Diabetes Natural Cures: Can a Raw Food Diet Cure Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is one of the most serious and widespread epidemics of the 21st century. Currently, 1 in 5 Americans have diabetes or prediabetes, more than 60 million total. If current trends continue, it is estimated that 1 in 3 babies born in 2006 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.
Although type 2 diabetes is frequently considered a chronic condition, it is possible to cure it with simple changes in diet and lifestyle.
Some of the most remarkable results have been reported by diabetics who switch to a raw food diet. Although switching to a raw food diet is a truly drastic change for most Americans and other Westerners, the health benefits of such a change, especially to those diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, are considerable.
What is the Raw Food Diet?
"Raw foodists," as they are known, seek to eat at least 75% of their food raw. Most raw foodists follow a vegan diet (plant foods only), although some also consume raw dairy products and a few eat raw meat, fish, or eggs.
Raw foodists believe that cooking destroys important enzymes used to properly digest food. The most commonly cited figure is that heating food above 116 degrees Fahrenheit destroys these valuable enzymes. Although this is a controversial claim, it is well established that a number of important nutrients, including vitamin C and vitamin B6, are destroyed by heat.
A typical raw vegan diet includes lots of:
- fresh or dehydrated fruit
- fresh or dehydrated vegetables
- nuts and seeds
- soaked grains and beans
- fruit and vegetable juices
- coconut milk
Vegetarian raw foodists may add raw cheese or raw (unpasteurized) milk. Some raw foodists also consume raw eggs, fish, or meat.
How the Raw Food Diet Benefits Diabetics
- Nearly all of the foods most commonly consumed by people following the raw food diet have a low or extremely low score on the Glycemic Index, a measurement of how much different foods affect blood sugar levels. The lower a food is on the Glycemic Index, the healthier it is for diabetics and prediabetics to eat.
- Raw foodists also typically eat a diet much higher in fiber than the average American. Eating a high fiber diet has been found to significantly reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, and to increase insulin sensitivity and improve blood sugar control in diabetics.
- Raw food diets are nutrient dense, but low calorie. Many raw foodists report significant weight loss in the months after starting their diet, and find it easier to maintain a healthy weight once their diet is established. Difficulty losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most common symptoms of diabetes and prediabetes, and can cause or exacerbate many other related health problems.
Disadvantages of the Raw Food Diet
The raw food diet is not for everybody.
The Raw Food Diet Can Be Difficult To Stick To
For most modern Americans, switching to a diet based on raw foods is a drastic change. Not everyone has the determination or willpower to maintain the diet, especially when the switch is not supported by family members.
The Raw Food Diet Can Be Time-Intensive
The raw food diet can take a surprising amount of preparation. Many raw foodists spend as much time juicing, blending, soaking, and dehydrating food as they once did cooking it. If other family members continue to eat a typical Western diet, the raw food diet can even double the amount of time and effort spent preparing meals.
The Raw Food Diet May Not Contain Adequate Levels of Certain Nutrients
The goal of most raw foodists is to eat 75% of their diet raw in part because certain nutrients are easier to absorb after cooking. One example is tomatoes. An ideal diet would contain a mix of both raw and cooked tomatoes, because cooking destroys vitamin C, but makes an important antioxidant found in tomatoes called lycopene easier to absorb. Cooking can also destroy a compound called phytic acid, which blocks the body from absorbing certain nutrients and is considered an "antinutrient."
People following a strict raw vegan diet must pay particular attention to receiving a number of nutrients that are most commonly found or most easily absorbed from animal products. These nutrients, which include vitamin A, vitamin B16, vitamin B6, vitamin D, zinc, iron, and Omega 3 fatty acids, include several that are considered to be especially important for diabetics. For example, vitamin D is used to produce insulin, which helps control blood sugar levels, and vitamins A and B6 help prevent several common side effects of diabetes, including kidney and retina damage, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
The single greatest benefit of the raw food diet for diabetics probably lies simply in the switch from a typical Western diet high in refined grains, sugar, and saturated fats to a plant-based diet high in fiber and many important vitamins and minerals. Some people may find that such a drastic change helps them stick to a new diet regime; others may be able to switch to a plant based diet and take advantage of most of the benefits of a raw food diet while continuing to cook the majority of their food.
Raw For 30 Days
Diabetes mellitus is life-threatening when left untreated or treated
improperly. The advice in this article should not be substituted for
the advice of a personal physician. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, consult with your doctor before
starting any new diet or exercise regime.