Diabetes is on the rise, and so is the research and understanding about control this disease. The foods you eat play a major role in controlling diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, a healthy diet combined with regular exercise can help keep your glucose levels within normal range. In addition, these help prevent other diseases associated with diabetes, such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
Several myths related to what a diabetic should and should not eat have developed over the years. These are based on a misunderstanding of the condition and basic nutrition. Diabetes do not have to eat a special diet that deprives them of all carbs and all sweets. A healthy diet for a diabetic is really the same as a healthy diet for anyone.
Calories and Meal Planning
The first step to creating a daily meal plan is to know just how many calories you should eat; this is information your doctor can give you. The amount of calories a diabetic should consume in a day depends on their gender and height. With this knowledge, you can plan multiple meals and snacks each day that add up to your optimal caloric intake.
Eating Carbohydrates and Fiber
Three types of carbohydrates exist–starch, sugar and fiber–and all are part of a healthy diabetic diet. In fact, approximately 50 percent of a diabetic daily diet should include carbohydrates, reports WebMD. Choosing the right balance of carbohydrate types is important. Fiber is the most important carbohydrate. Eating 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day is optimal. Vegetables, fruit, milk, sweet snacks and grains are all carbohydrates; vegetables and fruit have the highest amounts of fiber.
About one-fourth of the diet needs to contain healthy proteins. Protein, along with providing nutrients, does not affect blood glucose levels, says the American Diabetes Association. With this in mind, the ADA recommends beans, eggs, fish and skinless chicken. When considering beef choices, lean cuts with less fat are the healthiest choices.
Diabetics shouldn’t avoid all fats, as some, known as unsaturated fats, are actually healthy. Foods containing these healthy fats include avocados, olive oil and nuts. Unsaturated fats are found in cooking oils, butter, cream cheese and bacon. WebMD recommends that 25 to 35 percent of a diabetic’s diet include fats; no more than 7 percent should come from saturated fats, says the ADA.
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