In India Diabetes has become an acceptable part of the ageing process. So many of us have it, its no longer regarded as the dangerous, highly preventable lifestyle disease that it really is.
Type 2 Diabetes is a choice. A choice you make every day, every week, over many years till finally your body stops fighting you and gives in.
A study conducted by the Asian American Diabetics centre and the Harvard medical school, highlights the importance of a good diet when trying to manage/prevent diabetes.
50 participants were chosen at random(28 were Asian) and for the first eight-weeks, everyone consumed a traditional Asian diet. For the next eight weeks, the participants either ate the same diet or switched to a traditional Western diet.
Each diet was prepared for the participants, and included three meals and one snack daily. The number of calories was the same for each participant, no matter which diet they were on. The calorie count was enough to maintain their bodyweight.
Measurements for bodyweight, blood lipids, insulin resistance, and inflammation markers were taken before, during and after the study,to find out what the difference between the diets would be.
Of the fifty participants, 28 were East Asian Americans(That would be us or close enough to us). The remaining participants were Caucasian Americans. All of the participants were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The Asian diet consisted of 70:15:15 macronutrients from carbs, protein, and fat, respectively. It was also high in fiber. The protein in this diet came mostly from vegetables/beans.
The Western diet was 50:16:34 and was low to moderate in fiber content and protein in the Western protein was mostly animal-based.
Now here’s the fun bit:
The traditional Asian diet improved insulin sensitivity, caused a loss in body fat, and improved the lipid profiles of both Asians and Caucasians. It also reduced inflammation for the Asian subjects
And whats more interesting, when the caucasian population followed the Asian Diet, they all lost weight, even though the number of calories was the same or even a 100 calories higher. Researches figure this is because of the high fibre content.
The Western diet, by contrast, increased body fat and worsened insulin resistance for the Asians, even when their bodyweight stayed the same. For the Caucasian subjects, the Western diet increased bodyweight and body fat, but didn’t increase insulin resistance as long as they maintained a normal BMI
In other words, when we tried to follow a diet that wasn’t natural to us, all our markers for health got worse, but caucasians who are used to the same diet, did not do as badly as long as they maintained their weight.
Conclusion: Eat what your grandmother used to. She knew what she was doing!