Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. If you have diabetes, it's important to pay attention to what you eat and drink. The foods and drinks you choose can have a big impact on your blood sugar levels.
Although there isn’t a specific diet you have to follow, its important to know which ingredients to look for (and look out for) if you or a loved one is diagnosed with has diabetes.
1. Carbohydrates are important, but choose wisely.
Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Some carbohydrates, such as those found in sugary drinks and processed foods, can cause your blood sugar levels to spike quickly. Other carbohydrates, such as those found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are digested more slowly and have a less dramatic impact on blood sugar levels.
If you have diabetes, it's important to choose carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index (GI). The GI is a measure of how quickly a carbohydrate causes your blood sugar levels to rise. Foods with a low GI are digested slowly and have a less dramatic impact on blood sugar levels.
2. Protein is important for blood sugar control.
Protein helps to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. This can help to prevent blood sugar spikes after meals. Protein is also important for building and repairing muscle tissue.
People with diabetes should aim to eat 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. This means that a person who weighs 150 pounds would need to eat about 70 to 100 grams of protein per day.
3. Fats can be part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes.
Not all fats are created equal. Some fats, such as saturated and trans fats, can raise your risk of heart disease. Other fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are actually good for your heart.
People with diabetes should focus on eating healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, and seeds. These fats can help to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol.
4. Fiber is important for blood sugar control and digestive health.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. This means that fiber does not raise blood sugar levels. Fiber also helps to keep you feeling full, which can help you to control your calorie intake.
People with diabetes should aim to eat 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. This can be done by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
5. Drink plenty of water.
Water is essential for good health, and it's especially important for people with diabetes. Water helps to flush toxins out of the body and can help to prevent dehydration, which can worsen blood sugar control.
People with diabetes should aim to drink eight glasses of water per day. You may need to drink more if you live in a hot climate or if you are active.
6. Limit sugary drinks.
Sugary drinks, such as soda, juice, and sports drinks, can cause blood sugar levels to spike quickly. These drinks are also high in calories and can contribute to weight gain.
People with diabetes should limit their intake of sugary drinks. If you do drink sugary drinks, be sure to count the calories and carbs towards your daily total.
7. Read food labels carefully.
When you are grocery shopping, it's important to read food labels carefully. Pay attention to the calories, carbs, fat, and fiber content of the foods you are choosing. You should also look for foods that are low in sugar and saturated fat.
8. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.
If you have diabetes, it's important to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about creating a meal plan that is right for you. They can help you make healthy food choices and can give you guidance on how to manage your blood sugar levels.
Following a healthy diet is an important part of managing diabetes. These nutrition facts can steer you in the direction of healthy food choices that will help you to control your blood sugar levels and improve your overall health.