What Are Carbohydrates Exactly
There are three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. If you want to get scientific, a carb refers to a particular molecular structure. It is a string of carbons with a water molecule attached to each of them, says David Katz, MD, MPH, founder and president of the TrueHealth Initiative in Chesterfield, Missouri, and author of The Truth About Food. And thats all it says. This particular structure is found in everything from lentils to lollypops, he adds.
Type 2 Diabetes Diet Plan
Without treatment, diabetes may lead to several potentially life-threatening consequences, including nerve and kidney damage, high cholesterol levels, and even cardiac problems, among others.
In addition to taking medication, the only other method of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is following a well-balanced, nutritious diet created explicitly for diabetes.
What Foods To Avoid With Diabetes
Not all diets are created equal, and some of the more restrictive diets should be approached with caution.
Highly carbohydrate-restricted diets, such as the extreme forms of keto diets, should be assessed carefully, says Dr. Horowitz. Though many people do very well with lower carbohydrate diets, and modified keto diets are often beneficial, diets that eliminate entire food groups are not balanced and may lead to deficiencies of macronutrients. They are also difficult to maintain.
In general, foods and drinks that people with diabetes should limit include:
- Foods high in saturated fats and trans fats
- Foods high in sodium
- Beverages with added sugars
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When Youre Managing Diabetes And Prediabetes Your Eating Plan Is A Powerful Tool
But figuring out what to eat can feel like a hassle, right? Well, it doesn’t have to because there are easy things you can do to add flavor to your daily routineincluding healthy twists on your favorite foods.
One key to feeling your best lies in the food you eat. You can start by working with a registered dietitian nutritionist to make an eating plan that works for you. In it, be sure to include the foods you likeand dont be afraid to try something new.
Most importantly, remember that eating welland adding activity to your daily routine by moving moreare important ways you can manage diabetes. And were here to help you every step of the way.
How To Start A Diet If You Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes, starting a new diet might sound daunting. However, it can be easier than it seems. The key is planning ahead to ensure healthy meals that will keep your blood sugar levels in check.
The CDC also recommends taking the following steps when developing an eating plan :
- Keep track of your carbohydrates and set a limit of carbs for each meal. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can help determine the right amount for you and your needs.
- Use the plate method and fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, one quarter with lean protein and one quarter with carbs.
- Keep an eye on portion sizes, and remember they often differ from the serving sizes listed on the label.
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Can I Drink Diet Soda With Type 2 Diabetes
There are better choices. Although these beverages dont provide calories, consuming sweet-tasting foods and drinks may lead you to crave additional sweet items , even if theyre not sweetened with sugar. And diet soda provides no nutritional value. Better to drink water, tea, coffee, or milk, or have a small amount of fruit juice .
Engage In Physical Activity
Another common sense suggestion, but one that can make a major difference! According to the American Diabetes Association , exercise is a fundamental part of diabetes treatment, and were big believers that its a fun and fulfilling part of our routine.
Not to mention the many, many, many other health benefits of exercise.
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Dining Out When Managing Type 2 Diabetes
It can seem tough to navigate a menu when youre eating out, but its not impossible. Enjoy your time with friends and eat delicious food with these guidelines from Palinski-Wade.
Have an appetizer before you leave. Its tempting to save up calories throughout the day to help plan for a night out, but that approach can backfire. Youll be famished by the time you get there and less likely to make a healthy choice when you order. Eat a small, healthy snack before you go, like some nuts or a low-fat plain yogurt. This can help decrease hunger and prevent overeating, she says.
Visualize your plate. Ideally, your plate should look very similar to the way it does at home with a couple of small tweaks: ½ nonstarchy vegetables , ¼ lean protein, and ¼ whole grains. You want to be careful not to eat too many carbs at one sitting, and avoid meals packed with saturated fat, says Palinski-Wade.
Sip smart. Alcohol stokes your appetite, so if you do have alcohol , do so near the end of the meal. Limit it to one glass.
Best Diet Plans For Managing Type 2 Diabetes
The two that are suggested for people with diabetes time and again are the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. Unlike so-called diets , these eating approaches aim to set the foundation for building and maintaining lifelong habits.
DASH diet The DASH diet has been found to be beneficial at reducing blood pressure levels, a key risk factor for heart disease and kidney disease. Because both of these disease risks are elevated with diabetes, this style of eating may promote a reduction in the risk of comorbid conditions associated with diabetes, Palinski-Wade explains.
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What Sources Of Fat Are Good And Bad For Diabetes
Fat is not the enemy! In truth, getting enough of the right kind of fat can ultimately help you lower insulin resistance and attain better control over your blood sugar, according to a meta-analysis published July 2016 in PLoS Medicine. The key is knowing how to tell good fat from bad fat.
The monounsaturated fats found in avocados, almonds, and pecans or the polyunsaturated fats found in walnuts and sunflower oil, which can help lower LDL cholesterol, are great picks when eating for type 2 diabetes, according to the ADA.
Meanwhile, saturated fats and trans fats can harm your heart and overall health, according to the AHA. To spot trans fats, look for the term hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated oils on labels of processed foods, such as packaged snacks, baked goods, and crackers. I always tell my clients to double-check the ingredient list to make sure they dont see any partially hydrogenated oil in their food products, Massey says.
Best options, per the ADA:
Goal : Attain Normal Lab Results
Your physician will work with you to establish individual goals for blood glucose, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure. Regular testing will help ensure that your diet plan, exercise strategies, and medication, if necessary, are all working together to keep your blood sugar, lipids, blood pressure, and your body weight in healthy ranges.
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The Right Calories And Portions
The food portions in a type 2 diabetes meal plan are geared toward meeting your energy needs but not consuming excess calories, which get stored as fat, leading to undesirable weight gain.
For people with diabetes, the exact number of calories to consume each day is based on the amount and timing of food that assures you can keep your blood sugar levels stable and your weight within a healthy range. That number can change, depending on your age, activity level, frame size, current versus preferred weight, and other factors.
When the goal is a healthy weight and blood sugar control, a good starting point for a woman is 1,400 to 1,600 calories a day, with main meals containing up to 30 grams of fiber-rich carbohydrates and snacks containing 10 to 20 grams of fiber-rich carbohydrates, Zanini advises. For men and more physically active women who are already at a healthy weight, you may start with a 2,000 to 2,200 calorie meal plan, in which you may increase your carbs proportionately.
Shifting most of your calorie intake to earlier in the day can also be helpful. Recent research suggests that by and a modest lunch, so you get most of your calories in by 3 p.m., you will find it easier to lose weight and achieve better blood sugar control.
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Potential Drawback Of Intermittent Fasting: It May Harm Blood Sugar Control
On the other hand, some experts say that IF carries risks, especially for people who need to keep their blood sugar levels stable. For starters, skipping whole meals can result in poorer blood glucose control, not to mention issues such as fatigue and reduced energyand, thus, an increased risk of injury.
Skipping meals may also cause people to make poor diet choices, which can have the opposite effect on their waistline and blood sugar. If you havent eaten for hours, you may be more inclined to reach for a carb-heavy pastry or plate of pasta, for instance.
Blood sugar management can be a real concern with intermittent fasting for people with type 2 diabetes, Sheth says. Thats why its important to discuss intermittent fasting with your physician, monitor your blood sugar closely, and know that your medications may need to be adjusted as well. Your dietitian and diabetes care and education specialist can help guide and support you through this process.
A plan that severely restricts a persons calories or asks them to skip meals can be hard to stick with long term, too, says Ruth S. Pupo, CDCES, who practices at Adventist Health White Memorial in Los Angeles. While losing weight can be beneficial for people with diabetes, because it increases insulin sensitivity, putting weight back on can have the opposite effect, increasing the risk for diabetes complications.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe For People With Diabetes
The popular diet may help people with diabetes lose weight and lower blood sugar levels, but before you try it, learn about the risks and talk to your doctor.
Jorg Greuel/Getty Images
Fasting is hardly new. People have been fasting for religious reasons Christians, Jews, and Muslims, among others for centuries.
But fasting for weight loss is a relatively recent phenomenon, one that has become increasingly popular, in part because it seems to work, at least for some people. Intermittent fasting has also gained a lot of attention recently because celebrities have endorsed the plan, and there have been recent releases of new IF diet books.
Studies have shown that periodic sessions of IF in which a person limits their meals to a certain window of time, with a fixed period of eating little or nothing can boost weight loss, reduce waist circumference, and lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and total cholesterol, according to a review of research published in September 2021 in the journal Nutrients.
Given that weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and total cholesterol levels are all important in people with type 2 diabetes, IF is worth exploring if you have the condition. Still, there are factors to consider before giving it a try.
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Diet Nutrition And The Prevention Of Type 2 Diabetes
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 January 2007
- Chronic Diseases of Lifestyle Unit, Medical Research Council , Tygerberg, South Africa
- J Mann
- Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
- PH Bennett
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
- N Temple
- Centre for Science, Athabasca University, Athabasca, Alberta, Canada
- P Zimmet
- International Diabetes Institute, Caulfield South, Australia
- J Tuomilehto
- National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland
- J Lindström
- National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland
- A Louheranta
- Department of Clinical Nutrition, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland
Healthy Low Gi Food Choices
- Milk and dairy foods reduced or low-fat varieties of milk and dairy foods are the best choices for people with diabetes.
- Bread wholegrain, fruit loaf and sourdough.
- Breakfast cereals traditional porridge, natural muesli and some high fibre varieties.
- Pasta and noodles all varieties.
- Some varieties of rice Basmati and Doongara varieties are moderate to low GI.
- Grains barley, bulgur and semolina.
- Legumes beans , peas and lentils.
- Fruit apple, orange, pear, peach, grapes, kiwi fruit, banana, plums.
- Vegetables most vegetables have low amounts of carbohydrate and therefore have little effect on your blood glucose levels.
*Vegetables with a significant amount of carbohydrate include potato, sweet potato, yams and sweet corn. Orange sweet potato, yams and sweet corn are the lower GI choices.
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What Are The Benefits Of Weight Loss If You’re Overweight
Losing weight if you’re overweight can greatly improve your blood sugar levels. Losing weight can also help reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This in turn helps to reduce risk of stroke and heart disease.
Weight loss of 5-10% of your current body weight is enough to gain significant health benefits. Whether you lose weight through diet, physical activity or a combination of both, it doesn’t matter. The key to success is finding out what works for you and sticking to it.
Counting Carbs For Type 2 Diabetes
Years ago, people with diabetes were encouraged to follow a strict diet using a system called the Diabetic Exchange List. Today, most people with diabetes use a simpler method called carbohydrate counting. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in diabetes can help you determine how many grams of carbohydrate you need at each meal. Then, counting carbohydrates helps you keep your blood sugar level throughout the day.
Some people with diabetes use the glycemic index to help them decide which carbohydrate foods to eat. The glycemic index categorizes carbohydrate foods according to their potential for raising your blood sugar. Foods with a low glycemic index are not as likely to raise your blood sugar as high or as fast as other foods.
Some foods contain little to no carbohydrate, and they are known as free foods on the type 2 diabetes diet. All unsweetened beverages as well as salad greens and non-starchy vegetables are considered free foods.
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What Else Do I Need To Know About Diabetic Diets
If you have diabetes, it’s important to eat the right amount of food every day. Your eating plan will include how much to eat, so that you get the right amount of carbs in each meal or snack. You’ll learn how to count carbs and measure your food.
Eating at the right times is also important. You will want to plan for regular, balanced meals to avoid high or low blood sugar levels. Eating about the same amount of carbs at each meal can be helpful.
Your eating plan will also teach you how to stick with your plan at home and when you eat out.
Eating healthy to control your blood sugar does take some effort. But the reward is a chance to live your healthiest life with diabetes.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Protein Choices That Are Low In Saturated Fat
People who eat animal-derived foods can get high-quality protein from lean meats, poultry, seafood, low-fat dairy, and eggs. Vegetarians, vegans, and non-vegetarians alike should look to plant sources for some or all of their protein needs. Plant foods like soy-based tofu and tempeh are excellent sources of non-animal proteins and fit quite well into a diabetes meal plan because they are also low in carbs.
The same can be said for nuts and legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and edamame, as well as some whole-grain foods such as quinoa, kamut, and teff. Even couscous and wild rice contain some protein.
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The Dietary Approach To Stop Hypertension Plan
The DASH plan was originally developed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure, or hypertension. But it may also lower the risk of other diseases, including diabetes. It may have the additional benefit of helping you lose weight.
People following the DASH plan are encouraged to reduce portion sizes and eat foods rich in blood pressure-lowering nutrients, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
The DASH eating plan includes:
- Lean protein: fish, poultry
Foods eaten on this diet include:
- Protein: poultry, salmon, other fatty fish, eggs
- Plant-based foods: fruits, vegetables like artichokes and cucumbers, beans, nuts, seeds
- Healthy fats: olive oil, nuts such as almonds
Lean red meat may be consumed occasionally. Wine may be consumed in moderation, as it may boost heart health. Remember to never drink on an empty stomach if you are on medications that raise the level of insulin in the body.
The paleo diet centers on the belief that the processing of foods is to blame for chronic disease. Followers of the paleo diet eat only what they believe our ancient ancestors would have been able to hunt and gather.
Foods eaten on the paleo diet include:
- Protein: meat, poultry, fish
- Plant-based foods: nonstarchy vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts
- Healthy fats: olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil
The paleo diet may be a good option for people with diabetes as long as they do not have kidney disease. According to a small, short-term