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The Metabolic Diet and Type 2 Diabetes

written by: AngelicaMD • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 5/8/2011

Traditional management of diabetes involves diet management which recommends a low fat, high carbohydrate diet in combination with regular exercise. However, recent studies show that a low carb diet has many benefits. Learn more about type 2 diabetes and the metabolic diet – are they compatible?

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    What is the Metabolic Diet?

    The Metabolic Diet is a program created by a Canadian physician, Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale who is also a power lifter and the president of the United World Powerlifting Federation. Essentially, the program promotes a low-carbohydrate diet similar to the popular Atkins diet, except that there is a scheduled reloading of the body by eating a high carb intake on the weekends. On weekdays one may take a maximum of 30 grams of carbohydrates, which will comprise 4 to 10 percent of his daily diet. The rest of his intake may come from fat (40-60 percent) and protein (40-50 percent) sources. One may then take an unlimited amount of carbs on weekends.

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    Diabetes and Low Carb Diet

    So, are type 2 diabetes and the metabolic diet compatible?

    According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) there is probably no optimal mix of macronutrients for meal plans of people with diabetes and that best mix of carbohydrate, protein and fat appears to vary depending on individual needs. The recommended daily allowance for digestible carbohydrates is 130 grams per day. With respect to dietary fat, diabetics have to limit saturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids and cholesterol intake so as to reduce risk for cardiovascular disease.

    Many studies have shown that weight loss is an important factor in managing type 2 diabetes because it decreases insulin resistance and improves blood sugar levels in these patients. The effects of long term weight reduction have been found to decrease risk for cardiovascular complications in diabetics, too. However, although low carb diets like the metabolic diet can result in weight reduction and improvement in blood sugar levels, the high fat and protein content that accompanies these diets can also lead to cardiovascular and kidney diseases.

    The metabolic diet is a low carb diet that can be too restrictive allowing only 30 grams of carbohydrates, compared to the ADA recommended 130 grams per day. It is a type of ketogenic diet, where the body seeks for more sources of energy by producing ketones from the fat reserves of the body. This process is slow, and the body may feel weak from lack of energy. This may lead to craving, binging and patients not being able to stick to the program.

    For these reasons, ADA spokesman Nathaniel G. Clark, MD says that people with diabetes, like everyone, should strive to eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and limits fats and foods with little nutritional value. To prevent obesity, a diet which is low in calories and fat is preferable to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. And although an important goal for obese type 2 diabetics is to lose weight, they must be able to follow a sustainable program of diet and exercise which they can carry out on a long term basis.

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    References

    WebMD, “Do Low-Carb Diets Help Diabetes?” http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20060616/do-low-carb-diets-help-diabetes?

    Diet Spotlight, “Metabolic Diet Review” http://www.dietspotlight.com/metabolic-diet-review/

    Diabetes Care, "Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2010" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2797382/?tool=pubmed