would recommend this app to anyone with type 2 diabetes, like myself.
So, if you are still searching for what may work for you and your health, try Klinio.
You may be pleasantly surprised by how simple it all is!
Select Your Diabetes Type and Start the Klinio Quiz Now:
Results may vary due to personal features. Always consult a professional for medical advice.