These choices will help keep blood sugar steady.
A healthy diet is crucial in managing diabetes (type 1 or type 2).
That’s because every morsel you eat, whether it’s a shiny, red apple or a forkful of gooey mac and cheese, is going to release varying levels of sugar into your bloodstream. Reducing the amount of sugar surging into your body can help manage diabetes symptoms, possibly prevent hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, and help you avoid the serious complications of diabetes on the kidneys, heart, eyes, feet, and more.
Here are some basic expert-approved rules to keep in mind for healthy eating to manage diabetes.
Lose weight if you need to. Losing excess weight can improve your insulin sensitivity and decrease your risk of complications with diabetes, says Sonal Chaudhry, MD, an endocrinologist at NYU Langone Health. This means you need to monitor portion sizes in addition to choosing good-for-you dishes.
Watch your carbs. Carbs are a critical part of a healthy diet (and you don’t need to stop eating them) but you want to monitor how many you consume in a given meal or snack. That will vary for each person, depending on their age, weight, activity level, and what medications they take. Learn tips for counting carbs for diabetes here.
Don’t skip meals. This seems like a simple way to cut calories and lose weight, but it’s not a smart strategy for managing diabetes. “Having a consistent supply of carbohydrate to the bloodstream is very important so that you don’t become hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, a nutritionist and cookbook author in New York City.
Balance your plate. Managing saturated fat, calories, and carbohydrates doesn’t have to mean studying ingredient lists and food labels religiously. Try the MyPlate method, which means dividing your dinner plate into healthy portions: half the plate for fruits and vegetables, a quarter of the plate for whole grains, and the remaining quarter for lean proteins, like fish. Learn more about using MyPlate for a healthy diet here.
Eat more fiber. This nutrient has many benefits, including helping you feel full, aiding in blood sugar management, and assisting with weight loss. You can find fiber in such foods as whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits.
Cut back on certain red-flag foods. That includes soda, sugary juices, high-salt foods, and fried foods.
Treat yourself in moderation. Yes, those with diabetes can absolutely have dessert, but they should plan for it. For example, if you know there’s going to be cake after the meal, reduce the carbohydrates—the rice or dinner roll—you eat at dinner.
Frances Largeman-Roth is a nutritionist and cookbook author in New York City.Sonal Chaudhry
Dr. Chaudhry is an endocrinologist at NYU Langone Health in New York City.Sandra Arevalo
Sandra Arevalo is a spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and director of nutrition services and community outreach at South Bronx Health Center.
00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:02,391
00:00:02,391 --> 00:00:06,465
Diet is essential in managing both
type one and type 2 diabetes,
00:00:06,465 --> 00:00:09,740
because what we eat affects
our blood sugar levels.
00:00:09,740 --> 00:00:14,651
00:00:14,651 --> 00:00:18,660
Oftentimes patients with type 2 diabetes
are overweight or they're obese.
00:00:18,660 --> 00:00:21,210
So it's really important for
them to lose weight.
00:00:21,210 --> 00:00:25,980
So, in addition to eating healthy,
they really need to reduce portion sizes,
00:00:25,980 --> 00:00:29,170
What it really comes down to is
00:00:29,170 --> 00:00:32,010
knowing how many carbohydrates
you're eating each day and
00:00:32,010 --> 00:00:34,460
working with a registered dietitian.
00:00:34,460 --> 00:00:38,530
To come up with a plan that's appropriate
for you, for your activity level, for
00:00:38,530 --> 00:00:42,890
your age, for your height and your weight.
Many people when they are told that
00:00:42,890 --> 00:00:46,390
they have diabetes and/or they
need to lose weight think that
00:00:46,390 --> 00:00:48,740
skipping meals is a good solution.
00:00:48,740 --> 00:00:49,830
And it's actually not.
00:00:49,830 --> 00:00:53,180
It's very important that when you
have diabetes you eat regular meals.
00:00:53,180 --> 00:00:56,090
Having a consistent supply of
00:00:56,090 --> 00:01:00,000
carbohydrates to the blood steam is
very important so that you don't
00:01:00,000 --> 00:01:03,950
become hypoglycemic, or hyperglycemic.
00:01:03,950 --> 00:01:09,000
they need to learn the right
portion sizes for different foods.
00:01:09,000 --> 00:01:14,310
So MYPLATE is basically what tells
you what should be in your plate.
00:01:14,310 --> 00:01:18,570
Half of the plate is full with
vegetables and some fruits.
00:01:18,570 --> 00:01:22,480
Then a quarter of your plate is going
to have lots of whole grains, and
00:01:22,480 --> 00:01:25,720
then the other quarter of
the plate has lean meats or
00:01:25,720 --> 00:01:27,250
00:01:27,250 --> 00:01:30,320
patients should eat more fiber.
00:01:30,320 --> 00:01:35,000
They'll stay full longer and eat less.
It helps to lower your blood glucose,
00:01:35,000 --> 00:01:38,230
it helps your digestive system,
it helps to reduce weight.
00:01:38,230 --> 00:01:41,290
There are some foods that people
with diabetes should try to avoid.
00:01:41,290 --> 00:01:46,870
Like sodas for example, or juices,
any drinks that have a lot of sugar.
00:01:46,870 --> 00:01:50,640
Sodium is another food that we'll want to
avoid, so if you're eating too much salt,
00:01:50,640 --> 00:01:53,740
it will give you high risk for
cardiovascular disease, and
00:01:53,740 --> 00:01:54,630
high blood pressure.
00:01:54,630 --> 00:01:57,460
Fried foods, fried foods just give you
00:01:57,460 --> 00:02:01,550
extra fat in calories that you don't need.
It was important to make changes in
00:02:01,550 --> 00:02:02,740
00:02:02,740 --> 00:02:10,100
I couldn't eat regular bread and potatoes,
or rice and expect my health to improve.
00:02:10,100 --> 00:02:13,570
Once I've cut those foods
out of my way of eating,
00:02:13,570 --> 00:02:18,175
I've seen a huge change in how I feel.
Diabetics can definitely still
00:02:18,175 --> 00:02:20,115
enjoy dessert, but
they have to plan for it.
00:02:20,115 --> 00:02:25,085
So, for example, if you always have
about 45 to 50 grams of carbohydrate at
00:02:25,085 --> 00:02:28,275
each meal and
you wanna have that piece of pie,
00:02:28,275 --> 00:02:32,635
then you just have to kind of trade
off other carbohydrates at the meal.
00:02:32,635 --> 00:02:35,495
So you can't have the rice or the pasta.
00:02:35,495 --> 00:02:38,890
It's like anyone with sweets,
you're always making that choice.
00:02:38,890 --> 00:02:40,488
Do I really want this?
00:02:40,488 --> 00:02:44,649
Eating right with diabetes. Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2015. (Accessed on December 18, 2017 at http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/diabetes/eating-right-with-diabetes.)Diabetes diet, eating, & physical activity. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2020. (Accessed on January 1, 2021 at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity.) Gower BA, Weinsier RL, Jordan JM, Hunter GR, Desmond R. Effects of weight loss on changes in insulin sensitivity and lipid concentrations in premenopausal African American and white women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;76(5):923-7. Weight loss. Arlington, VA: American Diabetes Association. (Accessed on January 1, 2021 at http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/weight-loss/.) What can I eat? Arlington, VA: American Diabetes Association, 2019. (Accessed on January 1, 2021 at http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/.)