Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body doesn't respond to insulin normally, leading to an increase in blood sugar or glucose levels. It can be caused by genetic and lifestyle factors.
A healthy meal plan is an important part of managing diabetes. The combination of food items can help control a rise in blood sugar levels, delay the use of medications and insulin, or work together with insulin to manage sugar levels.
One of the biggest myths is you have diabetes you have to stay away from sugar and all things carbs! That means: no bread, no potatoes, no pasta, no fruits and no sweets!
It is important to know the foods that effect blood sugar levels in addition to sweets and sugar, these include: fruits, dairy products, and carbohydrates such bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, and starchy vegetables and beans such as potatoes, peas, corn, beans. However, these foods can be part of a diabetic meal plan in the appropriate portion size. Too much carbohydrates can lead to high blood sugar levels and too little can lead to low sugar levels (hypoglycemia), which can also result in complications. Just like all meal plans, balance is key!
Remember, not all carbohydrates are the same, choose healthy carbohydrates such as whole grain bread and bran cereals, these contain fiber, which lead to a slow release of sugar. This is the concept of “Glycemic Load” allowing you to be aware that both the amount of carbohydrate and the quality is important.
As for sugar and sweets, these should be limited in people with diabetes as much as people without the condition. The problem is that we are all eating too much sugar! We should notice not only the obvious sweets, but also the hidden sugar found in bottled juices, sauces, breakfast cereals, and fruit yogurts. Sugary foods and drinks add calories and may affect your weight. Since these have low nutrition quality, you should focus on more healthful foods. However, as part of a healthy meal plan a small portion of sweets can be accounted for every now and then. Fruits can be alternative sweet options containing fiber and vitamins.
Portion control and balance is the ideal way to enjoy all the foods you love! Sugar and carbohydrates can be included in combination with protein and fat as part of a balanced plan to manage diabetes. Meal plans are individualized and balanced with medications and exercise. So work with a dietitian to put together a plan that will work for you!