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What You need to know about Diabetes and Diet
Eating right is vital if you’re trying to prevent or control diabetes. While exercise is also important, what you eat has the biggest impact when it comes to weight loss. But what does eating right for diabetes mean? You may be surprised to hear that your nutritional needs are virtually the same everyone else: no special foods or complicated diets are necessary.
A diabetes diet is simply a healthy eating plan that is high in nutrients, low in fat, and moderate in calories. It is a healthy diet for anyone! The only difference is that you need to pay more attention to some of your food choices—most notably the carbohydrates you eat.
Myths and facts about diabetes and diet
You must avoid sugar at all costs.
Fact: The good news is that you can enjoy your favorite treats as long as you plan properly. Dessert doesn’t have to be off limits, as long as it’s a part of a healthy meal plan or combined with exercise.
A high-protein diet is best.
Fact: Studies have shown that eating too much protein, especially animal protein, may actually cause insulin resistance, a key factor in diabetes. A healthy diet includes protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Our bodies need all three to function properly. The key is a balanced diet.
MYTH 3: You have to cut way down on carbs.
Fact: Again, the key is to eat a balanced diet. The serving size and the type of carbohydrates you eat are especially important. Focus on whole grain carbs since they are a good source of fiber and they are digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels more even.
MYTH 4: You’ll no longer be able to eat normally. You need special diabetic meals.
Fact: The principles of healthy eating are the same—whether or not you’re trying to prevent or control diabetes. Expensive diabetic foods generally offer no special benefit. You can easily eat with your family and friends if you eat in moderation.
Cooking with Diabetes
Balancing your diet when you are diagnosed with diabetes can be challenging. Although the food choices you make and your eating habits are important in helping you manage your diabetes, you should be able to continue enjoying a wide variety of foods as part of healthy eating.
There's no need to throw away your favourite cookbooks because you have diabetes. You can modify your recipes by reducing the amount of fat, salt and sugar, and increasing fibre. High-sugar and high-fat foods do not need to be excluded from your diet altogether if you have diabetes.
The myth that people with diabetes should not eat any sugar still persists. However, people with diabetes can eat sugar, but this should be limited as part of a healthy diet. Good blood glucose control can still be achieved when sugar and sugar-containing foods are eaten.
Dietary management of diabetes depends more on eating regularly and including starchy carbohydrate foods like pasta at meals, and including more fruit, vegetables and pulses in your diet. The main thing to consider is the overall balance of your diet – with the emphasis on long-term health and weight control.