It is beneficial to know what is considered acceptable food for diabetics in order to keep your glucose levels under control. When you are diagnosed with diabetes, it means that your blood sugar levels are too high, and your body is unable to regulate this levels on its own. As a result, the best foods for diabetics are those with a low glycemic index. This means meals that are low in processed sugars and unhealthy carbs.
A diabetic diet food list consists of healthy items such as some fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. These are not the only foods you can eat, it helps to plan your meals around these items to create a balanced diabetic diet. While you do not need to avoid sweets completely, limiting your intake helps to keep your blood sugar manageable. Rather than just focusing on food diabetics should avoid, find foods you already enjoy that can help you stick your new diet.
Learn About the Best Foods for Diabetics
Before you look at supplements for diabetes, you can search for ways to boost your health with food. The best types of food for your diet are those that are already considered healthy, including:
- Proteins. The best options are plant-based proteins such as tofu, beans and nuts, fish and other seafood, chicken and eggs.
- Healthy fats. These include nuts, avocados and plant-based oils such as olive oil.
- Carbohydrates. The optimal diabetic diet foods include brown rice, quinoa, millet and oatmeal. Search for products that are made with whole grains.
- Fruits. Look for fresh or frozen fruit or canned fruit that is not packed in syrup.
- Vegetables. The best diabetic friendly foods are fresh or frozen veggies. Canned vegetables often have high sodium, so check the label before you purchase these items.
- Dairy products. Dairy products can be a delicious addition to any diet, but be sure to check the label and look for low-fat choices.
When it comes to food for diabetics, it is important to look out for items that seem healthy but are actually high in salt or sugar. For example, pickles are surprisingly high in sodium, so they should be minimized. Applesauce is often a healthy choice, but you want to choose unsweetened over the sweetened options. Yogurt is great as well, but many yogurt options are also high in sugar.
The best food for Type 2 diabetes is really no different than foods recommended for Type 1 or prediabetes. Overall, it is important to choose unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Counting carbs is also helpful, though portion control is beneficial in general. For example, the “plate method,” suggests that a balanced plate consists of half non-starchy vegetables, one-quarter lean protein and one-quarter whole grains or healthy carbs.
Keep in mind that misinformation about diabetic friendly foods is common. If you have concerns about your diet or you want to try out a new meal plan, make sure to get the advice of a professional to avoid incorrect or harmful diet tips.
Foods That Diabetics Should Avoid
The best approach to creating a diabetic diet food list is to focus on the foods you can eat rather, than those you cannot. There are no foods that you must completely avoid, unless your doctor or dietitian directs you otherwise. However, there are foods that you want to limit in your regular diet. These foods include:
- Sugary beverages. In particular, you want to avoid regular soda and sweetened tea. Many energy drinks are high in sugar as well. Instead, choose water, unsweetened tea and other low-sugar beverages.
- Alcohol. Moderate amounts of alcohol may increase your blood sugar level, and high amounts can make your blood sugar drop to dangerous levels. It is best to steer clear of alcohol or carefully monitor your intake.
- Saturated fats. Fried foods are high in saturated fat. This is an especially important food diabetics should avoid, since diabetes can increase the risk of stroke and heart disease.
- Trans fats. This type of fat is also bad for your heart. It is found in some processed snacks, baked goods and in margarine.
- Cholesterol. Cholesterol can also increase the risk of heart disease. In general, you should try to consume less than 200 mg of cholesterol per day.
- Sodium. Sodium is hidden in a lot of processed foods. Check labels carefully and keep your sodium levels below your doctor or dietician’s recommendations.
Choosing the right diabetic diet foods is important, as some people can manage their diabetes with dietary and lifestyle changes alone. If you are uncertain how to incorporate more healthy foods and minimize unhealthy options, you can talk to your doctor or seek out the advice of a registered dietitian.
Learn About Helpful Supplements for Diabetes
As you focus on eating healthy food for diabetics, you may also want to include nutritional supplements in your diet. These can give you an extra boost if you are missing certain vitamins or minerals in your current meal plan.
However, supplements should not replace prescription medications. They can make good additions to your diet, as long as you stop taking the supplement if you notice any negative side effects. Good supplements for diabetes include but are not limited to:
- Aloe vera.
- Bitter melon.
- Gymnema sylvestre.
- Milk thistle.
Many of these diabetic supplements can be taken in a variety of ways. For example, bitter melon can be eaten, but the taste is not pleasant to everyone. Cinnamon and turmeric are often used to season foods, but you may want to purchase a supplement in order to consume enough.
If you are taking supplements, make sure to mention them to your doctor when he or she asks for a list of your diabetic medications. Even though supplements are natural, they can interact with each other and with prescription medications, so your doctor must know exactly what you are taking.