Don’t Let Your Sweet Tooth Increase Your Risk For COVID-19

Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes Risks

Controlling your blood sugar is of utmost importance during this time. Uncontrolled blood sugars wreak havoc on your white blood cells, and you need these cells to be on their A-game to fight off infections. People with diabetes or even pre-diabetes are at increased risk of covid complications, so it is imperative that we control these blood glucose levels.

My advice for controlling blood sugars differs from most dieticians and nutritionists. Most dieticians will teach carb counting, they allow most foods as long as it fits into your daily carb allowance. I personally disagree with this, and will explain why. Yes, carb counting can control your blood sugars, but it does not fix the problem. It does not fix the inflammation and gut dysbiosis (alterations of your normal gut microbial flora) that are contributing to the problem of diabetes. So you need to ask yourself, do you want to live a life of counting carbs and chasing blood sugars, or do you want to fix the problem in the first place.

Watch Out For Processed Carbs

I recommend all diabetics and even pre-diabetics get rid of the processed carbs and grains ASAP. This does not mean you can never eat them again, but you need to break this cycle and let’s be honest, your sugar addictions. The only way is to cut them out completely, get control, and *possibly* introduce certain grains back in at a later time. More often than not, however, you will be feeling so well, noticing your blood sugars are better, probably getting off multiple medications, you may not want to bring them back!
So does this mean you are eating celery sticks and starving? Absolutely not! You are eating real, whole, delicious foods. Foods that are not processed in a factory, packaged, and come with a large ingredient list. Real whole foods include all of the delicious veggies, quality meats, eggs, spices, and even fruit (with some restrictions).

What are grains exactly? Grains include wheat, rice, oats, cereals, barley, and even quinoa. I am adding corn to this list. To me, corn is a grain and should be avoided initially. I have diabetic patients that think they are doing their body good by having whole wheat toast and cheerios. Absolutely not, I say cut it out and get control.

To Fruit or Not to Fruit

Can you have fruit? This answer is not so cut and dry. If you have cut out grains and processed foods, then YES! I think berries, an apple or orange is excellent. Whole fruits provide fiber, and so many nutrients. I do think, however, high sugar fruits like ripe bananas and grapes should be avoided. Also keep in mind, fruits have been bred to be higher in sugar today, than what existed 40 years ago. So have fruit within reason, and hopefully in their season!

Can you get vitamin C from orange juice? No one, and I mean NO ONE should be drinking juice. That vitamin C can do nothing in your body, when it has all the sugar to compete with.

What about beans, and lentils? While I think these legumes can be excellent for some people, I recommend cutting these out initially. They often are inflammatory in an already vulnerable gut, they can definitely be added back in at some point.

The Quality of Your Meat Matters

So what is the final verdict on meat? Is it good for you? I think meat can and is a very important part of a diet, however not all meat is considered equal. The problem with meat is the quality and the amount. Factory farmed meat, where the animals are fed unnatural diets in feed lots, are highly inflammatory and should be avoided, (and not to mention are the biggest contributors of global warming.) The meat I recommend is grass-fed beef, pastured/ free-range, organic chicken, wild caught fish (careful where it’s caught), and pastured eggs. The nutrient profile is completely different. I am aware that this meat does cost more, which means you will be eating less of it! As Americans, we have come to believe we need giant portions of meat and this is where the problem lies. So bottom line, I think meat does fit into a healthy diet, but the quality and quantity 100% matters. My answer to dairy is similar. First of all, the only thing that should be drinking milk is a baby cow. Dairy can be inflammatory in some people, but if you can tolerate it, dairy is fine in the form of grass-fed butter and full-fat, aged cheeses. Diabetics should especially be cautious of yogurts which are usually laden with added sugars.

Decrease Your Risk

In the end, there is no one diet that fits all. But I think we can all agree that cutting out the processed foods, grains, fast-food, and sugar (including fake sugars) is beneficial for all. We have to be controlling our blood glucose more than ever during this time. One in two Americans are either diabetic or prediabetic. Even prediabetes puts you at a greater risk for covid complications, and is a warning sign that there is inflammation in your body. At a time where there is so much uncertainty and anxiety, what you put on your plate IS in your control. Also, I want to be extra sensitive during this time for those that are on tight budgets, I realize there are families waiting in lines at food banks. Eating well can cost money but does not have to. Please reach out to me if you are motivated to eat well, but don’t know how to because of cost. This is an area I can really help with, and am excited to do so! Family First is here for you during this time, and we will get through this together.

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