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Quiz: What Can You Eat If You Have Diabetes?

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You can’t have desserts if you have diabetes.

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You can’t have desserts if you have diabetes.

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If you have diabetes, don’t worry that you’ll never taste your favorite ice cream or pie again. You can still have desserts, but save them for special occasions and only have a small scoop or a thin slice. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate, and carbohydrates make your blood sugar go up more and faster than protein or fat. If you have diabetes, you’ll need to track your carbs. If you crave something sweet, have a piece of fruit.

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When you have diabetes, snacking is a good idea.

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When you have diabetes, snacking is a good idea.

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Knowing when to eat and what to snack on can help keep your blood sugar at healthy levels. Have snacks when you are hungry or if your blood sugar gets low between meals. The best snacks combine carbohydrates, protein and fat to satisfy your hunger. Other good choices include a piece of fruit, half a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread or a few cups of low-fat microwave popcorn.

You should eat a lot of this if you have diabetes:

You should eat a lot of this if you have diabetes:

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Fiber is a carbohydrate like sugars and starches. But because your body doesn’t digest fiber, it doesn’t affect your blood sugar. Foods high in fiber also help make you feel full. Get your fiber by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole-grain foods like 100% whole wheat bread and whole oats. And be sure to keep the skin on fruits and veggies; that’s where most of the fiber is. One cup of raw spinach has about 5 grams of fiber. One slice of whole wheat bread has 3. All women need at least 25 grams of fiber a day; men should get at least 38 grams a day.

It’s OK to skip a meal so you can eat a really big meal later.

It’s OK to skip a meal so you can eat a really big meal later.

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If you have diabetes, it’s important that you eat regularly to keep your blood sugar levels steady. If you miss a meal, your blood sugar level might drop too low and you might feel shaky, nauseated, or dizzy. Your blood sugar can also spike too high after a big meal. Spacing out your meals – and how many carbohydrates you eat – will make your diabetes easier to control. During the day, try to eat meals every four to five hours and have snacks in-between.

Besides carbs, you should watch your:

Besides carbs, you should watch your:

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People with diabetes have a bigger risk of having high blood pressure, which can cause heart disease. Too much salt can make your blood pressure high, and most people get way more salt than they need. To cut down on salt, eat fewer canned and processed foods. Use herbs and spices to flavor your food. If you want a snack, choose a piece of fruit or some vegetables instead of salty chips or pretzels. Limit your salt intake to 2,300 mg a day at most. That's less than 1 teaspoon, but salt adds up quickly, even if you don't sprinkle it on your meal.

If you want to eat a potato, choose a:

If you want to eat a potato, choose a:

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People with diabetes don’t need to give up carbs, but they do need to pick healthy carbs over unhealthy ones like white bread and pastries. Both white and sweet potatoes have healthy carbs and are good sources of vitamins, potassium, and fiber. Sweet potatoes do have a slight advantage: they don’t raise blood sugar as much as white potatoes.

You can eat as much sugar-free food as you want.

You can eat as much sugar-free food as you want.

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Sugar-free isn’t the same as carbohydrate-free or calorie free. While some sugar substitutes don’t have carbohydrates, many do. And some sugar-free food can affect your blood sugar as much as foods with sugar. How can you tell? Check the food label to see how many grams of carbohydrate are in each serving. Foods made with “sugar alcohols” like sorbitol are high in carbohydrates and can give you stomach aches or diarrhea if you eat a lot of them.

What should you eat if your blood sugar is high?

What should you eat if your blood sugar is high?

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If you feel OK but your blood sugar is higher than normal, eat your regular meals and take your medicines at the usual times. Try drinking several glasses of water and moving around more. Check and record your blood sugar every four hours until it is back to normal. Call your doctor if you are concerned about it or have unusual symptoms. Also call if your blood sugar keeps going up.

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