Nutrition Facts for Diabetes Health
Good nutrition plays a huge role in prevention and managing diabetes. Because diabetics are not able to properly process the sugars that are found in many foods. As a result, diabetics need to pay very careful attention to the kinds of food they eat, particularly when it comes to the level of carbohydrates and sugars found in the foods.
You do not need to totally eliminate sugars in order to stay healthy. However, you will need to closely monitor the sugar levels in your blood in order to reduce your risk of having complications. Keep in mind that unused sugar turns into fat. The amount of body fat that you have increases your chances of developing full-blown Type 2 diabetes. Remember: if you are able to reduce your body fat through proper nutrition and exercise by 5-10%, you can lower your risk of developing insulin resistant diabetes by almost 60%!
It is recommended that if you have just been diagnosed with diabetes, you visit with your doctor or a dietician for some expert nutrition and meal-planning tips. Here are some tips to help you get started with a more nutritious way of eating:
- Be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Focus on eating non-starchy vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, broccoli or mixed greens. Click here for 5 A Day Recipes and to find out how many fruits and vegetables you need.
- Reduce the amount of processed grain products that you eat or drink. Instead, choose foods that are made from whole-grains, such as brown-rice and whole-wheat pasta.
- Eat dried beans and lentils as much as possible.
- Have 2-3 servings of fish each weeks.
- When eating meat, be sure to select lean meats, such as chicken breast instead of legs and thighs; round eye steak, top sirloin beef instead of prime rib or chuck rib roast . Avoid eating the skin of chicken and turkey.
• When eating dairy, opt for non-fat dairy products.
- DO NOT drink soda or sugar-sweetened beverages, this includes many fruit juices. Instead, choose diet sodas or water.
- Avoid eating desserts and foods that are high in calories (high carbs, high sugar, high fat).
- Eat the right amount of food even when eating healthy foods. Download a serving size card to carry around with you as a reference.
You can create your own meal plan in a few different ways:
- My Meal Plan helps you figure out about how many calories you need in a day and from that you can create your personal nutrition plan.
- MyPyramid is a recently updated planner by the USDA to also provide assistance.
- Menu Planner is yet another easily accessible way for you to create something that is uniquely yours.
We continue to encourage you to confirm your plans with a Registered Dietitian, a Diabetes Educator or your family Physician.
Learn more about How Your Digestive System Works, and Sugars & Starches interactively.