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Diabetes and Proper Eating

 

Eating healthy. This has been the biggest craze everyone is talking about these days. It is something everyone should know and should do, however, few of us tend to do it consistently. This blog is basically a guide on how to eat healthy and break down the science of why we often fail to do so.

There’s no such thing as a perfect diet, only consistent people who keep eating healthy. A lot of fad diets are out there, one you must try because it worked for some people. There’s a saying that “What works for you may not work for me”, which I agree. A person’s daily food intake will vary depending on the nutritional needs of a person. 

According to CDC report, more than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. This growth rate is steady, even adding to the health care burden of every state. The report finds that as of 2015, 30.3 million Americans – 9.4 percent of the U.S. population –have diabetes. Another 84.1 million have prediabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years.

Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2015. The report also includes county-level data for the first time, and shows that some areas of the country bear a heavier diabetes burden than others.

A diabetes diet is a healthy-eating plan that's naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories. Key elements are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In fact, a diabetes diet is the best eating plan for most everyone.

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.

Food Recommendations

Make your calories count with these nutritious foods. Choose healthy carbohydrates, fiber-rich foods, fish and "good" fats.

Healthy carbohydrates

During digestion, sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates) break down into blood glucose. Focus on healthy carbohydrates, such as:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • 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.

Fiber-rich foods

Dietary fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb. Fiber moderates how your body digests and helps control blood sugar levels. Foods high in fiber include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • 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, tuna and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may prevent heart disease.

Avoid fried fish and fish with high levels of mercury, such as king mackerel.

'Good' fats

Foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol levels. These include:

  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Canola, olive and peanut oils

But don't overdo it, as all fats are high in calories.

Foods you need to avoid

Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke by accelerating the development of clogged and hardened arteries. Foods containing the following can work against your goal of a heart-healthy diet.

  • Saturated fats. Avoid high-fat dairy products and animal proteins such as butter, beef, hot dogs, sausage and bacon. Also limit coconut and palm kernel oils.
  • Trans fats. Avoid trans fats found in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and stick margarines.
  • Cholesterol. Cholesterol sources include high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, liver, and other organ meats. Aim for no more than 200 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day.
  • Sodium. Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day. Your doctor may suggest you aim for even less if you have high blood pressure.

Here’s A Sample Menu

When planning meals, take into account your size and activity level. The following menu is tailored for someone who needs 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day.

  • Breakfast. Whole-wheat bread (1 medium slice) with 2 teaspoons jelly, 1/2 cup shredded wheat cereal with a cup of 1 percent low-fat milk, a piece of fruit, coffee
  • Lunch. Roast beef sandwich on wheat bread with lettuce, low-fat American cheese, tomato and mayonnaise, medium apple, water
  • Dinner. Salmon, 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil, small baked potato, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 cup green beans, medium white dinner roll, unsweetened iced tea, milk
  • Snack. 2 1/2 cups popcorn with 1 1/2 teaspoons margarine

Results of a Diabetic Diet

Embracing your healthy-eating plan is the best way to keep your blood glucose level under control and prevent diabetes complications. And if you need to lose weight, you can tailor it to your specific goals.

Aside from managing your diabetes, a diabetes diet offers other benefits, too. Because a diabetes diet recommends generous amounts of fruits, vegetables and fiber, following it is likely to reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. And consuming low-fat dairy products can reduce your risk of low bone mass in the future.

What Are The Risks?

If you have diabetes, it's important that you partner with your doctor and dietitian to create an eating plan that works for you. Use healthy foods, portion control and scheduling to manage your blood glucose level. If you stray from your prescribed diet, you run the risk of fluctuating blood sugar levels and more-serious complications.

For more Low-carb recipes, click here.

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