With nearly 26 million children and adults in America living with diabetes, and another 79 million at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, the disease is an increasingly serious problem. The disease is also preventable and treatable with proper diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices. As part of their healthy living mission and to help spread awareness for American Diabetes Month, the Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa shares the following top five food tips that can help people with diabetes keep their blood sugar under control. If you have diabetes, read up!
5 Tips to manage diabetes
1. Reach for low-calorie, fiber-rich foods to lose weight
Fill each plate of food you eat with low-calorie-dense, fiber-rich choices like vegetables, beans, and fruit, and you will lose weight. Weight loss is your #1 goal. Even a 5 percent reduction in weight can change the way your body uses its own insulin and responds to the foods you eat. So, if weight loss is your goal, vegetables, beans, and fruits are the foods that are best going to help you reach that goal. Choosing these low-calorie-dense, fiber-rich foods more often will help keep hunger at bay with a lower caloric cost, and they’ll help you lose weight without having to count calories or go hungry.
2. Eat fruit, just not by itself
The Pritikin doctors and dietitians promote fruit as part of your diet but they recommend that you combine your fruits with something else. For example, in the morning add some berries to your oatmeal; in the afternoon choose a piece of fruit and a cup of soup or some veggie sticks; after meals, fruit becomes your dessert. These “extra” foods will help bring in extra fiber, which is a key element that helps stabilize your blood sugar after a meal.
3. Be consistent with your diet
Be sure to start each day with a high-fiber breakfast, and continue the day listening to your hunger and satiety cues. Only eat snacks (vegan yogurt and berries, bean-rich soups, baked potatoes, and fresh veggies) if you are really hungry for them, and be sure to fill your plates at lunch and dinner with low-calorie-dense foods like big veggie salads, vegetable entrees, beans and lentils, and starches like yams and baked potatoes, and water-rich whole grains like whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and barley.
4. After dinner, choose fruit for dessert then get moving
People with diabetes often see improved morning blood sugar numbers based on their choices at dinnertime the night before. Choosing fruit over the menu dessert items and doing something physical (i.e. walking for 10 to 15 minutes after dinner) can really help lower your blood sugar numbers the following morning.
5. Stay the course
The experts at Pritikin counsel their guests with diabetes that blood sugars will not drop to normal levels overnight. However, the Pritikin experts doctors have observed for the past 35 years that as weight drops and fitness levels improve, so does insulin sensitivity. What’s most important is how these numbers trend over time.
For more information, visit Pritikin.com.
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