The Ultimate Meal Planning Guide For Diabetics

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Diabetics Image Design 1 - The Ultimate Meal Planning Guide For DiabeticsWhen you learn you have diabetes, you can initially worry that your life is over. This is viewed as a disease that takes over your life since it controls what you eat and don’t eat.

While you will need to make a slight change to your diet, you’ll find that your diet and lifestyle are much healthier than before. You’ll find that with the right diet you have more sustained energy, better mental health, and much more.

People with diabetes need to follow a low-sugar diet. More specifically, you want a low-GI diet. This is a low glycemic index diet. The GI of food is determined by the way the glucose reacts within your body. Food that causes a spike in the blood sugar and insulin levels will have a higher GI than those that offer sustain, normal blood sugar levels.

The great news is that with some simple planning you can fit in a low GI diet into your normal lifestyle. Nobody has to know that you are following a special diet to control your diabetes. It’s all about meal planning and thinking ahead. Here is your ultimate guide to meal planning and managing your diet as a diabetic patient.

Prepare for a Healthier Diet

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Start with some preparation tips in your home. You want to go through your fridge and cupboards to make sure you only have the food that is going to be good for you. The main focus right now is eating the right foods on a daily basis; the foods that won’t cause a spike in your blood sugars.

The first stuff to get rid of in your home is the refined sugars and processed foods. You want to get rid of chocolate, biscuits, cakes, cookies, and more. If they remain in your house, they will constantly call out to you. They become a temptation that you reach for quickly when your willpower slips. If they’re not in the house, while you may have cravings you’re less likely to reach out for them.

Talk to a registered dietician. While your doctor will try to help, doctors aren’t necessarily trained in the perfect diet. A registered dietician will know all about the best diets for diabetes patients. They’ll be able to help you learn more about the sugars in foods. You may be surprised to learn that some natural sugars may be off limits, especially foods that are high in natural sugars.

Once you have all the bad stuff out of the house, stock your cupboards full of high fiber, high protein, and low sugar foods. Look out for vegetables and some fruits, legumes and nuts, and whole grains. Lean meats are your friends, and you’ll want to keep an eye out for foods that have healthy, unsaturated fats.

It will take time to get used to this new diet. The best thing to do when you start is making a list of your goals. What do you want to achieve from following this diet? Most diets are about losing weight, but you may just want to prevent your diabetes from getting worse. With the right diet, you could find you rely less and less on medication for your insulin levels. Could this be your goal right now?

Discuss your goals with your dietician and your doctor. Your doctor will want to track your insulin and blood sugar levels, anyway, and will be able to help set reasonable milestones to protect the rest of your health.

Don’t despair with your diabetes diagnosis. Yes, there are stories of people losing limbs, but this is with uncontrolled diabetes. With the right diet and proper medication levels, you can keep your diabetes under control to look after your overall health.

Candy and alcohol aren’t completely banned from the diet. There is now diabetic friendly chocolate out there. Don’t just replace your current chocolate with it. Treat it as a once-every-now-and-then treat. It’s all about moderation.

As for alcohol, you’ll want to keep the amount you drink to a minimum. A registered dietician will be able to advise you on the levels and types of alcohol to drink. Watch out for the sugary beverages, especially white wine, cider, and anything with fruit juices.

It’s Not Just About the Food You Eat

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Before we get into a meal plan guide, it’s worth noting that your diabetes diet isn’t just about the type of food you eat. Your portion sizes will affect your diabetes.

While you want to cut back on the refined sugars, you will also want to keep your natural sugar intake down. Natural sugars are in more than you would think. Fruits are one of the common culprits, but you can also get natural sugars in starchy foods and dairy. You’ll want to watch on the levels that you have.

To help get dairy and fruit into your diet, enjoy them with your meals rather than as a snack. You can have a piece of fruit as your dessert and a glass of milk in place of your water. This will help balance out the natural sugars with fiber and protein. When you get the mixed nutrients, your body will handle the natural sugars slightly differently and break them down slower than without the other nutrients.

Opt for more vegetables instead of fruits. Vegetables are lower in natural sugars, while higher in fiber. They’re made up of mostly water and fiber, which will keep your digestive system in check and help to keep your body hydrated. Vegetables also have fewer calories than anything else you eat.

Starchy foods aren’t completelyoff limits, but you will need to watch your portion sizes. Look out for potatoes, sweet potatoes, and whole grains. Brown pasta, rice, and bread are much better than their white varieties. The whole wheat and whole grain options have more fiber to help prevent too many sugars breaking down quickly into the bloodstream.

Protein and healthy fats are a must as part of your diabetes diet. Lean meats are necessary. You want to avoid the fatty cuts. Fatty meats aren’t just bad for your diabetes, but bad for your overall health. Look out for low-fat cheeses and stock up on more eggs. If you are vegan or vegetarian, opt for more nuts and legumes to get your protein and healthy fats.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

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Many people think that skipping breakfast is a good way to lose weight. It could make your diabetes worse.

Your blood sugar levels will be naturally higher in the morning. Your body will naturally create glucose through the night to offer energy. The problem is this glucose will cause spikes in your insulin production. You’ll find that doctors recommend you take medication on a morning to help manage your insulin levels.

One of the best things you can do on a morning is grab something to eat. If you are regularly in a rush or you don’t like to eat anything heavy, look out for light, on-the-go breakfasts. You can make your own. An overnight oatisa popular option for those looking for something quick. It’s full of Greek yogurt (make sure it’s plain and low in sugar), oats, and some fruit. Left overnight in the fridge, the yogurt will soak into the oats to soften them, and you get a taste of natural sweetness on a morning.

Eating breakfast is good for you, anyway. You give your metabolism a kick start, which will help with weight loss. Diabetes patients can find it harder to lose weight due to the way their body struggles with insulin and glucose levels. Giving your metabolism a helping hand on a morning will help you manage this issue.

Seven Day Meal Plan for Diabetics

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Sometimes you just want someone to create a diabetic meal plan for you, right? A registered dietician will be able to help with this. However, this seven-day meal plan will help give you a start. If there is anything on this list that you don’t like, look out for a healthy alternative to work with the meals. It’s worth having a few go-to choices in your cupboard for any recipe you find.

Where there isn’t a drink mentioned with your meals, stick with tea/coffee or water.

Day 1

Breakfast: Porridge with some raisins, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon; glass of skimmed milk; 1 kiwi

Lunch: Minestrone with a small turkey and spinach sandwich; handful of grapes; water

Dinner: Omelet with red pepper and asparagus and a spinach side salad; Greek yogurt with fruit and bran flakes; glass of skimmed milk

Snacks: Whole wheat crackers with low-fat cheddar cheese; homemade diabetic-friendly muffins

Between your meals, try to stick to just water to drink. You can also enjoy some tea and coffee. Avoid fruit juices, as they are full of natural sugars that will metabolize quickly.

Day 2

Breakfast: high fiber cereal of choice with walnuts and skimmed milk; 1 pear

Lunch: whole wheat pita bread pizza with vegetables of choice; carrot and celery sticks; up to 2 plums

Dinner: Salmon with baked potato, cauliflower, and broccoli; peach; skimmed milk

Snacks: mixed vegetables sticks with a low-fat ranch dressing; protein bar

Day 3

Breakfast: whole grain toast with some scrambled eggs; 1 apple

Lunch: Salmon salad with mixed greens and plenty of vegetables; unsweetened applesauce and whole grain roll; skimmed milk

Dinner: Tofu stir fry with brown rice; portion of melon

Snacks: homemade trail mix with mixed nuts and dried fruit; whole wheat pita with hummus and skimmed milk

Hummus is made with chickpeas, making it full of protein and fiber. You can make your own or look for a healthy store-bought option. Just watch out for the additives in grocery store options.

Day 4

Breakfast: Banana and peanut butter in whole wheat tortilla wrap; soy beverage or skimmed milk

Lunch: Chicken and bulgur salad with plenty of mixed greens and vegetables; 1 apple

Dinner: Pork chop with baked sweet potato and green beans; gingersnap cookies; skimmed milk

Snacks: plain granola bar; pumpernickel break with melted low-fat cheese and sliced apple; chai tea

You can make your granola bars. They can make good breakfasts on the go and will last for a few days in an airtight tub.

Day 5

Breakfast: Breakfast sandwich on whole grain bread; Plain Greek yogurt with some berries; baby carrots

Lunch: Black bean and couscous salad; bell pepper slices; skimmed milk

Dinner: whole grain roti with beef and diced baked potato and onion; broccoli; dried apricots

Snacks: Homemade whole wheat orange scone and milk; air-popped popcorn with seasoning of choice

Popcorn on its own is low in sugar. It’s one of the healthiest snacks you can get. Top with Italian seasoning, nutmeg, or another herb/spice in your cupboard. Avoid the toffee and salt.

Day 6

Breakfast: Breakfast smoothie with strawberries, banana, and skimmed milk; whole grain toast with scrambled or hard-boiled eggs

Lunch: Green veg salad with chapatti and lentils; plain soy milk

Dinner: spinach and mushroom lasagne with a side salad; grapes

Snacks: 1 pear; homemade guacamole with melba toast or homemade pita chips; celery sticks

Day 7

Breakfast: Homemade French toast with whole grain bread; spinach and mushrooms; 1 peach

Lunch: Black bean, pepper, and onion quesadillas made with whole grain tortillas; skimmed milk; 1 orange

Dinner: Tandoori haddock with broccoli and brown rice; homemade rhubarb and apple loaf

Snacks: mixed whole grain cereals; skimmed milk; 1 apple; handful of almonds

Watch Your Carb Intake

Carbs are the part of the foods that sugar. You want to watch some overall carbs you get into your diet, even the good ones. The ideas above will give you between 45g and 60g of carbs in your meals in most cases. The snacks don’t go over 30g. This is a good plan to follow when you start making substitutes for the food that you don’t like.

Remember that your diabetes isn’t just controlled by your diet. While following the above meal plan, you will want to follow a good exercise plan and check in with your doctor regularly to keep your medication consistent.

9 Strategic Health Steps To Eating Less Sugar

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Sugar Image Design 1 - 9 Strategic Health Steps To Eating Less Sugar“You could make dog poop taste good with enough sugar, and the food industry does, “Robert Lustig, M.D., professor of pediatrics in the division of endocrinology at the University of California – San Francisco, tells Women’s Health.

Dangers of Added Sugar

Contains no essential nutrients. Nutritionists disapprove of added sugar for two reasons:

  • It leads to weight gain and cavities
  • Sugar delivers empty calories – calories that are unaccompanied by vitamins, fiber, minerals, and other nutrients.

Plenty of sugar can crowd healthier foods from your diet. When you eat 10-20 percent of calories as sugar, it can become a major problem and contribute to nutrient deficiencies.

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High in fructose. Before sugar enters your bloodstream, it gets broken down into glucose and fructose.

  • Your body can produce glucose even if you don’t get it from your diet.
  • On the other hand, your body does not produce fructose. There is no physiological need for fructose in your system.

Be known that only your liver could metabolize fructose. It is not a problem until you eat a little of it. In such a case fructose is turned to glycogen and stored in your liver.

The problem arises when you eat a lot of fructose, and already your liver is full of glycogen. It overloads your liver forcing it to turn fructose into fat. When you repeatedly tend to eat a lot of sugar, the process leads to fatty liver and other diseases. All of this does not apply to fruits.

Causes metabolic dysfunction. If you overeat sugar, it leads to a barrage of symptoms called as a classic metabolic syndrome. It includes

  • Abdominal obesity
  • Weight gain
  • Increased LDL
  • Decreased HDL
  • Elevated triglycerides
  • High blood sugar
  • High blood pressure

Tricks body to gain weight. Fructose starts to fool your metabolism by turning off your body’s appetite control system. It fails to stimulate your insulin, which in turn fails to suppress ghrelin or the hunger hormone. Ghrelin, in turn, fails to stimulate leptin the satiety hormone. This process causes you to eat more and develop insulin resistance.

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Insulin resistance may progress to Type 2 diabetes. When your cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, the beta cells in your pancreas create more of it. If you have chronically elevated blood sugar levels, it may cause you harm.

Eventually, as insulin resistance becomes progressively worse, your pancreas cannot keep up with the demand of producing sufficient insulin, to keep your blood sugar levels down.

At this point, your blood glucose levels skyrocket, and your doctor tells that you have diabetes.

Increases uric acid levels. If you have high uric acid levels, it significantly increases your risk of heart and kidney disease. The connection between metabolic syndrome, fructose, and your uric acid is now so clear that professionals use it as a marker for fructose toxicity. The safe range of uric acid is between 3 to 5.5 milligrams per deciliter. If your uric acid is higher than this, then you’re at a risk of adverse health impacts of fructose.

Risk of cancer. Scientists believe that constantly having elevated insulin levels are a consequence of sugar consumption. It can contribute to cancer growth. Also, the metabolic problems related to eating sugar is also another potential cause for cancer.

Causes massive dopamine release in brain. Like the abusive drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward center of your brain. Sugar and junk foods can cause massive dopamine release, much more than you were ever exposed to foods from nature. For this reason, if you have a susceptibility to addiction, you can become strongly addicted to sugar and other junk foods.

Raises cholesterol and gives heart disease. Research studies show that significant amounts of fructose increase the levels of triglycerides, LDL, oxidized LDL, insulin levels, blood glucose and also abdominal obesity in as little as ten weeks. These are all the key risk factors for heart disease.

Alzheimer’s disease. You’re at a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease if you consume too much sugar. Researchers have found a powerful connection between your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and a high fructose diet. It is through the same pathway that causes Type 2 diabetes. Experts say that Alzheimer’s disease may be due to the constant burning of glucose for fuel by your brain.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome. In women with PCOS, high levels of insulin cause ovaries to make more male hormones such as testosterone. It leads to increased body hair, acne and irregular periods.

Strategic Steps to Eating Less Sugar

The American Heart Association, states that women should eat no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day. That’s roughly six teaspoons or 100 calories.

And men should eat no more than 38 grams of added sugar per day.(about nine teaspoons or 150 calories)

So here are nine steps to help you reduce your sugar intake.

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Mentally prepare yourself and keep a food diary. “Just prepare yourself that this is going to be a little bit of a challenge at first,” “We’ve created these habits over years, and it’s hard to break them — and it’s especially hard with something like sugar, which can be almost like an addiction for some people,” Erica Giovinazzo, MS, RD, tells BuzzFeed Life.

But you can teach your body to stop craving sugar. Avoid going cold turkey on sugar; it isn’t realistic for most people. You can cut back slowly. It will require some willpower and determination, and it will get easier with practice.

Before you start your “cut-back” plan, write down everything you eat for three days. This will help you to pinpoint your biggest sources of sugar, daily. Now start thinking about ways you can make substitutions.

Read your food labels. Here’s a shocker: the average person takes 22 teaspoons of sugar daily, even without realizing it. “Even things that you don’t think are sweet, like tomato sauce, crackers, condiments, and salad dressings can be packed with sugar,” Diane Sanfilippo, certified nutrition consultant and author of The 21 Day Sugar Detox tells Health.com

In a research review of over 85,000 packaged food products from 2005-2009, scientists found that 74% of those products contained sweeteners. Some surprising major offenders include pasta sauce, low-fat yogurt, salad dressing and protein bars to name a few. The manufacturers usually list the ingredients according to the amount it is present in the product. So if you find sugar near the top, then that’s a big no-no.

Learn sugar aliases. When you read the food labels, you have to look for more than just the word sugar, because it hides under several sneaky names such as

  • Agave nectar
  • Barley malt
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane sugar
  • Carob syrup
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Date sugar
  • Dextran
  • Diastatic malt
  • Ethyl Maltol
  • Florida Crystals
  • Fruit juice
  • Galactose
  • Glucose solids
  • Golden syrup
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Icing sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maple syrup
  • Muscovado
  • Panocha
  • Refiner’s syrup
  • Sorghum syrup
  • Sugar
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Barbados sugar
  • Beet sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Cane sugar crystals
  • Caramel caster sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Crystalline fructose
  • Demerara sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Diastase
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Glucose
  • Golden sugar
  • Grape sugar
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltose
  • Molasses
  • Organic raw sugar
  • Raw sugar rice syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Treacle yellow sugar

(source: Women’s Health.com)

These several names can be listed separately on the ingredients list. Manufacturers often list different types of added sugars, as sixth, seventh and eighth items, on an ingredient list. You’ll be fooled thinking there’s not a significant amount of sugar. But when you add all these up, it’s no 1. If several such sugars appear on the food label, it’s a sign that the food product is less healthy than you may think.

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Avoid artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners or non-nutritive sweeteners may cause dangerous side effects. The symptoms range from headaches and migraines to weight gain and even more severe conditions like cardiovascular disease. Some common artificial sweeteners include:

  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Alitame
  • Cyclamate
  • Dulcin
  • Equal
  • Glucin
  • Kaltame
  • Mogrosides
  • Neotame
  • NutraSweet
  • Nutrinova
  • Phenylalanine
  • Saccharin
  • Splenda
  • Sorbitol
  • Sucralose
  • Twinsweet
  • Sweet ‘N Low
  • Xylitol

These dangerous artificial sweeteners hide in:

  • Toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Children’s chewable vitamins
  • Cough syrup and liquid medicines
  • Chewing gum
  • No-calorie waters and drinks
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Salad dressings
  • Frozen yogurt and other frozen desserts
  • Candies
  • Baked goods
  • Yogurt
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Processed snack foods
  • “Lite” or diet fruit juices and beverages
  • Prepared Meats
  • Nicotine gum

Out of all these artificial sweeteners, the top five worst ones include:

  • Aspartame
  • Sucralose
  • Acesulfame K
  • Saccharin
  • Xylitol, Sorbitol

Give up sugary drinks and ditch simple carb treats.  Coffee beverages, soda, sports drinks, bottled teas, and energy drinks fall into the sugary drinks category. Check the label clearly before buying a bottled drink.

You may be surprised by the amount of sugar in it. One can of cola racks up nine teaspoons of sugar, already a third more than six tsp daily limit.  It is wise to stick to black coffee, water, unsweetened tea, sparkling water or milk.

Cookies, pastries, muffins, and white bread, refined flour treats are dense with sugar but offers little nutrition wise. They mess with your blood sugar levels. Instead, you can get your carbs from whole grains.

 During digestion, these carbs get converted to sugar. Since they are complex carbs rather than the simple type, they’re absorbed more slowly and produces steady energy. Beware of fat-free products, because they may be loaded with sugar, to make them better.

Try to avoid sugary restaurant food, many types of “take-out” or “eat in” cuisines are spread in sauces or coated with sugar-laden coatings.

Think protein and healthy fat. Snack on healthy fats and lean protein, like pear slices and almond butter, hard-boiled egg, shrimp cocktail and Greek yogurt with berries.Proteins and healthy fats will keep you feeling energized and satiated, preventing blood sugar rise and fall that can lead to sugar cravings.

Unhealthy carbs loaded with sugar can cause your blood sugar to rise rapidly. To reduce, this rapid rise and fall, combine proteins, healthy fats and fiber with your meals. These will slow down the blood sugar in your body and keep you full for longer. Fats are an essential player because they increase your satiety value. So you’ll snack less often.

Go natural and add more flavor. So, what are your choices when you have a sweet tooth? Include natural sweeteners like coconut sugar, maple syrup, fruit purees, stevia, and raw honey. Keep packets of stevia with you. So you don’t have to use artificial sweeteners provided by restaurants and cafes.

You can train your palate to enjoy the natural sweetness of foods, no added sweeteners. Include other flavors like tart, tangy, warm and savory to please your palate. You can add vanilla bean, spices, vanilla extract, and citrus zest to add more sweetness to your foods without having to add sugar.

Vanilla, cocoa, licorice, nutmeg, and cinnamon, boost the flavor of your foods. When you crave a sweet drink, try homemade infused waters. Sweeten your iced tea with honey, coconut sugar, or maple syrup.

Sleep. Many research studies point out that sleep deprivation leads to overeating and junk food cravings.Even if you get two hours of reduced sleep from the recommended 7-8 hours, you’ll suffer food cravings.

  • Poor sleep also leads to sweet foods becoming more appealing to adolescents with the consumption of sweet servings up to 52 percent higher,
  • Increases cravings for calorie-dense foods in adults
  • Increases intake of food in men.

So fight your sugar cravings by sleeping soundly.

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Designate a sweets drawer and shop wisely. Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry because it’s easier to lose sight of your goals. If you go shopping when your stomach is full, you’ll be better able to pick up healthy food. Focus on loading your cart with veggies, fruits, nuts and lean meat, mainly aim for foods that are processed minimally.

 If you’re the one cutting back on sugar in your house, then make a drawer or shelf in your kitchen where you store all the sweet stuff.

So you won’t be tempted seeing the sugary treats all around the kitchen. Most of us go to the food we see first, so if you don’t see thesugary treats, you won’t crave them. Try to keep more fruits outside in your kitchen, so you can snack when you’re hungry.

Conclusion

 You can buy foods labeled “unsweetened” or“no sugar added.” You’ll find the unsweetened versions of almond milk, soy milk, nut butter (made with only nuts and salt), applesauce, oatmeal, and canned fruit (packed in juice, not syrup) in most grocery stores.

You can still enjoy occasional treats after you’ve resolved to slash sugar. The idea is to avoid wasting your daily sugar quota on non-dessert foods like ketchup, cereals, and bread. Set specific rules on when you may enjoy dessert, only after dinner on the weekends or at restaurants as special treats.

Is Diabetes Preventable

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Of the two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2- it is possible to prevent developing type 2 diabetes. Currently, there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes, although there are ongoing studies to discover ways to prevent it in those people who are more likely to develop it.

Type 1 diabetes can be hereditary; however, many people who have the disease actually have no family history of it. If you have type 1 diabetes, it’s important to make sure you are following your treatment plan and maintaining regular medical appointments and checkups. While there’s no way to prevent type 1 diabetes, you can help prevent complications from the disease by keeping your blood sugar levels in the target range. Damage from complications can be stopped and even reversed entirely if they are treated early.

Type 2 diabetes prevention, on the other hand, is possible. People with type 2 diabetes have problems making and/or using insulin. When insulin is not being used by the body as it should be, glucose can’t get into the body’s cells, which leads to the cells not functioning properly. High glucose levels can damage blood vessels and nerves in the eyes, kidneys and heart and can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Tips for Diabetes Prevention

While anyone can get type 2 diabetes, the people who are most at risk are those who are over age 45, are overweight or obese, rarely exercise, and have high blood pressure.  Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include things like increased hunger and thirst, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, and numbness in hands and feet, just to name a few. If you are over the age of 45, it’s recommended to get tested annually for type 2 diabetes.

If you follow these diabetes prevention tips recommended by the American Diabetes Association, these simple lifestyle changes can help ensure that you’ll avoid serious complications as you age.  These tips include:

  • Maintain a healthy diet with lots of fiber and whole grains. Foods high in fiber include fruits, veggies, beans, nuts and seeds. High fiber foods can help improve your blood sugar levels, and they can promote weight loss since you’ll feel fuller faster. Likewise, whole grains also help reduce your blood sugar levels. Foods like breads, pastas and cereals come from whole grains- just make sure the words “whole grain” are on the package.
  • Start exercising regularly. Find a physical activity you enjoy participating in. Studies show that both aerobic exercise and resistance training can help prevent diabetes. Spend at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week involved in some sort of physical activity that gets your heart rate up. You can even break the 30 minutes into more manageable, 10 minute intervals as you’re getting started.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying extra pounds puts you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. In fact, certain studies have shown that being overweight was the single most important thing in developing type 2 diabetes. Through proper diet and exercise, you can maintain a healthy weight and help reduce your risk.

Along with maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle, if you’re at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes there are certain medications your doctor may prescribe. Always discuss any concerns you may have at your medical appointments.

 

Monitoring, Testing and Managing Diabetes

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bigstock Healthy old woman holding gree 50969726 300x200 - Monitoring, Testing and Managing DiabetesIf you have diabetes, it’s not difficult to stay healthy through proper monitoring and management. If you were recently diagnosed, first spend some time learning about diabetes itself. Then you’ll be able to make smart choices for your diabetes management.

If you are over the age of 45, it’s advised you receive an initial blood sugar screening. If the results are normal, you’ll need to be screened every three years. There are a few different tests that can be conducted to screen for diabetes:

  • A1C Test: This is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past two to three months. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests will indicate that you have diabetes.
  • Blood sugar tests: Random blood sugar tests or fasting blood sugar tests can also be conducted if the A1C test is inconclusive, unavailable, or if you have conditions like an uncommon form of hemoglobin that can make the test inaccurate.

After the tests have been concluded and you are given a diabetes diagnosis, learn about the type of diabetes you have. Type 1 diabetes means that your body does not make insulin; your body needs insulin to turn the glucose from food you eat into energy.  You will need to take insulin every day. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, means your body isn’t making or using insulin well. You will need medication or insulin to help control your diabetes.

You’ll need to check your blood glucose levels on a daily basis and keep a log of your results. This way, your health care provider will know how your body is reacting to your diabetes management care plan.

Along with checking and monitoring blood glucose levels, daily diabetes management will include eating a healthy diet and maintaining an exercise plan. Your diabetes meal plan should include foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, sugar and salt.  A meal should contain a balance of lean proteins like turkey and chicken, whole grains like brown rice or wheat pasta, and vegetables. Drink lots of water instead of sugary juices and sodas. Daily exercise is also vital, and you can start slowly by just walking for ten minutes at a time, three times a day. Do strength training exercises with stretch bands or try yoga.

It’s important to monitor your health and stick to your diabetes management plan. Take your diabetes medications every day, even on the days you feel fine. Try to keep your stress level down, because stress can raise your blood sugar.  If you’re struggling in any way with your diagnosis, you should talk to a mental health counselor or join a support group.

Remember to maintain routine care with your doctor.  Make appointments at least twice a year to get your blood sugar, feet and weight checked, as well as review the care plan you’ve been utilizing so you know if it’s working properly for you.

 

How to Live a Healthy Life with Diabetes

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bigstock beautiful senior female vegeta 66705622 300x200 - How to Live a Healthy Life with DiabetesMaintaining your health when you have diabetes is vital to ensure the best quality of life. It’s possible to live a normal, fun and healthy life with diabetes and not allow it to dictate your routine. You just need to learn proper diabetes management to take control of your health.

As you age, it’s important to take steps to manage your diabetes over the long term to help avoid complications from arising.

Tips for Healthy Diabetes Management

Proper diabetes management includes healthy eating, regular exercise, taking your medications, and staying informed of new treatments. Steps to take to live a healthy life with diabetes include:

1)      Healthy food choices. Choosing what to eat, as well as how much and when you eat, is very important in diabetes management. Healthy eating is important for everyone, even those who don’t have diabetes! Your dinner plate should include lots of non-starchy veggies like broccoli or green beans or a big salad, a small amount of starchy food like rice or noodles, and a small amount of protein. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and some low fat milk for your vitamin D. Try to avoiding eating before bedtime- this can elevate your blood sugar overnight while you sleep.

2)      Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, shedding some of those extra pounds helps with your diabetes management plan- even losing 10 pounds can help make a difference in your overall health.

3)      Regular exercise. It’s recommended to exercise for at least 30 minutes five days out of the week. Find an exercise you enjoy doing so it doesn’t seem like a chore.  Aerobic exercise helps keep your heart strong, and activities like walking, swimming, and even gardening gets your heart rate up. Also add strength training, stretching and balance exercises to keep you limber, build muscle and help you to stay steady on your feet.

4)      Properly managing medications. Take any prescribed medications as directed, following your doctor’s instructions as far as when to take them and the proper dosage.  Make sure you’re aware of possible drug interactions, and keep an updated list of all your medications. You can use a daily pill organizer to make sure you’re taking everything you need to, and set an alarm to remind you when it’s time to take your next dose.

5)      Regular doctor appointments. Maintain all your doctor appointments, and when you are there, make sure you discuss any questions or concerns you may have with a health care professional. Bring a family member with you so they can help you keep track of important instructions the doctor may give you.

6)      Treating yourself. You can still include some treats in your diet, even while eating healthy. Learn how to make some tasty sugar-free desserts by purchasing a diabetic cookbook or searching online for diabetic-suitable sweets. Allowing yourself a treat every once in a while will help you to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle.

7)      Being aware of possible complications. Knowledge is power, as they say, and knowing what complications to watch for will help you recognize signs that something might be wrong. People with diabetes have greater risk for complications like heart disease, stroke, eye problems, gum disease, foot problems, skin issues, and even depression.

8)      Seeking support. Reach out to others who have diabetes by joining a support group. Or, share your story with friends and family members who can help you maintain your healthy lifestyle.

Changing some of your old habits can go a long way in your diabetes management. Knowing how to lead a healthy lifestyle will allow you to enjoy your life to the fullest.

 

Is Diabetes Preventable

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Of the two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2- it is possible to prevent developing type 2 diabetes. Currently, there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes, although there are ongoing studies to discover ways to prevent it in those people who are more likely to develop it.

Type 1 diabetes can be hereditary; however, many people who have the disease actually have no family history of it. If you have type 1 diabetes, it’s important to make sure you are following your treatment plan and maintaining regular medical appointments and checkups. While there’s no way to prevent type 1 diabetes, you can help prevent complications from the disease by keeping your blood sugar levels in the target range. Damage from complications can be stopped and even reversed entirely if they are treated early.

Type 2 diabetes prevention, on the other hand, is possible. People with type 2 diabetes have problems making and/or using insulin. When insulin is not being used by the body as it should be, glucose can’t get into the body’s cells, which leads to the cells not functioning properly. High glucose levels can damage blood vessels and nerves in the eyes, kidneys and heart and can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Tips for Diabetes Prevention

While anyone can get type 2 diabetes, the people who are most at risk are those who are over age 45, are overweight or obese, rarely exercise, and have high blood pressure.  Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include things like increased hunger and thirst, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, and numbness in hands and feet, just to name a few. If you are over the age of 45, it’s recommended to get tested annually for type 2 diabetes.

If you follow these diabetes prevention tips recommended by the American Diabetes Association, these simple lifestyle changes can help ensure that you’ll avoid serious complications as you age.  These tips include:

  • Maintain a healthy diet with lots of fiber and whole grains. Foods high in fiber include fruits, veggies, beans, nuts and seeds. High fiber foods can help improve your blood sugar levels, and they can promote weight loss since you’ll feel fuller faster. Likewise, whole grains also help reduce your blood sugar levels. Foods like breads, pastas and cereals come from whole grains- just make sure the words “whole grain” are on the package.
  • Start exercising regularly. Find a physical activity you enjoy participating in. Studies show that both aerobic exercise and resistance training can help prevent diabetes. Spend at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week involved in some sort of physical activity that gets your heart rate up. You can even break the 30 minutes into more manageable, 10 minute intervals as you’re getting started.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying extra pounds puts you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. In fact, certain studies have shown that being overweight was the single most important thing in developing type 2 diabetes. Through proper diet and exercise, you can maintain a healthy weight and help reduce your risk.

Along with maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle, if you’re at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes there are certain medications your doctor may prescribe. Always discuss any concerns you may have at your medical appointments.

 

Traveling with Diabetes

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bigstock Traveling Senior Couple 7395885 300x210 - Traveling with DiabetesWhen you’re planning a vacation, you’re looking forward to getting out of your normal routine and doing something fun, exciting or just plain relaxing. However, one routine you should never give up is your diabetes management routine. Traveling with diabetes just takes a little extra planning to make sure you’re keeping yourself as healthy as possible while you’re away from home.

The way you prepare for traveling with diabetes will depend on factors like where you’re going, what you’re doing or how much physical activity you will get (or won’t get!), how long you’ll be gone, and what kind of foods will be available.

Proper Diabetes Management While Traveling

Before you head out on a trip, take a few steps for proper diabetes management while you’re on the road. Some recommendations are:

  • Make an appointment with your doctor before you leave. It’s important to make sure your diabetes is under control before you head out on your trip. Also, have your doctor write out an extra prescription for you to bring with you in case of an emergency, and have them also write a letter that details your treatment and the supplies you use.
  • Keep your supplies close. Regardless of how you are traveling, make sure you have easy access to your diabetes supplies. If you’re flying, pack everything in your carry-on bag, including insulin, to ensure it stays at the desired cool temperature. Get a special travel pack for your car to keep your insulin cool, too.
  • Bring more supplies than you need. It’s recommended to pack at least twice the amount of supplies that you’ll need just in case of travel delays. It’s better to be prepared for the unexpected!
  • Wear medical identification. If you have diabetes, you should always wear an ID bracelet or necklace so emergency personnel can easily be made aware of your condition. Also, make sure to tell those you’re traveling with that you have diabetes so they know what to do in case of an emergency or a change in your health.
  • Pack healthy snacks. Don’t assume that the proper foods will always be available. Pack snacks for the time spent on the road or in the air to avoid a drop in your glucose levels. Things like whole grain crackers, light popcorn, or granola bars are good options that don’t need to be kept refrigerated. Also, make sure to bring some water in lieu of sugary sodas or juices.
  • Stick as close to your routine as possible. If you are traveling out of your time zone, it can throw off your whole schedule; perhaps when you’re normally sleeping you’ll be awake and feeling hungry. Flight delays or traffic might cause other changes to your normal routine, too. This is where having easy access to your supplies and some healthy snacks will be very important!
  • Research medical care available. Before you leave, take some time to find out where you can get medical care if needed while you’re traveling. Prepare for any emergencies that may arise by keeping a list of the facilities near where you’ll be staying or exploring.

Don’t let your diabetes dissuade you from traveling to new places or taking that relaxing beach vacation! Take the proper steps for diabetes management before you go and you’ll enjoy a stress-free trip.

 

How Your Lifestyle Can Affect Your Diabetes Management

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bigstock Senior couple on country bike 23668784 2 300x200 - How Your Lifestyle Can Affect Your Diabetes ManagementThe first step to proper diabetes management is being aware of your condition.  A diabetes diagnosis is a life-changing event, and knowing what can make your blood sugar levels rise and fall will help you learn to better control your disease.

It’s important to learn how your lifestyle can affect your diabetes management. Your diet is a major part of managing your symptoms, but there are many other choices you make that can affect how you’re managing your diabetes.

Lifestyle Choices and Diabetes Management

Talking with your doctor is key to coming up with a plan for managing your diabetes so you can lead as normal a life as possible- and it is possible! Here are a few other factors to keep in mind that can affect your diabetes management plan:

  • Food choices. Your diet plays one of the most important roles in managing your diabetes. Healthy eating is important for everyone, though, with or without diabetes! Learn the types of foods that affect your blood sugar levels; it’s not only the types of food you eat, but also how much and the combinations of foods you’re consuming on a daily basis. Carbohydrates will have the biggest impact on your blood sugar, so it’s crucial to know how many carbs your meals have. Meals should be well-balanced overall and feature a good combination of protein, starches, fats, vegetables and fruits.
  • Level of physical activity. Too often, we tend to live more sedentary lifestyles which can lead to obesity. Incorporating an exercise program into your daily routine can not only help you lose weight, but it can also help your body use insulin better so it can convert glucose into energy for cells. Find an exercise you enjoy doing and start off slowly- even just walking for 15 minutes per day will help. You can increase the amount of physical activity you get as you get more comfortable with it. Set a schedule to keep you on track, so you’re putting aside time to get exercise every day until it becomes routine.
  • If you’re on medications to help control your insulin and blood sugar levels, learn about what kinds of over-the-counter medications might affect your diabetes management. You should also know what time of day to take your medications and report any issues to your doctor, like if your blood sugar is consistently too high or too low.
  • Stress levels. Stress can alter blood sugar levels in a couple ways. People who are under a lot of stress may not take care of themselves as well as they should, skipping meals or exercise often. Also, stress hormones can directly alter blood sugar levels. To help manage the stress in your life, you can join a diabetes support group to help you cope and feel less alone. This can alleviate the stress and depression affecting your diabetes.
  • Eye, skin, foot and dental care. Because diabetes affects the tiniest blood vessels in your body, which tend to be in your eyes and nerves, early detection and treatment of any issues is key. Diabetes can cause people to lose their eyesight, gum problems, dry skin and nerve damage which can make you unable to notice pain in your feet. Maintain regular doctor appointments twice a year to make sure you are properly managing your blood glucose levels.

Diabetes is a manageable condition, and it’s still entirely possible to live your life to the fullest. Avoid complications by making the correct lifestyle choices for proper diabetes management.

 

5 Ways to Control Diabetes

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Learning how to control your type 2 diabetes is key to improving your health and living an active life. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder, affecting the body’s ability to use insulin effectively. Insulin is an important hormone that enables blood sugar in the cells of the body to be converted into energy. So, when insulin is not getting used properly, it results in an elevated amount of sugar in the blood which can damage the body.

When you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll need to monitor your blood sugar, eat healthy, get regular physical activity and take the proper medications. You’ll also need to make sure you’re maintaining regular appointments with your physician.

How to Control Diabetes in 5 Easy Ways

Proper diabetes management might seem overwhelming, but there’s actually a lot you can do to control it. Here are five easy ways to ensure you’re correctly managing your diabetes:

  • Keep an eye on your blood sugar. Monitor your blood sugar levels at different times of the day and keep track by writing down the numbers. You should also have your A1C tested at least twice a year. Along with your blood sugar, monitor your lipid levels and blood pressure to lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Make smart food choices. Think about what you’re about to put in your body before you eat it. Your meals should be a good balance of non-starchy vegetables and smaller portions of starchy foods like bread or rice. Start reading labels and weighing your food to learn how much you’re actually eating.
  • Increase your physical activity. It’s recommended to get your heart rate up for 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week. If you’ve been sedentary, talk to a doctor before beginning any physical activity and start off slowly. Even just three ten minute walks per week will help, and you can gradually increase the length of time. Or, find a class that’s right for your fitness level.
  • Lower your stress. Stress can affect your body physically by adversely affecting your blood sugar levels. Plus, stress can lead to poor eating habits. Learn how to decompress and relax through deep breathing exercises or meditation.
  • When in doubt, ask questions. If you’re just learning how to manage diabetes, seek the advice of healthcare professionals. Your doctor should work with you to create goals for your blood sugar levels and prescribe medications that can help keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. Be open to suggestions for proper diabetes management.

Managing Diabetes Daily

A few small changes in your daily routine can lead to properly managing your diabetes. Living a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, and especially those with diabetes. Reduce the risk of complications from diabetes by taking certain precautions and making healthy living part of your routine.

 

What Can I Eat if I Have Diabetes?

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bigstock Healthy diet and proper nutrit 84183689 300x201 - What Can I Eat if I Have Diabetes?After you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you might be worried that you’ll have to eliminate all the foods you enjoy from your diet. But living with diabetes doesn’t have to mean living in deprivation and constantly feeling hungry. It’s still possible to take pleasure from eating a healthy, balanced diet that will also increase your energy and boost your mood.

The first step in proper diabetes management is learning how to take control of your condition. Healthy lifestyle changes are important to help you lose some excess weight; studies have shown that losing just 5-10% of your total weight can help lower your blood sugar. This is especially true for those who have a lot of excess weight around their waists, because this type of fat is most closely linked to diabetes and insulin resistance. Adding daily exercise to your routine is very important (for everyone, not just those with diabetes!), but the foods you choose can have an even bigger impact on weight loss.

Knowing What Types of Food for Diabetes You Can Enjoy Daily

One of the biggest myths about food for diabetes is that you need to completely avoid any kind of sugar at all costs. In actuality, you can enjoy your favorite treats by planning ahead and incorporating them into your meal plans. Your dietary needs are virtually the same as the rest of the world. Eating nutritious foods that are low in fat and added sugar is important for everyone.

Choosing the best food for diabetics isn’t that difficult at all, as long as you are making informed selections. Here are just a few things to keep in mind:

  • Cut the sugar. As we already mentioned, it’s still possible to enjoy some sweet treats when you have diabetes. The key is knowing how much sugar is contained in the foods you’re choosing, and this can be tricky due to the fact that food manufacturers tend to disguise the word “sugar” in a variety of ways. Read the labels of some of your favorite products; added sugar can appear on the labels as “high-fructose corn syrup,” “maltose,” “dextrose” and many other varieties. If you’d like to add a sweet dessert to your meals once in a while, just make sure to plan for it by cutting out some of the other carbs in your meal to lower the sugar levels.
  • Know your carbs. Carbohydrates have a bigger impact on your blood sugar than fats or proteins, so being smart about the types of carbs you add to your diet is vital. Look for foods that are “whole grain.” A whole grain includes the bran, germ and endosperm or starchy part of the grain, and white flours are usually refined, meaning they only include that starchy part of the grain. Whole grain products include whole wheat bread, tortillas and pastas, as well as brown rice, quinoa, popcorn and much more. When choosing your grains, look for these whole wheats over the refined or enriched wheat products.
  • Be smart about fats. The best fats to choose are unsaturated, which come from plant and fish sources. Avoid damaging saturated fats found in dairy and red meat, and trans fats which are added to foods to help make them less likely to spoil. It’s easy to add more unsaturated fats to your diet by cooking with olive oil instead of butter, eating more fish or skinless chicken, and snacking on nuts and seeds.

Another good tip to finding the best foods for diabetes and managing your diet is to keep a daily food journal. This way, you’ll be able to see what choices you are making and where some adjustments need to be made.