Millions of Americans have diabetes, and it could be helped by a sugar diabetes diet. Because diabetes can prevent your body from regulating its blood sugar levels, it can lead to serious health issues including high cholesterol, blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, and more if it is not treated effectively. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, talk with your health care provider about how a diabetes diet could help you manage your diabetes.
What Causes Blood Sugar to Spike
Because your blood sugar level is determined by the amount of glucose in your blood, if you are diabetic, it is important for your diet to help regulate your blood glucose level. Some starchy foods and processed carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, and potatoes can cause your body to produce too much glucose too quickly (which can cause your blood sugar level to spike too high).
A Diabetic’s Worst Enemy: Sugar
People who have diabetes should avoid, or at least limit, their sugar consumption because sugar increases blood glucose levels too quickly. People who have diabetes should avoid all foods that contain more than five grams of sugar per serving. Limiting fruit intake is also recommended because of the high sugar content of most fruits. Some health care providers and dieticians also recommend that diabetes patients avoid foods that list either sucrose or fructose as one of the first four ingredients.
Replace Sugar with Nutrients
To help treat diabetes, people who have diabetes should replace sugar and processed carbohydrates with a balanced diet of vegetables, small portions of fruit, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. A diabetes diet should be rich in nutrients and low in empty calories and fat.
Use The Diabetes Food Pyramid
To help guide diabetes patients with their dietary needs, the Diabetes Food Pyramid was developed. This food pyramid divides food into six groups that vary in size. The Diabetes Food Pyramid differs from the USDA Food Guide Pyramid because it groups foods based on their carbohydrate and protein content. For example, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables, are in the grains, beans, and starchy vegetables group instead of the vegetables group. Cheese is in the meat group, instead of the milk group.
Serving sizes are also different. A serving of pasta is 1/3 cup in the Diabetes Food Pyramid, but only ½ cup in the USDA pyramid. And while a serving of fruit juice is ¾ cup in the USDA pyramid, it is only ½ cup in the Diabetes Food Pyramid. The differences between the charts will help diabetics monitor their own intake of carbohydrates and sugars.
Carbohydrate Consistency is Key
Eating consistent meals that have approximately the same amount of carbohydrates and calories (at approximately the same times every day) will also help you regulate your blood glucose levels.
Good Fats vs. Bad Fats
It is also recommended that you limit your intake of saturated fats to less than seven percent, and completely eliminate trans fats from your diet. Choose monounsaturated fats from olive oil or canola oil and polyunsaturated fats from nuts, instead.
A registered dietician can help you with a diabetes diet plan that works for you.