What Foods Can I Eat If I Have Diabetes
You may worry that having diabetes means going without foods you enjoy. The good news is that you can still eat your favorite foods, but you might need to eat smaller portions or enjoy them less often. Your health care team will help create a diabetes meal plan for you that meets your needs and likes.
The key to eating with diabetes is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, in the amounts your meal plan outlines.
The food groups are
- nonstarchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes
- starchy: includes potatoes, corn, and green peas
Use oils when cooking food instead of butter, cream, shortening, lard, or stick margarine.
/53 Meals A Day Is Not Enough For A Diabetic Patient
For a diabetic person, one of the most challenging tasks is to keep their blood sugar levels in check. A drastic drop in the sugar level often leads to seizures and nervous system damage. To avoid such complications, they are required to maintain the numbers throughout the day, which can be achieved only by planning the meal strategically.
Since childhood, we have been told that three square meals a day are significant to get all the essential nutrients and energy for the body to function properly. But when it comes to a person with diabetes, only three large meals a day might not be enough.
What Foods Should Be Avoided If You Have Type 1 Diabetes
People with type 1 diabetes should avoid many of the same unhealthy foods that everyone should limit. In short, this means restricting processed foods and food with a high glycemic load. This includes
- sodas ,
- processed/refined sugars ,
- trans fats , and
- high-fat animal products.
Restrict white foods i.e. pasta, bread, scones, cookies, flour, sugar, white potato, etc. This is an easy way to remove high glycemic load foods. It is important to remember that, unlike type 2 diabetes, food choices didn’t specifically contribute to developing type 1 diabetes but they do impact how someone manages diabetes. People with type 1 and 2 diabetes alike are at risk for the complications that stem from high blood sugar, such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. Because of this, attention to healthy eating is important and foods that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease should be avoided.
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Introducing The Diabetes Plate Method
No matter which eating pattern works best for you, it can still be hard to know where to start when it comes to building healthy meals that help you manage your blood sugarwhile still being tasty.
Thats where the Diabetes Plate Method comes in. Using this method, you can create perfectly portioned meals with a healthy balance of vegetables, protein and carbohydrateswithout any counting, calculating, weighing or measuring. All you need is a plate!
And once youve got the Plate Method down, check out these tasty plates for some meal planning inspiration! Find articles like this and more from the nutrition experts at the American Diabetes Associations Diabetes Food Hub®the premier food and cooking destination for people living with diabetes and their families.
What Does The Science Say
“What can I eat?” is one of the top questions asked by people with diabetes when they are diagnosedand our goal is to help answer that question. A panel of scientists, doctors, endocrinologists, diabetes educators and dietitians reviewed over 600 research articles over the course of five years to see what dietsor eating patternswork well for people with diabetes. The results were published in our Nutrition Consensus Report.
The main finding? Everyone’s body responds differently to different types of foods and diets, so there is no single “magic” diet for diabetes. But you can follow a few simple guidelines to find out what works for you to help manage your blood sugar.
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When Youre Managing Diabetes And Prediabetes Your Eating Plan Is A Powerful Tool
But figuring out what to eat can feel like a hassle, right? Well, it doesn’t have to because there are easy things you can do to add flavor to your daily routineincluding healthy twists on your favorite foods.
One key to feeling your best lies in the food you eat. You can start by working with a registered dietitian nutritionist to make an eating plan that works for you. In it, be sure to include the foods you likeand dont be afraid to try something new.
Most importantly, remember that eating welland adding activity to your daily routine by moving moreare important ways you can manage diabetes. And were here to help you every step of the way.
Stay Safe When Blood Glucose Is High
If you have type 1 diabetes, avoid vigorous physical activity when you have ketones in your blood or urine. Ketones are chemicals your body might make when your blood glucose level is too high, a condition called hyperglycemia, and your insulin level is too low. If you are physically active when you have ketones in your blood or urine, your blood glucose level may go even higher. Ask your health care team what level of ketones are dangerous for you and how to test for them.Ketones are uncommon in people with type 2 diabetes.
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Plan Ahead For Healthy Meals
Planning healthier meals and snacks can go a long way to helping you reach your goals. Talk to your registered dietitian or health-care team about the amount of carbohydrates that are right for you and for help with meal planning. A weekly meal plan will help you shop for the right foods and encourage more cooking at home.
Dont Go More Than 5 To 6 Waking Hours Without Food
As a general rule, try to minimize any long gaps during the day without fuel, Sheth says, noting that 5 to 6 hours between meals is the absolute max most people with diabetes should push it.
Some people may even need to eat every 3 to 4 hours for optimal blood sugar management, adds Phelps.
Keep in mind that how often you need to eat is going to be a determining factor in your ideal snacking strategy.
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How Much Should I Eat Daily To Control My Blood Sugar Levels With Diabetes
The types of food you eat, when you eat them, the timing of medications and even physical activity levels can all affect blood sugar levels. A good component to type 2 diabetesmanagement is keeping your blood sugar levels under control as best as possible. The road to management can be a challenging and winding one.
The day-to-day efforts you put in trying to ensure you maintain your target blood sugar levels, can sometimes seem like minute-to-minute efforts.
Youve learned how to check your blood sugar, what medications you should take, recommendations on what you should eat, but have you learned what foods work best for you and your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels are the one consistent factor in diabetes management that everyone, including doctors can agree require more information on how to manage them more effectively.
Does Eating Too Much Sugar Cause Diabetes
Chances are you have a family member, close friend, or colleague who has diabetes. This chronic and serious health condition affects about one in ten people, and that number rises with agehalf of all adults in the United States have diabetes or prediabetes, reports the American Diabetes Association.
We are mostly talking about type 2 diabetes here because its, by far, the most common form of the disease, accounting for about 90 to 95 percent of all cases.
What all types of diabetes have in common is that people have blood glucoseblood sugarthat is too high. Does that mean that eating sugar causes diabetes? The answer for type 1 diabetes is always nothis comparatively rare type of diabetes is an autoimmune condition that is unrelated to lifestyle factors like food intake or exercise.
For type 2 diabetes its a bit more complicated. If you already have a genetic risk and you have a consistently unhealthy eating pattern, excess weight, and a sedentary lifestyle, you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes earliersay in your 20s, 30s, or 40srather than later in life, in your 50s, 60s, or 70s. So how does sugar fit in?
To understand the role that eating sugar plays in type 2 diabetes, it helps to take a quick look at how sugar in the blood, or blood glucose, can end up too high.
With type 2 diabetes, the cells ability to respond to insulin is impaired and sugar lingers in the bloodstream instead of being efficiently dispatched to the cells.
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What Physical Activities Should I Do If I Have Diabetes
Most kinds of physical activity can help you take care of your diabetes. Certain activities may be unsafe for some people, such as those with low vision or nerve damage to their feet. Ask your health care team what physical activities are safe for you. Many people choose walking with friends or family members for their activity.
Doing different types of physical activity each week will give you the most health benefits. Mixing it up also helps reduce boredom and lower your chance of getting hurt. Try these options for physical activity.
Feeding Schedules For Dogs With Diabetes
Diabetic dogs should be fed two or three times a day, as thisprevents blood sugar levels from dangerously raising too high after ameal, and then falling too low later.
Most pet owners feed twice a day, about twelve hours apart. It isalso very important that the dog eats all the food he is given, as tostop hypoglycemia, which is a dangerous drop in blood glucose levels.
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What Should A Diabetic Eat
Eat about the same size meals and snacks every day. Most people eat a small breakfast, a medium sized lunch and a larger dinner. This forces the body to process most of the day’s food at the end of the day. A better idea is to eat all meals that are about the same size. You will be eating balanced meals throughout the day. Make healthy food choices rich in vitamins, minerals, lean protein like white chicken and fiber such as brown rice. The fiber takes longer to break down. Blood sugars rise slower. This will keep blood sugar levels better controlled. It will help your body better process the sugar coming from your food.
Do not skip meals. If you take insulin or diabetes pills, do not skip meals. This can cause your blood sugars to drop too low. Skipping one meal could cause you to overeat at the next meal. Even if you do not take diabetes pills or insulin, you still may have better control of your blood sugar levels if you eat balanced meals.
What You Need To Know About Eating With Diabetes
How much do calories matter? For people with diabetes, the exact number of calories to consume each day is based on the amount and timing of food that assures you can youre your blood sugar levels stable and your weight within a healthy range. That number can change, depending on your age, activity level, frame size, current versus preferred weight, and other factors.
When the goal is a healthy weight and blood sugar control, a good starting point for a woman is 1,400-1,600 calories a day, with main meals containing up to 30 grams of fiber-rich carbohydrates, and snacks containing 10-20 grams of fiber-rich carbohydrates, Ms. Zanini advises. For men and more physically active women who are already at a healthy weight, you may start with a 2,000-2,200 calorie meal plan, in which you may increase proportionately your carbs.
Recent research suggests that by eating a big breakfast, and a modest lunch, so you get most of your calories in by 3 pm, you will find it easier to lose weight and achieve better blood sugar control.
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Do I Have To Eat Three Meals A Day With Diabetes
Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., R.D., CDCES
Many people with diabetes ask, Why am I supposed to eat three meals a day? Its a great question! Mindful eating isnt about following rigid rules so lets look at the reasons behind the three-meals-a-day suggestion for people with prediabetes and diabetes.
When a person has diabetes, he struggles to process carbohydrates because the body either isnt making enough insulin, or the insulin thats made isnt effectivea condition called insulin resistance. This means that if a person eats too many carbohydrates at one time, their body isnt able to process the carbohydrates, causing the blood sugar to rise .
However, carbohydrates are not a specific food, but a macronutrient. In fact, carbohydrates are found in many foods, many of which are full of other nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. For this reason, the Recommended Daily Allowance which establishes the minimum intake necessary for health, recommends 130 grams of carbohydrate per day. However, if you have diabetes, eating 130 grams of carbohydrate at one meal may cause your blood sugars to rise above target. Therefore, most people with diabetes find it easier to keep their blood sugar in their target range by dividing their totally daily carbohydrates across several meals.
Key Point: The amount of carbohydrates consumed at one time is important for someone with prediabetes or diabetes.
But I want to eat twice a day instead!
What if my blood sugar is in my target range?
What To Feed Diabetic Dogs
Diabetic canines should always be fed a diet high in fiber andcomplex carbohydrates. The fiber content plays an important role indelaying gastric emptying and intestinal absorption, while complexcarbohydrates increase the gastrointestinal transit time. As a result,glucose is slowly released into the bloodstream, and the post prandialglucose peak is flattened, allowing a lower dose of insulin.
It is often surprising to learn that the prescription food sold atthe vet may not be the ideal food for a diabetic dog, so pet ownersshould inform themselves on the proper diet needs for a diabeticcanine. Many dry dog foods sold are grain-based, but dogs areomnivores, and are able to process meat-based proteins much moreproficiently. Grain-based dog foods are also extremely high incarbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose during digestion.Large amounts of glucose in the body will raise blood sugar levelssignificantly, and can be very harmful to a dog with diabetes.Carbohydrates also contribute to weight gain, which is very dangerousfor a diabetic dog. On top of the carbohydrates, proteins and fats arealso broken down into glucose, raising blood sugar levels even more.
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Fiber Helps Fight Type 2 Diabetes
From brown rice to black beans, whole-grain cereal, fruits, vegetables, and popcorn, fiber is a powerful ally in the fight against type 2 diabetes. Fiber-rich foods are digested more slowly, says Licalzi, so your blood sugar doesnt spike and you stay fuller longer. A 2019 review in The Lancet that included nearly 250 studies found that people who ate the highest amount of fiber had a 16% to 24% lower risk of dying from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and colon cancer, compared with people who ate very little fiber.
However, Americans are not getting enough fiber in their diet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends 25 grams a day for women and 38 grams a day for men, up to the age of 50. After 50, women should aim for 21 daily grams and men, 30 grams. The average American only eats an average of 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day.
How Much Should A Diabetic Eat
Control your portions. When you have diabetes, eating the right portions of foods is just as important as taking the proper amount of your pills or insulin. If your portions are too large, your blood sugar may rise. If you take in too many calories, weight gain may result. If your portions are too small, your blood glucose levels may drop too low. Eating the right amount of carbohydrates can help control your blood sugar levels.
If you cannot weigh or measure foods, these tips may teach you how to “eyeball” portions:
- A 1-cup portion is about the size of a woman’s hand made into a fist.
- One teaspoon of margarine is approximately a pat of margarine.
- 1 oz. cheese is about the size of a 1″ cube.
- 3 oz. meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
Important things to remember
- Everyone with diabetes should have a meal plan. Your dietitian or diabetes meal educator can help you with a meal plan that works for you.
- Plan your meals and snacks into your day like you would plan a doctor’s visit. Try not to let anything interfere with your meal times.
- Practice weighing and measuring foods to learn how to “eyeball” portion sizes.
- Food portions should be large enough to satisfy you. But, not so large they cause you to feel too full.
- Meals should be about the same size and spread evenly throughout the day.
- Meals should include a variety of foods from all of the food groups.
How can your doctor help you?
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Protein And Your Health
Protein is one of three essential macronutrients the other two are fat and carbohydrate. These are needed in large amounts to maintain health and vital functions.
The body uses protein to build, repair, and maintain most of your body’s tissues and organs. Proteins are also necessary for immune system function and help some additional physiological processes as well.