Diabetes is a disease that is closely linked to food. Recent studies indicate that subjects who eat a lot of refined carbohydrates are more likely to have diabetes than those who don’t. Fortunately, you only have to make some gradual changes to your diet to turn the tide. Even those who already have diabetes will see their condition improve if they eat better and, if necessary, lose weight. Here are some wise food choices to do to prevent and live better with diabetes.
Stabilize your blood sugar
It is often recommended that dieters take small meals throughout the day to avoid blood sugar fluctuations which can lead to cravings. This advice also applies to improve moods. Never stay more than a few hours without eating, go for complex carbohydrates rather than refined grains and sugary foods, and take proteins and healthy fats when you sit down for your meals and snacks.
For example, you could replace the bagel lunch with a bran cereal topped with fruit, make dinner a whole wheat sandwich bread instead of white bread or a salad topped with beans or tuna in place of the big plate of spaghetti with a slice or two of roast chicken served with a mountain of vegetables and ½ cup of brown rice.
Whole grains, beans, peas and lentil
Whole grains and other complex carbohydrates are antidiabetic foods par excellence. Oats, beans and some fruits and vegetables are rich in soluble fiber, substances that slow digestion and reduce the glycemic peaks. In addition, the fibers lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death among diabetics. As to their insoluble fiber, they decrease incidence of diabetes.
The data collected from the approximately 3000 subjects in the Framingham Offspring Study indicate that less prone individuals with insulin resistance, precursor of type 2 diabetes, were those who consumed the most whole grains rich in fiber. In addition, their risk of developing metabolic syndrome – a group of symptoms including obesity, hypertension and hyperglycemia associated with type 2 diabetes and heart disease – was 38% lower than that of subjects who were taking less. Finally, the results of a review of studies indicate that subjects who took at least three servings of whole grains per day were running 20 to 30% lower risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes than those who consumed less.
Legumes such as beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils and soy beans, are just as good for diabetics. They are digested slowly, causing only a slight increase in blood sugar and insulin levels. In addition, they are rich in protein, but unlike meat, contain no saturated fat.
Soy bean seems particularly effective. In a study conducted at the University of Illinois which followed 14 men with type 2 diabetes which advanced a diet plan in which half the protein consisted of soybeans, their HDL cholesterol was high and the protein levels in their urine showed signs of kidney damage, decreased. The results of a number of studies indicate that soy may help regulate the levels of insulin and glucose levels.
Caution: add fiber gradually to the menu, otherwise you risk bloating and flatulence. In addition, it is important to scale up your fluid intake.
Your goals: 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. A cup of lentils provides 9 grams, and ½ cup bran cereals, 12 g. To increase your intake, opt for whole grain cereal in the morning (make sure they provide at least 5 grams of fiber per serving). Replace white bread sandwich lunch with a sandwich with whole grain bread and legumes should take at least one meal per week.