Are you looking to learn more about what to eat and what not to eat with diabetes? While what we eat plays a major role in our overall health, and we all try to be mindful of it, paying attention to what you eat is even more critical for those living with diabetes.
Whether you have been newly diagnosed or have been living with diabetes for years, taking the time to learn how to improve your diet is never a bad idea. As one of the most effective ways to reduce the severity of your symptoms, dietary adjustments are often the first lifestyle change that medical providers suggest for those living with the disease.
If you are interested in learning more about how your dietary intake affects your diabetes, this article is for you. Read on to learn what foods to add to your diet and which to avoid, so you can start making healthier nutritional choices today.
A basic guide to the diabetic diet — what to eat and drink when you have diabetes
This article was created as a guide that explains how the diabetic diet works — breaking down some of its most confusing aspects and misconceptions in order to support those living with the disease. While we can all relate to how difficult it can be to change our diet (and the added pressure of a diabetes diagnosis doesn’t make it any easier), we hope this guide is a helpful resource for anyone looking to get started on a healthier future.
With this in mind, here is everything we want you to know about what to eat and drink with diabetes.
Understanding how certain foods affect your blood sugar levels
To be aware of what to eat and what not to eat in diabetes, we first need to better understand the core macronutrients that make up our food. As the primary building blocks for providing our body with energy, all food contains at least one of the following macronutrients:
Carbohydrates (bread, pasta, desserts, etc.)
Created from strings of sugar molecules, carbohydrates offer the body plenty of energy after they are consumed. But, while carbs provide many benefits when eaten as part of a balanced diet, eating more than your daily requirement of carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and difficulty maintaining stable blood glucose levels.
Protein (meat, fish, tofu, legumes, etc.)
As the building blocks of our muscles, proteins are made up of thousands of essential amino acids. Whether you get your protein from animal or plant-based products, eating enough protein is one of the best ways to suppress an overactive appetite.
Fat (animal and plant-based oils)
Full of fatty acids and calorie-dense for their volumes, fats have historically gotten a bad reputation. Previously believed to cause increased weight gain, full-fat products have since made a comeback as nutritionists now understand the importance of this essential macronutrient. Due to their caloric density, eating proper fat portions is a great way to remain satiated for longer after a meal or snack.
What to eat to control diabetes-related blood sugar spikes
Now that we better understand the basics of nutrition, we can look closely at how the foods that we eat impact our overall health. By following this guide for foods to eat or avoid, you can reduce the severity of your diabetes symptoms caused by the sometimes aggressive changes in your blood sugar levels caused by poor dietary habits.
As an option that both men and women can follow, the diabetic diet offers many health benefits for anyone looking to control their blood sugar levels. According to this diet, foods that you should add to your diet include:
As a healthy source of carbohydrates, whole grains are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help create a balanced diet. Examples of whole grains include ancient grain bread and whole wheat pasta.
Fresh or frozen vegetables
Known for being a healthy additive to any meal, vegetables are great for people living with diabetes because they have a low caloric density. This means that you can eat a higher volume (e.g., filling your plate) with fresh vegetables and still eat a relatively small amount of calories, which can be helpful for anyone looking to be more mindful of their nutritional intake.
Fruit is nature's candy, and it is totally worth adding it to your diet! From fresh and juicy berries on oatmeal to creamy bananas perfect for adding to your smoothie, fresh fruit can help curb sugar cravings, which can reduce your risk of experiencing a strong blood sugar spike.
Great for introducing some variety into your diet, lean proteins like chicken breast, lentils, white fish, and tofu can help balance your diet and reduce your snack cravings later in the day. Cooking these proteins in minimal oil can also help keep this meal light and easy to digest at any time of day.
When it comes to diabetes-safe beverages, you can never go wrong with water. As an essential part of the human body, water is responsible for keeping us hydrated and healthy. Whenever possible, drinking adequate amounts of water is a great way to stay fit while living with diabetes.
What to avoid to control diabetes-related blood sugar spikes
Now that we know what to eat and drink with diabetes, let's look at foods that are not ideal for people with diabetes. Examples of foods to avoid to better manage your blood glucose levels include:
White bread and processed grains
If you are a fan of desserts and white starchy bread, it may be time to reconsider your options. Full of carbohydrates without additional benefits, white bread, cereals, and store-bought desserts should be avoided if you are living with diabetes. These products can cause large-scale increases in your blood sugar levels shortly after being consumed.
Fried in oil and high in calories, eating fast food regularly can make it challenging to maintain a healthy body weight and manage blood sugar levels. Burgers, french fries, milkshakes, and more should be avoided whenever possible to encourage improved overall health.
Canned fruits in syrup
While fresh fruits can offer plenty of health benefits, canned or dried fruits are often covered in preservatives and extra sugars that can cause blood sugar spikes. Products like canned peaches, fruit cups, and fruit snacks should all be avoided as they are high in added sugar. Instead, choose fresh fruits to provide additional nutritional value with a great natural sweet taste.
Bacon or deep-fried meats
As delicious as bacon and fried meat may be, the high-fat content of these foods make them a poor choice for anyone trying to maintain an adequate body weight. If you are craving these products, we advise trying healthier options like turkey, bacon, or grilled meats instead.
Fruit juice or soda (including diet options)
Whenever possible, reducing the amount of soda and fruit juice you consume is a great way to cut back on the amount of sugar you drink throughout the day. This also includes diet soda, which despite not containing any real sugar, is still full of harmful chemicals and preservatives that should be avoided in order to maximize your health.
What to eat and what not to eat with diabetes — the bottom line
When it comes to our diets, it is near impossible to make the right decision every time we choose to eat. From cravings to family gatherings, there are many instances where sticking to the diabetic diet may not be feasible, and that is ok. Instead of getting caught up in being perfect with your diet, we highly recommend making slow and gradual adjustments that will begin to encourage healthier eating habits. Whether this means having one less soda a day or adding vegetables to your dinner, these small choices are the fundamental steps needed to make long-lasting changes in your overall health and diet.
Interested in learning more about everything related to diabetes? Read some of our other blog posts today to access easy-to-read resources about this often confusing topic.
Viasox is here to help
If you are looking for other ways to support your health while living with diabetes, look no further than our comfortable and fashionable line of non-binding diabetic socks.
At Viasox, we are proud to be the world’s first provider of fancy diabetic socks. Designed to provide plenty of health benefits, from improving lower extremity circulation to reducing your risk of developing diabetic neuropathy, our non-compression diabetic socks are a must-have for anyone looking to take better care of their feet.
Available for single pair or bulk package orders, all of our socks can be purchased online from the comfort of your own home. Simply browse our collection of styles, select your preferred model and size, and click to order. Within no time, our team will ship your new socks right to your doorstep, no matter where you are in the world.
Want to learn more about our available products? Connect with our team today! Whether you need extra help with your online order or have a specific product inquiry, we are here to help you find exactly what you are looking for.