Diabetic diet can play an essential role in managing diabetes, both for individuals who were recently diagnosed as well as those looking to lower their blood sugar.
It is commonly known that refined and processed foods are high in sugar should be avoided or their consumption reduced by diabetes patients.
Carbohydrates can also raise blood sugar, and it is now becoming apparent that diets high in fat can also negatively impact the health of diabetes patients.
Importance and Components of a Diabetic Diet
So it is important to look at all aspects of diabetic diet when eating to keep diabetes under control. With this in mind, get familiar with the components of a diabetic diet now.
Meals at Regular Intervals
It is highly recommended for individuals with diabetes to eat their meals at regular intervals. This can help prevent a roller coaster of rising and dropping blood glucose levels throughout the day.
When individuals eat healthy meals fairly evenly spaced apart, their body can better maintain blood glucose control.
Individuals may also find any diabetes medications they are taking will work much better when they eat on a regular basis. Some individuals find it difficult to eat three regular-sized meals a day.
If this is the case, patients can speak with their medical provider or dietitian to see if eating five or six smaller meals a day would work better.
Include Good Fats and Avoid Bad Fats
The body needs fat for some of its important functions and to help the body to break down and utilize many of the nutrients found in the foods individuals eat.
However, it is important to remember not all fats are created equal. Fats are typically classified as either good fats or bad fats.
Good fats are found in fish and plant sources and include the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated varieties.
Bad fats are trans fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol. These bad fats are found in many types of animal protein and highly refined or processed foods.
Diabetes patients can be more prone to high cholesterol problems that can occur when eating too much of the bad fats, so they should be sure to include good fats and avoid bad fats in their diet.
Go For Healthy Carbohydrates
These days it seems that carbohydrates are labeled as the bad guys. Just as with fats, some carbohydrates are healthier than others.
Simple sugars are found in refined foods, such as sugar, white bread, and white rice. When individuals eat these foods, their bodies can digest them fairly quickly, often resulting in a spike in blood sugar followed by a sharp drop.
Rather than choosing carbohydrates from sugary or highly processed foods, diabetes patients should go for healthy carbohydrates.
Healthy carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
These sources of complex carbohydrates take longer for the body to break down, resulting in a more consistent blood glucose level.
Include Fiber-Rich Foods
When checking out product nutrition labels, individuals may notice fiber is counted along with carbohydrates. While this is true, fiber is not readily digested by the body so individuals will not necessarily notice a spike in their blood sugar when they eat foods high in fiber.
Fiber helps control blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion. It is also good for helping remove excess lipids, or cholesterol, from the bloodstream.
Thus, individuals should include fiber-rich foods in a diabetic diet such as beans and legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and bran to get the benefits their body needs.
Eat Heart-Healthy Fish Frequently
Mackerel, salmon, and tuna are a few of the healthier varieties of fish out there, as they contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are necessary to keep the body working efficiently and effectively.
When individuals eat heart-healthy fish frequently, this can help keep their blood fats lowered to reduce their risk of diabetes complications. Also, fish is a good low-fat substitute for red meat and processed meats.
However, individuals should stay away from fish known to have high mercury content, such as swordfish, shark, and king mackerel.
Also, they should learn ways to cook fish besides frying, which can add unnecessary fats that may cancel out the health benefits of the fish.