When a person is first diagnosed with diabetes, diet becomes an important part of their lives. This is why many diabetics visit with a dietician when they get diagnosed with diabetes. Even though medications and insulin are available, diet is still an important thing to pay attention to as a diabetic.
For those with diabetes, diet needs to be carefully worked out and sometimes changed completely from the diet the individual had before they were diagnosed with the disease. The biggest thing to avoid is refined sugar, such as is seen in things like sweets, donuts, chocolate and cookies. Refined sugar triggers the release of insulin and results in the highest blood sugars when eaten and is not recommended for diabetics.
The diabetes diet should contain several small meals during the course of the day. This levels out the blood sugar levels and is the healthiest way for diabetics to keep stable blood sugar levels throughout the day. None of the meals should be very large or should have lots of refined sugar in them.
Protein should be a large part of the diabetes diet. Protein can be in the form of meat, beans or peanut butter. Protein doesn’t trigger blood sugar increases very much and should be part of several of the small meals a diabetic eats every day. If the diabetic chooses meats, low fat cuts of meat should be chosen.
Diabetes diets should also take into account issues around fats and triglycerides. Diabetics have higher than average triglyceride counts so a low fat diet would benefit the diabetic. Fats can be found in things like butter, in processed foods and in some baked goods. Eating a low fat diet may also affect the diabetic’s weight. Weight loss can really improve the health of any diabetic.
Complex carbohydrates are perfectly acceptable in the diabetes diet. Complex carbohydrates involve things like rice, flour, barley and other grains. These types of carbohydrates are processed more slowly than are refined sugars. They place less stress on the pancreas when it comes to releasing insulin.
Fruits and fresh vegetables should be on every good diabetes diet. These tend to be lower in calories, fat free and made from complex carbohydrates. Fruits contain the sugar, fructose, which is easier on the body and doesn’t trigger the release of insulin as much as does glucose and sucrose, or table sugar.
When a diabetic first begins a diabetes diet, they should write down everything they eat and should check their blood sugars before and after meals. This gives the new diabetic the chance to see how different aspects of their diet can affect the blood sugar levels. Writing everything down doesn’t have to be a regular thing but is good in the beginning or whenever the treatment changes.
Diet-controlled, oral medication and insulin-dependent diabetics should all follow the diabetes diet. While the diet isn’t intended to have anyone lose weight, any weight loss on the diabetic diet will improve the ultimate outcome of the diabetic. In some cases, losses of large amounts of weight results in needing lesser amounts of medication or possibly in needing no medication at all.