Our very own registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, Rene Ficek, has some great advise about diabetes and diet. With it being National Diabetes Month
, I thought this information was quite timely…enjoy!
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Diabetes is a disorder where the body has difficulty controlling the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all cases, typically develops later in life and is associated with weight gain (especially around the waist) and an unhealthy diet. As you may already know, diabetes is on the rise in the United States.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is essential to controlling blood sugars and preventing diabetes complications. Many people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose by following a healthy meal plan and losing excess weight. Healthy eating can help reduce the amount of oral medication and insulin that many people with diabetes use to control blood sugars.
Losing excess weight is one of the most effective ways to control or prevent diabetes. According to several studies, losing 7 to 10 percent of your current weight if you are overweight can cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes in half. And if you have diabetes, losing weight can actually reverse diabetes and keep blood sugars at normal levels. Controlling calories and portion sizes are key factors in weight management.
In addition to controlling weight and portion sizes, these healthy eating tips are a must for anyone with diabetes, or those simply trying to prevent diabetes:
Choose high-fiber, slow-release starches —
Starches have a big impact on your blood sugar levels, but you don’t have to avoid them. You just need to be smart about what types you eat. Focus on high-fiber complex carbohydrates like beans and whole grain rice since these can help sustain blood sugar levels. They also provide lasting energy and help you stay full longer.
Eat your vegetables —
Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber making them an ideal source of high-quality carbohydrates. Because these low-calorie, nutrient-dense veggies have a low-impact on blood sugar, they're an integral component of your diabetes food plan.
Balance meals with healthy, lean protein —
Lean proteins like fish and eggs are healthy sources of protein that should be included in the diet at every meal since protein can be very filling, while having minimal impact on blood sugar levels.
Choose fats wisely —
Fats can be either helpful or harmful in your diet. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for heart disease, so it is even more important to be smart about fats. Some salad dressings are made from unhealthy fats but others are healthy and have great health benefits. But all fats are high in calories, so you should always watch your portion sizes.
Eat regularly —
When it comes to successful weight loss, research shows that a very successful strategy involves following a regular eating schedule. Breakfast helps to jumpstart metabolism, and eating throughout the day can prevent you from becoming overly hungry. Often times, this is when we overindulge in high calorie foods.