You’re at a birthday party and the sugary treats are abundant, so you think, “A little indulgence certainly won’t hurt.” The reality is that those who have diabetes can’t afford to let their guards down when it comes to certain foods, and sugar tops the list.
Whether you’ve been newly diagnosed with diabetes or you’ve had the chronic condition for some time, a quick review of dietary dos and don’ts is always a good idea. To help, our team here at Lone Star Bariatric, under the direction of Dr. Chad Carlton, MD, FACS, FASBMS, pulled together the following dietary adjustments you should make to better manage your diabetes.
We understand that scare tactics aren’t the best motivators, but we feel that any conversation about managing diabetes should include some of the very serious consequences of letting your guard down when it comes to your diet.
As you likely already know, as a result of diabetes, you either don’t produce enough insulin and/or your body is resistant to the insulin you do produce. Insulin is a hormone created by your pancreas, and its primary role is to signal your cells to gather glucose from your bloodstream for energy. If your insulin levels aren’t sufficient, glucose levels build up in your blood over time, which can lead to:
The good news is that there are several ways to avoid these terrible outcomes, especially when it comes to your diet.
There are several goals when it comes to watching what you eat when you have diabetes. Not only can you better manage your disease and avoid complications, you may even be able to halt or reverse your diabetes (if it’s type 2) if you pay close attention to your diet.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some key dietary adjustments.
Since diabetes causes higher-than-normal glucose levels in your blood, it follows that sugar tops the list in terms of dietary no-nos.
While we’re not suggesting that you cut sugar out entirely, you should be very aware of the foods that contain high levels of sugar, especially those that aren’t always obvious.
For example, you have a piece of cake in front of you, as well as a bowl of pasta with sauce, and you think, “I’ll be good and just eat the pasta and skip dessert.” Unfortunately, your body processes many carbohydrates as sugar (not to mention the high sugar content in most store-bought tomato sauces) so the trade-off isn’t all that great.
Another not-so-hidden sugar source to watch out for are beverages like sodas and sports drinks. These drinks contain the same amount of sugar as a bowl of ice cream in some instances, so be sure to watch what you eat and drink.
Our point here is that sugar lurks in many foods and drinks, and these sugars can add up, creating dangerously high levels of glucose in your system.
This same principle applies to foods with high concentrations of saturated or trans fats, which can be very harmful for those who have diabetes. Think fried foods, butter, bacon, cheese, and certain meats (especially cured meats, like salami).
While salt doesn’t directly affect your glucose levels, it can exacerbate your already strained cardiovascular health, as sodium can lead to high blood pressure.
Now that we’ve covered what you should limit, let’s take a look at the wide range of foods you should eat, including:
This list is only a small sample of the many foods that you should include in your diet to manage your diabetes. The point is, we promise that you’re not going to go hungry when you have diabetes, as there are plenty of great foods and drinks that won’t lead to high glucose levels.
If you’d like to learn more about the importance of making dietary adjustments when you have diabetes, contact one of our two locations in Plano or Waxahachie, Texas.