The Diabetes Turnaround Masterclass Series

The key to beating type 2 diabetes is knowledge of the disease. For this reason I urge you to watch, entirely FREE of charge, the online Diabetes Turnaround Masterclass Series, a string of interviews with more than 20 of the best health and wellness experts around. Here’s what you’ll learn and how you can sign up.

Experts – Diabetes Turnaround Masterclass Series

My friend, Debbie Movsesian, a superb organiser, has brought together 20+ top health and wellness experts for this free educational series on learning the truth about reversing type 2 diabetes and discovering simple, effective ways to lose weight, free yourself of chronic disease (such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular diseases) and live a longer, healthier, more abundant, and happier life.

The online Diabetes Turnaround Masterclass Series

From: September 28th to October 18th, 2020

Attendance online is 100% FREE

Hosted by Debbie Movsesian who interviews 20+ pre-eminent experts

Click to Sign Up

The interviewees include well-known doctors, nutritionists, chefs and other experts such as:

  • Dr Neal Barnard, the pioneer in ‘reversing’ diabetes (who inspired me)
  • Dr Colin Zhu, chef and lifestyle medicine physician
  • Wes Youngberg, lifestyle medicine specialist
  • Robby Barbaro and Cyrus Khambatta, diabetes experts from Mastering Diabetes
  • Chef AJ, about permanent weight loss

The full list of experts is shown in the image at the top of this post.

These experts will cover a wide range of topics relating to type 2 diabetes and allied chronic diseases, including:

  • Insulin resistance and how to reverse it
  • Plant-based food you’ll love to eat
  • Using life-style medicine to combat disease
  • Managing stress, weight loss, and more
  • Health disparities in Western medicine
  • How to lose weight with a full plate

The series will begin on September the 28th this year and each interview will be 45 to 60 minutes long, one interview per day. Recordings of the interviews will be available later, so there is no need to attend every day, provided you have signed up.  

Click to Sign Up

I urge you to sign up and attend. You will add significantly to your knowledge of how to reverse diabetes, more than you can get by reading my blog and my book Beating Diabetes.

Your take-away will include:

  • Learning the truth about reversing type 2 diabetes
  • Discovering simple, effective ways to lose weight
  • Finding out how to avoid other chronic diseases, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s etc
  • Understanding how you can live a longer, healthier, more abundant life

As you are member of the Beating Diabetes club, I know that your health means a great deal to you. You aspire to a life without pain and suffering, without medications. You are determined to have the freedom to be active and do all the things you long to do … live life to the fullest while feeling great in your body, knowing that you’ll be living a long, abundant and happy life.

With the right education you can reverse or prevent diabetes or a host of other chronic diseases and  enjoy the life you deserve.

The Diabetes Turnaround Masterclass Series will provide you with the knowledge you need.

So I urge you to sign up right now by clicking this link

Kind regards


Recipes using red kidney beans

Red kidney beans are a great source of protein (8.5 grams in a cup), dietary fibre, and a wide variety of essential micro-nutrients. They are fat free and make an ideal ingredient in a diabetic’s diet. So how do you get them into your stomach? … here are a few easy but delicious and nutritious recipes.

Red kidney beans come in three basic forms … fresh, dried and canned. In the supermarket you are unlikely to be able to find fresh beans but should not have problem in finding dried and canned beans.

Caution … raw kidney beans contain large amounts of phytohemagglutinin, a toxic protein that can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. You can only get rid of this toxin by soaking the beans in water for at least 5 hours (or overnight, preferably) and throwing out the water, and then boiling the beans in fresh water for at least ten minutes at 1000C (2120F). Rest assured that properly prepared red kidney beans are safe to eat and very nutritious.

How to rehydrate red kidney beans

When you buy dried kidney beans, you have to rehydrate them before you can cook them. There are several ways you can rehydrate dried beans all of which are very easy to do but take a bit of time. The only equipment you need is a stockpot.

A stockpot is a wide pot with a flat bottom, straight sides, a wide opening to the full diameter of the pot, two handles on the sides, and a lid with a handle on top.

Dried kidney beans come from a farm so they are likely to need a good clean out before you start rehydrating them … lay them out on a flat surface such as a large tray and remove any foreign matter or shrivelled beans. Once you have finished cleaning them, they’ll be ready for soaking.

When soaking, use approximately 10 cups of water for 450 grams (1 pound) of dried kidney beans.

Slow soak … this method will take 8 hours or more but it is very thorough:

  • Put the beans into the stockpot with the water
  • Cover the pot
  • Place the pot in the refrigerator and leave it there overnight or longer (minimum of 8 hours)
  • Pour out the water and rinse the beans properly in fresh water

Flatulence-free slow soak … according to the Mayo Clinic this method will eliminate 90% of the indigestible fibres (alpha-galactosides) that cause flatulence when you eat red kidney beans:

  • Bring the water in the stockpot to the boil
  • Put the beans into the boiling water
  • Bring to the boil again and boil for three more minutes
  • Cover the stockpot tightly and allow it to stand at room temperature overnight, ie a minimum of 8 hours
  • Pour out the water and rinse the beans thoroughly in fresh water

Both these methods take a lot of time to complete. Here are two quicker ways to rehydrate the beans.

Hot soak … this way will take about 3 hours:

  • Bring the water in the stockpot to the boil
  • Put the beans into the boiling water
  • Bring to the boil again and then remove from the heat
  • Cover the stockpot tightly and allow it to stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours
  • Pour out the water and thoroughly rinse the beans in fresh water

Quick soak … this will take a bit over one hour overall

  • Bring the water in the stockpot to the boil
  • Put the beans to the boiling water
  • Bring to the boil again and boil for three more minutes
  • Cover the stockpot tightly and allow it to stand at room temperature for one hour
  • Pour out the water and thoroughly rinse the beans in fresh water

How to prepare canned red kidney beans

As stated in my previous article Why you should eat red kidney beans, you may use canned (tinned) beans which have already been cooked. The only drawback is that tinned beans have a much higher sodium content as salt is added as a preservative during canning.

You may be able find low sodium varieties. If not, you can drain and rinse the beans thoroughly using a colander under free-flowing cold water … this will get rid of up to 40% of the sodium content.

But note that draining and rinsing canned beans can remove other micro-nutrients, such as the water-soluble B vitamins or vitamin C. You can get around this by adding other healthy foods, such as carrots, onions, bell peppers and celery, to your meal to boost its nutritional value.

Recipes for meals with red kidney beans

Red kidney beans are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of prepared foods and meals, such as:

  • Soups and broths
  • Salads
  • Hummus
  • Burgers
  • Curries

Here are a few recipes I have tested myself. They are all highly nutritious and easy to do, though the last one is a trifle complex and requires a bit of work.

Red kidney bean broths and soups

Broth (aka bouillon) is a savoury liquid made of water in which bones, meat, or vegetables have been simmered. Soup is a broth to which other ingredients, vegetables, meat or fish, have been added.

The secret in creating delicious broths and soups is in the judicious choosing of ingredients. Kidney beans can add nutrition and flavour to any broth or soup. Just throw them in.

Here’s a slightly complex Red Kidney Bean & Vegetable soup, enough for four people:

What you’ll need to make red kidney bean and vegetable soup:

  • 1x tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1x yellow onion, chopped
  • 1x garlic clove, minced
  • 2x carrots, chopped
  • 2x teaspoons of sodium-free chili powder
  • 1x teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 4x cups of low-sodium low-fat chicken OR vegetable broth
  • 2x 425-gram (15 ounces) tins (cans) of low-sodium kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1x cup of frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1/4x teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1x 410-gram (14.5 ounce) tin (can) of low-sodium stewed tomatoes

You’ll also need a large stock pot.

How to make red kidney bean and vegetable soup

  1. Put the stewed tomatoes and one can of kidney beans in a blender or food processor
  2. Puree until smooth and set aside
  3. Heat the large pot over medium heat, and warm up the olive oil
  4. Add the chopped yellow onion, minced garlic and chopped carrots
  5. Cook, stirring as necessary, until tender (about 5 minutes)
  6. Add the chili powder and ground cumin and stir constantly for about one minute
  7. Add the chicken or vegetable broth, the second can of kidney beans, frozen whole kernel corn and the freshly ground black pepper, and bring the lot back up to the boil
  8. Add the pureed tomatoes and kidney beans (from steps 1]and 2) to the soup and bring the lot back up to the boil again
  9. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Cool and enjoy !

Note … you can tweak this recipe as you see fit and to taste by varying the ingredients, adding or reducing them.

Red kidney bean salads

Salads made with beans are very dense in macro- and micro-nutrients relative to the calories you get from eating them. Creating really tasty salads can range from quick and simple to highly complex.

Here’s a simple one that will take less than 10 minutes to prepare.

Red kidney bean quick salad

This high protein salad can be eaten as a main course, minor course or a side-dish. And it would be perfect in your lunchbox. It’s enough for two people.

What you’ll need for the salad:

  • 400g (14oz) of canned kidney beans
  • 200g (7oz) of sweet yellow corn
  • Half a cucumber
  • A good handful of fresh parsley
  • One spring onion
  • 100g of feta cheese

You’ll also need a large bowl.

How to make the kidney bean salad

  1. Defrost the corn if it was frozen and put it in the bowl
  2. Rinse and drain the kidney beans and add to the bowl
  3. Dice the cucumber into small pieces and add to the bowl
  4. Chop the parsley finely and add to the bowl
  5. Chop the onion into tiny pieces and add to the bowl
  6. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl well

The salad is now ready waiting for the dressing.

What you’ll need for the kidney bean salad dressing:

  • Half a lime
  • 2x tbsp of olive oil
  • 1x tsp of mustard powder
  • 1x tsp of cumin
  • 1/2x tsp of dried oregano
  • 1x tsp of honey
  • Pepper to taste

You’ll also need a small bowl.

How to make and add the dressing for the kidney bean salad

  1. Add all the ingredients into the small bowl one after the other
  2. Stir well until mixed thoroughly
  3. Check the dressing for taste and when satisfied:
  4. Add the dressing to the salad
  5. Stir it all together well
  6. Add the feta cheese by crumbling it over the salad
  7. Now give it a final good stir

That’s it … eat and enjoy

But note that if you keep it in the ‘fridge for a few hours it will taste even better as the salad absorbs the flavours of the dressing. It will taste even better the next day.

You will find hundreds, if not thousands, of really terrific recipes for salads on the internet.

Red kidney bean hummus

This classic of the Middle East is usually made with chickpeas. There are many ways in which you can vary the basic recipe. Using red kidney beans instead of chickpeas results in a very creamy hummus that tastes absolutely delicious. And it is a cinch to make.

What you’ll need for the red bean hummus:

  • 1x can (400g/14oz) of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1x clove garlic
  • 2x tsp olive oil
  • 1x tsp water
  • 1/2x tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt 
  • Perhaps some black pepper to taste

You also need a food processor or blender.

How to make the red kidney bean hummus

  1. Blend all the ingredients together in the food processor until smooth
  2. Pour into a bowl
  3. Cover and store it in the ‘fridge for a few hours before eating it

Note … it will keep well in the ‘fridge up to a week.

Red kidney bean burgers

These red kidney bean burgers are highly nutritious … full of protein (about 7%) and dietary fibre (another 7%) and with minimal sugar, they are vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and fat-free, making them perfect for diabetics.

And best of all, these burgers are really easy to make.

What you’ll need for the red kidney bean burgers:

  • 1x can (400g/14oz) of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2x tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1x tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1x tsp garlic powder
  • 1x tsp onion powder
  • 1/3x cup gluten-free quick oats

How to make the red kidney bean burgers

  1. Preheat your oven to 200oC (400oF)
  2. Spray a baking tray with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper, and put it aside
  3. Mash beans thoroughly in mixing bowl until there are no whole beans left
  4. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until they are well mixed
  5. Divide mixture into 4 parts of approximately equal size and roll them into balls, first making sure your hands are clean
  6. Place the burger balls on the baking sheet, and flatten them with the palm of your hand
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, and then turn to bake on the other side for another 10 minutes


Red kidney bean curry

Curry, that great favourite of the English palate, originated in India and is a triumph of the art of Indian cuisine.

Eating red kidney beans is a great way to get protein into your diet and for that purpose, this curry is ideal. It is a delightfully creamy comfort dish and is suitable for vegans and diabetics. You can vary the spices to suit your taste buds and you surely will once you have made this curry a few times. This recipe is quite thick; if you prefer a more liquid curry, just add more water.

Note … the red kidney beans soak up all the spices if the curry is kept in a ‘fridge over night for consumption the next day. This recipe makes enough for two people.

What you’ll need for the red kidney bean curry:

  • 1x cup of dried kidney Beans
  • 1x onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2x chopped green chili
  • 2x tsp canola oil
  • 1x tsp cumin seeds
  • 1x bay leaf
  • 1/2x cinnamon stick
  • 1/2x tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2x tsp minced ginger
  • 1x tsp coriander powder
  • 1x tsp curry powder (garam masala)
  • 1 tsp paprika or red chili powder
  • 1/2x tsp turmeric
  • 1x cup tomato puree
  • 4x cups water (or more for a thinner curry)
  • fresh coriander as garnish

You will also need a pressure cooker with a good whistle on it.

Note … you can use canned red kidney beans and skip the first step below.

How to make the red kidney bean curry

There’s a bit of work involved in making this curry compared to the other recipes in this article … but the effort is worth it.

  1. Soak the dried kidney beans in a stockpot with enough water overnight (minimum 6 hours) … skip this step if you are using canned red kidney beans (thoroughly cleaned)
  2. Put the beans into a pressure cooker along with 3 cups of water
  3. Stir and cook on high for 2-3 whistles
  4. Set the heat to medium and cook for another 10-15 minutes until soft
  5. Discard the water in which the beans were cooked
  6. Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat, and add cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick to the hot oil
  7. Sauté for a minute or so
  8. Add the finely chopped onions and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until translucent
  9. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the rough smell goes away
  10. Now add the green chilli, tomato puree and mix well
  11. Cook for 10 minutes, or until tomato puree is cooked properly
  12. Now add the coriander powder, red chilli powder and curry powder and mix well
  13. Cook for 2 minutes
  14. Then add the prepared kidney beans and mix all together
  15. Add 1.5 cups of water (or more) to the curry
  16. Cover the pan and cook the kidney beans curry for 10 minutes on medium-low heat
  17. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve immediately with rice or Indian roti

Bonne Appetit !!!

Why you should eat red kidney beans

For a few simple reasons … they help fight diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. In addition they are protein rich and contain lots of good fibre, and can help you lose weight. They are an ideal food for diabetics. Here are the science-backed verified facts.

Red in colour and shaped just like the kidneys of an animal or human, red kidney beans are commonly added to soups, stews, salads and other meals in most countries. You can buy them fresh, canned, or dried, and the nutrition they deliver means they should always be part of a healthy diet.

Nutrition facts of red kidney beans

100 grams (3.5 ounces) of boiled kidney beans contains:

  • Water … 67%
  • Calories … 127
  • Protein … 8.7g (8.7%)
  • Fat … 0.5g (0.5%)
  • Carbohydrates … 22.8g (22.8%) of which;
    • Sugar … 0.3g (0.3%)
    • Fibre … 6.4g (6.4%)

As you can see, with moderate calories and very small amount of fat and sugar, as well as loads of fibre, these beans are an ideal part of a diet for diabetics. In addition, red kidney beans contain lots of beneficial micronutrients such as folate, iron and manganese.

Protein … kidney beans are rich in protein. A 100g has nearly 9 grams of protein, which is 27% of the total calorie content.

Carbohydrates … starchy carbs account for about 72% of the total calorie count in red kidney beans. Bean starch is a slow-release carb (ie, it has a low GI). It causes a lower and more gradual rise in blood glucose compared to other starches. Thus, red kidney beans are especially beneficial for those of us who have type 2 diabetes.

Fibre … red kidney beans are particularly high in fibre, including substantial amounts of resistant starch, a prebiotic. Prebiotics move through you colon until they reach you colon where they are fermented by beneficial bacteria. This fermentation results in the formation of short-chain fatty acids, which may improve the health of your colon and reduce your risk of colon cancer.

Micro-nutrients … red kidney beans are rich in various vitamins and minerals. These include … molybdenum … folate (aka vitamin B6 or folic acid) … iron (but the phytate in these beans may mean that iron is absorbed poorly) … copper … manganese … potassium, and … vitamin K1, which is important for blood coagulation.

Health benefits of eating red kidney beans

By incorporating red kidney beans in your diet, you can experience substantial health benefits. These include:

  • Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Better control of blood glucose levels
  • Protecting cells from damage
  • Helping to prevent and treat some cancers
  • Reduced risk of obesity

Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes … kidney beans have a much lower GI (glycemic index) than other carb-rich foods, probably due to the fibre and resistant starch they contain. The glycemic index is a measure of the speed with which individual foods increase blood glucose levels after you eat them.

A 4-year study of 3,349 people found that consuming large amounts of legumes and lentils was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study also found that eating half a serving of legumes a day instead of a similar sized serving of eggs, bread, rice or baked potatoes was linked to a lower risk of developing diabetes.

It seems obvious that eating red kidney beans instead of other high-carb foods can reduce blood glucose levels in both those who are and who are not type 2 diabetic.

Better control of your blood glucose levels … according to a review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adding pulses to your diet, such as red kidney beans, could reduce your fasting blood sugar and insulin, thus supporting control of blood glucose in the long-term.

Protecting cells from damage … red kidney beans are a great source of antioxidants, compounds that help neutralise free radicals, thus reducing inflammation and protecting cells from damage and disease. Foods high in antioxidants may also help prevent chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancers and autoimmune disorders.

Improving heart health … research suggests that eating plenty of legumes, such as red kidney beans, as part of a healthy diet can reduce levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, both of which are major risk factors for heart disease.

In addition, other studies have shown that eating legumes can reduce markers of inflammation, many of which contribute to chronic conditions such as heart disease.

Other research indicates that eating plenty of legumes as part of a healthy diet can reduce levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, both of which are major risk factors for heart disease.

Helping to prevent and treat some cancers … eating kidney beans is a good source of flavanols, plant compounds that act as antioxidants. According to a study published in 2009, consuming higher amounts of flavanols is linked to a lower risk of advanced adenomas (a type of tumour from which cancer of the colon can develop).

In vitro research published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules found that certain compounds in white kidney beans were able to block the growth and spread of cancer cells. This suggests that kidney beans may be a powerful food for fighting cancer.

Reduced your risk of obesity … several observational studies have linked the consumption of beans to a lower risk of being overweight or obese. A 2-month study of 30 obese adults on a weight loss diet found that eating beans and other legumes four times a week led to greater loss than a bean-free diet.

Another study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition stated that increased consumption of beans may be linked to improved nutrition, lower body weight and reduced belly fat.

Kidney beans are high in dietary fibre and protein. Fibre moves through the body slowly thus prolonging feelings of satiety. Protein has been shown to reduce levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates feelings of hunger.

Risks and side-effects from eating red kidney beans

Eating red kidney beans is not all dietary heaven … problems include:

  • Flatulence
  • Toxicity
  • Anti-nutrients

Flatulence … when eating kidney beans some people experience unpleasant side effects such as flatulence, bloating and diarrhoea. These effects are due to alpha-galactosides, ie insoluble fibres. Alpha-galactosides can be removed, at least partially, by soaking and sprouting the beans.

Toxicity … raw kidney beans contain large amounts of phytohemagglutinin, a toxic protein. Though this protein is found in many beans, it is particularly high in red kidney beans. Symptoms include diarrhoea and vomiting.

To get rid of this toxin, soak and cook the beans … soak them in water for at least 5 hours (or overnight, preferably) and boil them for at least ten minutes at 1000C (2120F). Properly prepared red kidney beans are safe to eat and very nutritious.

Antioxidants … are substances that reduce nutritional value by impairing the absorption of nutrients from your digestive tract. The main antinutrients in red kidney beans are:

  • Phytic acid … aka phytate … impairs the absorption of minerals such as iron and zinc.
  • Protease inhibitors … aka trypsin inhibitors … inhibit the function of various digestive enzymes, impairing the digestion of protein.
  • Starch blockers … aka alpha-amylase inhibitors … impair the absorption of carbohydrates from your digestive tract.

All these antinutrients are completely or partially inactivated when beans are soaked and cooked properly. Fermenting and sprouting the beans may reduce some antinutrients, eg phytic acid, even further.

How to cook red kidney beans

Red kidney beans come in three basic forms … fresh, dried and canned.

You must not eat raw kidney beans unless you want to experience the heady joys associated with bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea.

Ideally, raw beans should be soaked overnight for at least eight hour before cooking. If they are soaked and sprouted before cooking, this will improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients.

Cook for a minimum of one hour to one-and-a-half hours using 3-parts water to 1-part beans.

Rather than cook your own beans, you can buy canned (tinned) beans which have already been cooked. The canned beans are just as nutritious as the raw beans except that they are often much higher in sodium. You should be able find low sodium varieties. If not, you can drain and rinse the beans … this will get rid of up to 41% of the sodium content.

But note that draining and rinsing canned beans could remove other micro-nutrients, such as vitamin C or the B vitamins. You can get around this by adding other healthy foods, such as carrots, onions, bell peppers and celery, to your meal to boost its nutritional value.

So, once you have the beans ready, what can you do with them?

Find out in the next article in this series … Recipes using red kidney beans

Can you beat diabetes with a high fat diet?

The simple answer is maybe but unlikely. Adherents of the Keto Diet, a high-fat, low-carb diet, claim that it helps you reduce weight and can reverse your diabetes among many other health benefits. Is there much truth behind this contention?

As anybody who has read my book Beating Diabetes, or who follows this blog, knows: a sure-fire way to get your blood glucose down to manageable levels is to follow a diet that is low in sugar, low in fat, low in salt, high in fibre, made up of mainly natural foods with low GIs, while avoiding eggs and dairy products, washed down with plenty of water.  

The Beating Diabetes diet does not specify low carbs, only low sugar. Other carbohydrates, such as starch and dietary fibre are part of this diet.

The alternate diet, the keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet.

What exactly is it and how does it work?

What is a Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet (or keto diet for short) is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. It involves reducing carbohydrate intake drastically and replacing the carbs with fat.

This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis, a in which fat provides most of the fuel for the body. It occurs when there is limited access to glucose (blood sugar), which is the preferred fuel source for many cells in the body.

To achieve ketosis, you need, as a general rule to eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day perhaps as little as 20 grams a day. To do this you must remove carb-heavy foods from your diet, such as grains, candy (sweets) and sugary drinks. You also have to cut back on legumes, potatoes and fruit.

When you eat a very low-carb diet, your insulin levels go down and fatty acids are released from your stores of body fat stores in large amounts. Much of these fatty acids are transferred to the liver, where they are oxidized and turned into molecules called ketones (or ketone bodies).

These molecules can provide energy for the body. Unlike fatty acids, ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy for the brain in the absence of glucose. They can deliver numerous other health benefits, besides reduced insulin and blood glucose levels, as well as weight loss.

Different types of ketogenic diet

There are several versions of the ketogenic diet. These include:

  • The standard ketogenic diet … a very high-fat, moderate-protein, and very low-carb diet … typically 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs
  • High-protein ketogenic diet … this is similar to the standard diet but includes more protein … usually 60% fat, 35% protein and just 5% carbs
  • Cyclical ketogenic diet … this diet alternates low-carb and high carb periods … such as 5 very low-fat days followed by 2 high-carb days
  • Targeted ketogenic diet … this version of the keto diet allows you to add carbs around workouts

Only the standard and high-protein keto diets have been studied scientifically. The other two versions are mainly used by athletes and body builders.

But which foods exactly do you need to avoid, and which do you need to eat if you are following this diet?

Foods to avoid

You need to limit any foods that are high in carbohydrates.

This means that you should avoid carb-based foods such as:

  • grains … wheat products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc
  • sugary foods … sodas, fruit juices, ice cream, smoothies and sweets (candy)
  • legumes … beans, peas, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils and so on
  • root vegetables and tubers … potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips etc
  • most fruits … with the exception of berries

You also need to avoid low-fat or dietary products which are usually highly processed and are high in carbohydrates. In addition, you should ignore condiments and sauces that contain sugar and unhealthy fats. And you should eat very little processed vegetable oil, mayonnaise and similar foods which are choc-a-bloc with unhealthy fats.

Alcoholic beverages are also a no-no as they can throw you out of ketosis. Sugar-free diet foods can also affect your ketone levels especially when they are high in sugar alcohols … these foods tend to be highly-processed also.

Foods to eat

A ketogenic diet should be based on whole, single-ingredient foods that are high in fats and/or low in carbohydrates. Ketogenic experts recommend the following:

  • meat … red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey
  • fatty fish … such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel
  • nuts and seeds … almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc
  • eggs … from free-range chickens
  • butter and cream … from grass-fed cows
  • cheese … unprocessed cheese such as cheddar, goat’s cheese, cream cheese, blue cheeses, mozzarella
  • avocados … whole avocados or freshly made guacamole
  • healthy oils … extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil
  • low-carb veggies … most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc
  • condiments … you can use salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices
Ketogenic diet and weight loss

Several studies over the last 15 years indicate that the ketogenic diet is effective in helping you lose weight. In addition, you lose weight without having to count carbs or track your intake of food.

One such study of 42 healthy but obese women, published in the Journal of endocrinology and metabolism in April 2003, found that people on a ketogenic diet lost more than twice as much weight as persons on a low-fat calorie-restricted diet. Their triglycerides and HDL levels also improved significantly.

Another study, published in Diabetic Medicine, a journal of the British Diabetic Association, in December 1007, of 13 subjects with type 2 diabetes and 13 healthy subjects found that those on a ketogenic diet lost three times more weight than those following the diet recommended by Diabetes UK. But there were no differences between the two groups in changes in their levels of HbA1c, ketones or lipids.

Being overweight or obese is an important factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. The fact that following a ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight suggests that this diet might be helpful in reversing diabetes.

Ketogenic diet and diabetes

A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, published in March 2005 found that a ketogenic diet improved insulin sensitivity by 75%.

In another study published in Nutrition & Metabolism in December 2008, 84 volunteers with obesity and type 2 diabetes followed either (a) a ketogenic diet (ie <20g of carbs a day) or (b) a low-glycemic, reduced-calorie diet (ie 500 kcal/day less than a diet calculated to maintain their current weight) for 24 weeks.

Both diets led to improvements in HbA1c, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, and weight loss. Group (a) on the ketogenic diet had greater improvements in HbA1c, body weight), and HDL cholesterol compared to group (b) on reduced calories. Furthermore, diabetes medications were reduced or eliminated in 95.2% of those in group (a) against 62% of the participants in group (b).   

How the high-fat, low-carb diet works

Persons eating the standard Western diet obtain their energy from glucose. When they digest their food, glucose (which comes mainly from the carbohydrates in their diet) is released into the blood stream where it travels to the muscle cells. At the same time the pancreas releases insulin into the blood stream. The purpose of insulin is to open the receptors in the muscle cells so that the glucose can enter the cells to provide energy.

If you have type 2 diabetes, your basic problem is that these receptors are blocked with fat and the insulin cannot open the cell doors. Hence the glucose cannot enter the muscle cells and you end up with too much fat and insulin floating around your body and causing severe damage to your health over time.  

The trick to reversing your type 2 diabetes is simple. If you follow the Beating-Diabetes (low-sugar, low-fat) diet you will starve your body of fat and after a few weeks the receptors in your muscle cells will unblock, enabling glucose to enter the cells thereby ‘reversing’ your diabetes.

The effects of the high-fat, low-carb ketonic diet are entirely different. When you follow the keto diet, your body switches to using fat as its source of energy rather than carbs. This is known as ketosis, which involves the liver producing ketone bodies (aka ketones) out of fat and using these for energy instead of carbohydrates.

Ketone bodies or ketones (acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone) are used in healthy individuals to provide energy to the cells of the body when glucose is low or absent in the diet.

Should you make the switch?

Though it is obviously effective in helping you lose weight and in all probability can enable you to reverse your diabetes, a ketogenic diet can have negative side effects.

Keto flu … is an unpleasant side effect that you may experience as you transition to a ketogenic diet. You may experience fatigue, dizziness, brain fog and insomnia. But those you have made the transition say that it passes after some time.

Nutritional deficiencies … the keto diet limits the kinds of food you can eat and entire food groups, such as beans, legumes, whole grains, as well as many fruits and vegetables are eliminated from your diet … many of these foods contain vitamins and minerals which you cannot get from any other sources. The keto dies is not a balanced diet so if you go this route on a long-term basis you need to take a wide range of supplements to make up for the loss of micro-nutrients.

Constipation … when you eliminate most fruits and vegetables from you diet you run the risk of becoming deficient in dietary fibre with the result that you become constipated. The solution is to add some low-carb, fibre-rich vegetables to your diet, such as asparagus (2% carbs), Broccoli (7%), Tomatoes (4%), Cucumber (4%), Cauliflower (5%), Eggplant (6%), Bell Peppers (6%) and Green Beans (7%).

Loss of electrolytes … as you enter ketosis, your body will start dumping its stores of glycogen (the main form in which glucose is stored in your body) through urination. An increase in how often you urinate will inevitably lead to a loss of electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium and potassium. These electrolytes are essential for cardiac function and a normal heart beat, and that loss can put you at risk of cardiac arrhythmia. To avoid this you should eat avocados, leafy green vegetables, asparagus and cruciferous vegetables which are natural sources of this electrolytes. Add a pinch of sea-salt to your meals to up your sodium levels. You can also take an over-the-counter supplement.

Dehydration … a keto diet is known as a ‘water flushing’ diet because the glycogen stores in your muscles and liver are reduced through urination. Thus, along with loss of electrolytes, dehydration is thus a real threat in the early stages of the diet. The solution is to drink copious amounts of water, at least 2.5 litres a day. The requirement to drink water is also a feature of the Beating-Diabetes diet.

Kidney damage … untreated dehydration can lead to acute kidney damage. In addition, high levels of nitrogen created by excess protein can also increase pressure on your kidneys, damaging the cells and leading to the formation of kidney stones. Thus, it is only sensible to seek medical advice before you embark on the keto diet, especially if you already have issues with your kidneys and liver.

Muscle loss … is a real possibility when you are in ketosis for a long time. While protein is the basic muscle builder, you muscles also need carbs for their formation and maintenance. Without those carbs your body starts to break down muscle. In itself this would not be dangerous for most of your muscle mass. Unfortunately, your heart is also a muscle, so it too could get damaged.

Low blood pressure … one of benefits of the ketogenic diet is that it can help reduce elevated levels of blood pressure. Thus, if you are already taking prescription medicines to control hypertension, it can cause abnormally low blood pressure levels, taking them so low that it can be dangerous, even deadly. The solution is to discuss whether you should reduce or stop your medications with your doctor and follow his or her advice.

When you consider the risks involved, the answer to the question is you probably should not switch … especially if the Beating Diabetes diet is working for you.

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