Eating with Diabetes
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, having a diet plan that supports your health is extremely important. But your diet doesn't have to be complicated or feel restrictive. There are plenty of delicious and easy-to-prepare foods that can help support your efforts to stay healthy, and the options can be enjoyed by your whole family. Work with your primary physician or a clinical nutritionist to understand the best foods and preparation methods for your condition, and stick with the plan!
Diabetes is the most common disease of the human endocrine system, and occurs when blood sugar levels stay consistently above normal. Your body is either not able to create insulin, the hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood, or is unable to respond to its effects.
For diabetics, managing glucose levels—the sugar our bodies use for energy—is key to helping control diabetes. And it turns out that eating in a way that helps you stay healthy with diabetes is good for just about anyone. Here are some of the basics:
- Monitor your carbohydrate intake, and switch from refined carbohydrates (white rice, refined flour) to whole grains (brown rice, whole-grain pasta and bread).
- Read food labels to make sure you know how much sugar or carbohydrates are in packaged foods. Look out for hidden sugars, like high fructose corn syrup, and don't go over your daily carbohydrate limits.
- Improve your "G.I. I.Q." Foods that are low on the glycemic index (G.I.) appear to have less of an impact on blood sugar levels. Examples of low-glycemic foods include grapefruit, cherries, whole-grain breakfast cereal, just about all non-starchy vegetables, unsweetened yogurt, walnuts, peanuts, and hummus.
- Eat a wide variety of healthy foods and exercise daily. Also, eat the right amount of food to maintain a healthy weight.
- Choose foods that are high in fiber. Studies show that increasing your intake of fiber can have beneficial effects on people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
- Lower your cholesterol through choosing foods that are low in cholesterol and saturated fats.