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The Basics of a Healthy Diabetes Diet

Despite what you may have heard, there is no single "diabetes diet." The same healthy foods that are good for you are good for everyone else.

But people with diabetes must carefully track how many carbohydrates they get each day. Carbs have more impact on blood sugar than fats or protein.  Most people with diabetes also have to watch how much fat and protein they get, too.

Making smart food choices helps you keep your blood sugar levels in check. Ask your doctor, a dietitian, or a diabetes educator for advice on exactly what you need.

Diabetes and Glycemic Index

The glycemic index ranks how various foods affect blood sugar levels.  

Foods that are low on the glycemic index have less impact on blood sugar after meals than foods that are high on the glycemic index.

Talk to your doctor, a registered dietitian, or a diabetes educator and ask if the glycemic index might help you gain better control of your blood sugar levels.

Eating Right With Diabetes

Don't get stuck in a rut. Choose foods of different colors. That's an easy way to make sure that you are eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and lean protein.  

Watch your calories. Your age, sex, and activity level affect how many calories you need to gain, lose, or maintain your weight.

Go for fiber. You get fiber from plant foods: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts. Studies suggest that people with type 2 diabetes who eat a high-fiber diet can improve their blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Serving Sizes and Diabetes

Be sure to eat only the amount of food in your diabetes meal plan. Extra calories lead to extra fat and pounds.

In people with type 2 diabetes, extra body fat means less sensitivity to insulin.

Do not skip meals. Eat meals and snacks at regular times every day. If you are taking a diabetes medicine, eat your meals and take your medicine at the same times each day.

What Is the TLC Diet for Diabetes?

If you have high cholesterol as well as diabetes, your doctor will probably recommend the TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) plan.

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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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