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Diet for Sugar Diabetes

written by: Bobby Mathew • edited by: lrohner • updated: 1/13/2011

What is a sugar diabetes diet? Believe it or not, it is not all that different from the diet that a typical American is recommended to eat. Learn more about the numerous benefits of this diet.

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    Diet is one of the most important aspects of managing your diabetes. A sugar diabetes diet puts more of an emphasis on eating low-calorie foods that are highly nutritious and low in fat, and being aware of the amount and types of carbohydrates that you consume.

    Diet is one of the most useful ways to manage your blood sugar, in addition to exercise and medication. Following are some details about what you should eat if you want a diet plan that will help you to manage your disease.

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    Recommended Foods

    A sugar diabetes diet should have the following types of foods:

    • Healthy, Complex Carbohydrates: Focus on carbohydrates that are not refined, processed, and starchy. Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, in addition to legumes and low-fat dairy products.
    • Foods that are Fiber Rich: Legumes are an excellent source of fiber in addition to most fruits and vegetables. Nuts and whole grain products also contain reasonable amounts of fiber.
    • Heart-healthy Fish: Eating fish, such as tuna, cod, and halibut, twice a week is good for your heart (something you should take care of if you're a diabetic). Furthermore, they are usually much healthier sources of protein, containing less fat and cholesterol, than chicken at times. It is recommended that you avoid fish with high levels of mercury like king mackerel, swordfish, and tilefish.
    • Healthy Fats: Eat less saturated fat and focus more on monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats found in avocados, walnuts, pecans, and olives. While they do wonders to lower your cholesterol, they are best eaten in modest amounts as they are high in calories.

    Many of the foods found on this list are aimed at improving heart function. This is because diabetes is a condition that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Eating sensibly in the ways mentioned above can keep you from getting a heart attack or stroke, in addition to maintaining your blood sugar. With that being said, avoid high cholesterol, high saturated fat, high sodium, and trans-fat rich foods.

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    The Value of Eating This Way

    Keep in mind that the diet that is recommended for diabetics is really a diet that everyone should follow. This is because this type of diet can not only prevent or delay diabetes in the non-diabetic population, but it can reduce the incidence of other health conditions in all segments of the population. The fiber content and healthy fats reduce the chances of heart related conditions that diabetics are predisposed to, such as heart attack or stroke, while the calcium from the low-fat diary reduces the changes of getting osteoporosis. In addition, this style of eating reduces the chance of getting many types of cancers.

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    Other Things to Keep in Mind

    Count your carbohydrates and use the glycemic index. Counting carbohydrates is a good way to limit the amount of carbohydrates your body can handle, whether it be in a single meal or in a single day. You and your health professional, such as a dietitian, can decide how many carbohydrates you should limit yourself to in a meal or in a day.

    The glycemic index is a very useful tool. It is a measure of how quickly a carbohydrates breaks down into glucose once it is in your system. In a sense, it gives you an index number that indicates how complex a carbohydrate is. Use it to eat foods that slowly digest and cause modest rises in your blood sugar (you can find out more about the glycemic index at http://www.glycemicindex.com). It's interesting to note that people who eat foods with a higher glycemic index are known to have a higher body mass index.

    Finally, check your blood sugar often. Do not skip meals, and eat at a regular time. Remember that the sugar diabetes diet is only one aspect of diabetes management and that you should make sure you get enough physical activity and, if necessary, take insulin or medication, as recommended by your doctor, to control your diabetes.