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The Basics of a Healthy Diabetes Diet

What Is the TLC Diet for Diabetes? continued...

TLC includes a cholesterol-lowering diet, losing extra weight, and becoming more active. That helps lower your risk of getting heart disease, which is more common in people with diabetes.

Specifically, the TLC diet calls for the following:

  • Limiting fat to 25%-35% of total calories eaten per day.
  • Getting no more than 7% of your daily calories from saturated fat, 10% or less from polyunsaturated fats, and up to 20% from monounsaturated fats (like plant oils or nuts).
  • Devote 50% to 60% of your daily calories from carbs.
  • Aim for 20-30 grams of fiber per day.
  • Protein should account for about 15%-20% of total calories eaten per day.
  • Cap cholesterol at less than 200 milligrams per day.

Getting more exercise and keeping up with your medical treatment are also key.

Sugar and Diabetes

You might have heard that people with diabetes shouldn't have any table sugar. While some health care professionals say that, others take a more forgiving view.

Most experts now say that small amounts of sugar are fine, as long as they are part of an overall healthy meal plan. Table sugar does not raise your blood sugar any more than starches do, which are found in many foods.

Remember that sugar is a carb. Substitute, don't add. When you eat a sugary food, such as cookies, cakes, or candy, substitute them for another carbohydrate or starch (for example, potatoes) that you would have eaten that day.

Make sure that you account for this in your carbohydrate budget for the day. Readjust your medications if you do add sugars to your meals. If you take insulin, adjust your insulin dose for the added carbohydrates so you can maintain blood sugar control as much as possible. Check your blood sugar after eating sugary foods.

Read food labels so you know how much sugar or carbohydrates are in the foods that you eat. Also check on how many calories and how much fat are in a serving.

Ultimately, the total grams of carbohydrates matters more than the source of the sugar.

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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