The final leg of our 3 Legged stool of glucose control is diet. Our diet or the food we consume is the source of the glucose our bodies use to fuel our cells. Therefore the more we focus on the ultimate purpose for the food we eat, the more efficiently our bodies can use the fuel and function best.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “It [The diabetic diet] should take into account your weight, medicines, lifestyle, and other health problems you have.

Healthy diabetic eating includes

  • Limiting foods that are high in sugar

  • Eating smaller portions, spread out over the day

  • Being careful about when and how many carbohydrates you eat

  • Eating a variety of whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables every day

  • Eating less fat

  • Limiting your use of alcohol

  • Using less salt

With these parameters, The American Diabetes Association recommends a “meal plan” which it describes as “a guide that tells you how much and what kinds of food you can choose to eat at meals and snack times. A good meal plan should fit in with your schedule and eating habits. Some meal planning tools include the plate method, carb counting, and glycemic index. The right meal plan will help you improve your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers and also help keep your weight on track. Whether you need to lose weight or stay where you are, your meal plan can help”.

The Exchange Method

Medicinenet.com gives a detailed account of the food pyramid and how to incorporate each of the food groups into a daily meal plan. It also details the serving sizes in order to comply to the appropriate calorie limits prescribed by your doctor.

http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetic_diet/page4.htm#tocf

Carb Counting

TheJoslinDiabetesCentersuggests the following steps for Carbohydrate Counting.

1.     The first step in carb counting is to have a meal plan.  A meal plan is a guide that helps you figure out how much carb, protein and fat to eat at meals and snacks each day.  If you don’t have a meal plan, meet with a registered dietitian.

2.      Step two involves learning which foods contain carbohydrate. Most people know that starchy foods, such as bread, pasta and cereal contain carbs.  But other food   groups, such as fruit, milk and desserts and sweets, have carbs, too.
There are three main ways to learn about carbs in foods:

o       Ask for a food choice list from your dietitian.

o       Learn how to read the Nutrition Facts Label

o       Purchase a food counts book that provides the number of grams of carb in various foods.

3.      Measuring tools.  In order to accurately count carbs, you’ll need to be accurate with the portion sizes of foods that you eat.  Invest in a food scale to weigh foods such as fruit and bread.  Use measuring cups to measure cereal, pasta and rice, and use liquid measuring cups for carb-containing beverages such as milk, juice and energy drinks.

The Glycemic Index

Web MD defines,  “The glycemic index is a ranking that attempts to measure the influence that each particular food has on blood sugar levels. It takes into account the type of carbohydrates in a meal and its effect on blood sugar.

Foods that are low on the glycemic index appear to have less of an impact on blood sugar levels after meals. People who eat a lot of low glycemic index foods tend to have lower total body fat levels. High glycemic index foods generally make blood sugar levels higher. People who eat a lot of high glycemic index foods often have higher levels of body fat, as measured by the body mass index (BMI).

Talk to your doctor, a registered dietitian, or a diabetes educator and ask if the glycemic index might work to help gain better control of your blood sugar levels”.

The Plating Method

Here’s a quick video from the American Diabetes Association on how the Plating Method works.

Ask your doctor to prescribe or refer you to a dietician to prescribe a meal plan or daily calorie count, and also ask which diet method is best for you.

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