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Diabetic Diet Plan: Best and Worst Foods for Diabetes

Diabetic Diet Plan: Best and Worst Foods for Diabetes
Kevin Cleary

Diabetes is a chronic health ailment that affects how the body processes food into energy. To date, diabetes is considered a non-curable disease. However, it is plausible to manage diabetes and minimize its ill effects on the body. One of the first things one has to do to manage diabetes effectively is to practice mindful eating. A diabetes diet plan involves cutting unhealthy food habits and including foods that help control blood sugar.

Since diabetes is a disorder that causes our bodies to have trouble processing sugar by not producing enough insulin (a hormone that effectively regulates blood sugar) and eating foods with high amounts of processed sugar is not the greatest idea. Ensuring the body gets ample nutrients that are not hard to process is the prerequisite for efficacious diabetes management.  

A diabetes diet is when an individual indulges in eating the healthiest foods in moderate amounts and eats only at regular mealtimes, i.e., no binge eating at 3 am. Interestingly, a diabetes diet plan is perhaps the best eating plan for anybody trying to adopt an active and healthy lifestyle. It is a healthy eating plan with natural, nutrient-rich foods low in fat and calories.  

Why follow a Diabetic Diet Plan? 

Diabetic diets are not specific to diabetics or pre-diabetic patients. Most likely, dietitians recommend a diet list to ensure the person gets adequate nutrition without consuming excessive fat and calories. The plan enables one to control blood sugar, manage weight, and prevent the risk of developing chronic diseases (high or low blood pressure and heart attack). 

When the body is fed excessive calories and fats, it increases blood glucose levels unnecessarily. If the blood glucose levels go unmonitored, it can lead to grave consequences such as hyperglycemia and may cause long-term complexities such as nerve or kidney damage. 

One of the most effective ways to check blood glucose levels is to identify foods that cause blood sugar to spike and consistently refrain from eating junk food. Use blood glucose meters to keep an eye on your sugar levels. It is essential to develop habits of eating good food for diabetics. 

What does a Diabetes Diet Plan involve? 

A diabetic meal plan is largely developed around eating a balanced diet thrice a day. It helps better use the insulin produced by the body or acquired by medicines. Deciding the portion sizes depends on the person's activity levels and medical history. With the consultation of a registered dietitian, one can create a diet based on one's personal health goals, lifestyle, and taste. 

List of Best Foods for Diabetics

The idea behind a diabetic diet is to ensure that the body gets appropriate calories from nutritious foods, preferably vegetables and fruits, packed with healthy carbohydrates, high-fiber food items, and good fats.

chart for diabetic diet plan

1. Healthy Carbs 

While digesting the food, simple carbs, i.e., sugar, and complex carbs, i.e., starch, are broken down into blood glucose. It is recommended to focus on healthy carbohydrates, such as: 

  • Vegetables 
  • Fruits 
  • Legumes, such as beans and peas 
  • Whole grains 
  • Low-fat dairy products 

And avoid complex carbohydrates present in packaged foods. 

2. High-Fiber Foods 

The body cannot digest or absorb part of plant foods known as dietary fiber. Consuming fiber-rich foods moderates the digestion process and controls sugar levels. High-fiber foods for diabetics include -  

  • Fruits 
  • Vegetables 
  • Legumes 
  • Nuts 
  • Whole grains 

3. Good Fat 

Good fat is your friend. Foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help lower the cholesterol levels in the body and thus are known as good fat foods. Some examples of good fats are -  

  • Avocados 
  • Olive and peanut oils 
  • Nuts 

It is noteworthy that these foods are high in calories, and overuse of these may affect the body adversely. 


Foods That Can Worsen Diabetes 

Diabetes can cause severe heart problems due to frequent clogging and hardening of the arteries. Certain food items contain elements that can perturb a healthy-heart diet to a great extent. Therefore, it is crucial to identify foods that you need to avoid with diabetes. 

  • Saturated fats - Refrain from consuming dairy products with high-fat and animal proteins such as beef, hot dogs, butter, beef, and bacon. Limited use of coconut and palm kernel oils is also recommended to control the number of saturated fats in the body. 
  • Cholesterol - Some cholesterol sources include high-fat dairy products and animal proteins (egg yolks, liver, and meats). Prefer consuming not more than 200 mg of cholesterol per day. 
  • Trans fats - Refrain from consuming trans fats in processed snacks and baked goods. 
  • Sodium - High amounts of sodium in the diet can lead to high blood pressure. Prefer consuming less than 2300 mg of sodium a day. 

Planning a Diabetes Food Plan

Plan your meals how you like to help keep your blood glucose level within the normal range. There is no specific way of designing a diabetes diet plan. The American Diabetes Association offers a basic method of meal planning which focuses largely on eating veggies.  

Your dietitian can help you measure food portions, pay attention to serving size, and understand carbohydrate calculation. If you are on insulin, your medical help would also give you tips on adjusting insulin dosage.  

In addition to some effective diabetes food lists, you can also experiment with your diet by including diabetic nutrition drinks developed using vitamins and minerals proven effective in reducing and stabilizing sugar levels in the blood. These diabetic drinks also enhance energy levels, improve metabolism, and maintain a healthy weight, which is essential for older adults with diabetes.

Improper nutrition also causes several skin problems in diabetic patients. Following a diabetic diet plan and having the correct diabetes supplies helps in keeping up with diabetic foot care, skin care, & other diabetes-related problems. 

Results of a Diabetic Diet Plan 

Embracing a healthy eating diabetes diet plan wholeheartedly makes it easier to control and prevent complications of diabetes. If you are looking for a diabetic diet plan to lose weight, you can modify your existing plan and tailor it to suit your goals. Make sure to consult your dietician before planning your diet for diabetics. 

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HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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