Diabetes Diet

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CARBOHYDRATES are made up of simple sugars, complex carbohydrates, and fiber.

100% of the carbohydrates eaten are broken down into glucose. Therefore carbohydrates elevate the blood sugar at a faster rate than either protein or fat so only measured amounts should be consumed.

By changing your diet, you can help control your blood glucose levels. The best plan is to reduce the amount of simple sugars and refined carbohydrates you consume while increasing the amount of complex carbohydrates and fiber in your diet.

Complex carbohydrates include all the complex starches and fiber, such as those found in grains, cereals, breads and starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, peas and beans.

Complex carbohydrates are broken down slowly by the body, leading to a slower release of glucose into the blood stream.

Milk, fruit and vegetables also contribute significant amounts of carbohydrate in the diet.

Complex carbohydrates contain many essential nutrients and are the body's most effective source of energy.

Simple carbohydrates are commonly known as sugars,  sources of simple carbohydrates include table sugar, candies and other sweets, sodas, bakery goods as well as highly processed or refined foods, which are broken down quickly to a form that is absorbed easily by the body, leading to a rapid rise in blood sugar.

PROTEIN provides amino acids for your body to build, maintain, and repair cells and muscle tissue, heal wounds, and support the immune system.

It is very easy to get protein in our diet, in fact, most people consume 2-3 times more protein than necessary.

Excess protein does not create muscle, as many hope, but is stored as fat. Excess protein can put strain on the liver and kidneys.

The best protein sources are milk, yogurt, cheese, lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Breads, cereals and vegetables contribute small amounts of protein in the diet.

About 60% of the protein eaten are broken down into glucose.

Nutritionists recommend about 45 to 50 grams of protein a day for most women and 50 to 60 grams a day for most men or 10 percent to 20 percent of daily calories.

FAT, like carbohydrates, are used by the body for fuel and are essential for the absorption of certain vitamins. Although some fat in the diet is necessary, too much fat can lead to heart disease, obesity and other health problems.

Fats should comprise no more than 30 % of daily calories, or even lower.

Fats in the diet may be of animal or vegetable origin. Examples of fat in the diet are gravy, bacon, margarine, butter, cream, salad dressings and nuts.

Meats and some milk products also contain significant amounts of fat. About 10% of the fat eaten is broken down into glucose. The remainder is stored as fat for future use

People with diabetes should also eat less saturated fat.

The proper diet is critical to diabetes treatment. It can help someone with diabetes:

  • Achieve and maintain desirable weight. Many people with diabetes can control their blood glucose by losing weight and keeping it off.

  • Maintain normal blood glucose levels.

  • Prevent heart and blood vessel diseases, conditions that tend to occur in people with diabetes.

Daily Diabetes Diet Recommendations:

  • Many experts, recommend that

    • 50 to 60 percent of daily calories come from carbohydrates (mostly complex carbohydrates),

    • 10 to 20 percent from protein,

    • Fat less than 30% of total daily calories (less than 10% from saturated fats) and

    • Fiber 20 to 35 grams per day.

  • Spacing meals throughout the day, instead of eating heavy meals once or twice a day, can help a person avoid extremely high or low blood glucose levels.  The reason for these percentage is that it is important for diabetics to have the same amount of glucose released into the blood stream on a consistent basic.

  • With few exceptions, the best way to lose weight is gradually: one or two pounds a week. Strict diets must never be undertaken without the supervision of a doctor.

  • People with diabetes have twice the risk of developing heart disease as those without diabetes, and high blood cholesterol levels raise the risk of heart disease. Losing weight and reducing intake of saturated fats and cholesterol, in favor of unsaturated and monounsaturated fats, can help lower blood cholesterol.

For example, meats and dairy products are major sources of saturated fats, which should be avoided; most vegetable oils are high in unsaturated fats, which are fine in limited amounts; and olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fat, the healthiest type of fat.

Liver and other organ meats and egg yolks are particularly high in cholesterol. A doctor or nutritionist can advise someone on this aspect of diet.

Studies show that foods with fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, peas, beans, and whole-grain breads and cereals may help lower blood glucose.

Points to Remember

  • A diabetes diet should do three things; achieve ideal weight, maintain normal blood glucose levels, and limit foods that contribute to hear disease.

  • A nutritionist or dietician can help plan a diabetes diet.

  • Exchange lists are useful in planning a diabetes diet. They place foods with similar nutrients and calories into groups. With the help of a nutritionist, the person plans the number of servings from each exchange list that he or she should eat throughout the day.

  • Diets that use exchange lists offer more choices than pre-printed diets. More information on exchange lists is available from nutritionists and from the American Diabetes Association.

Continuing research may lead to new approaches to diabetes diets. Because one goal of a diabetes diet is to maintain normal blood glucose levels, it would be helpful to have reliable information on the effects of foods on blood glucose.

For example, foods that are rich in carbohydrates, like breads, cereals, fruits, and vegetables break down into glucose during digestion, causing blood glucose to rise.

However, scientists don't know how each of these carbohydrates affect blood glucose levels. Research is also under way to learn whether foods with sugar raise blood glucose higher than foods with starch.

Experts do know that cooked foods raise blood glucose higher than raw, unpeeled foods. A person with diabetes can ask a doctor or nutritionist about using this kind of information in diet planning.

Exercise and Diabetes

You should engage in regular physical activity to help control your type 2 diabetes and prevent complications from it.

Exercise helps the body decrease insulin resistance and burn excess glucose. Regular exercise and diabetes diet also helps to improve blood cholesterol levels and reduces stress.

Studies have shown that exercise is not only a good way to treat diabetes, but also a great way to prevent it. Exercise causes your muscles to take up and use more glucose, thus reducing blood sugar levels.

Regular exercise is defined as engaging in physical activity for a period of 20 minutes at least three times per week. If you have a medical condition, you should speak with your healthcare provider to determine the best exercise and diabetes diet program for your fitness goals.

Medications for Diabetes

Many people with type 2 diabetes, especially those in the early stages, manage their blood sugar effectively through diet, weight loss, and physical activity. If this does not provide effective control for you, however, there are many medications that can help manage your condition.

Food Recommended for management of diabetes

Low-fat, fiber-rich diets built from legumes, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits help individuals avoid diabetes and control blood sugar levels. Such diets can also prevent complications in people who already have diabetes.

Choosing the right foods can make a world of difference to your health. Look for delicious, minimally processed foods from plant sources. Here are a few tasty choices for the prevention and management of diabetes:

  • Steamed Artichokes – Serve this beautiful vegetable upright on a plate with rice wine vinegar as a dipping sauce. Artichokes are low in calories, nearly fat free, and delicious. They’re also rich in fiber, which slows down the absorption of natural sugars from the starchy foods we eat and has been shown to reduce insulin resistance.

  • Hummus Dip with Baby Carrots – Hummus is a hearty dip made from chickpeas, sesame seed paste, garlic, and lemon. Chickpeas provide protein and fiber, while sesame seeds are a great source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help protect and improve circulation in the eyes. Use carrots to dip with and get double the eye- and anti-oxidant protection from the beta-carotene in the carrots. People with diabetes frequently develop eye problems, particularly diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the retina. This can lead to a gradual loss of vision.

  • Old-Fashioned or Irish Oats with Fresh Strawberries – Here’s a breakfast that fills you up without filling you out. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and soluble fiber. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and a potent eye protector, while vitamin B6 may help prevent diabetic retinopathy (retina damage). Soluble fiber, in addition to helping keep blood sugar under control, can help lower blood cholesterol levels. People at risk for diabetes—and those already coping with it—have a high risk for heart disease. Therefore, it’s important to choose meals that decrease cholesterol levels.

  • Quinoa Tabouli – This protein-rich whole grain can help head off those carbohydrate cravings with a healthy choice. Some individuals crave muffins, cookies, cakes, and white bread—all foods that raise blood sugar levels unnecessarily. Tasty and healthier whole-grain foods can satisfy the need for carbohydrates.

  • Mushroom Barley Soup – Barley has the lowest glycemic index of any grain, and mushrooms are tasty and magnesium-rich. Magnesium helps maintain nerve cells and may also play a role in preventing diabetic retinopathy (retina damage).

  • Edamame (boiled fresh soybeans in the pod) – A delicious, hearty, protein- and fiber-rich snack that is fun to eat and chock-full of disease-fighting phytosterols (a plant compound that can lower cholesterol, among other things). Look for fresh edamame at your local farmer’s market, or check the frozen vegetable case in the supermarket. Most kids love them.

  • Fruity Spinach Salad – An attractive salad decorated with sunflower seeds, oranges, sweet red pepper, and cucumbers and flavored with raspberry vinaigrette fat-free dressing makes a delicious first course or side dish. Spinach is great for magnesium; sunflower seeds provide vitamin E, selenium, and magnesium; and oranges and red peppers are good sources of vitamin C. Selenium is an important antioxidant. This mineral protects the cells of the heart and blood vessels from damage, which is important because of diabetes’ strong association with heart disease.


The above opinionated views and information serves to educated and informed consumer. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. It should not replaced professional advise and consultation. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions

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