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Diabetes: Nutrition

Eat ​well.

Diet plays an important role in managing diabetes. Type 2 diabetes might be caused by being overweight, lack of exercise, poor eating, and other lifestyle choices. Type 1 diabetes is thought to be an autoimmune disease and requires a daily supplement of insulin regardless of diet.

Basically, when someone has diabetes it means that insulin in the body is not able perform the necessary function of getting glucose (sugar) to pass from the bloodstream into the cells where it produces energy. Since food is converted to sugars, it matters what you eat when controlling blood sugar levels.

There is not a “diabetic diet” for everyone with diabetes, but each person with the disease can self-manage their blood sugar by carefully planning what they put on their plate. “If you have diabetes, you need to be more careful than other people about when, how much, and what types of foods you eat,” state the authors of “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions” (Bull Publishing 2012).

The key to monitoring blood sugar in the diet is understanding—and limiting—carbohydrates. The ideal is to eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains which provide necessary fiber, less calories and less fat. Less ideal foods are cookies, sodas, and other high-carbohydrate snacks. It’s all about moderation, not abstinence.

Ask a friend or relative to try out a healthier diet. Get together to go over some fun recipes—many can be found on www.diabetes.org –and plan a few dinners with family and friends to test drive your new favorites and healthier menus that benefit everyone.


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