Diabetes Diet

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Blood sugar as a function of diet in diabetes

Controlling blood sugar is an important goal for people with diabetes, but it is only one component of a healthy nutrition plan. Proper nutrition is essential for everyone, especially those living with diabetes. A "diabetes diet" should have as a goal the achievement and maintenance of a healthy body weight. Optimal control of blood sugar (glucose) and weight can help to prevent common complications of diabetes such as heart and vascular disease.

There is no specific diet that is recommended for all people with diabetes. Diabetic nutrition plans are individualized according to each individual's needs, schedules, and eating habits. A diabetes diet plan must also take into consideration the intake of insulin and oral diabetes medications. The foundation of a diabetes meal plan, however, is the same for everyone.

How can I stick to a diabetic diet plan?

Recommended strategies include the consumption of a variety of foods, such as:

  • whole grains,
  • fruits,
  • non-fat dairy products,
  • beans, and
  • lean meats or vegetarian substitutes.

Many nutrition experts, including the American Diabetes Association, recommend that no more than 30% of daily calories come from fat, with 50% to 60% of from carbohydrates and 12% to 20% from protein. Eating several small meals or healthy snacks throughout the day rather than a few larger meals can also help those with diabetes maintain control of blood sugar (glucose) levels. A common myth is that certain foods are forbidden for people with diabetes. This is not the case. There are no truly "forbidden" foods, and with careful planning and attention to portion control, people with diabetes can enjoy the same foods as others in the family.

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Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/20/2017

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