Regular monitoring of the blood glucose is required to maintain healthy insulin productions, and part of this process includes paying close attention to the food you eat, and how it affects your glucose. While this sounds like a lot of work, many of the health and diet recommendations for people with type 2 diabetes are literally no different than those advised by health professionals for a normal, healthy lifestyle. An ideal diet for most individuals, diabetic or otherwise, typically consists of fiber rich plant based foods, lean proteins, and slow-digesting carbohydrates.
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In a fast-food designed world where few people have time to eat healthy meals, much less actively exercise, getting your diet on-track can feel overwhelming. One of the most important places to start is with your carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates have the most direct effect on your blood glucose levels because they immediately break down into sugar in your bloodstream. Foods high in fiber tend to also be high in carbohydrates, and depending on your doctor’s specific recommendations, you will be required to count and achieve a certain number of carbohydrates for every meal and snack time.
Counting carbohydrates may sound complicated, but with proper food labeling and accurate serving measures, you can easily prepare and consume the recommended number of carbohydrates without much hassle. When counting carbohydrates, one serving is equal to 15 grams of carbohydrates, and eating 30 to 45 grams of carbohydrates is recommended at each meal.
Fiber is another important part of a healthy diet, especially for people with type 2 diabetes. Fiber helps control blood sugar levels by slowing down the body’s absorption of sugar. It speeds up digestion, makes you feel fuller, and promotes healthy weight-loss, which is often recommended for obese patients with type 2 diabetes.
Between 25 and 30 grams of fiber are recommended each day. Fiber is found in foods like whole grain breads and cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables and cooked dried beans. Label reading is just as important in gauging fiber intake as it is with carbohydrate intake, and a carefully planned balance between the two are essential to maintaining a proper diet.
Heart disease is a major risk factor for people with type 2 diabetes, which means you also need to take inventory of the number of saturated fats you consume each day. Properly prepared, low-fat dairy products, lean cuts of meat, fish and vegetable oils containing monounsaturated fats not only help contribute to healthy weight loss, but combined with fiber, can help reduce cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease.
Conscious eating combined with blood glucose monitoring are essential in getting your diet and your type 2 diabetes under control. When first diagnosed, it may feel overwhelming and even impossible to stick to the diet recommendations presented to you by your doctor. Over time these changes will become second nature, making it easy and even a little exciting for you to experiment with new recipes and foods you might not have tried otherwise.