What is a Diabetic Diet?
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes or you’re looking to lose weight, following a diabetic diet plan can be beneficial to your overall health. A diabetic diet is rich in healthy nutrients and can help you control your blood glucose levels, trigger weight loss, and reduce the risks of inflammation and cardiovascular disease. The basic diabetic diet involves eating lean protein, foods high in fiber, and healthy sugars (like fruits and vegetables) while avoiding processed carbs and sugars (like pastries and soda) that cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that transports glucose from the bloodstream to the cells. When the pancreas produces little or no insulin, the body no longer regulates blood glucose levels.
- Type 1 Diabetes – Occurs when the pancreas does not make insulin.
- Type 2 Diabetes – Occurs when the body does not handle insulin properly.
What Are the Risks of Uncontrolled Blood Sugar Levels?
Too much glucose in the blood can damage your major organs, including the kidneys, eyes, nerves, and heart. If you struggle with controlling blood sugar levels, which is common in those with diabetes or insulin resistance, it’s imperative to check them often and switch to a diet plan that helps manage blood sugar effectively.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
High blood sugar levels can decrease your immunity, leading to frequent infections in areas like the ears, skin, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, and urinary tract. People with diabetes often have cardiovascular problems, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The most frequent symptoms associated with diabetes are:
- Abnormal hunger and weight gain
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
What is a Diabetic Diet plan?
The best diet for diabetics avoids foods that lead to a rise in blood glucose levels. You can maintain proper glucose levels by making healthy food choices and moderating your eating habits, but it’s always recommended to seek advice from your doctor for specific diet guidelines if you have diabetes. For people with type 2 diabetes, a diet that promotes weight loss can make it easier to keep your blood glucose level in a safe range. A diabetic diet usually consists of:
- A small to moderate amount of carbs during each meal: A diabetic diet does not restrict carbs or sugar entirely, since sticking to a low-carb diet may bring blood glucose levels too low. Eat healthy carbohydrates, like those found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, to maintain proper insulin levels.
- Consuming complex carbs: Carbs are needed for energy as well as muscle growth, but rather than consuming simple carbs, individuals on a diabetic diet should aim for more complex carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, and rye bread.
- Increasing vegetable consumption: Eating one to two servings of vegetables per meal is one of the most important aspects of keeping blood sugar under control. Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are dense in fiber and nutrients that go a long way toward keeping hunger at bay. Eating vegetables each day will also help you prevent additional complications that may result from being diabetic, such as cardiovascular issues, weight gain, high cholesterol, and kidney failure.
- Eating frequently throughout the day: Eating smaller portions spread out over the day is not only great for your metabolism but also helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Be sure not to skip meals and run the risk of those levels dropping too low. Those with diabetes should eat at least three meals a day at regular times to regulate insulin properly.
Which Foods Cause Blood Sugar Levels to Spike?
Added sugars (like the syrups added to most processed foods and drinks) are a primary contributing factor to diabetes. A diet with too many simple carbohydrates (like white rice, bread, and pasta) can also be dangerous, as simple carbs convert into sugar before they hit the bloodstream. Regular consumption of these foods can lead to insulin resistance, and for those who already have diabetes, these foods must be consumed with great caution. Overall, it’s best to avoid:
- Table sugar
- High fructose corn syrup
- Other added sweeteners
- Pastries (unless they are sugar-free)
- Milkshakes, smoothies, and sweet caffeinated drinks
- Fried foods
The following foods should only be consumed in limited quantities:
- Fruit, especially canned or packaged fruit
- Simple carbs, like pasta, rice, bread, cereals, granola, and oatmeal
Can Diet Doc Help Me Stick to a Diabetic Diet?
Diet Doc offers medically supervised weight loss programs that focus on your individual needs and goals. We incorporate your health status, current weight, goals, and lifestyle to create a balanced program for losing weight and learning healthy eating and lifestyle habits. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and you’re looking for the best diet to lose weight, our knowledgeable physicians can help you create meal plans and recipes to keep your blood sugar levels in a safe range while promoting weight loss. We help patients of all medical backgrounds and weights achieve and maintain weight loss with personalized plans and around-the-clock nutritional support. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!
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