Nutrition for People With Diabetes

Nutrition for People With Diabetes

If you’ve been recently diagnosed with diabetes, one of your concerns probably is: “What can I eat?”

Eating healthfully is vital when you are trying to control diabetes. The best type of diet to follow is one that is high in nutrients, low in fat and added sugar and moderate in calories. You will have to pay more attention to your food choices, specifically the carbohydrates you eat, and make smart choices in general. You will not have to buy expensive diabetic foods, which generally offer no special benefits anyway. You can design your own diet that incorporates mindful eating and a little bit of label savvy.

A healthy, balanced diet will include a variety of good-for-you foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats (poultry and fish) and beans for protein. Choose brown rice and whole-grain breads and pasta. Whole grains are a good source of fiber. High-fiber complex carbohydrates are called slow-release carbs. They help keep blood sugar levels even because they are digested more slowly, thus preventing your body from producing too much insulin. Be sure to eat three meals each day and have a couple of snacks to keep your blood sugar at an acceptable level.

Limit your intake of saturated fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugar. Healthy fats, such as peanut butter, ricotta cheese, yogurt and some nuts, help slow down the digestive process, so blood sugar levels don’t spike as quickly. Contrary to what you may have heard or believe, you don’t have to give up sweets entirely. It is always helpful to reduce the sugar in your diet. Start by cutting back on the number of soft drinks (including diet sodas) and juice you drink each day. Water is always a good substitute. When buying foods such as syrups, jellies and sauces, choose products labeled “reduced sugar” or “no added sugar.” When cooking, reduce the amount of sugar recipes call for by a quarter to a third. Be aware of hidden sugars that lurk in packaged foods, including cereals, canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, margarine, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, low-fat meals and ketchup. Teach yourself to read labels.

Here are some other suggestions for establishing better nutrition:

Cook with olive oil instead of butter or vegetable oil.

• Trim visible fat off meat before cooking it.

• Remove the skin from chicken and turkey before cooking it.

• Grill, broil, bake or stir-fry instead of frying.

• When baking, use canola oil or applesauce instead of shortening or butter.

Maintain a regular meal schedule; eat several small meals a day.

Following these dietary tips may help you lose weight, which can be very beneficial. Experts say losing just 5 percent to 10 percent of your total weight can help you lower your blood sugar considerably. It will give your energy levels and mood a significant boost as well.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about your concerns and consult him or her about your diet. You can live a full and active life (exercise is essential) even if you do happen to have diabetes.