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The Fat-Fighting 4: Supernutrients that outsmart diabetes

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The Diabetes DTOUR Diet is based on new research that found that certain nutrients in foods are powerful at balancing blood sugar and encouraging weight loss.

"And when eaten together, they are even more effective," says Dr. Francine R. Kaufman, medical advisor for The Diabetes DTOUR Diet book (which Outsmart Diabetes is based upon) and head of the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. "That's important because excess fat, especially around your abdomen, causes inflammation in cells, making them even more resistant to insulin and driving up blood sugar."

These four supernutrients—the Fat-Fighting 4—together help you take control. See them now!

Fat-Fighter #1: Calcium

Scientists aren't sure how calcium burns body fat—some believe it reduces the fat-producing effects of a steroid hormone called calcitriol, says Barbara Quinn, author of The Diabetes DTOUR Diet (which Outsmart Diabetes is based upon). What we do know is that it works: Researchers at the University of Tennessee found that obese people who went on a low-calorie diet that contained three daily servings of calcium-rich dairy lost 70 percent more weight and 64 percent more body fat than those who ate just one serving of dairy a day. Calcium food sources: Fat-free milk and low-fat dairy, spinach, kale, broccoli, and white beans

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Fat-Fighter #2: Vitamin D

A landmark study from Tufts-New England Medical Center showed that low levels of vitamin D raise a person's risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 46 percent. "Researchers believe vitamin D quells cellular inflammation that contributes to diabetes," explains Quinn. 

Plus, your body needs D to absorb calcium—and together, they can help fight diabetes: According to the Nurses' Health Study, an ongoing investigation of more than 83,000 women, those who consumed more than 1,200 mg of calcium and more than 800 IU of vitamin D a day were 33 percent less likely to have developed diabetes than those taking in less of both nutrients. On the DTOUR Diet, you get 400 IU per day, so include a daily multivitamin that also contains 400 IU of vitamin D. Vitamin D food sources: Salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, fortified whole grain cereal, fortified fat-free milk, and Swiss cheese

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Fat-Fighter #3: Omega-3s

New science published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that women who ate a balanced diet including omega-3s lost 1 1/2 more pounds of torso fat than women on the same exact diet but minus the omega-3s. These healthy fats slow the rate of digestion, which makes you feel fuller longer, so you eat fewer calories throughout the day, says Quinn. "Omega-3s also reduce inflammation, a major risk factor for diabetes, and appear to improve insulin resistance," she says. Omega-3 food sources: Tofu, enriched eggs, shrimp, salmon, tuna, walnuts, flax, and flaxseed oil

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Fat-Fighter #4: Fiber

Foods high in fiber are nutrient-rich, filling, and low in calories—a combination that makes them weight loss wonders. According to a study done at the University of Minnesota, people who stuck to higher-fiber diets lost 2 to 3 pounds more per month than those who followed lower-fiber diets. Fiber triggers hormones that control appetite, which also helps with weight loss, adds Quinn. 

Plus, both soluble and insoluble fiber help control blood sugar: The soluble type dissolves in water and forms a thick gel during digestion, which can interfere with and slow down carbohydrate and glucose absorption in the intestines, explains Quinn. Insoluble fiber doesn't dissolve in water. It stays solid and moves quickly through the digestive tract, so intestines have less time to absorb carbohydrates, and blood sugar levels stay even. When Finnish researchers tracked 4,316 men and women over the course of 10 years, they found that the people who ate the highest percentage of cereal fiber were 61 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Fiber food sources: Whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, barley, oatmeal and oat
bran, apples, pears, citrus fruits, carrots, beans, and artichokes