With all of the diabetes diet cookbooks and eating plans on the market, you might think that it is easy for diabetics to learn how and what they should eat, but the truth is that people may be getting inappropriate or inaccurate advice.
No One-Size-Fits-All Eating Plan
According to the American Diabetes Association Diet experts, there is no single eating plan that works for everyone. A pre-diabetes diet or a diet for those who are at high risk for developing diabetes may be quite different from a diet for those who are managing existing diabetes.
Consult a Nutritionist or Follow Basic Guidelines
It would be great if everyone who is at risk for or suffers from diabetes would consult a nutritionist to help them design a specific eating plan based on their preferences and their individual needs for blood sugar, blood pressure, and weight control. However, for those who cannot consult a nutritionist or prefer a do-it-yourself approach, the American Diabetes Association Diet experts have created some basic guidelines and recommendations. What follows is a brief summary of those guidelines.
Avoid Fad Diets
The first recommendation from the experts applies to all individuals with problems controlling their blood sugar. Avoid the Fad diets. This is good advice for anyone. Fad diets never help people keep the weight off. They may lose weight quickly, only to gain it back in a short period of time. We have learned that “see-sawing” changes in weight are just as unhealthy as obesity. A safe diabetes diet or pre-diabetes diet is a plan for life, not for short-term weight loss.
Pre-Diabetes Diet Guidelines
The American Diabetes Association diet guidelines for people who are at risk for diabetes (a pre-diabetes diet) call for high fiber foods, nutrient-rich foods, and whole grains. Nutrient-rich foods are sometimes referred to as nutrient-dense foods. In short, the term means that the nutritional value of the food is high when compared to the caloric value. More complete information about nutrient-dense foods is available on this web page.
Diet Guidelines for Those with Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association diet guidelines for people who already have diabetes are more specific. Get carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Use low-fat milk. Eat fiber-rich foods. Less than 7 percent of total calories should come from saturated fat. Eat two servings of baked or broiled fish per week. Avoid trans fats. Reduce cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg/day.
Fish and Other Nutrients
The fish recommendation for the diabetes diet is because of the omega-3, long-chain fatty acids found primarily in fish. Some doctors recommend an even higher intake for blood sugar control, and many recommend a fish oil supplement. There are other nutrients, botanicals, and herbs that can help with blood sugar control and can be added to an appropriate diabetes or pre-diabetes diet.