Best Diabetes Doctor Ballantyne
at Novis Health

Diabetes is one of the three most common diseases affecting some 30 million people or 9.4% of the U.S. population according to the American Diabetes Association. If we include prediabetes the number affecting the US rises to about 100 million. The cost of treating diabetes over a person’s lifetime can run between $55,000- $130,000, much of it paid by healthcare insurance but, still,  a good share of it is passed on to the patient. Co-pays for testing strips, glucose monitors, medication all add up over time not to mention doctor visits, complications and potential hospital stays.

According to a recent government study, food planning, preparation, and consumption remains at the crossroads of all diabetes management plans making culinary medicine a necessity.

Other diabetes prescriptions are now trending, prescriptions for fresh food, for omega 3 fatty acids, for anti-inflammatory diets or the consistent carbohydrate diet.
Best Diabetes Doctor Ballantyne - Diabetes Prescription Food as Medicine

The Fresh Food Farmacy program, being tested by Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, which includes education and free nutritious meals, can lower diabetes treatment costs by 80 percent. The high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet is being used by a new health-care start-up ( Virta Health), which projects treating 100 million patients by 2025.


What Would a Diabetes Prescription for Food Involve?

A diabetes diet is a healthy-eating plan that’s naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories. Key elements are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In fact, a diabetes diet is the best eating plan for most everyone. But, if it were that simple, we would have no diabetes.


Examples of specific prescriptions for diabetes management:

1. Consistent carbohydrate diet

This type of diet takes the total amount of carbohydrates on a planned diabetic menu and divides them evenly throughout the day taking into consideration periods of increased activity or exercise. This allows for the insulin phase which is out of sync in most cases, to not be overtaxed by a flood of blood sugar from digested carbohydrates, blood sugar too high for the insulin resistant state present in type 2 diabetes. Consistent carbohydrate diets can also be easily adjusted for those on insulin who must match their carbohydrate intake to the peak actions of the insulin spikes which are dependent on the type of insulin being injected.

2. Mediterranean Diet

This diet plan is chock full of anti-inflammatory foods and omega 3 fatty acids, both necessary to fight the metabolic derangements in type 2 diabetes.

3. Fresh fruits and vegetables

These prescriptions are most useful in community programs that will reward the purchaser with discounts for buying fresh vegetables and fruits that contain the beneficial phytochemicals and fiber that battle diabetes.

4. Specific caloric amounts to achieve weight loss or metabolic changes

Such a diet prescription might look like “ 1200 calories consistent carbohydrate, high fiber, low fat diet with cooking instructions to allow for a 1 lb. weight loss per week for 30 weeks.”


Some people already following a diet theme may need specific prescriptions that might look like these:

1. Eat 2 servings of grapes, blueberries or apples per day and avoid juice

Evidence shows that a higher consumption of grapes, apples, and/or blueberries reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes while consumption of juice increases it. The risk associated with juice consumption is well known and is frequently counseled on in nutrition education for diabetes.

2. Add 1 teaspoon per day of cinnamon to foods as a spice to lower blood sugar in one or divided doses

A 2011 study showed that Cinnamon intake, either as whole cinnamon or as cinnamon extract, results in a statistically significant lowering in fasting blood sugar and intake of cinnamon extract only also lowered fasting blood sugar with the conclusion that cinnamon extract and/or cinnamon improves fasting blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.

Best Diabetes Doctor Ballantyne - Diabetes Prescription Food as Medicine

3. Increase fiber to 25 -30 grams per day emphasizing water-soluble fibers

There are two types of dietary fiber, water soluble from oats, lentils and fresh fruit, psyllium husks and water insoluble from grains, vegetables and supplements. Water soluble fibers bind up glucose in the intestinal track before absorption and prevents it from being absorbed into the blood. It is also good for satiating the appetite. So, eating or adding a water-soluble fiber supplement prior to meals will cut down on calories consumed and glucose absorbed.

4. Choose food low in the glycemic index

The glycemic index is a measurement of how much the food in question raises a person’s blood sugar and studies have shown that a low glycemic index diet can improve blood sugar control. This diet can be used in combination with other diet themes such as Mediterranean or consistent carbohydrate.


Remember, one approach is not beneficial for all.

A tailored, individualistic plan is what we are striving for in culinary medicine and in medical nutrition therapy, an integral part of culinary medicine.

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