Dieting to Control Diabetes

Problem: Diabetics need to control their blood glucose levels. If they eat too much, the levels soar, which can lead to heart, kidney, eye, and foot problems. If they eat too little, glucose levels drop, causing hypoglycemia and its symptoms: nervousness, trembling, weakness, and brain fog. Aside from this, diabetics have to worry about high blood pressure and high cholesterol, two factors which puts them at high risk for heart disease. Statistics are sobering: 65% of people who have diabetes die from heart attack.

The ideal diet: The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) recommends eating the same amount of food each day at similar times, and following the diet prescribed for heart disease to control cholesterol levels. You should avoid saturated fat (found in fatty meats, poultry skin, butter, 2% or whole milk, ice cream, cheese, palm oil, coconut oil, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, lard, and shortening) and replace them with fat known to lower cholesterol, like olive or canola oil. Take 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, eat fish two to three times a week (especially tuna and salmon) and cut back on egg yolks, high-fat meat and poultry, and high-fat dairy products. Fiber is also very important, so load up on oatmeal, oat bran, dried beans and peas. To control blood sugar, diabetics need to keep a stable amount of carbohydrates at every meal.

Best bet for grains and starches (6 to 11 servings per day). Bread, cereal, rice, pasta, starchy vegetables like potatoes, dried beans such as pinto beans and black-eyed peas

Best bet for vegetables (3 to 5 servings per day). Spinach, chicory, sorrel, Swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce

Best bet for fruit (2 to 4 servings per day). Blackberries, cantaloupe, strawberries, oranges, apples, bananas, peaches, pears, apricots, and grapes.

Best bet for Meat and meat substitutes (4 to 6 ounces per day, divided between meals). Remove at off the meat before cooking or eating, and keep the portion sizes small (a 3-ounce serving is the size of a deck of playing cards). Meat replacements include tofu, eggs, dried beans, cheese, cottage cheese, and nut butters.

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