For diabetics, the most important concern is blood glucose levels. The dietary component that most impacts glucose levels is carbohydrates. Diabetics need to monitor their overall daily consumption of everything they eat, but with special attention to carbs. So what exactly is the diabetic's diet?
The good news is that there is no one diabetic's diet. Those with diabetes can eat what everyone else eats, but they should eat it at certain times, and in moderation.
As with any diet, there are certain foods that are healthy, and others to be avoided. Here are some of the recommended foods: fish with omega-3s such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, lake trout and albacore tuna; foods rich in fiber such as legumes, fruits, vegetables, beans and whole wheat; foods with "good fats" such as avocados, almonds, walnuts, olives, pecans and the derivative oils.
On the other side of the coin, here are some of the foods to avoid: saturated fats, such as full-fat dairy products, meats and animal proteins such as beef, sausage, hot dogs and bacon; trans fats such as those in sweets, baked goods and crackers; cholesterol, as in egg yolks, shellfish, animal proteins and full-fat dairy products; sodium - try for less than 2000mg daily.
In general, foods that have what is called a high glycemic index make a much bigger impact on blood glucose levels than those with a low glycemic index. A high glycemic food would be one with an index of 70 and above. A low glycemic index food would be 55 and under.
Examples of High Glycemic Foods
There are too many to list, but some good examples of foods with high glycemic indexes are bread, cereal, dates, potatoes and rice. A few low glycemic index foods include non-fat yogurt, soy beans, kidney beans, broccoli and cauliflower.
Good Rules of Thumb For Diabetics
Eat a variety of foods, and make your plate colorful. This will ensure that you are getting enough fruits and vegetables.
Make sure that you are getting enough fiber. The daily recommendation is 25 to 35 grams per day. Foods high in fiber include whole grains, fruit and cereal.
Watch your calorie intake. By controlling the amount of calories you are consuming, you will be more likely to paying attention to what you eat and making sure that you are not taking in too much food. Eating an excess in calories causes blood glucose levels to rise, and this is to be avoided, particularly in diabetics.
By making wise food choices, getting into a daily exercise regimen and taking any prescribed medication, you will be well on your way to living a healthy lifestyle.