Diabetic Exchange Diet Meal Plan for Best Results

Diabetic Exchange Diet Meal Plan for Best Results

A healthy diabetic diet is not very different from diets that are recommended for all people, whether or not they have diabetes. They include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean sources of meat and low fat dairy products. Although a healthy diabetic diet may sound simple, managing food intake can be challenging for someone with diabetes, especially in terms of carbohydrate intake. Variety becomes another major problem, as making different choices and consistently trying to figure out what should and should not be eaten can feel like a job to many with the condition. The diabetic exchange diet helps to alleviate some of this, by providing basic information about food swapping, to make incorporating variety in problematic food groups less challenging.

Diet is one of the most important parts to managing diabetes. In both persons with type 1 and type 2, diet can even affect diabetes medications. Persons with type 1, for instance, base their medicine dosage off of what they eat, which can be a frustrating task. People with the second type of the condition who don’t always need diabetes medications may find that a poor diet changes this, leading them to require insulin and further pharmaceutical intervention. A diabetic exchange diet can be very useful in both cases, especially when related to carbohydrates which are the biggest challenge facing diabetics in both groups.

There is very good reason to control dietary intake when diabetes is present. In some cases, diet and exercise can control the condition so well that some people with type 2 can improve their conditions so much that they no longer need medications. But, the same is true in the opposite direction as well. When blood sugar levels high enough to be dangerous are not well managed, disease progression can become more rapid, and the risk of complications becomes higher. Options like a diabetic exchange diet exist in order to help people better manage their food intake, reducing the risk of high blood sugar levels over periods of time that can contribute to a decline in health and complications like blindness, paralysis and even coma.

There are numerous different diets available in addition to a diabetic exchange diet. The plate method, for instance, involves dividing a plate into fourths, where 1/2 is reserved for non starchy veggies, one fourth for lean meat, and one fourth for a sensible, whole grain starch. And, diabetic diet guidelines that follow the glycemic index are also very popular. This diet involves the consumption of edibles known as low glycemic foods that are less likely to create unwanted spikes in blood sugar levels. This method involves a lot of label reading, and identifying low glycemic foods isn’t always easy. Perhaps this is what has led to the popularization of the diabetic exchange diet.

A diabetic exchange diet focuses on three groups of foods and lists them out in varying quantities. These quantities are important because half a cup of one food may be equivalent in terms of nutrients to one cup of another. The diabetic diet food list groups these foods in this way so that they can be swapped for another. This method allows for greater meal variety and less difficulty in determining appropriate foods to eat. Carbohydrates, meat and fats make up the three food groups on a diabetic exchange diet. Fruits and vegetables fall into the carbohydrates category, as does dairy and starch. The meat category includes all kinds of meats with varying fat content as well as meat substitutes. The fat group contains all fats including those that are good and bad and offers foods like nuts and butter.

Having the best results on a diabetic exchange diet means using the guide to make healthy choices. One simple example is to look at various types of beans. Lima beans provide a bigger serving than other beans like lentils and peas, and ⅔ a cup of them equals ½ a cup of the others. To put this into perspective, that same serving size of lima beans is equivalent on the diabetic exchange diet to six measly crackers. Essentially, the exchange diet is useful for making different foods equal in terms of carbohydrate and fat content, so that a greater variety is achievable and people can customize their diets based on their own likes and dislikes. The most successful diet plans are those that are easy to stick to, an exchange diet makes that much easier.

A sample diet menu on the exchange diet may include a breakfast of one waffle, four apricots and a cup of skim milk. But, the beauty of the exchange diet is that those same items can be swapped for a biscuit with sugar free jam, half a grapefruit and a cup of coffee with fat free creamer. Lunch might include half a lunch meat sandwich on whole wheat bread, low fat yogurt and a cup of grapes, and an ideal dinner may consist of a three ounce portion of lean meat or a smaller portion of a higher fat meat, paired with a starch and a side of veggies. Again, the beauty of the diabetic exchange diet is substitution. Items previously thought taboo, like bacon, are included on it. Diabetics can choose where and when to incorporate these items and what they are exchanging them for. These types of choices make the diet easier to commit to and provide a less restrictive feeling which may help contribute to overall success.