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10 Diabetes Diet Myths

Myth 3: Carbohydrates Are Bad for Diabetes.

In fact, carbohydrates (or "carbs," as most of us call them) are good for diabetes. They form the foundation of a healthy diabetes diet -- or of any healthy diet.

Carbs have the greatest effect on blood sugar levels, which is why a diabetes diet asks you to monitor how many of them you eat. But they also contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. So choose those with the most nutrients, such as whole-grain breads, and high-fiber fruits and vegetables. You may find it easier to select the best carbs if you meet with a dietitian.

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. Talk to your dietitian or doctor about how much protein is right for you.

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.

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