6 Best and Worst Foods for Diabetics
By Amanda Wilks
Making smart diet choices isn’t always as cut and dry as it may seem. Those who have lived with diabetes for some time have likely developed a stringent eating routine to keep their blood sugar levels in check, but those who have recently developed or have recently been diagnosed with diabetes aren’t always so lucky.
While the basics of avoiding sugary foods, and trying to focus on proteins and healthy greens is a good place to start, rounding out proper nutrition on a diabetes diet might require more specific food choices.
Choosing a diet that caters to your needs and avoids a focus on carbohydrates is a wise place to start. There are many diets that fit this ideal well and planning your meals around non-starchy vegetables and proteins is a fairly easy plan to stick to.
Making proper food choices outside of the plainly obvious can be tricky and might explain high diabetes rates in children, making said diets extremely important no matter what age one may be.
Starting with the bad and heading down to the good, try to keep these food choices in mind when planning your next weekly menu to avoid blood sugar spikes and unnecessary stress on your body.
Foods to Avoid by All Means
It may not seem like much at first, but processed sodas made with sugar or high fructose corn syrup are practically sugar bombs waiting to go off.
With as much as 10 teaspoons of sugar rushing to hit your system within 10 minutes of drinking the beverage. This much sugar triggers a quick and overwhelming release of insulin which diabetics aren’t prepared to handle, leading to a myriad of issues.
If you have to drink something sweet, stick to any beverage with no sugar added that you then sweeten yourself, just to ensure you don’t overdo it.
Baked goods are a touchy subject when it comes to any diabetes diet. With a heavy dose of carbs and almost always accompanied by sugary fruits or an outright syrupy glaze, the calorie-laden indulgence that is a breakfast pastry is often one of the worst things you can do to your body, especially early in the morning.
Replace the sugar with something less cloyingly sweet like an English muffin.
Protein is the cornerstone of any solid diet for those who live with diabetes. Sodium, on the other hand, contributes to an already-high chance of developing heart disease or other circulatory-related issues.
The salt content of just two pieces of deli meat can contain as much salt as a bag of pretzels, if not more. Cutting back on salt and preparing meat that isn’t packed with sodium can help keep your heart healthy.
Foods to Include in Your Diet
Going for a vegetable-heavy diet has its own ups and downs, but avoiding fattier meats by sticking to plant proteins means a better-balanced diet. You’ll also sidestep those salt licks known as processed meats with leafier and bean-heavier choices, too.
Foods such as beans, lentils, hummus and peas offer fiber, protein and other vital nutrients to get you through the day. Make sure the vegetables you’re eating aren’t too high in fat, however, as their fat content will naturally vary.
Skip past the canned stuff with peaches floating in heavy syrup, which is just as sickeningly sweet as it sounds, and stick to fruits lower in natural sugar content. Berries often provide natural sweetness to help sate cravings while fruit juice can be almost as bad as drinking a glass of soda.
Check the sugar content of your fruits, but remember that most fruits have portion sizes much larger than other sources of sugar.
This covers a wide selection of crunchy, nutrient-packed foods that fit perfectly into any diet. Not only are they naturally low in sugar, but vegetables also provide essential nutrition components and dietary fiber to power your system and keep you running clean. With a suggested serving size of at least half of your plate per meal being made up of non-starchy vegetables, finding something leafy and green that you like snacking on is vital for a proper diabetic diet.
Paying attention to the foods you eat is as important on a diabetes diet as it is for any other person, if not even more so.
By making wise food choices and carefully monitoring one’s intake of sugary or carb-heavy foods one can avoid the pitfalls of diabetes and live a more rich and satisfying life without as much concern for one’s health.
Author Bio: Amanda Wilks is a writer, editor and cooking enthusiast. When she is not in the kitchen, preparing delicious meals for the entire family, Amanda writes cookware reviews so that others could make smart choices for a healthy lifestyle. Learn more about Amanda and her passions on Twitter.