Those diagnosed with diabetes should eat foods that are low in fat, sugar and salt. Leaf through the following article to know how to design the best diet for diabetics. Scroll down to know how you can lower high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure and high cholesterol with the help of a balanced diet plan.
Over the last few decades, not only elderly but children and young adults are also being diagnosed with diabetes. The number of diabetics is increasing at an alarming rate worldwide. Family history, increased stress, wrong eating habits, lack of physical exercise are some of the main causes of obesity and diabetes. Those diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes need to follow a diabetic diet; medication alone is not sufficient to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Best diet for diabetics is a low carb diet which includes complex carbohydrates (high fiber foods that do not cause sever fluctuations in blood sugar levels), healthy mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and good lean proteins in proper proportions.
How to Design a Healthy Diet for Diabetics
If your body cannot use sugars effectively, you are said to have diabetes. The body receives sugar mainly from carbohydrates. A low carb diet helps control blood sugar levels. It promotes weight loss, and helps maintain normal blood glucose and triglycerides levels. A low carb diet is considered as the best diet for diabetics who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol levels. It works great for high blood pressure as well. A low cholesterol diet helps prevent serious health complications associated with diabetes. Low glycemic foods do not lead to sudden rise in blood sugar levels. To lower cholesterol levels, diabetics should include more fruits and vegetables (low glycemic complex carbohydrates) and less meat (saturated fat) in their diet. They may keep a list of complex carbohydrates handy. Beef, bacon, hot dogs, and sausage should be avoided. As complex carbs are digested slowly, they help prevent severe fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
According to the diabetic diet guidelines, diabetics should have smaller and frequent meals, and they should not stay hungry for long. This helps avoid complications like sudden fall in blood sugar levels. Alcohol increases blood sugar and calories. So it should not be included in the diabetic diet plan. Healthy whole grain starches are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. For example, whole wheat breads, pastas, grains, corn, brown rice, cereals, beans, yams, lentils, etc. These should be included in meals. Healthy foods for diabetics include fat free or low fat substitutes of milk, yogurt, cheese, and low fat broth. Fiber makes you full and keeps you satiated for long period of time. It reduces the risk of heart diseases too. Lettuce, broccoli, spinach, green beans, carrots, celery, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, apples, strawberries, watermelons, grapefruits, papayas, guavas, various dried fruits and nuts, etc. can be included in the diet. They provide essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Foods to Avoid
Foods to avoid with diabetes include high sodium foods, salty and sugary foods, fatty and cholesterol rich meats, processed and canned foods, high fat oils and oily food (fried chicken or fish), etc. King mackerel, tilefish and swordfish come with high levels of mercury, so should be avoided. It is better to have mustard instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich. The person can avoid fat, sauces, and dressings. He/she can add chopped onion and garlic, herbs and spices, limited quantity of healthy oils like olive oil, canola oil, small pieces of avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts, olives to the vegetables, salads, and soups. Sweetened juices should be strictly avoided. Eating fruits is better than drinking juices. Good proteins can be obtained from eggs, lean cuts of meat and healthy fish (rich in omega 3 fatty acids) like salmon, herring, mackerel.
How Many Calories to Eat
Depending upon the physical activity, body mass index (BMI) and lifestyle, diabetic people are divided into three categories such as very active, active and inactive. This helps decide the daily calorie intake. For example, small framed women who exercise, small or medium-sized women who need to shed some extra pounds and medium-sized women who do not exercise much may consume 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day. A 1800 calorie diet is recommended to small stature diabetic men are overweight. Diabetic men with normal weight, can have 2000 calorie diet to maintain their weight. The daily calorie intake may vary from person to person, depending upon his overall health and lifestyle. You should consult your physician before designing the diet.
Experts suggest that people with type 1 diabetes should consume 35 calories/kg of their body weight, per day. Those with type II diabetes may follow a 1500 – 1800 calorie diabetic diet, depending upon their BMI and physical activity.
Low carb low calorie diabetic diet promotes healthy weight loss. A healthy eating plan is an essential part of diabetes treatment, as it keeps blood sugar within normal range. With proper diet, medication and exercise, diabetics can manage the symptoms of the disorder and can avoid serious health complications.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.