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A Healthy Type 2 Diabetes Diet

Eating right is a big part of managing your diabetes. It can make a big difference in keeping your blood sugar level under control.

When you're building your diet, four of the main things to focus on are carbs, fiber, fat, and salt. Here's what you should know about each of them.

Did You Know?

Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive care services, including screening tests for type 2 diabetes, at no cost to you. Learn more.

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Carbs

Carbs give you fuel. They affect your blood sugar faster than fats or protein.

Carbohydrates are mainly found in the following food groups:

  • Fruit
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Bread, cereal, rice, pasta
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and beans

Some carbs are simple, like sugar. Other carbs are complex, like those found in beans, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains.

Complex carbohydrates are better for you because they take longer for your body to digest, giving you a steady source of energy. They also give you fiber.

What Is Carbohydrate Counting?

Carbohydrate counting is keeping track of the carbs you eat each day. Counting grams of carbohydrate, and splitting them evenly between meals, will help you control your blood sugar.

If you eat more carbohydrates than your insulin supply can handle, your blood sugar level goes up. If you eat too little, your blood sugar level may fall too low. These fluctuations can be managed by knowing how to count your carbohydrate intake.

You monitor how much carbohydrate (sugar and starch) you eat daily. One carbohydrate serving equals 15 grams of carbohydrates.

A registered dietitian can help you figure out a carbohydrate counting plan that meets your specific needs. For adults, a typical plan includes three to four carbohydrate servings at each meal, and one to two carbohydrate servings as snacks.

With carbohydrate counting, you can pick almost any food product off the shelf, read the label, and use the information about grams of carbohydrates to fit the food into your type 2 diabetes meal plan.

Carbohydrate counting is most useful for people who take multiple daily injections of insulin, use the insulin pump, or want more flexibility and variety in their food choices. But anyone can use it.

Fiber

Fiber comes from plant foods. It helps with digestion and blood sugar control. Fiber also makes you feel fuller, so you eat less, which is a plus if you need to lose weight.

High-fiber diets are linked to lower odds of getting high blood pressure and heart disease.

Most Americans don't eat enough fiber. The best way to get more fiber is to eat more of these fiber-rich foods:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Cooked dried beans and peas
  • Whole-grain breads, cereals, and crackers
  • Brown rice
  • Bran products

Fat

Diabetes makes you more likely to get heart disease. So limiting fat, especially saturated fat and artificial trans fats, is key.

The main sources of saturated fats are cheese, beef, milk, and baked items.

WebMD Medical Reference

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Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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Normal
70-130
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Your level is currently

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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