If you are a diabetic, don't be misled about what you can and cannot eat. Some misconceptions about diabetes might be keeping you from enjoying foods you love. A healthy diet for diabetes does include food you can enjoy.
According to an article on the Everyday Health website, Beth W. Orenstein discusses "The Ideal Diet for Diabetics" where she dispels some myths about what those with type 2 diabetes can and cannot eat.
While it is true that what people with type 2 diabetes eat can make a big difference in their health, it is also true that the best diet for diabetes has changed in recent years and the rigid standards no longer apply.
Diabetics can eat sugar.
Some people think that because they have type 2 diabetes, they cannot eat sugar at all. Diabetes can eat sugar because our bodies turn all carbohydrates into blood sugar whether the carbohydrates come from sugar or starches.
Diabetics can eat carbohydrates.
Diabetics can enjoy moderate amounts of carbohydrates and still maintain a good blood sugar level. It is best if those carbohydrates came from healthy sources such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. A good selection would be non-starchy vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and spinach and high-fiber starches such as brown rice, quinoa, and beans. It is recommended that carbohydrates be spread out during the day. For instance, eat 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal and 15 to 30 grams per snack.
Diabetics can eat good fats.
It is not true that diabetics should eat little or no fat. Everybody needs some fat in their diets. Diabetics can include low to moderate amounts of fat in their meals. However, the majority amount of fat should come from healthy vegetable fats that are liquid at room temperature such as canola oil and olive oil, but not butter. Good fats also come from nuts, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon.
Diabetics can eat proteins.
Choose low-fat meats and cheeses and white-meat poultry without the skin. Eat fish a few times a week. Everybody needs protein in their diet — even diabetics. Protein keeps you fuller longer which means you eat less. Protein also helps preserve lean muscle mass.
Diabetics should limit portions.
Whether people have type 2 diabetes or not, portion control is a healthy way to eat. The best method is to eat less and exercise more so that more calories are burned. According to the Diabetes Prevention Program of the National Institutes of Health, even a small amount of weight loss can improve blood sugar control. Modest weight loss may also prevent someone who is pre-diabetic from developing diabetes.
Diabetics can eat snacks and treats.
Diabetics can follow a diabetes-friendly diet and still have snacks and occasional treats. It is acceptable to have a small piece of cake or pie. Remember to count it as part of your carbohydrates for the day. When you have a treat, you can cut back on carbohydrates elsewhere.
Diabetics don't have to eat like other diabetics.
Diets for diabetics are not the same for everyone. It is not a good idea to compare yourself with other diabetics. Experiment to see what works well for you. Check your blood sugar regularly, and keep a diary of what you eat so you will know what causes a spike in your blood sugar level.
A diet for diabetics doesn't have to be boring when the above suggestions are followed.