Is there a BEST diet for Diabetes?
Many books have been written claiming to be the best diet for controlling your blood sugars or reversing your diabetes. In truth, a healthy diet should incorporate high quality foods in appropriate portions and needs to be individualized to the person. What works for one may not work for another. If it sounds too good to be true, most likely it is! Before you make a drastic change to your way of eating, consider:
Can I see myself eating this way in 6 months? One year? For life? Is the approach I am taking a change in lifestyle that I can work toward permanently adopting? It shouldn’t feel like “cheating” when you are figuring out how to create a balanced way of eating. Most people revert back to their former way of eating after following a “diet”.
Food is an integral part of our culture and is often included as part of celebrations and social gatherings. Can your diet allow you to still enjoy these events?
Diets that don’t consider the decrease in variety of nutrients as well as variety of food choices are ones that are difficult to maintain for long periods of time.
If a diet is hard to sustain or eliminates an entire food group or type of food, it can increase your risk for disordered eating. This type of diet may also require some supplementation of vitamins and minerals. Consider having your meal plan reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
Review of Current Eating Patterns popular for people with Diabetes:
The overall goal of any pattern should be to eat less calories and work towards a healthy weight to manage your diabetes. (click on the underlined items for more info)
is a way to plan your meals by counting the amount of carbohydrates in your foods. Knowing the affect certain types and amounts of carbohydrates can have on your blood sugars gives you the knowledge to plan your meals and control your diabetes.
- Low-Carbohydrate is < 26% carbohydrates or less than 130 grams per day.
- Very Low-Carbohydrate is <10% carbohydrates or 20-50 grams per day. Note that very low carb does not always produce ketosis
(Keto) restricts carbohydrates to induce nutritional ketosis and typically limits carbs to 20-50 grams daily. To be effective in weight loss the person must test their ketones and remain in ketosis
is a restriction in the number of hours or days that a person eats. Popular plans are 16:8 (eating over an 8 hour period, followed by 16 hours of fasting; 5 and 2 (fasting 2 days per week, not in a row). The idea of this type of meal plan is limiting the number of hours or days eaten, followed by normal, healthy eating.
is a plant-based eating plan high in “good” fats and includes fruit and vegetables, olive oil, small portions of animal protein with the preferred being fish, seafood, beans and legumes.
(Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) is a plant-based eating plan which includes low-fat dairy, lean protein but reduced processed foods and salt.
Let’s Get Physical
Research shows that regular (daily) physical activity is important for your overall good health because it provides you with stronger muscles and bones which leads to better weight control, improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Additionally, most people have an improved sense of wellbeing and reduced anxiety levels.
Blood Glucose Benefits:
Additionally, people with diabetes who exercise for at least 150 minutes every week, which is the recommendation from the American Heart Association, see improvements in their blood glucose levels, their body’s sensitivity to insulin and lowered insulin resistance.
Make Exercise a Priority:
Truly the most difficult part of this recommendation is making it a priority and a finding time in our busy schedules to exercise! Make an appointment with yourself to walk/jog/exercise on your calendar. If you don’t use a calendar, then try using a note on the refrigerator or in your mobile phone as a reminder. Put it on your daily To Do list and make sure it happens!
Discover which type of exercise makes sense for you. Do you have a good, well-fitting pair of sneakers? Then starting off with walking for 15 to 20 minutes a day with a partner, a friend, or your dog may be a good “first step”. Ease into intensity because overdrive can hurt and the goal is lifetime commitment to daily physical activity.
Strength in Numbers:
Exercise is more enjoyable when it feels like a fun event and not a tedious chore. Find your crew who will cheer you on and offer support when needed. Remember that at least 2 days of strength training along with 4 to 5 days of cardio exercise is important
- The serving size now appears in larger, bold font and some serving sizes have been updated.
- Calories are now displayed in larger, bolder font.
- Daily Values have been updated.
- Added sugars, Vitamin D, and Potassium are now listed. Manufacturers must declare the amount in addition to percent Daily Value for vitamins and minerals.
New RD reviewed cookbooks:
The Mediterranean DASH Diet Cookbook by Abbie Gellman, MS, RD, CDN
The Stress Eating Solution by Laurel Mellin, PhD
The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet, 2nd Ed. by Donald D. Hensrud, MD