Favorite Resource For Diet Advice
Giving up some of the foods you once loved is arguably the biggest bummer about receiving a diabetes diagnosis. But with this Harvard-affiliated organizations expert diet guidance, you dont have to.
For more on “bad” foods you can eat in a diabetes diet, check out our article “5 ‘Bad’ Diabetes Foods You Can Enjoy in Moderation.”
Want to get involved? The IDF, which reaches 168 countries, makes it easy with their advocacy network page. Youll find different organizations that you can work with to help propel diabetes research, legislation, and awareness.
Favorite Alternative Medicine Resource
Want to give the ketogenic diet a whirl to better manage diabetes? This pioneering program from the Cleveland Clinic offers a way to do just that, with trained counselors who can help you adjust your diet and medication along the way.
The FOMO on diabetes products ends now. This feature by the magazine and website Diabetes Forecast rounds up the best of the best in CGMs , glucagon kits, insulin pens, and more.
Simple Steps To Lowering Your Risk
Control your weight
Excess weight is the single most important cause of type 2 diabetes. Being overweight increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes seven-fold. Being obese makes you 20 to 40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a healthy weight.
Losing weight can help if your weight is above the healthy-weight range. Losing 7-10% of your current weight can cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes in half.
Get movingand turn off the television
Inactivity promotes type 2 diabetes. Working your muscles more often and making them work harder improves their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose. This puts less stress on your insulin-making cells. So trade some of your sit-time for fit-time.
Long bouts of hot, sweaty exercise arent necessary to reap this benefit. Findings from the Nurses Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study suggest that walking briskly for a half hour every day reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30%. More recently, The Black Womens Health Study reported similar diabetes-prevention benefits for brisk walking of more than 5 hours per week. This amount of exercise has a variety of other benefits as well. And even greater cardiovascular and other advantages can be attained by more, and more intense, exercise.
Tune Up Your Diet
Four dietary changes can have a big impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Light to moderate alcohol consumption
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Prognosis Of Type 2 Diabetes
Dont lose hope, though. You dont have to be a statistic. Receiving a prompt diagnosis can help you get your health on track and reduce your risk for complications.
Indeed, if you take care to manage your blood sugar by following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, taking your prescribed medication, and losing weight, you may find your quality of life to be better with diabetes than it was before your diagnosis.
Can I Drink Diet Soda With Type 2 Diabetes
There are better choices. Although these beverages dont provide calories, consuming sweet-tasting foods and drinks may lead you to crave additional sweet items , even if theyre not sweetened with sugar. And diet soda provides no nutritional value. Better to drink water, tea, coffee, or milk, or have a small amount of fruit juice .
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Treatment For Type 2 Diabetes
The primary treatment for type 2 diabetes is diet and lifestyle change. In addition to exercising regularly which can help the insulin work more effectively there are dietary modifications which can help manage your blood glucose levels.
Certain foods such as almonds, dark chocolate, coffee, tea and foods containing resistant starch can help improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.
A low-carbohydrate diet which limits foods such as sugary foods, flour and bread can be an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes.
It has been shown to result in significant improvements in daily blood sugar stability, diabetes medication usage, weight loss, insulin resistance, HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides.
Do I Need To Count Calories When Managing Type 2 Diabetes
While it can be helpful, its not absolutely necessary to track how many calories youre taking in daily. Although tracking calories can be beneficial when it comes to weight reduction, you can lose weight and still have a poor nutritional quality to your diet, Palinski-Wade points out.
Therefore, if you do count calories, make sure youre also focused on healthy food choices. You can track your food intake, she says, which will let you monitor portions as well as how certain foods and mealtimes impact blood glucose levels, she says.
- About 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day for small women who are physically active, small or medium-size women interested in weight loss, or medium-size women who are not physically active
- About 1,600 to 2,000 calories a day for large women interested in weight loss, small men at a healthy weight, medium-size men who aren’t physically active, or medium-size or large men interested in weight loss
- About 2,000 to 2,400 calories a day for medium-size or large men who are physically active, large men at a healthy weight, or medium-size or large women who are very physically active
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Avoid Alcohol Or Drink Only In Moderation
Before you indulge in a cocktail or even a glass of wine with dinner, check with your doctor to make sure that its safe for you to drink alcohol, since it can interfere with your blood-sugar levels. If you do drink, keep it in moderation, advises the ADA. Moderation is generally defined as no more than one serving per day if youre a woman, and no more than two if youre a man. A typical serving is measured as 5 ounces of wine, 12 oz of beer, or 1.5 oz of distilled liquor.
Diabetes medication is processed through the liver, and so is alcohol, explains Kimberlain. This double whammy can be too much for your liver. If youre taking insulin, it can cause low blood sugar, especially if youre drinking and not eating.
As for best and worst choices at the bar, Kimberlain recommends mixed drinks like diet soda with rum , or hard liquor with ice or calorie-free mixers. Avoid sweet wines like prosecco and foofy umbrella drinks with lots of sugar.
Diabetic Diet: Its All About Making Calculated Food Choices
There are different types of diabetes, determined mainly by your bodys ability to produce and use insulinthe hormone necessary for getting sugar out of your blood and into your cells where it is used to produce energy.
The symptoms of all types of diabetes are similar, so the steps you need to take to control your blood sugar remain the same. Your diet plays a very critical role in managing your diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels stable throughout your lifetime. You are in control of what you eat, so this is one area you can and should learn to manage wisely.
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 daily as needed with the addition of medication.
Some people with type 2 diabetes may also need to begin taking insulin at some point, says Sandra Arevalo, MPH, RD, 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.
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Can You Have Sugar
You might have heard that people with diabetes shouldn’t have any table sugar. While some doctors say that, others take a more forgiving view.
Most now say that small amounts of the sweet stuff are fine, as long as they’re part of an overall healthy meal plan. Table sugar doesnât raise your blood sugar any more than starches.
Remember, though, that sugar is a carb. So when you eat sweet foods like cookies, cake, or candy, donât eat another carb or starch that you wouldâve eaten that day.
In other words, substitute, don’t add. Ultimately, the total grams matter more than the source of the sugar.
Account for any food swaps in your carbohydrate budget for the day. Adjust your medications if you add sugars to your meals. If you take insulin, tweak your dose to account for the added carbs so you can keep your blood sugar under control as much as possible. Check your glucose after eating sugary foods.
Read food labels so you know how much sugar or carbs are in the things you eat and drink. Also, check how many calories and how much fat are in each serving.
What Is The Glycemic Index
Along with a number of carbs, foods also have a glycemic index . This number measures how fast a food raises your blood sugar. The index goes from 0 to 100. Your body turns some carbs, like refined sugars, into glucose quickly. These have a high glycemic index. Low-GI foods take longer to digest and release glucose more slowly. Theyâre usually high in fiber, protein, and fat.
Choosing low-GI foods can keep your blood sugar levels steady. And while the glycemic index can be a helpful tool, it isnât perfect. It doesnât rank a foodâs nutrition. For example, a low-GI food can still be high in calories or unhealthy fat. It also doesnât factor how a food is prepared or what you combine it with. Your body absorbs carbs slower, for example, if theyâre paired with a protein or fat.
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What Are The First Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes
Many people with type 2 diabetes do not experience any symptoms at first and it may go undiagnosed for years. If they do have symptoms, these may include:
- being very thirsty
- having cuts that heal slowly
Over time, diabetes can lead to complications, which can then cause other symptoms.
Blood glucose testing is important for detecting pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes before complications arise.
How Can I Incorporate My Diabetes Diet Into Everyday Life
The American Diabetes Association suggests that people with diabetes receive individualized meal plans based on their likes/dislikes, culture, lifestyle, weight, education level, etc.
Meeting with a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator is a great way to help you understand carbohydrates and a healthy diabetes diet. They can provide you with an individualized meal plan and the tools you need to get you started on making good food choices. If you are unable to meet with someone, approach your new way of eating in small steps.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with all this information, start small. Head to the food store and pick up some healthy items. If you don’t have healthy foods in the house, you won’t be able to put together healthy meals.
Secondly, get rid of your temptations. You can’t control what surrounds you on the outside, but you can control what is in your home. Toss the cookies, cake, juice, and chips. If it’s not there, you can’t have it.
If you want to indulge from time-to-time, make it an outing. Go out for ice cream after a walk. You’ll appreciate it more. You’ll be surprised at how much you will enjoy your new way of eating and how surprised you’ll be at the way you used to eat. Be patient, though. It takes time to create new habits.
Carbs Carbs Carbswhat About Them
When it comes to managing diabetes, the carbohydrates, or carbs, you eat play an important role. They impact your blood sugar, so remember that balance is key!
There are three main types of carbohydrates in foodstarches, sugar and fiber. As youll see on the nutrition labels for the food you buy, the term total carbohydrate refers to all three of these types.
When it comes to choosing foods with carbs, the goal is to choose carbs that are nutrient-dense, which means they are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and low in added sugars, sodium and unhealthy fats.
Choose Carbohydrates 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 foods that are high fiber, low sugar foods since these are absorbed more slowly and so have little impact on blood sugar changes.
Best carb choices to promote a healthy lifestyle for people with diabetes:
- High fiber foods include: Whole grain breads and cereals, and foods made with 100% whole wheat, oats, quinoa, brown rice, corn and cornmeal
- Dried beans, lentils, and peas
- Fresh fruits like berries, apples, pears, and oranges
- Dairy products including yogurt, milk, and cheese. The best yogurt is Greek-style or strained yogurt since these contain triple the level of protein.
- Vegetables. Both starchy and non-starchy vegetables are all healthy carbs that have less effect on your blood sugar
As you might guess, sugar-sweetened cookies, cakes, doughnuts, and other baked goods made with white flour as well as candy and soft drinks that contain sugar and high fructose corn syrup have little nutritional value and are likely to send your blood sugar soaring, so should eat them only occasionally, if at all, and only in very small amounts.
Skip foods made with all-purpose white flour and avoid sugary foods and sugar-sweetened drinks.
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Results Of Following A Diabetes
Your specific results depend on where you started before embarking on your diabetes-friendly diet journey. But Palinski-Wade notes that there are short- and long-term results you can expect.
Pretty quickly, you should see benefits to your blood sugar at the outset. You will start to see your daily blood glucose readings improve within a few days, she says. Then youll notice your A1C start to get better in three to six months. These are a measurement of your blood sugar levels on average of the past three months, so consistent improvement for at least three months needs to happen to see this number decrease, Palinski-Wade adds.
If your doctor advises you to lose weight, making these diet changes along with increasing your activity level can help you lose weight and shed body fat. Be careful about monitoring the scale too closely in the early days. Its important to note that if your blood sugar levels were uncontrolled and weight loss resulted from this, you may notice an initial weight gain as blood sugar comes back to a normal level. Do not be discouraged. Generally, this weight gain is minimal, and once blood sugar stabilizes, weight stabilizes as well, she says.
What Foods Can I Eat If I Have Diabetes
You may worry that having diabetes means going without foods you enjoy. The good news is that you can still eat your favorite foods, but you might need to eat smaller portions or enjoy them less often. Your health care team will help create a diabetes meal plan for you that meets your needs and likes.
The key to eating with diabetes is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, in the amounts your meal plan outlines.
The food groups are
- nonstarchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes
- starchy: includes potatoes, corn, and green peas
Use oils when cooking food instead of butter, cream, shortening, lard, or stick margarine.
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Diabetes Meal Plan: What Are The Key Components
According to the ADA, a Mediterranean-style diet, a plant-based diet, and a diet known as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension are all good starting points for a type 2 diabetes meal plan that can be modified to accommodate your personal eating preferences.
These diet approaches have two important factors in common: mostly whole foods, and meals built around vegetables rather than carbohydrates .
However, contrary to popular belief, a type 2 diabetes meal plan is not necessarily a low-carb diet, nor should it be a high-protein or very low-fat meal plan.
In fact, ADA recommends less emphasis on specific requirements for proteins, carbs, and fats, and more emphasis on following a whole foods approach that focuses on the quality of your diet the less processed, refined, prepared, and fast foods focused, the better.
Making a move towards eating more home-cooked meals may seem daunting, but just takes a little planning, especially with resources like the ADA’s Diabetes Food Hub.
Diabetic-friendly recipes sourced from the ADA’s Diabetes Food Hub. Infographic by Lauren Hunter.
An RD or CDE can look at your usual diet and help you identify where theres room for improvement, Ms. Arevalo suggests. These diet experts can also help you create a diabetes diet plan tailored to your personal needs and food preferences.
What Is Carb Counting
Carbohydrates are the sugar, starches, and fibers found in many foods, such as grains, fruits, and dairy products. Your body turns carbs into the sugar it uses for energy. This means carbs affect your blood sugar level more than other kinds of foods.
Carb counting is a way to plan your meals. It keeps you aware of the amount of carbs youâre eating. That information can help you control what youâre eating and keep it within a healthy range for people with type 2 diabetes. This helps you manage your blood sugar levels. Doctors often suggest carb counting for people with diabetes who take insulin. It lets you match your insulin dose to the amount of carbs youâre getting.
Carbs are measured in grams. To count your carbs, find out how many carbs are in the foods you eat. Add up the grams to figure out your total for each meal and snack. In general, you should get 45 to 60 grams of carbs with each meal and 15 to 20 grams for each snack.
But remember, not all carbs are created equal. Fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low-fat milk are the best sources of carbs. Your dietitian or diabetes educator can make a specific plan for you.
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