So what should I eat to control my weight? A typical diet sheet for diabetes, as provided to Dr Unwin’s patients.
Reduce starchy carbs a lot (remember they are just concentrated sugar). If possible cut out the‘White Stuff’ like bread, pasta, rice – though porridge, new potatoes and oat cakes in moderation may be fine.
Sugar – cut it out altogether, although it will be in the blueberries, strawberries and raspberries you are allowed to eat freely.
Cakes and biscuits are a mixture of sugar and starch that make it almost impossible to avoid food cravings; they just make you hungrier!!
All green veg/salads are fine – eat as much as you can. So that you still eat a good big dinner try substituting veg such as broccoli, courgettes or green beans for your mash, pasta or rice – still covering them with your gravy, Bolognese or curry!
Try home-made soup – it can be taken to work for lunch and microwaved. Mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions can be included in this.
Fruit is trickier; some have too much sugar in and can set those carb cravings off. All berries are great and can be eaten freely; blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples and pears too, but not tropical fruits like bananas, oranges, grapes, mangoes or pineapples.
Proteins such as in meat, eggs, fish – particularly oily fish such as salmon, mackerel or tuna –are fine and can be eaten freely. Plain, full-fat yoghurt makes a good breakfast with the berries. Processed meats such as bacon, ham, sausages or salami are not as healthy and should only be eaten in moderation.
Fats (yes, fats can be fine in moderation): olive oil is very useful, butter may be tastier than margarine and could be better for you! Coconut oil is great for stir fries. Four essential vitamins A, D, E and K are only found in some fats or oils. Please avoid margarine, corn oil and vegetable oil.
Beware ‘low fat’ foods. They often have sugar or sweeteners added to make them palatable. Full fat mayonnaise and pesto are definitely on!!
Cheese: in moderation – it’s a very calorific mixture of fat, and protein.
Snacks: avoid. But un-salted nuts such as almonds or walnuts are great to stave off hunger. The occasional treat of strong dark chocolate 70% or more in small quantity is allowed.
EATING LOTS OF VEG WITH PROTEIN AND FATS LEAVES YOU PROPERLY FULL in a way that lasts.
Finally, about sweeteners and what to drink – sweeteners have been proven to tease your brain into being even more hungry, making weight loss almost impossible – drink tea, coffee, and water or herb teas. I’m afraid alcoholic drinks are full of carbohydrate – for example, beer is almost ‘liquid toast’ hence the term “beer belly”! Perhaps the odd glass of red wine wouldn’t be too bad if it doesn’t make you get hungry afterwards – or just plain water with a slice of lemon.
Remember – always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before embarking on a new diet.
Dr David Unwin FRCGP