Diabetic Foods – Fact Or Fiction?

Diabetic foods: do they really exist?

What is a diabetic food anyway?

  • Something to control your blood sugar?
  • A product that can actually make your diabetes better?
  • A food to keep your glucose levels from getting worse?
  • Or something to cure diabetes?
  • Or a food to help you lose weight?

Or could the term “diabetic food” be interpreted in the opposite way: foods that cause diabetes?

Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a “diabetic food.” Food is just food.

But there are foods which raise the blood sugar more quickly than others, those with a high glycemic index. When these foods are eaten, the normal pancreas would respond with a surge of insulin, keeping blood sugars below about 160 mg/dL. In the diabetic, the pancreas cannot or does not produce sufficient insulin quickly enough to adequately control glucose levels. Additionally, in Type II diabetics, the cells of the body that utilize glucose for metabolic energy cannot absorb the extra glucose as quickly as it is produced.

Foods that often raise the blood sugar more quickly than diabetics can metabolize it include: sugar, alcohol, high-fructose corn syrup, fructose (fruit sugar) (in some people), white bread, white rice, white potatoes, pasta, and other simple carbohydrates and starches.

Foods that raise the blood sugar less quickly include whole grains, sweet potatoes (yes!), brown rice, vegetables, dairy products, and protein.

Because everyone likes to eat, diabetics included, the food industry has created a whole line of products sweetened with artificial sweeteners and alcohol sugars. The artificial sweeteners (Nutrasweet, Splenda, Truvia) are very low in calories and therefore do not elevate blood glucose like natural sugars. They are commonly found in diet drinks and sometimes in frozen confections and ice cream. These sweeteners do not bake or cook like sugar, however, and will not produce the same results as sucrose if substituted for sugar in a recipe. For baked goods Splenda Sugar Blend comes closest to producing the same texture and taste as regular sugar – because it contains half sugar, half Splenda.

Because the artificial sweeteners don’t work well in all situations, foods sweetened with alcohol sugars have come on the market. The alcohol sugars have about as many calories as regular sugar but do not elevate blood sugar levels as quickly. Alcohol sugars are used to sweeten “no sugar added” products including chocolates, other candies, ice cream, frozen confections, not to mention no-sugar-added pie. Cracker Barrel and Marie Callender, for example, both offer no-sugar-added pie. However, a single slice has nearly 500 calories, which is still too many for most diabetics to enjoy for dessert. The total number of calories in the daily diet is usually more important than the source of the calories. If you eat more calories than your body uses as a day, they will be stored as fat, which will only make diabetes worse.

Ideally a diabetic should eat the same food everyone else should eat: plants, mostly leaves.

If we all ate only what we could grow, we’d all lose weight. I’ve never known anyone to gain weight eating only lettuce, tomatoes, celery, carrots, apples, cucumbers, onions, peas, green beans, squash, bananas, melons, peaches, grapes, and plums. But adding salad dressing, or sugar, or butter, or frying these foods doubles or triples the calories and gets us in trouble.

For Type II diabetics, the overall answer is, number one, to eat less overall. Reduce your daily calories, lose weight, and your blood glucose is sure to be better controlled. Beyond that, limit simple sugars and carbohydrates (the “white” foods – sugar, flour, bread, pasta, rice, cereal, potatoes), especially processed foods. And if at all possible, find some sort of enjoyable exercise to substitute for the pleasure you derive from eating.

Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, M.D.

Ladies With Type 2 Diabetes Need Foods Rich in Magnesium!

Every woman who has Type 2 diabetes needs foods that are rich in magnesium. Here’s what you need know about why, what, and how to get the magnesium a diabetic body needs.

1. Why women who have Type 2 diabetes need to pay special attention to magnesium:

Researchers at the Department of Epidemiology and Program on Genomics and Nutrition, School of Public Health, and Center for Metabolic Diseases Prevention at the University of California at Los Angeles, have found that a relatively small amount of magnesium in the diet… just 100 mg a day… reduces markers of inflammation that are associated with tightened arteries and high blood pressure. Since inflammation fuels both weight gain and insulin resistance, getting 100 mg of magnesium a day should be a high priority for women with Type 2.

2. What do you need to eat to get magnesium?

You can get magnesium from any green plant food. Plants cannot make chlorophyll without magnesium… if it’s green and leafy, it definitely contains magnesium. You can tell which vegetables in the produce bin contain the most magnesium by looking at their stems and leaves. If the leaves slump inward, or if the stem is thin and limp, the plant was grown with a minimum of magnesium. Green vegetables with firm but tender stems and leaves that “stand up and salute you” are highest in magnesium.

Other good food sources of magnesium include nuts, seeds, and minimally processed whole grains. Magnesium is retained by stone grinding processes but lost in machine grinding processes. The magnesium in corn is much more readily available to the body if it’s been nictalized, the process used in Mexico to make masa for tortillas. The corn kernels are soaked in lye water, dried, and ground to make masa for tortillas or grits for breakfast cereal.

3. How you need to get your magnesium?

Since the magnesium in food is water-soluble, you shouldn’t mix high-magnesium foods with large amounts of high-fat foods, although up to a tablespoon (100 calories or 420kj) of fat at the same meal is a problem. It’s also better to avoid combining magnesium-rich foods with tannin-rich foods, such as tea and blueberries. And it’s also best not to combine your leafy greens with soy which contains many useful nutrients, but also some natural “soaps” that catch magnesium and other minerals.

4. What about supplements?

It’s better to get magnesium from food, rather than supplements, because of the range of nutrients in real food. If you take magnesium supplements, don’t take more than 400 mg at a time to give your body a chance to absorb the whole dose.

Diabetic Food List – Foods a Diabetic Can Eat

If you or those you love are affected by diabetes, healthy foods are so vital in sustaining your sugar level. Yes, it is true that you will need enormous self-control to comply with what a Registered Dietitian instructed you to eat but in the event you want a healthy living and quality life, sticking with diabetic food list is a must.

What’s the recommended daily food percentage?

Carbohydrates – about 50% to 60%

Carbs are divided into the simplest forms of sugar and glycemic index throughout the digestive procedure. If glycemic index turned out to be high this will cause blood sugar degree to rise quickly and will develop insulin resistant, diabetes and hypertension.

Checklist of Carbs Food Diabetic Can Eat

– Wheat bran, Barley, oats porridge.

– Fruits – apple, berries, citrus, pears, peaches, rubard, and plum.

– Vegetables – avocados, broccoli, beans, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, celery, lettuce, onions, mushrooms, peas, olives, pepper, tomatoes and spinach.

Checklist of Carbs Food Diabetic Should Avoid.

– Breakfast cereals -such as sugar coated cereals and cornflakes, white bread, biscuits, cakes, bagels, pancakes, doughnuts, bun muffins, white and brown rice.

– Fruit – Prunes, dates, watermelon.

– Vegetables – potatoes, broad beans, parsnip, Swede

Protein – about 12% to 20%

Protein is made up of compounds known as amino acids, the building blocks of all body tissue.

List of protein food that diabetic can eat

– Vegetables – millet, beans, lentils, soybeans

– Nuts – pine nuts, peanuts and Brazil

– Free range chicken and turkey (skin to be removed)

– Non-intensively reared – beef lamb, pork and veal

– Chicken eggs (NOT goose and duck eggs)

Fat – If you are diabetic, type of fat is important to control cholesterol level.

Fatty food that diabetic can eat

– Vegetables oils – sesame, pure olive, sunflower, soybean, Avocados

– Oily Fish – Tuna, salmon, mackerel, herrings

– Nuts and seed

– Spreadable Unsaturated Margarine

Fatty food list that you can consume sparingly

– Whole fat milk but skimmed milk is preferable

– Butter, cheese, cream, full fat yoghurt, frozen goodies

– Meat – pork and beef lamb

– Poultry – battery-framed chicken, goose, duck and turkey

– Eggs – particularly from battery farmed chickens

– Coconut oil.

Fatty food diabetic ought to avoid

– All processed foods like scotch eggs, sausage pies, and the likes

– Commercial foods that are fried like crisps, chips and battered fish

– Margarine especially the tough one

– Ready-made commercial foods such as biscuits, cakes and snack foods.

Fiber Our bodies cannot absorb a few of the food we eat if dietary fiber is absent in our system. Diabetic should also improve their intake of fiber rich foods. Fiber is a great defense from intestines disorders as well as colon cancer as well as for better bowel function. It’s usually recommended to have five portions of fiber-rich fruit and veggies a day.

Fiber food diebetic ought to eat

– Oats, oat bran, oatmeal, peas, fruit and beans barley

Diabetic food list can eat and by no means exhaustive. They are here to help you to decide what and just how much you can consume to manage your diabetes condition.

Foods to Include in a Diabetic Diet

It’s easy to say what a diabetic shouldn’t eat: sugars, simple carbohydrates, alcoholic beverages. Sometimes it seems that all the tasty foods are forbidden – pizza, donuts, cake, ice cream, brownies, etc.

Is a diabetic doomed to a diet of broccoli and broiled fish?

Not at all. For the most part, people can eat normal foods – but wisely.

The biggest problem diabetics have is consuming too many calories. Simply limiting caloric intake to 1500-1800 calories would stabilize blood sugars for many patients. Not only that, but body weight and serum cholesterol would drop as well. If you are diabetic and make only one change in your diet, choose to eat less.

Problem foods for diabetics are those that raise the blood glucose level rapidly. Sugar does, of course, but so do simple carbohydrates and alcohol. It doesn’t mean you cannot have even a bite of these foods, but that you need to use discretion, and limit portion size to only 100-200 calories a day. Avoiding the “white” foods is a good idea: white flour, white rice, white potatoes, white pasta. All of these turn to glucose in your blood stream nearly as quickly as sugar itself.

Beyond that, what should a diabetic eat? And why?

Some of the best foods for diabetics are fruits and vegetables, which are high in soluble fiber. These promote a feeling of fullness, help the bowels eliminate properly, add potassium, vitamins, and anti-oxidants to the diet, and generally are low in calories. Aim for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Among the fruits, those that are less sweet are desirable, such as apples, berries, and cantaloupe. The very sweet fruits such as watermelon and pineapple may be eaten, but in limited amounts. A cup full of watermelon has nearly the same number of calories as a cup of 7-up, and may raise your blood sugar equally. A large slice of watermelon may have as many calories as a hot fudge sundae.

Vegetables tend to have more fiber and fewer calories. Lettuce, spinach, celery, cucumbers, cabbage,radishes,onions, leeks,kale, and other greens may be eaten as desired. Carrots have a higher glycemic index, but it’s difficult to eat too many carrots. Green beans and pea pods are good since they include the low-calorie pod. Beans and peas are high in fiber, a good source of protein, but higher in calories than the salad-type vegetables. Corn is actually a grain, not a vegetable, but is preferable to a processed grain such as white flour or cereal.

If not for toppings, a diabetic could eat an unlimited amount of salad. Dressing may add hundreds of calories, as may other toppings such as eggs, croutons, seeds, and bacon bits. Tasty low-calorie dressings are an option, or using a small amount of regular dressing. Again, portion size is vital. A restaurant portion of regular dressing for a large salad is easily 500 calories, whereas a large portion of diet dressing may be under 100.

Most diabetics love carbohydrates, but limiting these to whole grains is a good idea. And although oatmeal has been touted as a health food, processed oatmeal is metabolize nearly as quickly as sugar-coated cereal. If you like oatmeal, choose unprocessed steel-cut oats (but note, these take much longer to cook).

Everyone needs protein in the diet, to keep muscles strong and healthy. While it’s possible to consume sufficient protein from a vegetarian diet, most people prefer to add animal products such as fish, chicken, eggs, or meat. Many diabetics have high cholesterol levels, and therefore should avoid red meat and excess eggs. Lean meat such as chicken, fish, or turkey is preferable, but watch out for salted lunch meat, which may raise your blood pressure.

Five daily servings of calcium foods should be included in the diet (1500 mg) in the form of green leafy vegetables or dairy products. Skim milk, low-fat cheese, and artificially sweetened yogurt are good choices.

Lastly, what about dessert? Nowadays many desserts are available in no-sugar-added varieties, including ice cream, cookies, and pies. These are sweetened with alcohol sugars, which do not raise the blood glucose as quickly as regular sugar, but are equally high in calories. A bowl of berries with a little sugar-free ice cream is a reasonable choice.

Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, M.D.