Food has a direct effect on the blood glucose level. Some foods increase blood glucose more than others. An important part of controlling diabetes is to know what and how much to eat, and following an eating plan that fits your lifestyle while helping to control blood glucose. The 3 main nutrients found in foods are fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Carbs are the starches, sugar, and fiber that are present in foods such as grains, fruits, milk products, vegetables, and sweets. They increase blood glucose faster and higher than other nutrients in foods: proteins and fats. Learning what foods contain carbs and the amount of carbs in a meal is helpful for controlling blood glucose level in the body. Taking carbs from healthy sources like vegetables, fruits and whole grains (high fiber) are preferred over carbs from sources with added sugars, fat and salt.
Proteins are an essential part of a balanced diet and can keep you from feeling hungry. They do not directly increase your glucose like carbs. Use portion control with proteins to prevent weight gain. In people with Type 2 diabetes, protein makes insulin work faster so it may not be a good idea to treat low blood glucose with protein shakes or mixes.
Fats are an important part of a balanced diet, especially healthy fats from foods such as fatty fish, nuts and seeds. Fats do not raise blood glucose but the calories content is high therefore they can cause weight gain.
Some tips for healthy eating:
- Eat regular meals with proper portion sizes.
- Add a variety of healthy food in each meal, including healthy fats, lean meats or proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy in appropriate portion sizes.
- Include foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains which are rich in fiber.
- Try substitutes of meat such as lentils, beans or tofu.
- Drink calorie-free liquids such as unsweetened tea, coffee or water.
See More: METHODS TO MANAGE DIABETES