Top 5 Nutrition Concerns for Diabetics

The number of people being diagnosed with diabetes is growing faster than any other disease.  One in ten Americans already has diabetes and one in four is at risk.  Fortunately, the vast majority of diabetics are able to control the disease and improve their outlook with modest changes to their eating habits.


Whether you are diagnosed with diabetes or taking steps to reduce your risk, you should plan a diet where the mix of carbohydrates, protein and fats meets your own personal preferences and health goals.  It’s important to choose meals that you enjoy in order to stay committed to a healthy meal plan.



Monitoring carbohydrates and their effect on blood sugar is the most important aspect of planning diabetic meals.  This can be done through carbohydrate counting.  With experience, you can estimate the effects of different foods and amounts on your blood sugars.



Dietary fiber is important to maintaining blood sugar levels.  Ideally, a diabetic will consume 14 grams of fiber for every one thousand calories of food that is consumed.  Fiber plays a role in minimizing blood sugar spikes from carbohydrates, so at least half of all grain intake should be from whole grains because they are high in fiber.



People who regularly consume sweetened beverages are at greater risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and have a more difficult time managing their diabetes.  Sugar sweetened beverages and fruit juices should be avoided.  If you really feel the need to indulge in sugary drinks, the amount should be limited to small portions of fewer than eight ounces and other carbohydrates should be reduced to compensate for the sugars in the beverage.


Alcohol must only be consumed in moderation.  Drinking to excess, or drinking in the absence of fibre or protein foods, can cause hypoglycemia and ketoacidosis.  Women should not have more than one drink per day; two drinks are the limit for a man.



Because of the strong correlation between heart disease and diabetes, the consumption of saturated fats should be limited to less than seven percent of total calories.  If your diet is 2000 calories per day, saturated fats should be limited to just fifteen grams per day.  Trans fats should also be limited because of their tendency to increase the bad cholesterol and decrease the good cholesterol in your body.


Monitoring Health

Diabetics should manage their eating by measuring their blood sugar regularly.  When blood sugar is low, they should consume no more than 15 grams of carbohydrate and wait 15 minutes before retesting.  If the sugar level is still low then repeat with another 15 grams of carbohydrates, wait another 15 minutes and retest again.  Once the blood sugar is raised to a healthy level, eat a healthy snack or meal to prevent the hypoglycemia from recurring.


Diabetics need to pay extra attention to their diet when they are sick.  Hormones produced during illness tend to elevate the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar.  When suffering an illness, you should be especially vigilante at monitoring yourblood sugar, drink plenty of fluids and refrain from vigorous exercise .


Maintaining a healthy weight is an essential part of diabetic meal planning.  Even a small weight loss can substantially reduce the effects of diabetes.  Keeping a food diary and monitoring your sugar levels can help you to see how your food choices affect your health, and encourage you to limit unhealthy foods and lose weight.


If you have diabetes, it is essential that you work with your doctor and a dietician to make sure that all your nutritional needs are met.  By considering diet choices and monitoring your health carefully, you can substantially reduce the health problems associated with diabetes.

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