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.
Type 2 Diabetes Diet Sample Menus
Now that you know what foods are better if you have diabetes, putting the right foods on your plate is a matter of portions. The key to a balanced diet is planning meals using the diabetes plate methoddivide the plate into quarters: ¼ protein or meat, ¼ carbs, and ½ vegetable and fruit. If you want to lose weight, use 9-inch dinner plates and bowls so you arent piling the food on to a large dinner plate.
For example, fill half the plate with non-starchy veggies such as salad greens or steamed broccoli, and fill the remaining half of the plate with equal portions of a grain or starchy vegetable like mashed sweet potato and a heart-healthy protein such as broiled salmon.
Here are some sample dinner menus to give you an idea of reasonable portion sizes that make up a healthy meal for someone with diabetes . These menus will also give you an idea of the variety of delicious and balanced meals that can fit into a diabetes meal plan. In addition, the infographic above features a weeks worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas consistent with a diabetes diet plan.
Which Type Of Fats Are Recommended
Fats have little direct effect on blood sugar but, as part of a meal, they are useful in slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates. Fats also have effects on health that are not related to blood sugar. For example:
- Animal meat fats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, dairy, and specifically fermented dairy such as yogurt, appears to decrease this risk.
- Plant-based fats such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocado are associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk.
- Fat also contributes to feelings of satiety and can play a role in managing overeating and carbohydrate cravings. A portion of healthy fats is much more satisfying and healthy than jam on white toast.
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What Is Type 2 Diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, you may think you have to eat a special diet. Not necessarily!Following a healthy diet when you have diabetes doesnt mean you have to buy any special foods. A healthy diet for people with diabetes is very similar to a healthy diet for people without diabetes! For people with diabetes, choosing foods that are high in fibre, a variety of lower carbohydrate fruits and vegetables, choosing lean cuts of meat, and reducing your intake of foods that are high in salt, sugar, and fat all contribute to a healthy diabetes diet.
Type 2 Diabetes Content
Go For The Healthy Fats Instead
We still need some fat in our diets, as fat has a crucial role in our body. So not only is the amount of fat that we consume important, so is the type of fat .
You may have heard of the term healthy fats. These healthy fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are able to assist in reducing your LDL cholesterol, with polyunsaturated fats able to do the job more effectively than monounsaturated fats.
Eating small amounts of mono- and polyunsaturated fats can help to ensure that our bodies are able to get the essential fatty acids and vitamins that it needs.
In cooking, you can substitute saturated fats for healthier fats such as using olive oil or grape seed oil instead of butter.
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Honey Agave Nectar And Maple Syrup
People with diabetes often try to minimize their intake of white table sugar, as well as treats like candy, cookies, and pie.
However, other forms of sugar can also cause blood sugar spikes. These include brown sugar and natural sugars such as honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup.
Although these sweeteners arent highly processed, they contain at least as many carbs as white sugar. In fact, most contain even more.
Below are the carb counts of a 1-tablespoon serving of popular sweeteners:
- white sugar: 12.6 grams (
- 40 )
In one study, people with prediabetes experienced similar increases in blood sugar, insulin, and inflammatory markers regardless of whether they consumed 1.7 ounces of white sugar or honey .
Your best strategy is to avoid all forms of sugar and use natural low carb sweeteners instead.
Honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup arent as processed as white table sugar, but they may have similar effects on blood sugar, insulin, and inflammatory markers.
Type 2 Diabetes Complications
Over time, high blood sugar can damage and cause problems with your:
- Heart and blood vessels. Youâre up to five times more likely to get heart disease or have a stroke. Youâre also at high risk of blocked blood vessels and chest pain .
- Kidneys. If your kidneys are damaged or you have kidney failure, you could need dialysis or a kidney replacement.
- Eyes. High blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels in the backs of your eyes . If this isnât treated, it can cause blindness.
- Nerves. This can lead to trouble with digestion, the feeling in your feet, and your sexual response.
- Skin. Your blood doesnât circulate as well, so wounds heal slower and can become infected.
- Pregnancy. Women with diabetes are more likely to have a miscarriage, a stillbirth, or a baby with a birth defect.
- Sleep. You might develop sleep apnea, a condition in which your breathing stops and starts while you sleep.
- Hearing. Youâre more likely to have hearing problems, but itâs not clear why.
- Brain. High blood sugar can damage your brain and might put you at higher risk of Alzheimerâs disease.
- Depression. People with the disease are twice as likely to get depressed as people who donât have it.
The best way to avoid these complications is to manage your type 2 diabetes well.
- Take your diabetes medications or insulin on time.
- Eat right, and dont skip meals.
- See your doctor regularly to check for early signs of trouble.
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Can I Eat Sugar Substitutes With Type 2 Diabetes
The current belief is that people who need to follow a diabetes diet should avoid added sweeteners of all kinds, including sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners. Researchers have found that people who consume foods with any form of sweetener typically crave more of these foods and end up gaining weight.
Your best bet is to begin using fruit to get your sweet fix. By adding fruit to foods, you totally avoid the added sugars and sugar alcohols and get the added benefit of dietary fiber, which is better for blood glucose control.
If you want to use a non-caloric sweetener, of all the , stevia is the one I recommend most often, says Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, author of The Diabetes Cookbook and Meal Plan for the Newly Diagnosed. Its a great natural and zero-calorie option for blood sugar control when added to beverages, hot cereals, and other foods. Youll have to experiment with stevia, she adds, because it works better with some foods than with others.
Which Fasting Plan Is Best
The term intermittent fasting does not refer to a single well-defined practice. Several different approaches fall under the intermittent fasting umbrella. The three most common and well-studied are known as time-restricted eating, alternate-day fasting, and the 5:2 diet.
The first of thesetime-restricted eatinginvolves squeezing all of your days calories into a single feeding window of six to eight hours. For example, someone on this diet may eat between noon and 6 p.m. each day, and avoid all caloric foods and drinks for the other 18 hours of the day. Meanwhile, someone on an alternate-day-fasting diet eats normally one day, but the next day consumes few or no calories. Finally, the 5:2 diet involves eating normally five days a week but fasting on the other two days.
There are many variations of each of these plans. At this point, its unclear which of these, if any, is optimal for people with Type 2 diabetes. I think time-restricted eating is probably the most common, followed by fasting two days a week, Horne says. But at the moment, I would say there is not one plan that stands out as a best option. The right plan, he adds, is the one a patient will stick with. Even if the more intense fasting programs turn out to be most beneficial, that doesnt really matter if people cant adhere to it.
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What Is The Ada Diabetes Diet
The American Diabetes Association advocates for a healthy diet with an emphasis on balancing energy intake with exercise. Historically, they have advocated for the majority of calories coming from complex carbohydrates from whole grains such as whole-grain bread and other whole-grain cereal products and a decreased intake of total fat with most of it coming from unsaturated fat.
Recently, this has shifted to acknowledge that there is no one ideal macronutrient ratio, and that dietary plans should be individualized. ADA guidelines advocate:
- Low glycemic load
- Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages including soda
- The importance of fat quality as well as quantity
However, many people find these guidelines difficult to implement in real-life, and the dietary patterns described below can be easier and more common sense ways for people to manage their eating plan.
Importance Of Early Diagnosis
An early diagnosis may help prevent complications.
Recognizing the early signs of type 2 diabetes can allow a person to get a diagnosis and treatment sooner. Getting appropriate treatment, making lifestyle changes, and controlling blood sugar levels can greatly improve a persons health and quality of life and reduce the risk of complications.
Without treatment, persistently high blood sugar levels can lead to severe and sometimes life-threatening complications, including:
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Breakfast Ideas When You Have Diabetes
Diabetes wont stop you from enjoying your food, but knowing some simple hacks and swaps will help you choose healthier options and make planning your meals a little easier. These ideas may not look much different from what you eat already, and your favourite recipes and meals can usually be adapted to be healthier without you noticing too much difference.
Here are some healthy breakfast ideas to choose from:
- a bowl of wholegrain cereal with milk
- two slices of wholegrain toast with olive oil-based spread
- a pot of natural unsweetened yogurt and fruit
- two slices of avocado with a hardboiled egg.
If You’re Overweight Or Obese Losing Weight Can Make A Huge Difference
Having too much visceral fat , a type of fat thats stored around our internal organs is associated with an increased risk of developing other health conditions, not just type 2 diabetes! This includes heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, and bowel cancer.
It is recommended that you lose your excess weight. Even if you lose a small amount of weight, it can help to improve your blood glucose levels.
One thing to be mindful of is if you lose weight, it is important not to regain it. If you are obese or overweight and have lost weight, you may have noticed how your blood glucose levels and insulin levels have decreased. Well done! The problem is that if you regain some of or all of the weight you initially lost, your blood glucose and insulin levels can rise again, putting you back at risk of developing diabetes.
You can check your BMI using the BMI tool below. If you want more information about why your BMI is important, you can learn more from the BMI Calculator page.
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Foods To Avoid When You Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes, your healthcare provider has likely told you the importance of diet when it comes to managing your blood sugar. And if you’re not sure what foods to avoid, all you may have to do is listen to your body for clues.
Certain foods, particularly those rich in carbohydrates, can cause blood sugars to rise quickly. This can make you feel sluggish, cause high blood sugar, and even make you gain weight.
You may even be surprised to realize that some of the foods you consider healthy are on this list because of their high carb content, lack of fiber, and generally limited nutritional value.
Here’s a look at a few of them and why they should be avoided or eaten in moderation if you have diabetes.
What Can I Eat And What Cant I Eat With Type 2 Diabetes
A basic overview of foods you can eat:
- Non starchy vegetables
- Protein sources
- Healthy fats
- Fresh and dried herbs and spices
- Lower carb condiments
- Sugar substitutes
- Lower carb fruits
A basic overview of foods you cant eat :
- High carb vegetables
- Most fruit
- Flour-based foods
- Carb-heavy meal bases
- Sugar-filled foods
- High carb beverages
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Planning A Diabetes Diet
A diabetic diet doesnt have to be complicated and you dont have to give up all your favorite foods. The first step to making smarter choices is to separate the myths from the facts about eating to prevent or control diabetes.
|Myths and facts about diabetes and diet|
|Myth: You must avoid sugar at all costs.
Fact: You can enjoy your favorite treats as long as you plan properly and limit hidden sugars. Dessert doesnt have to be off limits, as long as its a part of a healthy meal plan.
|Myth: You have to cut way down on carbs.
Fact: The type of carbohydrates you eat as well as serving size is key. Focus on whole grain carbs instead of starchy carbs since theyre high in fiber and digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels more even.
|Myth: Youll need special diabetic meals.
Fact: The principles of healthy eating are the samewhether or not youre diabetic. Expensive diabetic foods generally offer no special benefit.
|Myth: A high-protein diet is best.
Fact: Studies have shown that eating too much protein, especially animal protein, may actually cause insulin resistance, a key factor in diabetes. A healthy diet includes protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Our bodies need all three to function properly. The key is a balanced diet.
As with any healthy eating program, a diabetic diet is more about your overall dietary pattern rather than obsessing over specific foods. Aim to eat more natural, unprocessed food and less packaged and convenience foods.
Opt For Lean Proteins Over Fatty Cuts Of Meat
People with type 2 diabetes should limit or avoid high-fat cuts of meat, such as regular ground beef, bologna, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, and ribs, because like full-fat dairy, theyre high in saturated fats, explains Kimberlain. Saturated fats in meat raise cholesterol and promote inflammation throughout the body, and can also put people with diabetes at even greater risk for heart disease than the average person, since their risk is already elevated as a result of diabetes . Instead of fatty cuts of meat, choose lean proteins, including skinless chicken and turkey, fish and shellfish, pork tenderloin, and lean beef. When it comes to ground beef, make sure you choose beef thats at least 92 percent lean and 8 percent fat, advises Kimberlain.
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Type 2 Diabetes And Exercise
Lifestyle management of diabetes isnt just about what you eat. Physical activity also plays an important role. The best type of exercise for managing type 2 diabetes is a combination of cardio exercise, like brisk walking, and strength training. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity. A variety of activities count toward your goal¹ in addition to brisk walking, examples of moderately intense exercise include dancing, mowing the lawn, swimming, biking, dancing, and doing housework, according to the CDC. Most important is to find activities you enjoy doing, which makes exercise easier to stick with.
What Kind Of Diet To Follow
Knowing what to eat with Type 2 diabetes makes a big difference if you have diabetes, but following a diabetes diet plan doesnt mean you have to give up on the foods you love. A healthy diet should include a variety of balanced foods that are rich in good carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Some people prefer to limit their carb intake but it depends on the person. Examples of good carbs include brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squashes, and most other vegetables.
Here are some of the best foods for diabetic patients:
Try this chili for diabetics recipe if you want to discover just how many amazing foods you can eat.
Eating healthily is important for everyone but it is extremely essential for diabetic patients. Knowing what to eat with Type 2 diabetes can go a long way to helping you control your diabetes. Combining a good diet with exercise can help you maintain your sugar levels and lead a healthy life.
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