Control Your Sugar, Control Your Life: Diet Tips to Improve Diabetes Management
According to the American Diabetes Association, medical nutrition therapy (MNT) plays a critical role in managing existing diabetes and preventing (or at least slowing down) diabetes complications. A good diet can help someone with diabetes achieve and maintain blood glucose levels in the normal range (or as close as normal as possible), as well as achieve a lipid and lipoprotein profile that reduces the risk for vascular disease, and keep blood pressure levels in the normal range. Generally, a diet that is rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, and lean protein is the best way to achieve these goals. Here are some of the top dietician tips on how to optimize your eating to take control of your diabetes.
- Follow the specific nutritional guidelines you are given by your dietician or physician. In many cases, a diabetes diet will not only focus on controlling portions of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, but also on how much potassium, phosphorus, and sodium you intake. In many cases, your diet will need to be lower in these minerals for optimal diabetes management.
- Keep a food diary. An important part of this involves reading food packages carefully and recording what you find. This is a great way to discover hidden sodium, phosphorus, and other no-nos in what seem to be healthy choices, such as canned soup or other processed foods.
- Stick to portion control guidelines. It’s really important to understand what exactly a service size refers to. You may be eating what you believe to be one serving but it actually counts as two or three.
- Eat at regular times. For any diabetic, eating all meals and snacks of the same size and caloric content at specified times throughout the day can make a big difference. This is the best way to keep your blood glucose at an even level throughout the day.
- Space out different types of foods throughout the day. For example, you don’t want to eat all of your carbohydrates for the day at a single meal, as this would cause your blood glucose level to rise above what would be considered an acceptable level. It’s important that you consume a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats at each meal.
Since each diabetes patient is going to have different needs, you should always follow your physician’s and/or dietitian’s recommendations. A diet that works well for one patient may not work well for another, so it’s important to consult a professional first before embarking on any new diet plan.