Diabetic Diet Guidelines – What to Eat and What to Avoid?

Diabetic Diet Guidelines

A healthy diabetic diet is one of the most important parts of managing the near epidemic condition which is thought to currently affect nearly one in ten people in the United States while countless more remain undiagnosed. In fact, in terms of how to lower blood sugar levels, diet can play a very important role. Unfortunately, diabetic diet guidelines can be somewhat vague and provide little direction, especially on confusing foods that might seem like good choices, but can be catastrophic to a healthy diabetic diet. This confusion can be furthered by the fact that while diabetic diet guidelines may seem specific to those battling the health condition, they actually vary little from what is recommended on a Type 1 diabetes diet, or in people who do not have the condition or risk factors for developing it at all. Yes, a healthy diabetic diet is the same as is a regularly recommended diet for all people in order to maintain good overall health. Therefore, figuring out which foods are best to avoid and which should be included can be even more difficult.

The best diabetic diet focuses on adding in more whole foods. Fruits and vegetables are suitable, but not in their over processed and canned forms. But, some vegetables such as those that are very starchy, should be avoided for the most part although are acceptable in reasonable quantities. The reason why whole produce is ideal is similar to the reason why whole grains like wheat pastas and breads are an essential part of diabetic diet guidelines and that reason is fiber content. Not only does fiber contribute to healthy weight loss, but it also keeps the body from absorbing sugar as quickly, providing for better regulation of blood sugar levels. Lean meats and low fat dairy are also considered important to diabetic diet guidelines, and in terms of avoidance, anything loaded with refined sugar, white breads and the like, sodas and over processed foods seem to be the most commonly listed.

But, for anyone who has ever scratched their head in the grocery store wondering about the glycemic index of a bag of pretzels, it seems that diabetic diet guidelines are practical, but do not do enough to help diabetics avoid unknown pitfalls and provide choices to add in foods that might be able to help them better manage their blood sugar levels. A few foods to include and avoid follow, that might help better explain the relationship between some good and bad food and diabetes.

Avoid Pretzels: They seem like a harmless snack, and while they are not fried and have fewer calories than their potato counterparts, they should still be avoided by diabetes sufferers. They contain a diabetic’s worst enemy, white flour. This processed food industry staple is what makes white bread and snack cakes spike blood sugar levels despite a foods relative sugar content. Unfortunately, foods like pretzels seem healthy, but they are no better a choice than the loaf of white sandwich bread that diabetics are notoriously avoiding.

Avoid Fruit Juice and Raisins: A huge part of diabetic diet guidelines is avoiding simple sugar. Skipping the candy and cake frosting might be easy enough, but hidden sources of sugar like natural fruit juice and even raisins can be very important. Even 100% natural fruit juice should be taken off the shopping list of diabetics, because its sugar content is just too high. Additionally, raisins might seem like delicious little snacks, but they are concentrated sugar content as a result of dehydration makes them terrible choices.

Avoid Fat in Various Forms: There is a connection between weight gain and an increased prevalence of diabetes, and one way that diabetic diet guidelines compensate for this is to ensure that people with the disease eat less fat, specifically bad fat, in their diets. This may seem easy when it comes to avoiding foods like fried chicken or French fries, but there are other sources of fat that might go overlooked. Bacon for instance, even when baked, is far too fatty to be included in the diet of a person with diabetes. Other less lean cuts of meat including pork and ground red meat should also be avoided, unless very lean options are available.

Add Whole Grains: These foods are particularly important for people dealing with the early signs of diabetes or prediabetes. This is because foods that contain a lot of fiber can actually help manage blood sugar levels. In some cases, people who have not developed the full blown condition may be able to avert the disease altogether, proving how powerful whole grains can truly be. Not only does fiber help slow the body’s process of absorbing sugar, it is also useful for keeping people feeling full, contributing to smaller waistlines and a reduction in the urge to overeat. Wheat pasta and pitas, whole wheat bread, brown rice, and quinoa are all good choices. Fiber rich fruits and vegetables like spinach and apples are also excellent choices. Other good choices to consider complying with diabetic diet guidelines include fiber full beans like lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas.

Introduce Natural Medicines: The purposes of diabetes medications are often two fold. The help to increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin so it can process glucose better, and they also can help the body absorb sugars more appropriately. There are many compounds found in natural foods that mimic the effects of diabetes medications that are often left out of diabetic diet guidelines that prevent people from taking advantage of them. For instance, cinnamon has been shown in some studies to reduce blood sugar levels by as much as 24% over a period of four months. And, chromium, found in many lean meats, works similarly to some medicines to help regulate blood sugar. Turmeric, the yellow spice, may work similarly to diabetes medications in terms of improving sensitivity to insulin. In fact, there are many whole foods that provide similar benefits based on some research including nuts, blueberries, green tea, vinegar and even some steak and sweets like dark chocolate.