Are you looking for an all-around great diet for high blood sugar as well as for optimal health, weight, and mood? The Paleo-Mediterranean Diet combines the best of the traditional Paleolithic and Mediterranean diets to be one of the most natural, health-promoting, and nutrient-dense eating plans available. It was created by leading integrative physician Dr. Alex Vasquez for the treatment and prevention of many health conditions and emphasizes protein, fruits, and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and berries—not grains.
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The creation of the Paleo-Mediterranean Diet
Dr. Vasquez is a well-known osteopathic doctor, naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, avid reader of the scientific literature, and author of several integrative medicine textbooks. He developed the Paleo-Mediterranean Diet following an extensive review of the research literature and follows it himself in addition to using it as the foundational nutrition plan for most of his patients. He considers it an integral part of the nutritional foundation upon which he adds other treatments as needed. “My conclusion after reading several hundred articles on epidemiology, nutritional biochemistry, and dietary intervention studies it that the Paleo-Mediterranean diet…is the single most healthy dietary regimen for the broadest range of patients and for the prevention of the widest range of diseases including cancer, hypertension, diabetes, dermatitis, depression, obesity, arthritis, and all inflammatory and autoimmune diseases,” he writes.
Why is the Paleo-Mediterranean Diet a good diet for high blood sugar?
Like many diets for high blood sugar, the Paleo-Mediterranean Diet emphasizes low-glycemic foods and is low in “simple sugars.” But it goes above and beyond these common dietary principles to help lower and stabilize blood sugar levels and to promote optimal health.
The Paleo-Mediterranean Diet is based on the following principles:
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, herbs, and spices: These foods, especially fruits and non-starchy vegetables, should form the major portion of the diet since they provide not only fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but also more than 8,000 phytochemicals with crucial antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and numerous other health-promoting benefits. The benefits of phytonutrients appear to be additive and synergistic, so that the higher the quantity and variety of plant foods you consume, the more you benefit. The key is changing your eating habits so that you really are eating principally fruits and vegetables as the primary component of the diet. This is more easily accomplished when you eliminate carbohydrate-rich but nutrient-poor foods such as bread, pasta, rice, sweets, crackers, chips, etc.
High-quality protein: The proteins allowed and encouraged include fish, eggs, poultry, grass-fed meats, and whey and soy protein isolates. Fish in encouraged above all because of its high levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, while whey and soy protein are encouraged because of their anti-cancer, cardioprotective, and mood-enhancing (due to their tryptophan content) benefits. Avoid non-grass-fed meats since they contain more cholesterol and more pro-cancer and pro-inflammatory omega-fats, linoleic and arachidonic acid. The total amount of protein is customized based on your size, activity level, and health status but for most people should be around 0.5-0.75 grams per pound of body weight. So for a 135 pound woman, that would be about 68 to 101 grams of protein per day.
Grains: Gluten-contain grains including wheat, barley, and rye are discouraged, as are other grains including rice because, like starchy vegetables, they have relatively high glycemic indexes and glycemic loads but low phytonutrient content compared to vegetables and fruits. Wheat is a common allergen, and many people have immune reactions to gluten which has been found to contribute to autoimmunity. Breads, pastas, pastries, potatoes, and sugar are also to be avoided because they are “high-fermentation carbohydrates,” which means they promote overgrowth of bacteria and yeast in the intestines.
Starchy vegetables: Potatoes and other starchy vegetables like corn are discouraged because they generally have high glycemic indexes and glycemic loads. Higher glycemic diets lead to blood sugar instability, high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, abnormal lipid levels, inflammation, and other metabolic disturbances. The starchy vegetables also have a relative lack of phytonutrients and fiber compared to other vegetables.
Simple sugars and foreign chemicals: Anything containing artificial colors, flavors, high fructose corn syrup, chemical preservatives, or chemical sweeteners are not allowed, including aspartame, sodium benzoate, MSG, and tartrazine. This means most colas/sodas and processed foods (such as microwave dinners, manufactured snacks, and convenience foods) are out. Carageenan is a naturally-occurring extract that Dr. Vasquez also discourages due to research linking it to immune suppression.
The “Supplemented Paleo-Mediterranean Diet” may be an even better diet for high blood sugar
According to Dr. Vasquez, following the “pesco-vegetarian” version of the Paleo-Mediterranean Diet and supplementing it with certain nutrients may make it even more effective for the treatment and prevention of many health conditions. This version of the diet allows fish and eggs but discourages other animal sources of protein. Along with this modification, the Supplemented Paleo-Mediterranean diet incorporates the use of four core supplements: a multivitamin/mineral, vitamin D3, essential fatty acids (ALA, EPA, DHA, and GLA), and probiotics. This 5-part nutritional wellness protocol (the Supplemented Paleo-Mediterranean Diet), according to Dr. Vasquez, is often all that is needed for the effective treatment of a wide range of health problems.
Got high blood sugar? Why not give the Paleo-Mediterranean Diet a try?
The Paleo-Mediterranean Diet is excellent for high blood sugar because it emphasizes whole foods in the form of whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, fish, soy, eggs, and other lean sources of protein (if desired). Dr. Vasquez has seen regular consumption of this diet alleviate diabetes, especially when it is supplemented with the core supplements described above. It’s not easy to change your diet, but it is a crucial part of a health-promoting lifestyle. Once an eating plan like the Paleo-Mediterranean Diet becomes a habit, you’ll feel an overall sense of wellness and vitality and won’t ever want to go back to your old ways of eating.