A Healthy Type 2 Diabetes Diet
How Much Fiber Should I Eat?
Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods. It plays an important role in the digestive process as it helps move foods along the digestive tract, adding bulk to stool to help it pass through the bowel. In addition, diets high in fiber are associated with lower risks of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes.
- Delays sugar absorption, helping to better control blood sugar levels.
- Binds with cholesterol and may reduce the level of 'bad' LDL cholesterol in the blood.
- Is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
- Helps prevent constipation and reduces the risk of certain intestinal disorders.
- Promotes weight loss by helping to decrease caloric intake. (It adds bulk to the food we eat, making you feel fuller.)
The goal for all Americans is to consume about 30 grams of fiber per day. The best way to increase fiber intake as part of your type 2 diabetes diet 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 in a Type 2 Diabetes Diet
Since diabetes increases your risk of developing heart disease, eating foods lower in fat -- especially saturated fat -- is particularly important to keep that risk as low as possible. In addition, limiting calories from fat can help you lose any extra weight, especially when combined with an exercise program.
The major contributors of saturated fats in our diet come from cheese, beef, milk, and baked items. Trans fats also contribute to the increase risk of heart disease. These fats are vegetables oils that are harder; we recognize these as solid oils. Many of these are used in baking and frying.
Here are some general guidelines for selecting and preparing low-fat foods for your type 2 diabetes diet:
- Select lean meats including poultry, fish, lean red meats, and plant-based proteins. When preparing these foods, don't fry them. Instead, you can bake, broil, grill, roast, or boil.
- Select low-fat or nonfat dairy products such as low-fat cheese, skim milk, and products made from skim milk such as nonfat yogurt, nonfat frozen yogurt, evaporated skim milk, and buttermilk. Remember to include dairy products in your daily carbohydrate count.
- Use low-fat vegetable cooking spray when preparing foods or consider using cholesterol lowering margarine containing stanols or sterols. Examples include Benecol, Earth Balance, Smart Balance, and Take Control.
- Use liquid vegetable oils that contain poly- or monounsaturated fats which can help lower your 'bad' LDL cholesterol.
- Select lower fat margarines, gravies, and salad dressings and remember to watch the carbohydrate count on condiments and dressings.
- All fruits and vegetables are good low-fat choices. Remember to include fruit and starchy vegetables in your daily carbohydrate count.
A registered dietitian can provide more information on how to prepare and select low-fat foods.