Healthy Eating for Type 2 Diabetics

While eating healthy may seem like a daunting task if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, the good news is that your eating plan isn’t that different from healthy eating for non-diabetics.

According to experts from Harvard Medical School, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (meaning peas and beans) and low-fat dairy products.

But, the experts caution, you should pay extra attention to your carbohydrate intake.

The Harvard experts say that vegetables, fruits, and whole grains provide more nutrition per calorie than refined carbohydrates and tend to be rich in fiber. Your body digests high-fiber foods more slowly — which means a more moderate rise in blood sugar. You also feel fuller for a longer period of time.

For most people with diabetes, carbohydrates should account for about 45% to 55% of the total calories you eat each day, the Harvard experts say. Ideally, carbs will come from vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Steer clear of highly refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and rice; candy, sugar-laden soft drinks and sweets should also be off limits. Refined carbohydrates tend to cause sharp spikes in blood sugar. They can also boost triglycerides and lower helpful HDL cholesterol.

Fiber comes in two forms: insoluble fiber, the kind in whole grains, and soluble fiber, found in beans, dried peas, oats, and fruits, the Harvard experts say. They add that soluble fiber in particular appears to lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. That, in turn, may mean you need less diabetes medicine. And a number of studies suggest that eating plenty of fiber reduces the chances of developing heart disease — and people with diabetes need to do all they can to lower their risk.

For more on healthy diet essentials, plus information on managing (and avoiding) type 2 diabetes, buy Healthy Eating for Type 2 Diabetes from Harvard Medical School. Click hereto order.