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Engine 2 Diet

saladDiabetics and those with pre-diabetes will gain so many benefits from losing excess weight, including controlled blood sugar levels, lowered blood pressure, reduced cholesterol levels, and even less fatigue and joint pain. But setting a weight loss goal and achieving it are two different things. Even with popular trends like the Engine 2 diet, it can be difficult to adhere to a meal plan and exercise program.

What is the Engine 2 diet?

This diet was created by a firefighter, hence, the name of the plan. It’s a plant-based, low-fat diet based on the principle that consuming animal products with saturated fats not only causes weight gain, but also leads to medical problems like diabetes and heart disease. However, the Engine 2 diet is a little different from most vegan diets in that it also warns against consuming vegetable oils because they add unnecessary fats.

This diet offers two meal plans: the “firefighter” and the “fire cadet.” The firefighter diet plan is for those who are comfortable with radically overhauling their lifestyle habits all at once. The fire cadet plan, also called the 28-day challenge, is a transition plan intended to gradually ease dieters into a healthier lifestyle.

Although some people may be comfortable with radical, abrupt change, it may not be the best idea for diabetics. First and foremost, diabetics should always consult a doctor before changing their meal plans because doing so will affect blood sugar levels. Changes in weight and blood sugar levels will necessitate a change in diabetes medications or insulin dosages.

Does the diet reverse diabetes?

Vegan diets have been shown to be helpful in managing and reversing diabetes. A 2006 study published in Diabetes Care evaluated nearly 100 diabetic participants. One group adhered to the dietary guidelines recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and the other group followed a low-fat, vegan diet. At the end of the 22-week study, 26% of those on the ADA diet were able to reduce their diabetes medication dosages, while 43% of those on the vegan diet were able to do so. The vegan group also reduced their A1C hemoglobin levels and lost an average of 13 lbs., compared to an average 9-lb. weight loss for the other group.

However, it’s also important to note that plant-based diets such as Engine 2 are not automatically healthy, particularly for diabetics. Those who follow the Engine 2 diet must be careful to include all the nutrients they need, including iron, protein, and B vitamins, which can be tricky to get in sufficient amounts when eating strictly vegan. The best diabetic diet plans include a balanced array of nutrients, which a physician-approved program will be sure to include.

Engine 2 diet review: pros & cons

Reviews of the Engine 2 diet have noted the plan can contribute to weight loss because it is low-fat and high-fiber. A low-fat diet that helps lower cholesterol is also beneficial for cardiovascular health.

However, there are some potential drawbacks to this diet. It can take quite a bit of adaptation to switch to a vegan diet. Bear in mind that vegans don’t eat any animal products – that includes eggs and cheese. The typical vegan recipe may require a bit more prep work. Dieters would have to become accustomed to working with new ingredients, such as nutritional yeast, to ensure that they meet their vitamin and mineral requirements. It can also be more challenging to dine out or attend dinner parties as a vegan.

Dieters who have trouble devising a nutritionally complete meal plan may be at a higher risk for health complications, including osteoporosis (due to low calcium intake), anemia (due to low iron intake), and damaged nerves (due to low vitamin B12 intake). The potential health risks of an unbalanced vegan diet are a compelling reason to seek the dietary guidance of a physician.

Healthy Engine 2 diet recipes

Ingredients to make Migas Especiales:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb. firm tofu, drained and mashed
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 3 corn tortillas, cut in 1” squares
  • 1 can fat-free vegetarian refried beans, warmed in skillet
  • salsa
  • 4 whole corn tortillas

1. Saute onion, add vegetables and cook for about 7 minutes. Add tofu, turmeric, and tortilla squares and cook until warmed.
2. Place a large spoonful in a whole tortilla and top with salsa.

Sample daily menu

Here’s an example of what an Engine 2 dieter might eat on a typical day:

  • Breakfast: Vegan migas (breakfast burrito) with tofu and veggies
  • Lunch: Sweet potato bowl with black beans
  • Dinner: Lentil “meatloaf” with tofu and ground walnuts
  • Dessert:  Date and nut fruit pie

Best diabetic diet plans may include physician support

Even the best diabetic diet plans can’t take into account every individual’s medical conditions, nutritional needs, and personal preferences. While well-balanced vegan diets such as Engine 2 are generally healthy and can help a person lose weight, a customized weight loss program is always ideal, particularly one that is developed by an experienced physician.

At The Center for Medical Weight Loss, physicians work one-on-one with every client to develop the best diabetes diet that suits their individual needs. Clients are encouraged to share their dietary preferences and lifestyle habits so that a program can be developed that is sustainable for life. Diabetics will benefit from being monitored closely by their physicians, so that medication may be adjusted as needed. Take advantage of our special offers for first-time clients at select locations. To find a Center near you, enter your zip code in the box.

Read about the DASH diet, and the Flexitarian diet.