Sweet treats -- like candies and cakes were once off-limits for people with diabetes, however, not anymore.
In fact, research has shown that starches like potatoes and white bread affect blood sugar levels much like sugar which sometimes cause dangerous spikes in blood sugar. However, the non starchy carbohydrates found in most vegetables and whole grains don't affect blood sugar as much.
Counting carbs and choosing the healthiest of them is more important than eliminating sugar altogether. A little sweet treat is okay occasionally. If you're at a party or a wedding for instance, there is no reason why you cannot have a very small slice of cake. Just remember to substitute it for another starchy carb you might eat, like a potato or a slice of bread.
If you really have a sweet tooth, choose desserts, candy, and sodas made with sugar substitutes. Many artificial sweeteners have no carbs or calories so you don't need to count them in your meal plan. Others have carbohydrates that are absorbed into the blood stream more slowly than sugar, so they don't pose as great a threat to your blood sugar levels.
But do remember that once you come off sugar and sweeteners for a few weeks, your body and taste buds will adapt, and you won’t need or crave as much sweetness. Fruits and other natural foods will taste sweeter and more satisfying.
My subscribers regularly ask me whether diabetics should consume alcohol at all?
My view is that within limits, alcohol is fine. But there are exceptions. You shouldn't drink if your blood sugar levels are up and down like a yo-yo and aren't under control or if you have suffered nerve damage from your diabetes.
If you do drink, moderation is the key: up to one drink a day for women or up to two drinks a day for men.
Remember, one serving is:
- Five ounces or 150ml of wine
- 12 ounces or 330ml of beer, or
- 1.5 ounces or 40ml of hard liquor
A high-fiber diet can lower blood sugar levels. You ask how? Well, your body digests fiber-rich foods slowly which means glucose is absorbed into the blood gradually which in turn helps to control blood sugar levels.
But do remember that you have to eat a very high-fibre diet, more than 50 grams a day to attain this effect.
High-fiber diets have also been shown to help lower cholesterol levels and also help lose weight and it also helps you feel fuller and stay regular.
Fiber-rich foods include fresh vegetables and fruits, whole-grain bread and crackers, and bran cereal.
However, a word of caution here! Always check food labels for carbohydrates and sugars. Many high-fiber foods have sugar added to them some also have corn syrup the worst kind of sweetener.
A high protein diet can also help diabetics control their blood sugars, however, it can cause major health issues if you have kidney problems.
If you have kidney problems, the American Diabetes Association suggests you get just 15% to 20% of your calories from protein. And do choose protein such as beans, fish and chicken more often than fatty cuts of meat or red meats.
If you want to lose weight, eat a balanced diet daily that cuts calories by 500 calories a day. You should be able to lose 10% of your body weight without putting your kidneys at risk and avoid other health complications.
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