Managing your diabetes with a healthy eating plan.
When you have diabetes, your body can no longer produce or properly use insulin. This causes high levels of blood glucose – a.k.a. blood sugar. Without appropriate treatment and lifestyle changes to keep blood sugar regulated, this condition can lead to serious complications.
Thankfully, one of the most effective ways to manage diabetes doesn’t require a complicated regiment of medications. It requires a healthy diet.
So what does a healthy diet look like for those with this disease, and what foods are good to eat and what should be avoided? Good questions. Keep reading for your answers!
The good news if you’re living with diabetes is that there is no specific “diabetes diet” that must be adhered to in order to control blood sugar levels. In fact, you are able to eat many of the same healthy foods that everyone else can eat. In other words, a healthy, safe diet for diabetics looks very similar to a healthy diet for most people.
However, if living with diabetes, you’ll need to carefully monitor the amount of carbohydrates you consume, as these effect blood sugar more than any other food. You also need to watch how much fat and protein you consume. That doesn’t mean you should avoid carbs and sugar at all costs, eat mostly protein, and fix special meals separate from what the family is eating. While some people teach this, it is a myth! You should be able to enjoy your favorite foods, even desserts, as long as you keep tabs on their blood sugar levels. Having a sugar spike? Skip dessert. Doing okay? Get a bite of the good stuff and just enjoy the flavor.
Here are the basics of what a healthy diabetic eating plan looks like.
More meals with smaller portions at set mealtimes…
A variety of healthy carbs from fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, nuts, and legumes…
Foods high in fiber…
Heart-healthy fish twice a week (halibut, salmon, cod)…
Limited salt intake…
Alcohol on occasion and only when blood sugar is regulated…
Additionally, a healthy diet with diabetes means limiting your consumption of the following:
- high-sugar foods
- simple and complex carbohydrates (since carbs break down into glucose)
- saturated fats (beef, hot dogs, sausage, and high-fat dairy)
- trans fats (baked goods, processed snacks, and shortening)
- cholesterol (high-fat dairy, egg yolks, liver, and shellfish)
Does this diet plan sound familiar? It should because it is a plan recommended for optimal health and weight loss for otherwise healthy people.
One of your greatest allies if you’re living with diabetes is a dietician, who is trained to help you understand how to best control your blood sugar. Your dietician will also help develop a personalized diet plan to fit your specific medical needs, weight, amount of physical activity, tastes, and lifestyle.
While your dietician is one of your greatest allies, one of your dietician’s greatest allies is the glycemic index, which ranks foods depending on the impact they have on your blood sugar levels. Foods low on the index have a smaller impact on blood sugar levels and don’t cause weight gain, while foods high on the index raise blood sugar and lead to higher levels of body fat.
Eating a diabetes-friendly diet is the surest way to prevent complications and keep blood sugar levels under control. And it’s beneficial in other ways besides managing diabetes. Incorporating plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in your diet will lower your risk of certain types of cancer as well as cardiovascular disease.
On top of these perks, if you’re diabetic and overweight, this diet can be adjusted to meet your weight loss goals. Since your body loses its sensitivity to insulin when you gain fat, working to obtain and maintain a healthy weight will also help you feel better and better manage your diabetes. So what are you waiting for?
Good Vs. Bad.
Trying to choose the best foods to eat while living with diabetes? Keep these tips in mind: whole-grain is always better than white, frozen or fresh vegetables are better than canned vegetables, and anything is better than fried foods.
If you live in the Gilbert area, treat yourself right by calling or emailing today to get started on an exercise program that will change your life for the best.