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Friday, June 17, 2011

Guidelines For the Diabetes Diet

By Christine Jackson

Diabetes is appearing to be among the most frightening illnesses I've ever had but easy to handle so far. Over the past 6 years I've done very well managing my Type 2 Diabetes using ahealthy diet and exercise, the lack of which having been the cause of my problem in the first place. I'm not a physician and don't play one on the net so don't do anything in this article with out checking with yours. But, because it seems so tough at first, I would like to share to you some things I've discovered which simplified the entire diet thing for me.

Diabetes Diet programs are all over the place, but many are so severe or so complex we can't follow them. When my doctor diagnosed me, he gave me a duplicate of the typed diet sheet that really had taken all the joy out of my life...no sugar, bread, rice, cake, ice cream...etc. Thankfully, he sent me to a diabetes diet class which taught me you don't have to give up sugar or other carbohydrates...all you've to do is manage them. That's made all the big difference! In fact, to manage Type 2 Diabetes, all we have to do is eat the balanced diet we should have been eating all along.

The American Diabetes Diet recommends we get 50-60% of our calories from carbohydrates, 12-20% from proteins, and much less than 30% from fats. In my individual diet, I lean toward 50-30-20% in those groups. As you can see, 50-60% carbohydrates isn't exactly eating none...is it? We'll get into simple ways to mange this balance later. I found the biggest dietary adjustment I needed to make was taking 3 big meals a day and turning them into 3 little meals and 2-3 snacks. This really is necessary to help keep a balanced level of blood sugar (glucose). The funny thing was, after about a week, I noticed I had more energy and never felt hungry. Needles to say, I began getting excited.

Eat Generally Healthier: The smallest adjustment was to eat healthier...you realize the drill: More fresh fruits and vegetables, more fresh meat, fish and poultry (lean cuts) and much less fruit juices and processed foods. More crackers and fewer chips. More whole grain breads and pasta and fewer white, processed flours. More brown rice and much less white. Low or non fat milk, cheese, yogurt, salad dressings. Eat cakes, cookies, pies, ice cream, sodas, and so on. much less often and ideally low fat, sugar free varieties if possible. The amazing thing to me was, there was clearly literally nothing I could not eat...I just had to control the way in which I ate. This isn't as hard as individuals believe. Food Exchanges from the American Diabetes Association make it pretty easy to classify your foods and understand how much of each you must be eating.

Here are some common classifications to get you started. Fats consist of butter, margarine, oils and nuts. Proteins include meats, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and cheese (milk and cheese are substantial in fat). Carbohydrates include bread, cereal, beans, grains and potatoes. Sugars are refined carbohydrates and must be taken in extremely small amounts. Almost all fresh vegetables are "free" simply because they are high in fiber and nutrients with out being high in fats, carbs, etc. All packaged foods have labels that tell you how large a serving is and how many carbs, sugars, proteins, fats, calories are in a serving This is much more important to read than the cost.

Portion Size is simple to figure for meals. If you learn the exchanges and portion sizes for given foods you never need to count carbs, calories, and so on. Just look at what you're eating. Here's a little chart to get you started:

Portions From American Diabetes Association:A serving of... Measures... And it is about as large as... Cheese - 1 ounce - 4 dice. Rice - cup - Half a baseball. Bagel - 4 ounces - A hockey puck. Meat - 3 ounces - A deck of cards. Peanut butter - 2 Tablespoons - A ping-pong ball. Pasta - 1 cup - A tennis ball.

A basic Diabetes Diet Guideline: I manage my diet using exchanges and portion control without measuring anything. I've found each day I can balance my diet and maintain my blood sugar regular by managing my portions as follows: 5-6 Carbs, 5-6 Proteins, 5-6 fruits and vegetables (mostly vegetables), less than 3 fats, and 2-3 quarts water.

Make sure to includehigh fiber foods inside your fruits and vegetables to help maintain good blood fat and sugar levels. I misplaced about 50 pounds in a year and maintained it for 5 years since the onset of my disease. I'm now beginning to lose the last 40 pounds toward my goal of 180.

That's really about it! Obviously, you'll want to study as much as you can and ask you doctor to completely manage your diabetes, but I hope this short article has removed some of the mystery and given you a great starting point to consider control of your diet. You can do this!

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