Is there a connection between the South Beach diet and diabetes?
This medical condition is a chronic disorder where the level of sugar or glucose in the blood becomes increasingly high or elevated. Glucose in the blood is an important source of energy for the body in order to perform bodily functions.
At a healthy level of body sugar, our bodies are able to function well. When this level consistently elevates or depreciates, metabolic processes are affected resulting in complications that affect the kidneys, the heart, blood vessels and nerves, and even the eyes.
A Matter Of Lifestyle
Until today, there is no known cure to diabetes, and most medical treatment of this condition depends on lifestyle modifications such as dietary support, exercise and insulin injection. Because of this, diabetes is said to be a “lifestyle” disease. The latest news however is that the South Beach diet may just be the right approach to take in countering the deleterious effects of the “Western” lifestyle.
It was cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston of Miami, Florida who started the so-called South Beach diet. It is a diet plan that emphasizes the consumption of “good carbohydrates” and “good fats.” It was first developed for cardiac patients based on the scientific dieting research of Dr. Agatston.
The basic principle surrounding the South Beach diet involves the excess consumption of the so-called bad carbohydrates found in carbohydrates with high glycemic index, which creates an insulin resistance syndrome, resulting in the insulin’s inability to properly process fat or sugar.
Bad Fats Versus Good Fats
Dr. Agatston also believed that consumption of “bad fats” such as saturated and trans-fats increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. In order to avoid these possible conditions, the South Beach diet reduces consumption of both bad fats and carbohydrates and encourages eating of good fats and carbohydrates.
Recent statistics show that incidence of diabetes is significantly higher in developed countries where people live a fast-paced life. This shows the connection between a lifestyle indicated by stress, consumption of processed food and the lack of healthy food, and the concentration of cases of diabetes.
While at the moment a direct cure to diabetes have yet to be discovered, treating diabetes would involve changing lifestyle patterns that aggravate the metabolic disorder. This most importantly involves altering food habits and eating patterns.
A healthy diet is an important ally in the fight against diabetes. Altering lifestyle patterns can significantly contribute towards the prevention of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. An example of such a healthy eating pattern is the South Beach diet. By reducing consumption of both bad fats and carbohydrates and encouraging intake of good fats and carbohydrates, one can lose weight and also maintain a healthy level of body glucose.
Bad Carbohydrates Too?
Like most diabetic diet plans, the South Beach diet differentiates food products into good and bad carbohydrates based on the glycemic index or the pattern, which identifies the rate when and where digested food can increase levels of glucose in the blood.
Consuming bad carbohydrates, according to the South Beach diet, causes an increase release of insulin and makes one feel hungrier, resulting in overeating and gain in body weight. Increased body weight makes a person susceptible to diabetes. From this perspective, a South Beach diet is a good way to maintain a healthy diabetic diet meal plan.
Some people, however, remain skeptical about the South Beach diet’s ability to help persons with diabetes. A number of diabetic specialists believe that the glycemic index does not indicate a significant role in controlling weight. It is rather the quantity of carbohydrate intake that affects weight.
A Shift In Perspective
Like a healthy diabetic diet plan, the South Beach diet emphasizes a permanent shift in one’s eating attitude, choosing from a wide range of health food and creating a meal plan with ease and flexibility. It encourages eating whole grains and vegetables together with ample amount of mono and polyunsaturated fats like omega 3 fatty acids that can be found in fish. Consumption of processed food products, meat with high fat content, and saturated fats is strongly discouraged.
John Kenneth Galbraith, a contemporary writer and author of the book The Affluent Society, wrote, “More die in the United States of too much food than of too little.” Clearly, whether or not the South Beach diet significantly or directly reduces the effects of diabetes and helps control glucose within moderate levels, it evidently shows that what kind, how much, and at what time do we eat can greatly affect the risk of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. By embracing a healthy eating pattern, such as the South Beach diet, the occurrence of diabetes may just be controlled.