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Diabetes Nutrition: What a Dietitian Wants You to Know

Learn how to eat to balance your blood sugar.

Whether you’ve been managing your diabetes for weeks, months, or years, chances are you’re feeling something like a wannabe nutritionist. Paying super-close attention to how food affects your blood sugar levels is critical to staying healthy with diabetes and preventing progression.

In this video, Sharon Richter, RD, recommends diabetic-friendly foods that help maintain consistent blood sugar levels throughout the day.

A major ingredient to keep track of is carbohydrates. This refers not only to sugar you may want to add to crispy rice cereal, but also all the various foods that sugar sneaks into (like BBQ sauce and flavored yogurts) and the refined carbs in white pasta and breads.

On a diabetic diet, look for grains that have a higher fiber content. These grains are considered complex carbohydrates and the body breaks these down more slowly, so they won’t spike your blood sugar. Look for breads that say 100 percent whole grain, and choose cereals with low sugar levels (time to ditch a certain leprechaun mascot).

When it comes to fruits and vegetables and diabetes nutrition, these are considered healthy carbohydrates as well. They’re rich in nutrients and can be a great source of fiber as well. However, be cautious with dried fruits, since it can be easily to eat many of these in a short amount of time, thus consuming a large amount of sugar. That being said, these handy snacks might be perfect in emergency situations when your blood sugar levels are very low.

When it comes to proteins on a diabetic diet, look for lower-fat selections. Additionally, research has demonstrated the success of a vegetarian diet to manage diabetes, so plant-based proteins like beans, tofu, tempeh, and nuts are a great option. Here’s more details about the best proteins for a diabetic diet.

Although it’s wise to choose lower-fat protein options, you do need some fat in your diet. Choose sources of healthy, monounsaturated fats, like avocado, nuts, and olive oil.

Overwhelmed by learning about diabetes nutrition? If you’re just getting started, try adding these five diabetic superfoods to your grocery list.

Sharon Richter, RD

This video features Sharon Richter, RD. Sharon Richter is a registered dietitian with a private nutrition practice in New York City.

Duration: 3:35. Last Updated On: Nov. 8, 2017, 6:14 p.m.
Reviewed by: Holly Atkinson, MD, Preeti Parikh, MD, . Review date: Aug. 24, 2011
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