Maintaining a healthy weight is important for everyone, but if you have diabetes, excess weight may make it harder to control your blood sugar levels and may increase your risk for some complications. Losing weight can be extra challenging for people with diabetes.
Eating healthfully while you try to reduce weight is important for everyone, but if you have diabetes, choosing the wrong diet could harm your health. Weight loss pills and starvation diets should be avoided, but there are many popular diets that may be beneficial.
If you have diabetes, you should focus on eating lean protein, high-fiber, less processed carbs, fruits, and vegetables, low-fat dairy, and healthy vegetable-based fats such as avocado, nuts, canola oil, or olive oil. You should also manage your carbohydrate intake. Have your doctor or dietitian provide you with a target carb number for meals and snacks.
The American Diabetes Association offers a comprehensive list of the best foods for those with diabetes. Their recommendations include:
low- or nonfat milk,
whole grains, such as brown rice and whole-wheat pasta,
low- or nonfat yogurt,
nonstarchy vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, collard greens, kale, and okra,
and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
Staying hydrated is also important when it comes to overall health. Choose noncaloric options such as water and tea whenever possible.
Foods to reduce.
For people with diabetes, there are certain foods that should be limited. These foods can cause spikes in blood sugar or contain unhealthy fats.
processed grains, such as white rice or white pasta,
fruits with added sweeteners, including apple sauce, jam, and some canned fruits,
fried foods or foods high in trans fats or saturated fats,
foods made with refined flour,
any food with a high glycemic load.
The dietary approach to stop hypertension (DASH) plan.
The DASH plan was originally developed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension), but it may also reduce 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 such as fish, poultry,
plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds,
dairy such as fat-free or low-fat dairy products,
grains such as whole grains,
healthy fats such as vegetable oils.
People with diabetes on this plan are advised to reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day. The plan also limits sweets, sugary beverages, and red meats.
The Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet is inspired by traditional foods from the Mediterranean. This diet is rich in oleic acid, a fatty acid that occurs naturally in animal and vegetable-based fats and oils. Countries that are known for eating according to this diet pattern include Greece, Italy, and Morocco. A Mediterranean-type diet may be successful in lowering fasting glucose levels, reducing body weight, and reducing the risk of metabolic disorder, according to a study in Diabetes Spectrum.
Foods eaten on this diet include:
Protein such as poultry, salmon and other fatty fish, eggs.
Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables like artichokes and cucumbers, beans, nuts, seeds.
Healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts such as almonds.
Red meat may be consumed once per month. 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.
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