Managing Your Diabetes Through an Effective Diet Plan

diabetes healthcare specialist

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  • While there is no universal eating approach for diabetes, there is still a variety of the meal planning tools that you may use to maintain your glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels within the normal range
  • The American Diabetes Association also recommends patients to take a comprehensive diabetes self-management education (DSME) program to make meal planning easier. This program helps expand your knowledge of nutrition therapy and its role in managing diabetes

One of the most common questions asked by diabetics is, “Is it possible to eat different foods while keeping my blood sugar level within the normal range?” Fortunately, this is absolutely possible. Diabetics may still enjoy a variety of meals, as long as they’re made from healthy ingredients.

Choosing the right types of food to include into a diet plan may seem confusing and tedious, what with all the factors that should be considered to keep blood glucose levels in check. Thankfully, there are various approaches to help you plan your diet properly and get the nutrition that you need.

Different Diet Planning Tools Are Available for Diabetics

While there is no universal  eating approach for diabetes, there is still a variety of the meal planning tools that you may use to maintain your glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels within the normal range. Some of these include:1,2

The plate method — This is a 7-step meal planning tool that involves simple and effective tips for healthy eating. It uses a small plate to illustrate the category and portion of foods that must be included in a diet.

Divide your plate into three sections, with the largest section being half of the plate — this large portion is for vegetables. The remaining 50 percent of the plate should be divided equally for protein and starchy foods.

A serving of fruit and organic, grass fed dairy should also be added to complete your meal.3

Carbohydrate counting — A diet that’s high in carbohydrates may worsen diabetes, as  it leads to insulin resistance and leptin malfunction. This is why you should count your carbohydrate intake properly.

Keep in mind that the recommended carb intake is below 50 grams  per day. Consuming too many  carbohydrates may cause hyperglycemia, while eating too little may result in hypoglycemia.

To measure your carb intake accurately, be sure to count the carbohydrates from all food sources, and use a measuring cup or food scale when portioning your meal.4

Glycemic index — The glycemic index method ranks foods according to their effects on the blood glucose level.

It may help you substitute high glycemic foods, such as potatoes, bagels and breakfast cereals, for low glycemic ones. This results in lower risk of insulin resistance, obesity and cancer.5

Exchange list system — The exchange list approach has been used as a meal planning tool since 1950. This method groups food according to their nutritional value. The three food groups are carbohydrates, protein sources and fats.6

The American Diabetes Association also recommends patients to take a comprehensive diabetes self-management education (DSME) program to make meal planning easier. This program helps expand your knowledge of nutrition therapy and its role in managing diabetes.7

What Happens if You Don’t Stick to the Diet Plan?

In order for nutritional therapy to work, you need to follow the recommended diet plan consistently. This means that you have to eat well-balanced meals three times a day, preferably at regular intervals. Doing this not only allows your body to use insulin better, but also makes it easier for you to time your meals in accordance with your medication or insulin intake.8

Once your body has adjusted to your eating pattern, be sure not to stray from your diet plan, as doing so may lead to serious health issues. Skipping a meal, eating late or consuming larger portions of food may put you at risk of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.9 These conditions require urgent care since they may cause life-threatening complications if left untreated.

Ignoring the proper diet plan also makes you more susceptible to long-term complications, such as poor eye health, kidney disorders, cardiovascular diseases and nerve damage.10

Use This Information to Plan a Healthy Diet and Improve Your Overall Health

Planning ahead is one of the best ways to enjoy your meals without worrying about fluctuating blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, creating a diet plan may seem like a lot of work.

This is where these diabetes diet plan pages come into play — they contain in-depth meal planning tips and sample menus that are absolutely easy to follow. By adopting healthy eating approaches, you’ll eventually be able to take control of diabetes and improve your overall well-being.

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