Diabetes will, or at least should, change the way you eat. Managing blood sugar can become a life or death situation, and diabetics have a much higher risk for heart disease and other heart-related risks than the general population.
Tack on the risk of losing vision and limbs, and you can imagine why controlling the condition is so important.
But a healthy eating plan for diabetics isn’t as complex as you might think. In fact, it looks almost exactly like one for people without diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) repeats the dietary guidelines suggested for everybody else: build your diet around fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy products.
Of course, there is one thing you’ll need to do that the general population might not: pay attention to total carbohydrate intake. But even then, your intake won’t vary too much from recommendations for the general population.
Most diabetics should keep carbohydrate intake to around 45-55 percent of total daily calories. Those carbs should be coming from the sources listed above, not refined grains, sugary snacks or beverages, white bread, or pasta.
Choosing fiber-rich carbohydrates is the best move for people hoping to manage blood sugar.
Why? Because it has big benefits for blood sugar and your heart.
Research suggests that soluble fiber, the kind found in fruit, oats, beans, and dried peas, may be effective in lowering blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity. This could mean you need less medicine to manage your condition.
Insoluble fiber, the kind in whole grains, may help manage cholesterol levels, which can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart trouble.
So, what would a daily diet look like?
Unsweetened oats with nuts and berries breakfast, a piece of fruit for a mid-morning snack, and maybe some plain non-fat yogurt. Lunch can be a chicken or tuna salad, or a sandwich on whole-grain bread, with nuts and carrot sticks as a mid-afternoon snack. Dinner could be some meat or fish with sides of green beans and sweet potato.