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Diabetes diet | Health & Fitness Expert
Diabetes diet: Create your healthy-eating plan.
Your diabetes diet is simply a healthy-eating plan that will help you control your blood sugar. Here’s help getting started, from meal planning to counting carbohydrates.
A diabetes diet simply means eating the healthiest foods in moderate amounts and sticking to regular mealtimes.
A diabetes diet is a healthy-eating plan that’s naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories. In fact, a diabetes diet is the best eating plan for most everyone.
Why do you need to develop a healthy-eating plan?
If you have diabetes or prediabetes, your doctor will likely recommend that you see a dietitian to help you develop a healthy-eating plan. The plan helps you control your blood sugar (glucose), manage your weight and control heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high blood fats.
When you eat extra calories and fat, your body creates an undesirable rise in blood glucose. If blood glucose isn’t kept in check, it can lead to serious problems, such as a high blood glucose level (hyperglycemia) that, if persistent, may lead to long-term complications, such as nerve, kidney and heart damage.
You can help keep your blood glucose level in a safe range by making healthy food choices and tracking your eating habits.
For most people with type 2 diabetes, weight loss also can make it easier to control blood glucose and offers a host of other health benefits. If you need to lose weight, a diabetes diet provides a well-organized, nutritious way to reach your goal safely.
What does a diabetes diet involve?
A diabetes diet is based on eating three meals a day at regular times. Choose healthy carbohydrates, fiber-rich foods, fish and “good” fats.
During digestion, sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates) break down into blood glucose. Focus on healthy carbohydrates, such as:
Legumes, such as beans and peas
Low-fat dairy products, such as milk and cheese
Avoid less healthy carbohydrates, such as foods or drinks with added fats, sugars and sodium.
Dietary fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. Your doctor may suggest you aim for even less if you have high blood pressure.
Putting it all together: Creating a plan
You may use a few different approaches to create a diabetes diet to help you keep your blood glucose level within a normal range. Follow these steps when preparing your plate:
Fill half of your plate with nonstarchy vegetables, such as spinach, carrots and tomatoes.
Fill a quarter of your plate with a protein, such as tuna, lean pork or chicken.
Fill the last quarter with a whole-grain item, such as brown rice, or a starchy vegetable, such as green peas.
Include “good” fats such as nuts or avocados in small amounts.
Add a serving of fruit or dairy and a drink of water or unsweetened tea or coffee.
Because carbohydrates break down into glucose, they have the greatest impact on your blood glucose level. To help control your blood sugar, you may need to learn to calculate the amount of carbohydrates you are eating so that you can adjust the dose of insulin accordingly. He or she can also teach you how to pay special attention to serving size and carbohydrate content.
If you’re taking insulin, a dietitian can teach you how to count the amount of carbohydrates in each meal or snack and adjust your insulin dose accordingly.
Choose your foods
A dietitian may recommend you choose specific foods to help you plan meals and snacks. A food choice has about the same amount of carbohydrates, protein, fat and calories — and the same effect on your blood glucose — as a serving of every other food in that same category. 2 1/2 cups popcorn with 1 1/2 teaspoons margarine
What are the results of a diabetes diet?
Embracing your healthy-eating plan is the best way to keep your blood glucose level under control and prevent diabetes complications.
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