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Dietary Dos and Don'ts When You Have Diabetes

There’s no secret to healthy eating when you have diabetes, though sometimes it can be difficult to implement around the demands of a busy life or to break habits you’ve had for decades. 

The goal of healthy eating with diabetes is to reduce and stabilize the levels of sugar in your blood. The medications you take also help you to accomplish this. Successfully living with diabetes takes a balanced effort that produces consistent results. 

It also takes a team. The doctors at Alpha Internal Medicine specialize in diabetes management, a primary medical contact around which to base your care. The better you control blood sugar levels, the less chance diabetes has to cause complications, including heart, kidney, or nerve damage. The team at AIM can help you understand the dos and don’ts of a successful diabetes eating plan. 

Do aim for consistency

Blood sugar levels can vary widely throughout the day. Anything that helps to minimize the swing of blood sugar levels is typically a good idea. Planning three evenly spaced meals at the same time each day is an excellent foundation upon which to build. 

Do choose complex carbohydrates

Green, leafy vegetables and ordinary table sugar are both carbs. Your body breaks down carbs and converts them into the glucose that powers every cell in your body. The difference between vegetables and sugar, though, is how the body works to accomplish this. Simple carbs like sugar and other processed foods don’t take much processing, and they can enter your bloodstream quickly, causing blood sugar spikes. Vegetables and other complex carbs, including whole grains and legumes, take time for your body to process, so the resulting glucose releases slowly, in a more balanced manner. 

Do choose fiber-rich foods

Many of the complex carb choices you make also have the benefit of being rich in dietary fiber. This is content in plant-based food that isn’t absorbed by your digestive system. Though fiber doesn’t contribute to the glucose load, it does help control the pace of digestion, again moderating blood sugar levels. 

Don’t ignore hidden sugar

Dropping sugar-laden soft drinks is an obvious reaction to a diabetes diagnosis, and many people think of fruit juices as a healthy alternative. However, this is far from true. Even freshly squeezed juice robs you of the fiber that makes fresh fruit a smart choice. Your juice choice may have hidden processed sugars added during packaging. Other foods may be surprising sources of hidden sugar, too, including pasta sauces, salad dressing, and yogurt. Learn to read food labels and make your own alternatives from fresh, controlled sources. 

Don’t rely on highly processed foods

Since processing breaks down carbs and starches and leads to blood sugar spikes, minimizing your intake of highly processed foods helps your goal of balancing sugar levels. The closer the foods you eat are to their natural form then, generally speaking, the better they are for balancing blood sugar levels. 

This is just the start of healthy eating for diabetics. Portion control is another problem area for many, and those carrying extra pounds often see improved blood sugar control through weight loss. Contact Alpha Internal Medicine by phone or online to schedule a diabetes consultation. Your health depends on an active approach. Start it today. 

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