How To Manage Diabetes With 3 Life-changing Diet Methods

How to Manage Diabetes with Diet

Controlling the way you eat

Eating healthy is essential for everyone, but it’s even more critical for people with type 2 diabetes. A healthy, balanced diet is – together with exercise – your most powerful tool for managing the disease.

From childhood to old age, food is central to social life. Meals structure the day and define relationships with other people. Furthermore, what gets served and eaten depends on the occasion, time of year, cultural norms, and more.

To help you navigate that, we have put together some tips and pointers to make a living and eating with diabetes both enjoyable and easy.

How to Manage Diabetes with Diet

A new way to look at food when you are living with diabetes

If you’re newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you might wonder what it will mean for how you eat. You may worry that you don’t know enough about diet and nutrition to establish the food habits that work and keep symptoms manageable. Fortunately, there are scientifically proven ways to handle that.

How to manage diabetes with diet – effective methods to manage diabetes




How to Manage Diabetes with Diet

How to Manage Diabetes with Diet – A visual pie chart of the Plate Method.

1. The Plate Method

The easiest of the three, this method reminds you that no single food group provides you with all the energy and nutrients you need.

Many people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood sugar levels by getting portion sizes right. Instead of counting carbs – which we’ll get to in the following method – the plate method offers a quick visual shortcut to healthy balanced eating.

How to manage diabetes isn’t a question but a procedure. Learn it, apply it to three meals daily, and you won’t go entirely wrong.

How to Manage Diabetes with Diet

How to Manage Diabetes - Carb Counting
How to Manage Diabetes with Diet – Carb Counting method.

2. Carb Counting Method

Do people living with diabetes need to avoid carbs altogether? No! That would be a mistake because carbs coexist with essential vitamins and minerals in many foods.

When it comes to carbs, you need to learn to count them. That lets you do two things: keep your blood sugar level under steady control and provide your brain and muscles with the fuel they need to function.

Successfully managing diabetes is all about discovering how what you eat and enjoy – and also when you eat – affects your blood sugar levels and your overall health, including your mood. Specifically, here we’re talking about carbs.

Living with diabetes is all about controlling the glucose level in the blood. And because carbs are turned into glucose when absorbed, people with diabetes need to be mindful of their carb intake.

Women with diabetes typically aim for 45-60 grams of carbs per meal (60-75 for men) – and a third of that per snack. What matters when you count carbs is the amount – not the type. That’s where food labels come in.

Find the “Total Carbohydrate” number on the “Nutrition Facts” panel of the food (if packaged). These facts will tell you how many grams of carbs you use up from your total carb average per meal by eating one serving size.

Do the same for other foods you plan to eat. Aim for your carb window – not by depriving yourself of foods you like, but by eating them in moderation. Make your meal plan diverse and exciting!

Fresh foods without a label force you to guess the number of carbs they contain. A good rule of thumb is that a serving of fruit, milk, or starch has about 15 grams of carbs. Get a pocket guide or app that lists carb counts and portion sizes.

The precise amount of grams of carbs you need depends on how physically active you are and which medicines you take. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can help you identify the right balance.

Here’s something you need to know about carbs: They come in a simple and complex types. If you are living with diabetes, complex carbs are better for you because they take longer for your body to digest and absorb, which means that they act as a buffer against fluctuations in blood sugar level – also known as hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

So aim to get most of your carbs from nutrient-rich, slow-acting complex carbs. Choose brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, farro, millet, and bulgur over simple carbs such as processed and refined sugars. And go “whole-meal” if possible when you choose bread, pasta, and crackers. An excellent tip for eating out or traveling is to download an app that gives you a quick overview of food types that are unfamiliar to you.

How to Manage Diabetes with Diet

How to Manage Diabetes with Diet – The Glycaemic Index method.

3. The Glycaemic Index method

You now know that the amount of complex and simple carbs in a given food is relevant to how much you can eat. But there’s another method how for managing diabetes: the glycaemic index.

The Glycaemic index ranks food on a scale of 0 to 100 according to the food’s impact on your blood sugar. The higher the index, the quicker the food is digested and absorbed, leading to an increase in glucose levels in the blood.

Maybe you are particularly fond of certain foods. If that’s the case, I suggest looking up their Glycaemic index first. You need to know how they score quickly, causing your blood sugar levels to rise because your safety, well-being, and ability to function depend on this. As you get used to this method, you’ll know how much – or how many – of a specific food type you can eat without causing your blood sugar levels to either plummet or spike.

How to Manage Diabetes with Diet – Changing your lifestyle.

What are foods to avoid if you have diabetes?

Many people living with diabetes find that certain foods must be cut out – completely. But you can choose a “glass half-full” way of looking at groceries. Give a little thought to your grocery shopping, and you won’t run out of exciting options in the kitchen.

A great tip when you go to the supermarket is to spend more time on fresh produce than packaged foods. You can generally find the healthiest foods along the perimeter of the store. Don’t rush past them in pursuit of processed foods; try to concentrate on fruits and vegetables as well as dairy, meat, chicken, and fish.

Why this prioritization? Because the dietary pitfalls primarily haunt packaged and canned foods. If you read the food label, this fact will be clear. (Always consult the food label to avoid surprising reactions to the food.) And needless to say, some packaged foods are excellent for someone with diabetes – e.g., canned tuna, beans, and oatmeal.

Here’s another tip that is both easy and charming. When you go grocery shopping and consider buying a new type of food, ask yourself if your great-grandmother would have recognized it. If the answer is yes, you probably don’t have to be suspicious of its nutritional value.

Another handy tip touches on the color of foods. Darker foods are preferred over lighter variants. Pick spinach over iceberg lettuce, brown rice over white rice, sweet potatoes over white potatoes, etc. Skip pale foods and opt for whole-grain ones, as they will balance your blood sugar and raise your general well-being.

How to Manage Diabetes with Diet

Can you still enjoy food with diabetes?

When you go out to a restaurant, the trick is to keep your focus! Don’t let the many options throw you off your “meal plan” game.

Consider and plan your way through the whole meal – from a starter through the main course to dessert. Focus on the carbs in each dish and use an app to help you do the estimates (unless the menu provides the nutritional details).

So what about dessert? Some people with diabetes use the rule of thumb that having dessert uses up all the carbs they can have for the meal. So choosing dessert means having a salad instead of a carb-heavy starter and main course. It’s essential to consider your entire meal from start to finish before you make any final selections.

When there is a buffet, the same advice applies. Please familiarize yourself with all the options before you dig in, otherwise, you’ll likely run out of carbs before you make it to some of the foods you were looking forward to.

Living well with diabetes will make you a pro at putting together a delicious meal without breaking the rules on which your well-being hinges.

How to manage diabetes – Putting “food pushers” in their place

People who love to push food on you are a special kind of challenge for people living with diabetes. They may say things like “Just take a little piece” or “I made it just for you” or “My feelings will be hurt if you don’t try this.” Typically charming and well-meaning, they unfortunately make sticking to a meal plan a bit more difficult. Occasionally, food pushers constitute a real problem.

Food is about more than metabolism. It is a big part of daily socializing, and is tied to relationships, love and warmth – often with people we don’t want to reject. Having to reject the food they try to offer can feel like rejecting their love or otherwise putting a damper on the relationship.

There may be no easy way out when a food pusher threatens to upset your meal plan, but here is a tip anyway. Smile and say, “I can’t eat that now but I’ll save it for later.”

Living with diabetes means putting your health and well-being before other concerns and priorities. This is not selfishness. It is a prerequisite for being useful and available to those who matter to us.

How to Manage Diabetes with Diet

It’s about the long haul

Living with diabetes is a journey, and you’re always moving forward. Some days will be better than others. Some days your methods and metabolic rhythm are going to be a perfect match – and some days you’ll wonder what you’re doing wrong.

Can diabetes be controlled with just diet?

A type 2 diabetes diagnosis doesn’t mean you can no longer enjoy food. Committing to a healthy and realistic meal plan means that food can still be a delightful and satisfying part of your life. If you adopt a mindset that respects the needs of your body, you can live life to the fullest. When you review some of your habits around food, you’ll find that living with diabetes can actually reveal many exciting options. There are countless new foods and recipes waiting to be discovered!

I hope you enjoyed How to Manage Diabetes with Diet. I bet you’re hungry after reading the whole post. Why not take a quick peek at our latest posts here?

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