How To Get Started With A Type 2 Diabetes Diet Plan
For many people, at least initially, following a diabetes diet may seem harder than it should be. Thats understandable after all, it can seem very, very challenging to change current eating habits and find the right food rhythm to fit your lifestyle. It may ease your mind to know you will still be able to incorporate your favorite foods into a healthy diet while being mindful of your diabetes diet goals .
While the idea of changing your diet can be confusing and overwhelming at first, research shows that making healthy lifestyle choices can help you manage your blood sugar levels in the short term and may even prevent many of the long-term health complications associated with diabetes, says Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, author of The Diabetes Cookbook and Meal Plan for the Newly Diagnosed.
You dont have to go it alone: Seek advice from a registered dietitian or certified diabetes care and education specialist who has the right training to help you come up with an individualized meal plan that will help you meet your self-management goals, get the nutrition you need, and show you how you can incorporate some of your favorite foods into your diet so that you continue to enjoy eating.
Hopefully, your doctor has someone on the team, but if not, call your health insurer to ask for the names of a few in-network RD/CDEs.
Does Following A Type 2 Diabetes Diet Mean I Wont Need To Take Insulin
It might. For people with type 2 diabetes, your pancreas produces plenty of insulin that is not sensed by the cells, so your body is unable to properly use the insulin you make. Usually, type 2 diabetes can be controlled well with lifestyle changesparticularly shifting from processed carbs to high fiber foods and walking dailywith the addition of medication as needed.
Some people with type 2 diabetes may also need to begin taking insulin at some point, says Sandra Arévalo, MPH, RDN, CDE, a diabetes expert and spokesperson with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It can depend on your age and your individual ability to control your blood sugar with diet and exercise.
However, when type 2 diabetes is found early enough and weight loss is achieved, in most cases, insulin is never needed.
Fat Consumption And Diabetes
All fats are high in energy. Eating too much fat can lead to weight gain, which may make it more difficult to manage your blood glucose levels and can increase blood fats . The type of fat you eat is also important. People with diabetes have a greater risk of developing heart disease, so try to eat less saturated fat and replace with healthier unsaturated fats.
Foods high in saturated fat include meat fat, full-fat dairy foods, cream, solid cooking fats , oils such as palm and coconut, and products that contain these fats .
When you do eat fats, choose mainly unsaturated fats, these include:
- polyunsaturated fats and oils found in, sunflower, safflower, soybean, corn, cottonseed, grapeseed and sesame oils. Also found in oily fish such as herring, mackerel, sardine, salmon and tuna, as well as nuts, seeds and polyunsaturated margarines
- monounsaturated fats and oils found in canola and olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and canola or olive oil margarines.
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Foods High In Fat Salt And Sugar
You dont need any of these as part of a healthy diet. The less often, the better. But we know youre bound to eat these foods from time to time, so its really important to know how they might affect your body.
These foods include biscuits, crisps, chocolates, cakes, ice cream, butter and sugary drinks. These sugary foods and drinks are high in calories and raise blood sugar levels, so go for diet, light or low-calorie alternatives. And the best drink to choose is water its calorie free.
Theyre also high in unhealthy saturated fats, so they arent good for cholesterol levels and your heart.
And they can also be full of salt processed foods especially. Too much salt can make you more at risk of high blood pressure and stroke. You should have no more than 1 tsp of salt a day.
We don’t recommend ‘diabetic’ ice cream or sweets. It’s now against the law to label any food as diabetic and there’s no evidence to suggest that food for diabetics offer any benefits over eating a healthy balanced diet.
What Else Do I Need To Know About Diabetic Diets
If you have diabetes, it’s important to eat the right amount of food every day. Your eating plan will include how much to eat, so that you get the right amount of carbs in each meal or snack. You’ll learn how to count carbs and measure your food.
Eating at the right times is also important. You will want to plan for regular, balanced meals to avoid high or low blood sugar levels. Eating about the same amount of carbs at each meal can be helpful.
Your eating plan will also teach you how to stick with your plan at home and when you eat out.
Eating healthy to control your blood sugar does take some effort. But the reward is a chance to live your healthiest life with diabetes.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
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Which Should You Choose
Its important to note that none of these eating patterns are particularly better than the others. With a four-way tie for second place, and a three-way tie for third place, there are eight Top 3 diets!All of these eating patterns include basic principles of healthy eating, so any one of them can help you manage or prevent type 2 diabetes.The best diet for you is going to be the one that fits best with your lifestyle and preferences, and that youre most likely to stick with long-term.
Tips For Getting Started With A Diabetes Diet
Rather than trying a complete overhaul all at once, create lasting good habits by focusing on small, simple, and maintainable changes, Palinski-Wade says. Otherwise, you may feel overwhelmed and revert to any previous unhealthy eating habits. Being consistent with change, no matter how small, is the key to long-term weight loss success, she adds.
Here are some of the basic rules for building and then sticking with a diabetes meal plan.
Consult the experts. Connect with your primary doctor and a registered dietitian nutritionist who is also a certified diabetes care and education specialist search for one near you at EatRight.org to figure out how many carbohydrates you should eat per meal based on your individual needs as well as the optimal eating approach for your preferences and health goals.
Veg out. Add in one extra serving of nonstarchy vegetables at dinner. Consider adding vegetables to snacktime, too.
Sweeten things up with fruit.
Beware of sauces and dressings. Sugar hides in many condiments, like ketchup, barbecue sauce, and marinades. Always read the label, and choose the lower-sugar option that best fits your diet and goals.
Dont skip breakfast.
Simplify beverages. Instead of reaching for sweetened drinks, opt for water , unsweetened tea, and coffee.
Cut back on salt.Dont fear grains. Add fiber to your diet.
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What Are The Diet Recommendations For Type 1 Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association recommends the same healthy diet for children who have type 1 diabetes as those who donât. Eating adequate calories for your child to grow and develop appropriately is the primary goal of adequate nutrition. While your child doesnât have to avoid any particular foods, youâll want to keep these tips in mind:
- Avoid sugary drinks. Instead, choose water. There are many sparkling waters available that have minimal carbohydrates or sugar substitutes. Also, try infusing your water with fresh fruits and herbs to help give flavor, but not add extra calories or sugar. Crystal Light, sugar-free lemonades or unsweetened teas are options, but should not be your primary hydration source.
- Donât let your child skip meals as this can cause them to overeat at the next meal.
- Even if your child is trying to lose weight, they should never skip a meal. They should only reduce portion sizes.
- Increase daily fiber to help overall blood sugar control as well as many other health benefits
- Choose healthy carbohydrates at every meal and try to pair them with a fat and protein. Healthy carbohydrate examples are whole wheat pasta, brown rice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal and fruit.
Type 2 Diabetes Food Breakdown
First and foremost, we recommend that the vast majority of your nutrients come from plants, due to the various risks associated with eating meat.
We also recommend removing artificial sweeteners and synthetic/processed products from your diet as much as possible, due to their proven association with chronic disease.
Finally, we recommend that you get 80+% of your calories from the carbohydrates found in whole-grains, fruits, and vegetables, with the remaining calories coming from healthy fats and proteins.
Sound restrictive? You might think, but countless plant based recipes might make you rethink your food groups.
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Other Type 2 Diabetes Eating Plans
One of the main obstacles to diabetes care that we discussed before is that theres a great deal of conflicting information out there about which diet is best for you. Well touch on a few here, including the principles behind them and where they may fall flat as a diabetic diet.
Of course, always work with your dietitian or diabetes health care provider to ensure that your team is on the same page about what youre planning to eat.
Monitoring Blood Sugar Response
If you keep net carbs very low , your blood sugar is likely to remain well controlled at all times.29 If you want to experiment with eating slightly more carbs, make sure to test your blood sugar to determine your personal carb tolerance.
Try to measure your blood glucose before eating and then at 1 and 2 hours after eating. Keep a log of your blood sugar readings along with what you ate, and adjust your carb intake as needed based on your results.
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Examples Of What To Try
- sliced melon or grapefruit topped with unsweetened yogurt, or a handful of berries, or fresh dates, apricots or prunes for breakfast
- mix carrots, peas and green beans into your pasta bake
- add an extra handful of peas to rice, spinach to lamb or onions to chicken
- try mushrooms, cucumber, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, celery and lettuce for lower carb vegetable options
- try avocados, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums, peaches and watermelon for lower carb fruit options
Check out our recipes to help you eat a healthy diet for diabetes weve got lots of delicious main meals packed full of vegetables, and fruity breakfast options.
How Do Carbs Function In The Body
Carbohydrates provide energy for our bodies to run on. When you eat a food that contains carbs, the carbs are broken down by the body into glucose. Glucose is the primary fuel that circulates in our blood at all times. Its also the principle fuel for the brain, says Dr. Katz.
The 20152020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends getting 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories from carbs. That means if you were to eat a standard 2,000-calorie diet, 900 to 1,300 of your calories would come from carbs. One gram of carbohydrate contains four calories, which means between 225 and 325 g of carbs would be your target intake daily.
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Dairy Foods And Alternatives
Milk, cheese and yogurt have lots of calcium and protein in great for your bones, teeth and muscles. But some dairy foods are high in fat, particularly saturated fat, so choose lower-fat alternatives.
Check for added sugar in lower-fat versions of dairy foods, like yoghurt. Its better to go for unsweetened yoghurt and add some berries if you want it sweeter. If you prefer a dairy alternative like soya milk, choose one thats unsweetened and calcium-fortified.
The Best And Worst Type 2 Diabetes Choices By Food Group
As you pick the best foods for type 2 diabetes, heres a helpful guideline from the NIDDK to keep in mind: Fill one-half your plate with nonstarchy vegetables. One-fourth of your plate should feature your protein , and the final fourth should include a grain or other starch, such as starchy vegetables, a piece of fruit, or a small glass of milk.
Because processed and sugary foods are unhealthy carbs, limit them in your diabetes diet, says Massey. That includes soda, candy, and other packaged or processed snacks, such as corn chips, potato chips, and the like. And while artificial sweeteners like those found in diet sodas wont necessarily spike your blood sugar in the same way as white sugar, they could still have an effect on your blood sugar and even alter your bodys insulin response.
A previous study found that when 17 obese, non-insulin-resistant people ingested a beverage treated with the artificial sweetener sucralose before taking a standardized dose of glucose, their blood sugar and insulin levels rose more than when they drank plain water. On the other hand, a meta-analysis published May 2018 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that artificial sweeteners didnt increase blood sugar levels. More research is needed to determine how artificial sweeteners affect people with diabetes.
For now, heres what you need to know about choosing the most diabetes-friendly foods from each food group.
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Creating A Type 1 Diabetes Meal Plan
People can use different methods to plan their type 1 diabetes diet. They can also seek help from a dietitian. Some common ways to prepare meals are:
Carbohydrate counting: This method involves keeping track of how many grams of carbohydrate someone eats and drinks each day.
Glycemic index:Glycemic index and glycemic load measure the amount of sugar in foods and how much they will raise blood sugar.
Plate method: People can use this technique to control portion sizes and food groups. It ensures that half of the plate consists of nonstarchy vegetables while a quarter contains a healthful protein, and a grain or starch fills the last quarter.
Snacks should aim to balance carbohydrates with protein or fats. So-called diabetic sweets are also available, but people should keep these to a minimum. Healthful snack ideas include:
- hummus and oatcakes
- chocolate protein balls made with oats, nut butter, cocoa powder, and a diabetes-friendly sweetener, such as stevia
- celery sticks and nut butter
- a boiled egg
People who are tracking their carbohydrate intake should take care to count fruit if they eat it as a snack. A small piece of whole fruit contains about 15 g of carbohydrate. Berries are a lower GI fruit, and melons, pineapples, and some dried fruits have a medium GI.
Eating a lower sugar fruit together with a protein source may help balance blood glucose more than eating the fruit on its own. For example, someone could have berries with natural yogurt.
Type 2 Diabetes And Exercise
Lifestyle management of diabetes isnt just about what you eat. Physical activity also plays an important role. The best type of exercise for managing type 2 diabetes is a combination of cardio exercise, like brisk walking, and strength training. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity. A variety of activities can count toward your goal.¹ In addition to brisk walking, examples of moderately intense exercise include dancing, mowing the lawn, swimming, biking, dancing, and doing housework, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most important is to find activities you enjoy doing, which makes exercise easier to stick with.
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How Do Different Foods Affect Blood Sugar
The diabetes foods list above contains sources of three broad categories called macronutrients : carbohydrates , protein, and fat. Instead of being 100% protein, fat or carbs, many foods are actually a combination of two or all three like nuts, seeds and yogurt.
But how does each macronutrient affect your blood sugar?
How To Start A Keto Diet: 7 Tips For Beginners
If the tenets of a keto diethigh in fats and low in carbssound familiar, youre not wrong. Atkins and keto are not dissimilar. The goal of both diets is to help you lose weight more efficiently by reaching a metabolic state in which your body burns fat and sugar . Classic keto diets are very high in fat, can be quite restrictive, and are often done with medical supervision. But this ultra-high level of fat may not be necessary for you to maintain the fat-burning state of ketosis. Atkins is a ketogenic diet, but one with more food choices and a greater balance of macronutrients.
Consuming a well-constructed keto diet with adequate fiber from vegetables, moderate protein, approximately 40 grams of net carbs or less a day, and about 65% of your daily calories coming from healthy fatsas you do on Atkins 20® or Atkins 40®has shown to be safe and effective. If youre new to the keto diet, here are a few easy tips to getting your diet plan started.
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