Carbs That Keep Blood Sugar Steady
Our wide variety of food products contain different levels and types of carbohydrates, making it harder to eat wisely with diabetes. In general, you will want to choose carbs that have the least impact on your blood sugar. That means selecting items that are high in fiber and low in sugar since these are absorbed more slowly and so have little impact on blood sugar changes. Think whole-grain breads and cereals, beans, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products without added sugar.
How Do The Foods I Eat Affect My Blood Sugar Levels
The sugar in your blood comes from certain foods called carbohydrates, or “carbs.” Foods that are high in carbs include candy and sweets, sodas, breads, tortillas, and white rice. The more carbs you eat, the higher your blood sugar level will be.
Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, making the right food choices is an important way to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. When you control your blood sugar, you lower your chance of having serious health problems from diabetes, such as vision loss and heart problems.
And if you have prediabetes or are at risk for diabetes, eating foods that keep your blood sugar levels healthy may help prevent type 2 diabetes later on.
What Is A Diabetes Diet
Asterino-McGeean says that the best diet if you have diabetes isnt a diet at all. Instead, think of a diabetes diet as a lifestyle.
This diet plan helps those with diabetes live a healthier lifestyle that improves blood sugar management and reduces the risk of diabetes complications, she says. The best diet for those with diabetes should focus on meal planning and eating balanced, correctly portioned snacks and meals.
Some factors that mean a diabetes diet may be right for you include:
- Blood sugar levels: You have high blood sugar levels or have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes .
- Diagnosis of gestational diabetes: Youve been diagnosed with a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. People diagnosed with gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life but you may be able to prevent it by following a diet plan for diabetes.
- Weight: You have been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome or obesity.
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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
Engage In Physical Activity
Another common sense suggestion, but one that can make a major difference! According to the American Diabetes Association , exercise is a fundamental part of diabetes treatment, and were big believers that its a fun and fulfilling part of our routine.
Not to mention the many, many, many other health benefits of exercise.
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Healthy Eating Tips For People With Diabetes
Figuring out what to eat with diabetes can be daunting so we spoke with leading Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who are also Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists to gain some insight into what they recommend.
Theyve spent years caring for and counseling people with diabetes, and are involved nationally in myriad volunteer efforts to communicate the art and science of diabetes care.
Evert is the assistant director of Nutrition Services for University of Washington Medicine Primary Care. She was also the co-lead author in 2014 and again in 2019 for the American Diabetes Associations nutrition recommendations.
Question: You now work in primary care after having worked in an endocrinology clinic for years. Most people with diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, receive their diabetes care in primary care. How do you suggest people with diabetes learn what optimal care is and advocate to get it?
Evert: I encourage people to be proactive. For people with type 2 diabetes, ask your PCP for a referral to a registered dietitian nutritionist with experience in diabetes care and education . I work in a health system in which nutritionists and CDCES are part of our primary care clinics. This works well because people can see these providers at the same location they see their PCP.
Question: How much weight does the research show people need to lose to impact their glucose, lipids and/or blood pressure?
Diet Plans To Discuss With Your Healthcare Team
While its best to talk to your doctor before you start any diet plan, its especially important to talk to them if youre interested in the following:
Intermittent fasting IF requires you to limit the time period in which you eat to a certain number of hours per day, or to eat a very low number of calories on certain days. Some research has shown benefits from IF to fasting glucose and weight. That said, skipping meals may hinder blood sugar control or cause low blood sugar , especially if youre on insulin or a sulfonylurea, so talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits before you attempt it.
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What Is The Best Diet For People With Diabetes
Good diets offer well-rounded nutrition:
1. DASH. Created to help lower blood pressure , the DASH diet goes well beyond that. Its a well-rounded, healthy nutrition plan for everyone, not just if you have diabetes. DASH is rich in fruits, vegetables and grains, and low in fat, sugar and sodium.
For example, on a 1,600-calorie DASH plan, each day you would eat:
- Six servings of grains .
- Three to four servings of vegetables.
- Four servings of fruit.
- Two or three servings of dairy.
- Six or fewer servings of meats . Also, include about three portions of nuts, seeds and beans or lentils weekly.
2. Mediterranean. Not necessarily a diet, the Mediterranean diet is based on a style of eating of people in Greece, Southern France and Italy. This way of eating is high in vegetables, nuts and healthy fats. For instance, it recommends getting most of your calories from mostly whole grains, then fruits, vegetables and beans, and lastly, dairy.
You can eat some healthy fats such as those from avocados and olive oil every day. Eat sweets, eggs, poultry and fish only a few times each week, and red meat only a couple of times each month.
3. Plant-based. Most plant-based diet plans cut out or dramatically limit meat. A vegan diet cuts out meat and dairy. A vegetarian diet cuts meat, but allows foods like eggs and cheese. A flexitarian diet is mostly plant-based with some animal protein.
Foods To Avoid With Type 2 Diabetes
Flour and sugar represent 2 ingredients most likely to wreak havoc for people with diabetes because they typically add unnecessary calories and end up leading to a boost in blood sugar and your weight a double whammy. While you dont have to avoid white flour and sugar altogether, be aware that foods made with themincluding sugar-sweetened cookies, cakes, doughnuts, and other baked goods and sugar-sweetened drinkshave little nutritional value and are likely to send your blood sugar soaring.
Its also important to steer clear of processed foods when possible. The more a food has been mechanically handled and refined, the greater the likelihood that its nutritional value will decrease, and such foods are often high in sugar, refined flour, or saturated fats. By eating foods considered highly refined , you are filling up on foods that will make it harder to manage your weight and your blood sugar levels.
While a diabetes diet is more about avoiding certain types of foodsi.e., empty carbs and foods with little nutritional valuethan cutting out any single bad food, there are some clear items to avoid or minimize:
White breads and pastries
Pasta made from white flour
Processed foods made with added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup
Foods high in saturated fat
Candy and soft drinks that contain sugar and high-fructose corn syrup
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The Role Of Dairy Foods In Diabetes
As one of the core food groups, dairy foods play a key role in a healthy balanced diet. Dairy foods provide essential nutrients, including:
Because they have a low GI, dairy foods are an ideal food for people with diabetes. In addition, research suggests that including dairy foods as part of a healthy lifestyle might help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
There is a wide range of reduced or low-fat dairy foods which are ideal for calorie-controlled diets or people who need to limit their saturated fat intake. Including the recommended serves of dairy every day into your diabetes management plan is easy with dairys great taste and versatility. One serve is equal to:
- One glass of milk
- A tub of yogurt
- 2 slices of cheese
Nutrition Australia would like to acknowledge Dairy Australia as the original author of this resource.
If You’ve Just Been Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes One Of The First Things You Might Be Worried About Is Food
Youre likely to be faced with what seems like an endless list of new tasks. Medical appointments, taking medication, stopping smoking, being more active and eating a healthy, balanced diet it can all seem so daunting and overwhelming. With so much to take in at once and all the myths about diabetes and food that youll probably hear, it can be hard to know what to do.
We cant tell you exactly what to eat, but we can get you started with some options to try for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Planning ahead when it comes to food could help you feel less overwhelmed and more in control.
When I decided to make changes to my lifestyle, diet came first. I looked on the Diabetes UK website and read all about the food I needed to eat. It all looked simple but to act on it and manage this new way of eating was difficult. I knew I had to do it.
Zahoor, living with type 2 diabetes
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When Youre Managing Diabetes And Prediabetes Your Eating Plan Is A Powerful Tool
But figuring out what to eat can feel like a hassle, right? Well, it doesn’t have to because there are easy things you can do to add flavor to your daily routineincluding healthy twists on your favorite foods.
One key to feeling your best lies in the food you eat. You can start by working with a registered dietitian nutritionist to make an eating plan that works for you. In it, be sure to include the foods you likeand dont be afraid to try something new.
Most importantly, remember that eating welland adding activity to your daily routine by moving moreare important ways you can manage diabetes. And were here to help you every step of the way.
Ideas For Enjoying Healthy Fats
- Stir-fry meat and vegetables in a little canola oil with garlic or chilli
- Dress a salad or steamed vegetables with a little olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar
- Sprinkle sesame seeds on steamed vegetables
- Use linseed bread and spread a little canola margarine
- Snack on a handful of unsalted nuts, or add some to a stir-fry or salad
- Spread avocado on sandwiches and toast, or add to a salad
- Eat more fish because it contains a special type of fat that is good for your heart.
- Do more dry roasting, grilling, microwaving and stir-frying in a non-stick pan
- Avoid deep fried, battered and crumbed foods
Carbohydrates And The Glycaemic Index
The amount of carbohydrate in a meal is the most important factor influencing blood glucose levels after a meal. Foods containing carbohydrate include breads, cereals, rice, pasta, grains such as barley and couscous, fruit and fruit juices, legumes and some vegetables such as potato, sweet potato and corn. Milk and yogurt are also a source of carbohydrate in the form of the milk sugar, lactose.
The glycaemic index is a useful tool to choose foods to help control blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. Carbohydrates in food are digested and absorbed at different rates. The GI is a way of ranking carbohydrate-containing foods based on whether they raise blood sugar levels a lot, moderately, or a little. Carbohydrate containing foods that are digested quickly will result in a high blood glucose level and have a high glycaemic index . Foods with a GI 70 and above are classified as high GI foods.
Carbohydrate foods that are digested more slowly raise blood glucose levels more slowly, so have a lower glycaemic index . Foods with a GI 55 and below are low GI foods. Eating foods with a low GI can help people with diabetes control their blood glucose levels. Eating moderate amounts of low GI carbohydrate foods regularly over the day will help you maintain consistent blood glucose levels. Low GI foods also stop you from feeling as hungry, which may help you to manage or lose weight.
Eat Good To Feel Good
Regardless of what cuisine you prefer, here’s what all healthy eating plans have in common. They include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Lean meats and plant-based sources of protein
- Less added sugar
- Less processed foods
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The Dietary Approach To Stop Hypertension Plan
The DASH plan was originally developed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure, or hypertension. But it may also lower the risk of other diseases, including diabetes. It may have the additional benefit of helping you lose weight.
People following the DASH plan are encouraged to reduce portion sizes and eat foods rich in blood pressure-lowering nutrients, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
The DASH eating plan includes:
- Lean protein: fish, poultry
Foods eaten on this diet include:
- Protein: poultry, salmon, other fatty fish, eggs
- Plant-based foods: fruits, vegetables like artichokes and cucumbers, beans, nuts, seeds
- Healthy fats: olive oil, nuts such as almonds
Lean red meat may be consumed occasionally. Wine may be consumed in moderation, as it may boost heart health. Remember to never drink on an empty stomach if you are on medications that raise the level of insulin in the body.
The paleo diet centers on the belief that the processing of foods is to blame for chronic disease. Followers of the paleo diet eat only what they believe our ancient ancestors would have been able to hunt and gather.
Foods eaten on the paleo diet include:
- Protein: meat, poultry, fish
- Plant-based foods: nonstarchy vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts
- Healthy fats: olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil
The paleo diet may be a good option for people with diabetes as long as they do not have kidney disease. According to a small, short-term
Healthy Eating For Type 2 Diabetes
In this report, Healthy Eating for Type 2 Diabetes, youll learn about the components of a healthy diet for people with diabetes, as well as how to work with a dietitian, how to develop a meal plan, and how to fit physical activity into your schedule. You will learn how to recognize portion distortion, make wise choices while dining out, and stay on track with your weight-loss plan. Best of all, weve included 40 original recipes so you can put this advice into practice starting today.
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Can I Drink Alcohol If I Have Type 2 Diabetes
For most people with type 2 diabetes, the general guideline for moderate alcohol consumption applies. Research shows that one drink per day for women and two a day for men reduces cardiovascular risk and doesn’t have a negative impact on diabetes. However, alcohol can lower blood sugar, and people with type 2 diabetes who are prone to hypoglycemia should be aware of delayed hypoglycemia.
Ways to prevent hypoglycemia include:
- Eat food with alcoholic drinks to help minimize the risk.
- Mixed drinks and cocktails often are made with sweeteners or juices, and contain a large amount of carbohydrates so they will increase blood sugar levels.
- Wear a diabetes alert bracelet so that people know to offer food if you demonstrate hypoglycemic symptoms.
It also is important to know that hypoglycemia symptoms often mimic those of intoxication.
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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