Did you know that is the United States alone, over 30 million individuals struggle with type two diabetes? Type two diabetes is a common disease that develops as a result of elevated blood sugar levels. In people with type two diabetes, insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, is either too low or not enough of it is produced. As a result, type two diabetics have a difficult time regulating their blood sugar levels, meaning they must have prescribed insulin regularly.
In general, type two diabetics must follow a rather strict diet to keep their blood sugar levels in check. First and foremost, ideal diets for diabetics should consist of foods and drinks with low glycemic levels. Additionally, diabetics benefit from diets that help them lose weight. For diabetics, as their weight goes down, they become healthier, less dependent on insulin, and less likely to suffer from the health problems associated with high blood sugar. Now let's look at how diabetics should approach their diet.
A common misconception is that all carbohydrates are detrimental to the health of diabetics. This falsehood is not supported, because if diabetics consume the right carbohydrates, they can be helpful. Let's examine further.
There are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. First, let's look further into complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are best for individuals suffering from type two diabetes. This is because foods made of complex carbohydrates have a low glycemic load, meaning they don't starkly impact blood sugar. A few of the distinctive characteristics of complex carbohydrates include the fact that they possess higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber compared with simple carbohydrates.
A few examples of foods containing complex carbohydrates include:
As you can gather from the list above, whole grains are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates. Additionally, many fruits and vegetables are high in these carbohydrates. This means next time you're at the store, look to purchase foods such as these to fill up your kart.
On the other end of the spectrum are simple carbohydrates. These carbs are typically not recommended for individuals suffering from type two diabetes. That's because they are known to increase your glycemic load, raising blood pressure levels.
A few examples of simple carbohydrates that should not be consumed by type two diabetics include:
These foods should be all but eliminated from your diet if you suffer from type two diabetes.
We looked loosely at fruits and vegetables when discussing carbohydrates, but let's look closer at which fruits and vegetables should be a part of your diet. First, let's examine how starchy fruits and vegetables should be incorporated into your diet. Starchy fruits and vegetables are typically higher in carbohydrates than leafy vegetables. Because of this, these foods should not be consumed without limits.
A few examples of starchy fruits and vegetables include:
On the other end of the spectrum, there are non-starchy fruits and vegetables. These items can be eaten frequently. Particularly with fruit, diabetics must watch out for fruits that are excessively high in sugar. The intake of these types of fruits should be limited. With that said, most non-starchy fruits and vegetables have little to no influence on your blood sugar levels. A few examples of non-starchy fruits and vegetables include:
As you can conclude from this information, it is best to eat non-starchy fruits and vegetables if you are a type two diabetic. If you decide to eat starchy fruits and vegetables, look to consume them in moderation.
Let's now transition into the right proteins and fats that type two diabetics should be looking to consume. First, let's look at the types of protein that type two diabetics should look to eat. Protein can hold several benefits for diabetics. However, diabetics must eat the right types of protein. The best types of protein come from plant-based sources. While animal-based protein sources aren't always bad, we recommend that they are consumed in moderation.
Here are a few examples of healthy proteins:
Make sure that you keep in mind not only the protein content of foods but also their overall nutrition. Look for protein sources that are low in sugar, high in vitamins, and excellent for your health.
Moving on to fats, let's look at the types of fats that you should be looking to consume. Although fats don't play a significant role in blood sugar levels, they are important for your overall health. First of all, you should try to stay away from red meat as much as possible. This is because red meat contains high levels of saturated fat, which can be harmful to diabetics.
Alternatively, you should look to get your sources of fat from plant-based methods. These include:
Now that you understand the components that form a healthy diet for diabetics, let's look at three of the best diet plans for diabetics.
The DASH diet is one of the most well-known diets for diabetics. In fact, it has been backed by the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute. This diet focuses on eating fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, dairy, and lean meats. The DASH diet significantly reduces your glycemic load, while simultaneously providing you with the nutrients needed to obtain excellent health.
Combining the words flexible and vegetarian, this diet is excellent for those faced with type two diabetes. That's because it focuses on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Although this is a vegetarian-based diet, you can splurge every once in a while.
Finally, one of the premier diets for individuals with type two diabetes is the Mediterranean diet. This diet is known to reduce the risk of many forms of cancer, heart disease, and cardiovascular disease, all risk factors associated with type two diabetes. This diet promotes healthy eating, low saturated fat intake, and an active lifestyle.
Hopefully, you have gained some useful insight into the components that make up a healthy diet for type two diabetics.