The diabetic diet food list is a healthier version of the various low carb diets out there for you to choose. The reason is that people with diabetes cannot utilize glucose from carbohydrates in a normal way. Type 2 diabetics in specific have a dysfunction in their cells’ ability to respond to insulin. As a result, if you load up the system with fast-absorbed carbs, they hit your bloodstream too fast for the body to handle them. The glucose gets stuck outside the cells in your blood, raising your blood sugar levels, which in turn can age and damage many cells in the body.
Carbohydrates provide your body with a major source of fuel. But, if you have diabetes, your body has trouble metabolizing the glucose it gets from the carbohydrate-containing foods you eat. If you have diabetes, you need to make healthy food choices to help manage your condition. This typically involves monitoring your food portions, choosing highly nutritious items, and avoiding or limiting foods high in added sugar. Talk to your doctor about individualized fat, sodium and carbohydrate goals.
Whole grain foods are high in fiber and a nutritious part of a diabetes meal plan. Add a variety of whole grain foods to your weekly grocery list and make them staples in your diet. The best whole grain choices include brown rice, quinoa, wild rice, buckwheat, whole grain barley, oatmeal, whole rye bread, and foods made with whole-wheat flour. Incorporate these foods into your diet in the appropriate portion sizes. For example, one slice of whole wheat bread contains 15 carbohydrates.
As a diabetic, you’re encouraged to eat a variety of fruits, non-starchy vegetables and beans. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at meals. Add fresh, frozen and canned vegetables without added salt to your shopping list. One-half-cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of raw vegetables is considered a serving, according to the American Diabetes Association. Add non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, leeks, onions, mushrooms, squash and leafy greens. You can eat all fruit regardless of type, but be mindful of your portions. A small piece of whole fruit or one-half cup contains about 15 grams of carbohydrates.
Meat, Fish, Dairy and Oils
Choose a variety of fresh and frozen meat, fish and poultry. Examples include chicken breast, 93 percent lean ground beef, 80 percent lean ground turkey, tuna, salmon, halibut and pork tenderloin. Add dairy foods to your list and choose low fat options. Good items to add to the list include 1 percent milk, fat-free cottage cheese, reduced-fat yogurt, fat-free cream cheese, low-fat sour cream and cheese made from 2 percent milk. Add healthy nut and seed oils such as olive, walnut, safflower, sunflower and flaxseed, to your grocery list.
Beverages and Sweets
Many beverages are high in sugar, so show careful consideration in this area. Add beverages such as unsweetened tea and drinks made with sugar alternatives such as stevia to your list. When it comes to sweets, add low-sugar alternatives to your favorite foods. For example, choose sugar-free popsicles, sugar-free jello and sugar-free pudding. Several manufacturers make diabetes friendly sweets, but this doesn’t mean you can have a free-for-all. It’s wise to monitor your food portions to maintain a balanced meal plan.
Foods made from refined grains contain carbohydrates that have a higher glycemic index than the carbs in foods made from whole grains, according to the American Diabetes Association. Some of the refined grains that have the highest glycemic index—of 70 or more—include macaroni and cheese, white bread, white rice, cornflakes, instant oatmeal, popcorn, pretzels and saltine crackers. Eating too many refined grains can raise blood sugar to dangerous levels, cautions the American Diabetes Association, so it’s best to replace refined grains with whole grains in your diet whenever possible.
While all non-starchy vegetables contain carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index of 55 or less, some starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and pumpkin, have high glycemic indexes of 70 or greater, the American Diabetes Association reports. So if you’re diabetic, you can help prevent your blood sugar level from rising too high by avoiding potatoes and pumpkin. Or, you can eat other vegetables in the same meal with potatoes or pumpkin to balance out the effect on your blood sugar. The American Diabetes Association says combining foods that have low-glycemic carbohydrates with foods that contain high-glycemic carbohydrates can allow you to enjoy high-glycemic foods without causing your blood sugar to spike.
Melon and Pineapple
Most fruits contain low-glycemic carbohydrates, says the American Diabetes Association, but two types of fruit have high glycemic indexes of 70 or greater: pineapple and melon, including watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew. The Harvard School of Public Health notes that all types of fruits that are ripe tend to have a higher glycemic index than fruits that haven’t yet ripened, so if you’d like to indulge in a bit of melon or pineapple, your blood sugar will be less affected if you eat the fruit before it ripens.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all known cases of diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Type 2 diabetes occurs most often in overweight people over the age of 40. However, it is becoming more prevalent among younger populations with the rise in obesity. Treatment involves diet, exercise and oral medication. Carbohydrates in food have a great impact on blood sugar; knowing what foods contain carbohydrates can help you manage your diabetes.
Starches contain carbohydrates, fiber and B vitamins. A serving of starch contains 80 calories and 15 g of carbohydrate. Examples of starch foods and serving sizes you can eat include 1 slice of bread, 1 oz. of a bagel, 1/2 of an English muffin, a hamburger or hot dog roll, 3/4 cup of cold cereal, 1/2 cup of hot cereal, 5 crackers, 1/2 cup of peas or corn, 1/3 cup of pasta, rice or couscous, 3 oz. baked potato and 3 cups of air-popped popcorn. For better blood sugar control, choose more whole-grain starches. Fiber in whole-grains decreases the rate of digestion allowing for a slower release of sugar into the bloodstream.
Fruits provide carbohydrate, fiber, vitamin C, potassium and folate. A typical serving of contains 60 calories and 15 g of carbohydrate. Fruit choices and serving sizes type 2 diabetics can eat include a small apple or orange, 1 cup of cantaloupe, 2 small plums, 1/2 cup of applesauce, 1 kiwi, 1 medium peach, 1/2 a large pear, 17 grapes, 4 oz. banana, 1/2 cup of unsweetened canned fruit, 2 tbsp. of raisins, 3 prunes, 1/2 cup apple or orange juice and 1/3 cup prune or cranberry juice. Whole fruit makes a better choice than the juice because of its fiber content. In addition to helping control blood sugar, fiber in fruit also helps manage hunger better than the juice.
Milk and Yogurt
In addition to being a good source of calcium and protein, milk and yogurt also contains carbohydrates. Calories in milk and yogurt vary based on the amount of fat, but the amount of carbohydrate stays the same. Low-fat and nonfat milk and yogurt foods make healthier choices than full-fat products and provide 100 calories and 12 g of carbohydrate per serving. Servings include 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of evaporated milk and 2/3 cup of yogurt.
Sweets and Desserts
Monitoring carbohydrate intake allows for greater flexibility in meal planning. Sweets and desserts also contain carbohydrates. As a type 2 diabetic, you can eat these foods in moderate amounts, but a serving should replace a serving of milk, starch or fruit. For better blood sugar control, eat a sweet or dessert with a meal. Calories and carbohydrate content vary. Examples include 2 oz. of angel food cake with 30 g of carbohydrate, a 1 oz. portion of an unfrosted brownie with 15 g of carbohydrate, 3 gingersnap cookies with 15 g of carbohydrate, 1/2 cup of pudding with 30 g of carbohydrate and a 1 oz. muffin with 15 g of carbohydrate.