Introduction To The Diabetic Diet
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, chances are you’re thinking that you can kiss your enjoyment of food – a necessary and vital part of any well-rounded life – goodbye. The good news is that in addition to being the single most important thing you can do to manage your disease and take control of your health, following a diabetic diet is surprisingly simple, nutritious and (surprise!) delicious and satisfying. The two key points to remember when beginning this diet are: 1) know what to eat and 2) know when to eat it.
Understanding Carbohydrates Carbs get a bad rap even with people who aren’t diabetic. The truth is that some of the most healthful foods on the planet are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates include sugars, starches and fiber. Not all carbs are created equal. Understanding the difference will help you make informed decisions about your diet.
Sugars Sugars occur naturally in fruit and milk. Most of the sugars we eat are refined and added later to perfectly good food. Because sugars tend to negatively impact blood glucose levels, they are best avoided or used sparingly.
Starches The friendly and versatile potato is a starch. So are corn, peas and most beans. Grains including wheat, rice, oats, barley and quinoa are all starches. The good news about grains: they are perfectly healthy when eaten moderately in their natural state. The problem begins when they are ground into flour and used to make donuts. Avoid refined carbohydrates. They’re full of added sugars and fats and aren’t good for anyone, especially people with diabetes.
Fiber Fruits and vegetables, especially those with edible skin or seeds, and whole grains such as those mentioned above add fiber to your diet, increasing heart health and helping you feel full longer. Some experts believe that fully one-half of your plate should be devoted to a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables. Try to include them at every meal.
Protein People on a diabetic diet should strive to eat a small serving of high-quality lean protein several times a day. Lean chicken, tofu, turkey and fish are all good sources of protein. Protein is digested more slowly than other foods, so it promotes a lasting feeling of satisfaction.
Fats Everyone should avoid a diet high in saturated fats. However, anyone can benefit from a balanced diet featuring healthy fats including those found in nuts, seeds, avocados, fish and olive oil. Use fats sparingly, and try to use the healthy ones whenever possible.
Knowing When to Eat The second key component to a successful diet is to schedule your meals carefully. Eating several small meals throughout the day, at regular intervals, will help to maintain your blood glucose balance. Never skip breakfast and eat well-balanced meals (including lean protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats) whenever possible. If you decide to splurge, be sure to include that cookie or piece of cake at the conclusion of a healthy meal.
Give Your Palate a Chance It takes approximately 21 days to build a new habit. If you pursue a diabetic diet faithfully your overall health will improve and you may also rediscover the beauty of food in its natural state.
Diabetic Diet Guidelines
•It is necessary to pay attention to fats. When consuming excess fat and calories the body responds by creating an undesirable rise in blood glucose. Be aware that there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Limit saturated fats like butter and red meat. Limit the harmful trans-fats found in fried foods and snacks. These types of foods should rarely be consumed. Focus more on the healthy fats. Fats such as olive oil canola oil fish and walnuts are excellent sources of good fats. All types of fats should be consumed sparingly, as they are all high in calories.
•Emphasis should be put on eating heart-healthy fish several times per week. Fish is an excellent alternative to high-fat meats. Fish such as herring and salmon is full of omega fatty acid which promotes heart health. Fish and poultry make excellent protein choices.
•Do not skip meals. Eat at regular intervals every day. Even distribution of food helps prevent low and high blood glucose. Furthermore, eating at regular intervals controls hunger and prevents overeating.
•The cholesterol content of the diet should be monitored.
Embracing an eating plan that is healthy is the best way to manage blood glucose levels and avoid complications. Rather than thinking diabetic diet guidelines are restrictive look at it as simply a healthy eating plan that offers other benefits, as well. Making healthy food choices helps to manage blood glucose levels and keep them within a safe range. What’s more, making healthy food choices is also likely to reduce the risk of heart disease. The diet guidelines put emphasis on fruits vegetables and whole grains. The guidelines are a plan that is abundant in nutrients and short on calories and fat. In fact, diabetic diet guidelines can be followed by nearly everyone.
Diabetic Diet Food List
Breads such as rye, whole-grain, white, or pumpernickel; bagels, reduced-calorie bread, English muffins, hamburger or hot dog buns, pancakes, corn or flour tortillas, frosted cereals, shredded wheat, bran or oat cereal, puffed and unfrosted or unsweetened cereals, granola, grits, pasta, white or brown rice, and wild rice.
Crackers and snacks that are great for a quick snack are animal crackers, rice cakes, saltine crackers, baked or fat free potato or tortilla chips, low-fat popcorn, graham crackers, pretzels, and oyster crackers.
Starchy vegetables that are good but should be consumed in small amounts are corn, corn on the cob, squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, yams, parsnips, mashed or baked potatoes, and pasta or spaghetti sauces.
Fresh fruits such as apples, bananas, grapes, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, dates, grapefruit, cantaloupe, oranges, nectarines, tangerines, peaches, pears, pineapple, mango, and watermelon. Dried fruits such as apples, apricots, raisins, figs, and mixed fruits are also good. Small amounts of unsweetened canned fruit like applesauce, cherries, pears, apricots, and pineapples are good, but look for cans that say “no sugar added” on the label. Unsweetened fruit juice can also be included in your diet but should not be substituted for fresh fruit which is more healthy.
Non-starchy vegetables, which are better for you, are: cabbage, celery, broccoli, onions, cucumbers, mushrooms, greens, okra, cauliflower, radishes, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant among others.
Milk and yogurt are good sources of calcium. When consuming these products, try to stick to the fat-free or low-fat products. A few of these products are: buttermilk, chocolate, evaporated, and regular milk, plain or flavored yogurt, soy milk, eggnog, and rice milk.
When choosing foods in the meat category you should try to choose lean meat or meat with less fat. Meats you can choose from are: beef, beef jerky, cheeses, cottage cheese, egg whites or substitutes, fish, lamb, oysters, lunch meat, poultry, pork, shellfish, wild game, or veal.
You can also eat sweets but you should always be careful not to eat too much. A small amount is always the best, even for people who are not diabetic or on a diet. Fats are also best consumed in small amounts. Both categories lack the vitamins and nutrients found in normal foods, so keep the portions, for these two categories, minimal.
Meal Plan To Lose Weight
A good Diabetic Diet Meal Plan consists of foods that are low on the glycemic food index. This will ensure that the individual’s blood sugar levels don’t elevate to high and dangerous levels. Because insulin does not work properly for a diabetic person, the sugars ingested with food are not able to be carried out of the bloodstream and into the body’s cells. This is the main reason why people with diabetes need to choose the best foods for their bodies with accordance to their condition. Let us take a look at which foods are friendly for any diabetic individual.
Foods to include in a diabetic diet meal plan and which are diabetic friendly should include the following: beans, non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli and tomatoes, fruits, lean meats, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and nuts. Eating these foods not only are optimal to control spiked levels of blood glucose, but they also provide a diabetic with the essential nutrients which are lacking in the diets of most people, whether they have the disease or do not. Some of these nutrients include fiber, vitamins A, E, and C, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. It is also important to include various forms of healthy fats including monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and omega-3 fatty acids. These fats work to lower the risk of heart disease, which people with diabetes are at risk for more than people without the disease.
It is also important to know that diabetics can eat most of the same types of foods as people without the disease and are not as restricted in food choices as one would think. The difference for diabetics is the need to limit portion sizes and reduce overall carbohydrate intake to keep blood sugar levels in check. Diabetics are also able to consumer sweets with no consequence as long as those sweets are kept in moderation and fit into the overall daily calorie and carbohydrate limit.
A sample meal plan for a diabetic in accordance to the above guidelines would look something like the following:
1 slice of whole wheat bread with a tablespoon of jam 1 apple or orange 1/2 cup skim milk
2 slices whole wheat bread 4 slices lean deli ham or turkey 1 slice low-fat cheese 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
Snacks: pick one before lunch and one after
1 ounce almonds 1 cup low-fat yogurt 1 part-skim low-fat string cheese 1 piece of fruit
4-6 ounces salmon 2/3 cup brown rice Salad with 2 tablespoons low-fat dressing
4-6 strawberries with 1/2 cup lite Cool Whip
Sticking with strict diet guidelines as shown above, will make a diabetic feel as normal as they did prior to the diagnosis of the disease.
Pre Diabetic Diet Plan And Recommendations
As if there weren’t enough bad news, what with the economy in its present condition, comes the news that seventy million people are pre-diabetic. Exercise, physically active, good diet and healthy lifestyle are words we can’t avoid reading nowadays, because the focus is on getting healthy. Serious diseases can result from good health’s opposite, so a pre diabetic diet plus a healthy lifestyle would, at the very least, get rid of the sometimes deadly side-effects of medications for those diseases. Pre-diabetes is a warning shot across the bow, so let’s examine how to turn the ship around.
What Is Pre Diabetes?
Pre means before. Diabetes is when the body’s naturally produced insulin is not enough to break up the sugars entering the body, so the muscles can use it. Diabetic medications stimulate the body to produce insulin in addition to medication to stimulate the muscles to process the incoming sugars. So, before all that happens, one is or is not pre-diabetic. How to tell? Generally, those whose activity levels are reasonable to high will not suffer this problem. Those whose diets include lots of fibers, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy products will not suffer diabetes. Those whose genetic makeup do not include this disease will not suffer it. On the other hand, diabetes is, indeed, half genetic and what you do to yourself.
Do I Need A Doctor?
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the numbers and only a doctor can test for that. Fasting glucose tests or glucose tolerance tests will give the doctor the information he needs to diagnose you. Your doctor will also know how your lifestyle works, how your bodily makeup works and if you will need to change some habits. This is never a bad thing, because it will prevent some truly nasty diseases from causing you more stress than you already have.
What Can I Do Myself?
Before you begin envisioning platefuls of dried seaweed or twigs or, even worse, green things, think about something. When people plowed the land or picked an apple off a tree, they didn’t have terrible diseases. They were active, got plenty of sleep, breathed clean air and ate healthy, with less meats and more vegetables and grains. A pre diabetic diet doesn’t have to be dry and unappetizing, it just has to be fresh. Cover that broccoli with low fat cheese. Stir fry the chicken using broth instead of bouillon. Add plenty of vegetables and toss in a few nuts.
A good dinner for a pre diabetic diet could use fresh vegetables cut julienne style, combined with rices or wheat pastas topped with cubed turkey or chicken. Fresh strawberries, blueberries and grapes folded inside a whole grain pancake makes a tasty dessert. A walk around the block after supper will get those muscles to use the foods just eaten, while breathing fresh air will get you a good night’s sleep.
Pre diabetes doesn’t have to be scary nor bland. But the warning shot across the bow was meant to be taken seriously. There are many more attractive recipes for good diets, so dig in and keep yourself healthy.
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