Table of Contents
What is diabetes?
If you have diabetes, your blood sugar, or your blood sugar, levels are very high. Glucose comes from the food you eat. Your body’s cells need glucose to be strong. A hormone called insulin helps glucose get into your cells.
With Type 1 diabetes, your body does not produce insulin. With type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin properly. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in your bloodstream and causes high blood sugar levels.
Prediabetes means that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. If you have prediabetes, you are more likely to have type 2 diabetes.
How does my diet affect blood sugar levels?
The sugar in your blood comes from certain foods called carbohydrates, or “carbs.” High-carbohydrate foods include sweets and sweets, soda, bread, tortillas, and white rice. If you eat too many carbohydrates, your blood sugar level will be high.
Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, choosing the right foods is an important way to keep your blood sugar healthy. When you control your blood sugar, you reduce the risk of serious health problems arising from diabetes, such as loss of vision and heart problems.
And if you have prediabetes or are at risk of developing diabetes, eating a diet that maintains your blood sugar levels may help prevent type 2 diabetes later.
What is the best diet for diabetes?
There is no specific diet or diet plan that works for everyone. Your healthcare provider may ask you to see a registered dietitian (RD) or a diabetes educator who can help design an excellent diet plan. The plan will consider:
Any medications you take
Any other health conditions you have
Your lifestyle and your will
All diabetic eating programs have a few things in common, which include eating the right foods at the right times.
What foods should I eat if I have diabetes?
Eating a healthy diet means eating a variety of healthy foods for all food groups:
Fruits and vegetables
Whole grains, such as wheat, brown rice, barley, quinoa, and oats
Proteins, such as lean meats, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, lentils, and tofu
Low-fat or low-fat milk, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.
What foods should I limit to control my blood sugar?
To control your blood sugar, you may need to cut back on foods and beverages that are high in carbohydrates. This does not mean that you will never enjoy it. But you will need to have them in small amounts or small quantities.
High carb diets and beverages to limit include:
Sweet foods, such as sweets, cookies, cake, ice cream, sweet grains, and canned fruit with extra sugar
Extra sugary beverages, such as juice, regular soda, and regular sports or energy drinks
White rice, tortillas, bread, and pasta – especially those made with white flour
Starchy vegetables, such as white potatoes, corn, and peas
You may also need to limit how much you drink, as well as how much fat and salt you eat.
What else do I need to know about a diabetic diet?
If you have diabetes, it is important to eat the right amount of food every day. Your diet plan will include how much you should eat, to get the right amount of carbohydrates from each meal or meal. You will learn how to calculate carbohydrates and measure your diet.
Eating on time is also important. You will want to plan a regular, balanced diet to avoid high or low blood sugar levels. Eating about the same amount of carbs in each meal can be helpful.
Your diet plan will also teach you how to stick to your plan at home and when eating out.
Healthy eating to control your sugar requires some effort. But the reward is a chance to live a healthy life with diabetes.
What foods and drinks should I limit if I have diabetes?
Food and drink restrictions include
- fried foods and other fatty foods and fats
- high-salt foods also called sodium
- sweets, such as baked goods, sweets, and ice cream
- sugary drinks, such as juice, regular soda, and regular sports or energy drinks
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Consider using sugar instead of sugar in your coffee or tea.
If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation — not more than one drink a day if you are a woman or two drinks a day if you are a man. If you use insulin or diabetes medication that increases your body’s insulin levels, alcohol can cause your blood glucose level to drop dramatically. This is especially true if you do not eat for a long time. It is better to eat other foods if you drink alcohol.
When should I eat if I have diabetes?
Some people with diabetes need to eat at least one meal each day. Some may be more flexible during their meal. Depending on your diabetes medication or insulin type, you may need to eat the same amount of carbohydrates at the same time each day. If you take insulin for “real time,” your diet may change.
If you take certain medications for diabetes or insulin and skip or skip meals, your blood glucose level can drop dramatically. Ask your healthcare team when to eat and when to eat before and after exercise.
How much can I eat if I have diabetes?
Eating the right amount of food will also help you to control your blood sugar and weight. Your healthcare team can help you figure out how much food and how many calories you should eat each day.
Planning weight loss
If you are overweight or obese, work with your healthcare team to create a weight loss program.
Body Weight Planner can help you adjust your calories and exercise programs to reach and maintain your weight loss goal.
To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories and switch to a healthier diet with low-calorie, fat, and sugary foods.
If you have diabetes, are overweight or obese, and are planning to have a baby, you should try to lose weight before you become pregnant. Learn more about family planning for diabetes if you have diabetes.
Two common ways to help you plan how much to eat if you have diabetes is a plate and carbohydrate calculation method, also called a carb calculation. Check with your health care team about the best option for you.
The plate method
The plate method helps you to control the size of your parts. You do not need to count calories. The plate method shows the amount of each food group you should eat. This method works best for lunch and dinner.
Use a 9-inch plate. Add fresh vegetables to part of the plate; meat or other protein on one-fourth of the plate; and grain or other starch in the last quarter. Starch includes starchy vegetables such as corn and peas. You can also eat a small bowl of fruit or a piece of fruit, and drink a small glass of milk as included in your diet.