What is diabetes nutrition? It’s a balanced combination of healthy proteins, fats and carbohydrates that are a core part of a comprehensive approach to nutrition. What is the goal of this nutritious diabetic diet? It is to improve how the body handles blood sugar.
Healthy diabetic diets recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the prestigious Mayo Clinic and other health organizations have established the percentages of our daily food intake that should come from these main food groups. Regular (table) sugar should be avoided whenever possible as it can make sugar levels spike and insulin levels rise too rapidly.
Aiming for a good balance of different foods is critical to ensure blood sugar levels are balanced and stay within healthy levels.
When people with diabetes choose foods to eat, the eating decisions start with reading labels and choosing nutritious foods that are part of a high protein-low glycemic diet.
The Diabetic Diet Plan
Do you want a healthy diabetic diet plan but are overwhelmed by all the diets pushed in magazines, the internet and social media? Which diet is best?
Deciding which diet plan to follow can be frustrating; especially if good sources of proteins, fats and carbohydrates aren’t readily available.
People with diabetes can create their own diet plans or choose one that has been created with a higher ratio of protein and fats and a lower ratio of carbs.
Almased is a low-glycemic high protein diet that provides balanced nutrition for everyone, including those with diabetes
Recommended daily allowances of protein, fat and carbohydrate in a nutritional and healthy diabetic diet are based on an intake of 2000 calories. If your body requires fewer calories, you can eat less than the recommended daily allowance.
Most foods now have a statement of calories on the package label. Use it as a guide when making food or meal replacement choices to stay within your individual calorie allowance. Exceeding your target daily calories can cause weight gain and change the way in which energy supply needs for various organ functions, including the production of required amounts of insulin, are completed.
The Importance of Meal Timing and Blood Sugar
It’s important to eat meals at the same time each day. This makes it easy to monitor blood sugar levels. Test blood sugar levels after each meal. Doing so helps you learn how the diet impacts blood sugar levels.
Blood sugar levels should be tested at the same time each day. Check with your physician or pharmacist on how often to test your blood sugar as part of your diabetic lifestyle.
It’s also important to test the A1C level every two to three months. The A1C level reflects the average blood sugar level for the previous three months. It is best that this level be below 6.5, which reflects a blood sugar level in line with controlling diabetes.
Food for Diabetics: The Body Needs a Constant Source of Energy
Selecting the right foods to support a healthy diet for diabetes should consist of daily intake of 15-20% of quality protein, 15-20% of healthy (good) fats and 45-60 % of carbohydrates.
Protein provides energy and supports our ability to remain active. Protein also keeps our immune system functioning properly, maintains heart health and improves respiratory system activities. It also speeds muscle recovery after exercise and helps reduce muscle wasting or muscle loss as we age.
Many different food protein food sources exist. Plant-based protein sources—such as non-GMO soy, whey, grains, beans, peas, vegetables, and nuts—will provide some or all of the essential nine amino acids our body needs. These nine essential amino acids are needed to breakdown ingested food, repairing muscle tissues and making sure that our nervous system has what it needs to work correctly.
Other sources of protein can include skim milk, unprocessed cheese and low-fat yogurt. Organic grass-fed meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Always avoid processed lunch meats due to the chemicals and high salt content these foods often have.
YO\ou may not know that non-GMO soy, which is a primary plant-based protein in Almased, is an excellent and very healthy alternative to red meat. Soy is 36-56% protein.
Good fats are also important because fat is needed for energy, to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and to protect the heart and support brain health. Be cautious, however, when examining food package labels as both good and bad fats exist.
Good fats (known as monounsaturated or polyunsaturated) lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent abnormal health rhythms, fight inflammation and prevent hardening and narrowing of the arteries.
Sources of good healthy fats include wild-caught cold-water fish, unsalted nuts (cashew nuts, peanuts, walnuts, natural peanut butter) and certain oils (lie sesame and soybean). Don’t forget pumpkin and flaxseed. These polyunsaturated fat healthy sources support a nutritious, tasty and healthy diet.
Bad fats include “artificial trans fats” found in based pastries, cookies, doughnuts, cakes, pizza dough, snack foods, margarine and anything containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
When choosing carbohydrates, include a variety of fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk products, nuts, grains and legumes (beans, peas and lentils).
Since sugar is also a carbohydrate, consume it in moderation. Sugar is the most inflammatory ingredient and one which disrupts the balance of good and bad bacteria in the human gastrointestinal tract.
Carbohydrates, once again, must contribute 45-60% of our daily calories because they provide energy for glucose regulation and spare the use of protein for energy.
Carbohydrates also prevent ketosis (which happens there is low availability of glucose and the body has to rely on fat as its sole energy source). Too many ketones in the body can pose a health risk.
Although high amounts of carbohydrates should be avoided on a healthy diabetic diet, the body still requires some carbohydrates for cell metabolism. Limit carbohydrates to one part of your three meals daily at the same time each day. Divvy up the required carbohydrate intake among the three meals and avoid overconsumption of carbohydrates at any one meal.
Guidelines for healthy diets are available from the American Diabetes Association, the Mayo Clinic, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and dietary supplement organizations which outline best choices for a diabetic-friendly and nutritious diet plan.