A specific diabetic diet is simply a healthy eating plan that will help you control your blood sugar levels. Here’s help getting started, from meal planning to counting carbs.
A diabetic diet is simply about eating the healthiest foods in moderate amounts and sticking to regular meal times.
A healthy diet is naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories. The key elements are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In fact, a diabetic diet is the best eating plan for most people.
Why should you develop a healthy diet?
If you have diabetes or prediabetes, your doctor will likely recommend that you see a dietician to help you develop a healthy diet. This plan helps you control your blood sugar (glucose) levels, manage your weight, and control risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar.
When you eat extra calories and fat, your body creates an unwanted spike in blood glucose levels. If blood sugar is not controlled, it can lead to serious problems, such as high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) which, if persistent, can lead to long-term complications, such as nerve damage, renal and cardiac.
You can help keep your blood sugar levels within a safe range by making healthy food choices and watching your eating habits.
For most people with type 2 diabetes, weight loss can also aid blood sugar control and provide a host of other health benefits. If you need to lose weight, a diabetic diet is a well-organized and nutritious way to reach your goal safely.
What is a diabetic diet?
A diabetic diet consists of eating three meals a day at regular times. This allows you to better use the insulin your body produces or gets through medication. A registered dietitian can help you develop a diet based on your health goals, tastes, and lifestyle. He or she can also talk to you about ways to improve your eating habits, such as choosing portions that are appropriate for your size and activity level.
Choose healthy carbs, 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:
– Whole grains
– Legumes, such as beans and peas
Avoid less healthy carbs, such as foods or drinks with added fats, sugars, and sodium.
High Fiber Foods
Dietary fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body cannot digest or absorb. Fiber moderates the way your body digests and helps control blood sugar levels. Foods high in fiber include
– Legumes, such as beans and peas
– Whole grains
Heart healthy fish
Eat heart-healthy fish at least twice a week. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may prevent heart disease. Avoid fried fish and fish with high mercury content such as tuna.
The “good” fats
Foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol levels. These include the following foods
– Rapeseed, olive and peanut oils
But don’t overdo it, because all fats are high in calories.
Foods to avoid
Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by accelerating the development of clogged and hardened arteries. Foods containing the following may work against your goal of heart-healthy eating.
– Saturated fats.
Avoid high-fat dairy products and animal proteins like butter, beef, sausages and bacon. Also limit coconut and palm oils.
– Trans fats.
Avoid trans fats found in processed snacks, baked goods, margarines.
Sources of cholesterol include high-fat dairy and high-fat animal protein, egg yolks, liver, and other organ meats. Aim for no more than 200 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per day.
Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Your doctor may suggest you aim for even less if you have high blood pressure.
All in all: Create a plan
There are different approaches you can use to create a diabetic diet to help keep your blood glucose levels within a normal range. With the help of a dietitian, you may find that one of the following methods, or a combination thereof, works for you:
The plate method
It basically focuses on eating more vegetables. Follow the following steps to prepare your plate, it should contain:
– half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as spinach, carrots and tomatoes.
– a quarter of your plate with a protein, such as lean pork or chicken.
– the last quarter of your plate with a whole food, such as brown rice, or a starchy vegetable.
– Include “good” fats like nuts or avocados in small amounts.
– Add a serving of fruit or dairy product and a drink of water or unsweetened tea or coffee.
Count the carbs
Because carbs break down into glucose, they have the biggest impact on your blood glucose levels. To help you control your blood sugar, you may need to learn how to count the amount of carbohydrates you eat so that you can adjust your insulin dose accordingly. It is important to note the amount of carbohydrates in each meal or snack.
A dietitian can teach you how to measure food portions and become an avid reader of food labels. Or teach you how to pay close attention to portion size and carb content. If you take insulin, a dietitian can teach you how to count the amount of carbohydrates in each meal and adjust your insulin dose accordingly.
Some people with diabetes use the glycemic index to select foods, especially carbohydrates. This method ranks foods containing carbohydrates according to their effect on blood glucose levels. Consult your dietitian to see if this method is right for you.
When planning your meals, consider your size and activity level.
What are the results of a diabetic diet?
Eating a healthy diet is the best way to control your glucose levels. And prevent the complications of diabetes. And if you need to lose weight, you can tailor it to your specific goals.
Besides managing your diabetes, a diabetic diet offers other benefits. Because a diabetic diet recommends eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and fiber, following it is likely to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.