10 Diabetes Diet Myths
Myth 4: Protein Is Better Than Carbohydrates for Diabetes.
Because carbs affect blood sugar levels so quickly, you may be tempted to eat less of them and substitute more protein. But too much protein may lead to problems for people with diabetes.
The main problem is that many foods rich in protein, such as meat, may also be filled with saturated fat. Eating too much of these fats increases your risk of heart disease. In a diabetes diet, protein should account for about 15% to 20% of the total calories you eat each day.
Myth 5: You Can Adjust Your Diabetes Drugs to 'Cover' Whatever You Eat.
If you use insulin for your diabetes, you may learn how to adjust the amount and type you take to match the amount of food you eat. But this doesn't mean you can eat as much as you want, and then just use more drugs to stabilize your blood sugar level.
If you use other types of diabetes drugs, don't try to adjust your dose to match varying levels of carbohydrates in your meals unless instructed by your doctor. Most diabetes medications work best when they are taken consistently as directed by your doctor.
Myth 6: You'll Need to Give Up Your Favorite Foods.
There’s no reason to stop eating what you love. Instead, try:
- Changing the way your favorite foods are prepared
- Changing the other foods you usually eat along with your favorite foods
- Reducing the serving sizes of your favorite foods
- Using your favorite foods as a reward for following your meal plans
A dietitian can help you find ways to include your favorites in your diabetes meal plans.
Myth 7: You Have to Give Up Desserts if You Have Diabetes.
False! Here are some ways that you can have your cake and eat it, too:
- Use artificial sweeteners.
- Practice portion control. Instead of two scoops of ice cream, have one. Or share a dessert with a friend.
- Use desserts as an occasional reward for following your meal plan.
- Make desserts more nutritious. Use whole grains, fresh fruit, and vegetable oil when preparing desserts. Many times, you can use less sugar than a recipe calls for without sacrificing taste or consistency.
- Expand your horizons. Instead of ice cream, pie, or cake, try fruit, a whole wheat oatmeal-raisin cookie, or yogurt.
Myth 8: Artificial Sweeteners Are Dangerous for People With Diabetes.
Artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than the equivalent amount of sugar, so it takes less of them to get the same sweetness found in sugar. This can result in eating fewer calories than when you use sugar.
Artificial sweeteners have received much attention from the media and researchers. Opinions about them are conflicting. The American Diabetes Association approves the use of several artificial sweeteners in diabetes diets, including:
- Saccharin (Sweet'N Low)
- Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)
- Acesulfame potassium (Sunett)
- Sucralose (Splenda)
There are more “natural” sweeteners coming on the market that may give better options. In the meantime, a dietitian can help you determine which sweeteners are best for which uses, whether in coffee, baking, or cooking.