Best Diets When You Have Diabetes
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Eating right can help you control your blood sugar, keep track of your weight, and feel better. Several well-known and popular diet plans may give you a roadmap to do just that. You’ll want to choose something you can follow, with foods you like, so you can stick to it.
Start with the basics.
Watch your portions and calories. Cut back on fried foods, sweets, sugary drinks, and any salty or fatty foods. Focus instead on plenty of vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, fruits, and healthy fats. You may need to eat every few hours to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Your doctor or diabetes educator can help you fine-tune your diet so that it works for you.
You don’t have to give up carbohydrates just because you have diabetes. If you want to try limiting them, like the Atkins or South Beach diets, talk to your doctor.The research on the benefits of a low-carb diet for type 2 diabetes is still mixed. But a review written by 25 leading experts says this style of diet should be the first step in managing the disease because it can “reliably lower high blood sugar.”
The Mediterranean Diet
This heart-healthy diet uses plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as fish, chicken, nuts, olive oil, beans, and whole grains. Things you won’t eat often. Red meat, butter and salt. Studies have shown that this diet can help control blood sugar levels. You can drink wine with meals, but the American Diabetes Association recommends no more than one glass a day if you’re a woman and two glasses if you’re a man.
Nutritionists recommend this diet plan, designed to help lower blood pressure, to many people because it emphasizes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, lean meats, fish, nuts, and beans. (It does allow for some sweets, too. You should eat those in moderation.) A 2011 study found that it can improve insulin sensitivity when it’s part of an overall weight loss plan with exercise.
The Zone Diet
The goal is to keep blood sugar levels stable. The diet consists of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. Carbohydrates are ranked according to the glycemic index for good or bad. You’ll eat foods like chicken and barley, but not potatoes and egg yolks.A 2015 study found that it has a positive effect on blood sugar control and waistline, so it may be a good choice. Just ask your doctor.
You get a certain number of points to “consume” when you eat. Most vegetables have zero points, so you can eat whatever you want, while fast food and desserts are assigned high point values. Research shows this works. And the company offers a program for people with type 2 diabetes that includes fitness advice and support from a professional counselor who treats the disease.
Pre-packaged Weight Loss Meals
Whether it’s delivered to your home or picked up at the grocery store, there are a wide variety of ready-made meals out there. Be careful. They can have a long list of ingredients, and they’re not always diabetes-friendly. Some brands, like Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig, offer meals tailored to diabetes. Check with your doctor to help you narrow down your choices.
The idea behind this fad diet is to eat the way early humans did before modern agriculture, when we were hunter-gatherers. This meant no dairy products, refined sugars, grains or legumes, and no processed vegetable oils such as soybean or canola oil. You could eat fruits and vegetables, lean meat (preferably grass-fed), fish, nuts and seeds. This sounds healthy, but there is little scientific data to study how it affects diabetes.
Gluten is a protein found in grains, including wheat, rye, and barley. People with digestive disorders such as celiac disease need to avoid it. The popular belief is that gluten-free foods will help you lose weight, improve your digestive system, and boost your energy. But these claims are not supported by science. Plus, everything from salad dressings to vitamins have gluten in them. There’s no need to follow this diet unless your doctor recommends it.
Vegetarian and vegan diets
Limiting or avoiding animal products like chicken, fish, and yogurt can be a healthy way to eat. Just get plenty of fresh produce and other whole foods instead of gorging on meatless “chicken” nuggets from a box. Studies show that people who eat a plant-based diet get more fiber and take in fewer calories and fat than non-vegans. However, be sure to consult with your registered dietitian to make sure your vegetarian or vegan diet meets your nutritional needs.
People who follow this diet believe that cooking at high temperatures destroys important nutrients in food. They eat lots of fresh produce, seeds, and nuts, and they cook with the help of gadgets like blenders and dehydrators. While this way of eating is likely to help you lose weight, there’s no evidence that it does anything to improve diabetes symptoms. The bottom line. There are healthier, more effective diets out there.
The Alkaline Diet
The theory behind this diet is that foods like wheat, meat, and sugar make your body more acidic, which can lead to long-term disease. Foods such as vegetables and seeds, on the other hand, can change your body’s chemistry and make it more alkaline, helping you lose weight and stay healthy. There is very little research to support these ideas, so ignore this for now.
Fasting or Intermittent Fasting
All the different fasting diets out there are based on the idea that taking occasional breaks from eating can help you lose weight and possibly fight chronic diseases. But going too long without food can be dangerous for diabetics. It can lead to problems like hypoglycemia and dehydration.