Diabetes and Alternative Diets: Do They Work?

Many African Americans use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to manage their disease but fail to disclose this information to their healthcare provider. In fact, studies show that only 40 percent of African-Americans compared with 55 percent of non-Hispanic whites report telling their doctors that they were using a complementary therapy. Most people with diabetes who use CAM follow diet-based therapies to manage the disease. Not sharing your use of CAM with your healthcare provider can be dangerous. Some diet-based therapies may cause nutrient deficiencies and are not based on sound scientific evidence.

Here’s the low down on six of the most common diet-based therapies people use to treat diabetes.

Alkaline Diet
This diet is based on the fact our body has a pH of 7.35 to 7.45, which makes it slightly alkaline. Proponents of the alkaline diet believe humans evolved on a diet much more alkali-forming than diets eaten today. An excess of grains and animal products is believed to cause an acid overload, leading to muscle wasting, kidney stone formation, kidney damage, and the dissolution of bone.

The fact is the body works hard and efficiently on its own to keep the blood at the proper pH regardless of what we eat. You don’t need to alter your diet to try to change the pH level. Although the alkaline diet won’t change your pH level, it can be a healthful diet for people with diabetes. It is primarily a vegetarian diet with emphasis on fresh fruits, vegetables, soy, nuts, legumes, and olive oil.

Food-Combining Diet
The theory behind the food-combining diet says that if