Beating Type 2 Diabetes

By The Whole Food Dietitian, Caryn

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Today’s tips centre around Type 2 diabetes, a condition that is escalating in New Zealand – and worldwide – at a rate of knots. Today’s post comes after watching the final episode in the 5-part series filmed by Attitude TV called The Disease that is Killing my Family. In my opinion this documentary should have been on mainstream TV at prime time for all to see the horrors (and realities) of what our food industry is doing to people and their families. It’s a must-watch, and also a reality check that we are all on different levels of eating habits. Check it out here.

We have the ‘Junk Food Junkies’. We have the “‘Healthy’ Mainstreamers”, the “Fine-Tuners” and then of course we have the “Obsessors”. Wherever you are on that spectrum, you can always improve, even if it’s with small steps.

 Junk-Food Junkies

  • First get off the sugary drinks. Fizzy or still, sugary drinks should be cut out, plain and simple, as there is nothing good about them what-so-ever. Soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, cordial and juice are just not good. Drink water, and stop looking around for that sweet flavour. Diet drinks will keep you hooked on that “sweet” taste and will keep you seeking out sweet options so forget these too. This one change can make a huge difference to health.
  • Cheap and nasty takeaway foods. Accessible – Yes; cheap – Yes (although costly in the long term); likely to give you diabetes long term – Yes. These clever marketers lure you in with convenience. Not only does the sugar cause harm, but so too does the inflammatory fat from processed vegetable oils.

‘Healthy’ Mainstreamers

  • Healthy takeaways. Is there such a thing? Sandwiches, vege-laden filled rolls, sushi, organic juices and smoothies. Yes, folks, these meals still have carbs, and lots of them. If you must do a takeaway meal, choose protein and vegetables or salad without sugar sauces – but beware the vegetable oils are still lurking. For the most part, just get organised at home and if you’re one of those people that don’t like making your own lunch, just cook extra at dinner and use for leftovers the next day.
  • High carb, low fat “healthy” food. Noodles, crackers, chips, bars, cereals, rice. Carbs, carbs carbs a.k.a sugar, sugar, sugar. Heart Foundation ticked, or Health Star rated, if it’s in a packet with lots of ingredients, some of which you don’t understand, it’s unlikely to be the best choice. What if it’s not in a packet but it’s labelled as a healthy non-fat muffin, scone, slice? Sadly, just more sugar.

The Fine-Tuners

  • Natural sugars like fruit, vegetables, milk and legumes still have sugar. Welcome to the detail where the devil lies. Some might need to curb their portions, yes even with fruit; others might be ok with more. Either way these are whole foods yes, but can still have heaps of sugar in high loads. So be mindful.


  • Now you folk need to chill out a little and get that balance right. Trying to eliminate every ounce of sugar in your world and forcing it upon others will see you and your family isolated and likely, miserable. Find that balance between watching your food intake and obsessing. It might be the 80:20 rule, it might be the 3- meal rule, or it might just be controlling what you can control.

Whatever it is you need to work on, you can all do one small thing to improve. Let’s really beat diabetes!

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Ian Colquhoun says:

    I watched Catalyst last night, they discussed fasting as a aid to health and weight loss, it has also been previously explored by Dr Micheal Mosley on SBS. The 4 day fast is the most proactive, the same result can be had by fasting 2 days a week for several weeks. Most recently he is promoting an 8 week low calorie diet followed by adopting a Mediterranean diet as along term healthy lifestyle choice. This diet has been shown to reverse type 2 diabetes by removing fat from the liver and pancreas where it interferes with insulin production. All these also have been shown to reset the body to maintainence mod where defective cells are destroyed and replaced by new healthy cells providing a high degree of protection from degenerative illnesses like cancer and heart problems. Worth looking up ” The eight week blood sugar diet” by Dr Michael Mosley.

    • What The Fat? says:

      Thanks Ian,
      We do support people fasting once they’re well-fed to start with. Grant wrote a post about this recently,
      To most people, fasting doesn’t seem possible, but following the LCHF diet for a while makes it a lot easier; you’ll be well-fed (so fasting won’t cause deficiencies) and will be used to running your metabolism on fat.
      The 5:2 fast suits people who want to be able to eat normally most days, and has recently been shown to be as effective for weight loss as trying to restrict calories. We think there are benefits from not eating processed food overall, so don’t focus on the interventions allowing people to do this while losing weight. Michael Mosley’s 8 week low calorie diet and (what is a) low carb Mediterranean diet are more in tune with the What The Fat philosophy of real food, healthy fat, appropriate carbohydrate. But only a few people are motivated to hit the 8 week very low calorie diet right away; we think the LCHF diet can give people the same results over the long term, and, if some people do still need to fast, sets them up so it’ll be easy.

  • Kristal says:

    I dont have fizzy drink, dont have many carbs and dont eat a lot compared to my skinny mates but I am still 120kgs and it wont budge. what else can I do?

    • What The Fat? says:

      Hi Kristal,

      I’m not sure if you’ve read the book, but there are other ideas in the book and on this website. Sleep, the quality of carbs and fat, when you eat, are all important factors. We can’t guarantee that absolutely everyone will loose weight cutting carbs, rather that the odds of this are more likely than with other types of eating, especially if you go about it in the organised way laid out in the book.
      In the context of this post, if you don’t have sweet drinks (not just fizzy) and don’t eat processed or deep fried carbs, you’re already reducing your chances of getting type 2 diabetes at any weight.

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