Fresh vegetables are a great option, and usually the tastiest option. Studies show that frozen veggies have just as many vitamins and nutrients because they are often frozen within hours of harvesting. Just check to make sure there aren't added fats or sweeteners in the sauces that are on some frozen veggies. If you don't like vegetables on their own, try preparing them with fresh or dried herbs, olive oil, or a vinaigrette dressing. Aiming to consume a rainbow of colors through your vegetables is a good way to get all of your nutrients.
Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells in your body for use as energy. If you have type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond normally to insulin; this is called insulin resistance. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can’t keep up, and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and can cause other serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
But just as with grains, it’s important to roll out your carb-counting skills when noshing on nature’s candy. The ADA notes that a small piece of whole fruit or ½ cup of canned fruit in natural juices or frozen fruit typically contains 15 g of carbs, while fruit juice — a less ideal source of fruit for diabetes — can have that much in 1/3 to ½ cup.
The best way to control Type 2 Diabetes through diet is eating in a metabolic pattern (eating every 2 1/2-3 hours) and eating low glycemic index/load diet (foods that break down slowly into glucose) to maintain blood sugar levels. The goal is to eat a balanced diet rich in lean animal proteins (chicken, turkey, fish), good fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, seeds and nuts), fiber, fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains to balance the metabolism, hormones, and of course blood sugars. Fiber is key to maintain blood sugar. Most people get between 8-11 g of fiber a day and need between 35-45 g. Fresh vegetables (especially leafy greens) and fruit as well as whole grains like quinoa, whole brown rice, spelt, amaranth, buckwheat and whole oats) are filled with good fiber. It is best to avoid sugar, processed foods (packaged foods, breads), simple carbohydrates (white flours and grains), artificial sweeteners (Stevia in the Raw is ok), too much coffee, and sodas. Limit dairy which can affect blood sugars as well. Eating a variety of the above foods instead of the the same foods over and over again will also help maintain blood sugars.
Elevated blood sugar can also come from the body’s response to inflammation. If you feel like you’re eating right but can’t figure out why your blood sugar is spiking, it may be due to a food sensitivity. The diarrhea you thought was a side effect of your medication may actually be a food sensitivity. Food sensitivities can also be the root cause of headaches, arthritis, heartburn, fibromyalgia, sinus problems, and more. The stress of these ailments has the potential to elevate blood sugars.
To hit your blood sugar level target, eat a variety of foods but monitor portions for foods with a high carbohydrate content, says Alison Massey, RD, CDE, the director of diabetes education at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. “[Foods high in carbohydrates] have the most impact on blood sugar level. This is why some people with diabetes count their carbohydrates at meals and snacks,” she says.
Eventually, even though the pancreas is working at its best to produce more and more insulin, the body tissues (for example, muscle and fat cells) do not respond and become insensitive to the insulin. At this point, overt diabetes occurs as the body is no longer able to effectively use its insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Over time, these high levels of sugar result in the complications we see all too often in patients with diabetes.
Triglycerides are a common form of fat that we digest. Triglycerides are the main ingredient in animal fats and vegetable oils. Elevated levels of triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, fatty liver disease, and pancreatitis. Elevated levels of triglycerides are also associated with diseases like diabetes, kidney disease, and medications (for example, diuretics, birth control pills, and beta blockers). Dietary changes, and medication if necessary can help lower triglyceride blood levels.
Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose, the main type of sugar in the blood. Glucose, which comes from the foods we eat, is the major source of energy needed to fuel the body. To use glucose, the body needs the hormone insulin. But in people with diabetes, the body either can't make insulin or the insulin doesn't work in the body like it should.
Over a period of years, you went from pre-diabetes, to diabetes, to taking one medication, then two then three and then finally large doses of insulin. Here’s the thing. If you are taking more and more medications to keep your blood sugars at the same level, your diabetes is getting worse! Even if your blood sugars get better, your diabetes is getting worse. This is unfortunately what happens to virtually every patient. The body is already overflowing with sugar.
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The DPP study showed a similar result. In this study, there was also a group taking metformin (Glucophage) as a preventative measure. At the end of the study, the lifestyle group actually did better at prevention of diabetes than those taking metformin. In fact, the study was stopped early, because the benefit of weight loss (the weight loss group lost about 15 pounds on average and kept it off) was so dramatic.
The breakfast should be 1/3 fruit, 1/3 starchy fiber foods (multigrain bread and cereal products), and 1/3 protein (nuts, eggs, tofu, beans, lentils, low-fat dairy products). The lunch and dinner plates should be 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 starchy fiber foods, and 1/4 protein. Choose whole grains, such as whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, and brown rice to increase fiber intake. Most of these are low in fat. Choose only lean meat and poultry.[81,82,83,84] Remove skin and trim fat before cooking (50-100 g or 2-4 oz). See the milk fat (MF) of all dairy products. Use skim or 1% milk products and low-fat cheese (less than 20% MF), or choose fortified soy products. Reduce your total fat intake (less than 25% - 35% of your daily calories). To achieve this, always try to choose low fat foods and avoid fried foods. Limit saturated and trans fats to less than 10% of your daily calories. Try to always choose unsaturated fats such as olive and canola oils and non-hydrogenated margarine (in moderation). Saturated and trans fats raise blood cholesterol levels, while unsaturated fats lower blood cholesterol. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and are usually of animal origin. They are found in meats, whole milk, dairy products, butter, and hard margarines.[85,86,87,88,89,90] Trans fats are found in baked and pre-packaged foods. Hydrogenation is a process that changes liquid vegetable oil into a solid fat such as hard margarine. The hydrogenation process changes some of the good fats into cholesterol-raising saturated and trans fats. People with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing or have already high levels of fats in their heart and blood vessels. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines and tuna, and in flaxseeds (2 tbsp per day, freshly ground).[90,91,92,93] Three to four servings of fish per week is recommended as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Omega-enriched foods are also available in supermarkets such as omega-3 eggs and omega-3 enriched dairy products. Omega-3 supplements: Always look for the active ingredients DHA and EPA. Recommendations are 600-900 mg/day. Always check with your doctor or registered dietitian before taking any supplements. Increase fiber in your diet by eating more whole grain foods, vegetables, fruits, and legumes.[94,95,96] These foods also contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and have a lower glycemic index. Low glycemic index foods will help to keep your blood sugar levels in the target range.[97,98,99]
Our Shopping List for Diabetics is based on the Pritikin Eating Plan, regarded worldwide as among the healthiest diets on earth. The Pritikin Program has been documented in more than 100 studies in peer-reviewed medical journals to prevent and control many of our nation’s leading killers – heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, metabolic syndrome, and obesity as well as type 2 diabetes.
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Carry a Rescue Snack: Going too long without eating can lead to dips in blood sugar, sometimes called “lows”, which create unpleasant symptoms, including ravenous hunger. This often leads to poor food choices, since we’re more focused on eating anything in sight, even if it’s not healthy. Rather than getting to this point, keep a healthy snack with you throughout the day in case you get stuck somewhere you didn’t plan at a mealtime. A balanced snack will combine a nutritious carb or veggie + source of protein or healthy fat.The chart below provides portable options you can mix and match to your tastes:
When incorporating fiber rich foods in your diet, which helps with blood sugar control – remember to stay hydrated with enough daily water intake. Drink water with meals and snacks and keep a water bottle with you to take sips throughout the day. Staying well hydrated helps with regularity and promotes blood sugar control. Aim for 60-100 fluid ounces per day.
It’s no secret that diet is essential to managing type 2 diabetes. Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all diet for diabetes management, certain dietary choices should act as the foundation for your individual diet plan. Your diet plan should work with your body — not against it — so it’s important that the food you eat won’t spike your blood sugar levels to high.
#1. LEGUMES—Diets rich in legumes—soybeans, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans—are good for your blood sugar levels both short-term and long-term. The secret? "Resistant starches," which resist digestion in the small intestine and go straight to the colon, feeding the bacteria in your gut and in the process improve your body's response to insulin. (These resistant starches are also in green bananas, uncooked oats, and potatoes that have been cooked and cooled. Rejoice, potato salad lovers who can control their portions.)
The evidence is growing stronger that eating red meat (beef, pork, lamb) and processed red meat (bacon, hot dogs, deli meats) increases the risk of diabetes, even among people who consume only small amounts. The latest support comes from a “meta analysis,” or statistical summary, that combined findings from the long-running Nurses’ Health Study I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study with those of six other long-term studies. The researchers looked at data from roughly 440,000 people, about 28,000 of whom developed diabetes during the course of the study. (43) They found that eating just one daily 3-ounce serving of red meat—say, a steak that’s about the size of a deck of cards—increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 20 percent. Eating even smaller amounts of processed red meat each day—just two slices of bacon, one hot dog, or the like—increased diabetes risk by 51 percent.
There is an association between the lengthening of the menstrual cycle and the risk for developing diabetes, particularly in obese women. In a national study of nurses, those who had a cycle length of greater than 40 days were twice as likely to develop diabetes then those who cycled every 26 to 31 days. The association is thought to be related to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which also is known to be associated with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance may be a precursor for type 2 diabetes.
2. Simple carbohydrates (high glycemic load foods, or foods that are not part of a type 2 diabetes diet plan because they raise blood sugar levels) are processed foods, and don't contain other nutrients to slow down sugar absorption and thus these foods can raise blood sugar dangerously fast. Many simple carbohydrates are easily recognized as "white foods."
Steve Phelps always had a sweet tooth. He blamed that weakness for his weight, the 360 pounds that were too much for his 5-foot, 7-inch frame. He was shocked, then, when the food journal he'd been keeping—a tool he'd started to use after he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes—revealed otherwise. "I was under the misconception that my diet was fine [except that] I liked sweets and I ate a lot of sweets," he says. "I discovered quickly that it wasn't just eating cake or pie that was making me fat. It was all the other stuff, too." Fried chicken. Mashed potatoes. Fast food. Phelps ate as much as he wanted without much thought.