What You Need To Know About Eating and Diabetes for All Diabetics
To be clear, there is not one “official” diabetes diet. Instead, we are looking at 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, right alongside you. Your particular dietary requirements will depend on many factors:
Your type of diabetes:
- Other risk factors present (obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.)
- The need for insulin, or not
- Management with medication, or only diet and exercise
- Sedentary lifestyle or active lifestyle
So, let’s start with the makeup of your average meal. The plate can be divided into three sections: protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Sounds pretty standard huh?
Carbohydrates are what supply the sugars that the body will use as fuel after the food is broken down. Carbohydrates are one of the main types of nutrients. They are the most important source of energy for your body
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.
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.
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.
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.