The Diabetes Diet

To be clear, there is not one official diabetes diet. Instead, a “diabetic diet” is actually a series of guidelines set by the American Diabetes Association to help diabetics get control of their blood sugar, whether they take insulin or not. This diet also induces weight loss at the same time for diabetics who are overweight.

Before proceeding with any diet consult your doctor. He or she is a starting player on your diabetes management team, and can help you map a plan for success. Because it is a set of guidelines, rather than hard and fast rules, the diabetic diet is a little bit different for each person. Your particular dietary requirements for diabetic eating will depend on many factors:

  1. What is your type of diabetes?
  2. Are other risk factors present? (obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.)
  3. Do you need to take insulin?
  4. Is your diabetes managed through medication or diet and exercise?
  5. Do you live a sedentary or active lifestyle?

Food Plan for the Diabetic Diet

Even though the diabetic diet varies from person to person, there is a lot of common ground when it comes to food choices and plans. So, let’s start with the makeup of your average meal. Think of your plate as divided into three sections: protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Sounds pretty standard huh?

How Many Carbs?

Carbohydrates are what supply the sugars that the body will use as fuel after the food is broken down.

At least 55-60 percent of your meal will be carbohydrates. And, these are not just any carbohydrates. You are encouraged to eat foods that are high in fiber and low in calories. Think vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans. Be sure that your food is definitely ” whole grain” and not just processed white flour dressed up to look like a beneficial whole grain.

Eating the Right Fats

Fats are needed by the body in many capacities. The most beneficial fats are those that are poly- and mono-unsaturated. Try olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, and peanut oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are used by the body for heart health and immunity. Fish is a major source especially cold water fish. Aim for about 25-30 percent of your meal.

How Much protein?

protein is a building block in the body. All of the cells need access to protein for one reason or another. Try lean meat, fish, and dried beans, peas, and lentils. protein, at most, needs to make up about 20 percent of your meal.

Coordinating Meals and Insulin for Diabtetics

Meals are coordinated with insulin injections and timing of medications to get the most use of them. There are also snacks you can eat before bed or when you awake to keep blood sugar within normal levels. Exercise, which can lower your blood sugar, also has to be factored into the equation of eating and insulin.

For the Type 2 diabetic, losing weight can bring you one step closer to possibly stopping any sort of diabetes medication for good.

If you are diabetic and need to control your blood sugar, a special diet is in order for you. There is not one single diet that qualifies as a diabetic diet, but the above guidelines will help you know in which direction you need to go. Your doctor and nutritionist will help you develop a plan that works for you.

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