I HAVE to admit that sometimes the research papers I read really surprise me. Recently I discovered that it’s now been proved that type 2 diabetes can be reversed in as little as three weeks. Not by some new wonderdrug but by something much, much more simple: healthy eating and a little bit of exercise.
For those people who are on the verge of diabetes, the findings are even more exciting. Professor James Barnard at UCLA, who has written more than 200 studies on the relationship between lifestyle habits and chronic disease, recently wrote: “There is much we can do with a healthy lifestyle alone, no medications needed, to prevent diabetes.”
In fact, a healthy lifestyle where you consistently eat good food has proven more effective than medication in staving off diabetes.
So at the start of Diabetes Week, I delved into the research into what kinds of foods are healthiest for us. You won’t be surprised to know the answer is whole foods that are naturally rich in fibre and low in fats and sugars and haven’t been refined in a factory.
That means vegetables, whole fruits (not juices), whole grains, legumes such as peas and beans, non-fat dairy products, and lean meat such as fish and skinless chicken breast.
What will surprise you though is research I discovered that shows the amazing way common carbohydrate foods that we think are healthy contain a lot of glucose which seriously affects our blood sugar levels.
For example, how many people trying to lose weight eat a white baked potato? In fact, a baked potato is converted by the body into the equivalent of eight teaspoons of sugar!
The biggest offender is boiled basmati rice – a 150 gram serving converts into 10 teaspoons of sugar. So keep servings to an absolute minimum. Boiled sweetcorn converts to seven teaspoons, spaghetti converts to just under seven and a banana converts to almost six.
So what foods convert to the smallest amounts of sugar? According to Dr Aseem Malhotra in his ground-breaking book The Pioppi Diet, a raw apple converts to just over two teaspoons, a helping of frozen peas to just over one teaspoon and boiled broccoli to 0.2 teaspoons. Best of all are eggs – which don’t convert to sugar at all.
The conclusion, backed by worldwide medical research, is that eating hardly any processed carbs produces important health benefits – and also helps you to lose weight very effectively. Remember, the key to positive wellbeing is consistent healthy eating.
By the way, if you’re wondering what Pioppi means, it’s a village in Italy where the healthy lifestyle of natural, unprocessed food means people live active, disease-free lives well into their nineties. The oldest inhabitant is 107 and the community is called The Village Where People Forget To Die!