If you have been diagnosed with type II diabetes and your doctor said you can manage it with proper nutrition, Doctor's Best Weight Loss has put together the following recommendations for you. There are some cases of diabetes that do require medication so please follow your doctor’s orders. If you are currently trying to combat type II diabetes or you are taking preventative measures, the below guidelines may assist you.
Limit or Eliminate Sugar
The reality of fighting or avoiding type II diabetes comes down to severely limiting sugar. Consuming sugar is directly related with raising our blood sugar which can result in or exacerbate diabetes. Whether the sugar comes from a candy bar, ice cream, cookies or even natural sources like honey or fruit, all types of sugar are problematic for type II diabetes. For some of our delicious low-sugar treats, click here!
Reduce Carbohydrate Intake
Carbohydrates are broken down to sugar by the digestive system and that sugar enters the blood. In response to this, blood sugar rises and insulin is released by the pancreas which prompts the sugar to be used as energy or to be stored in cells. Sometimes not enough insulin is created by the pancreas and that leads to high blood sugar levels as the sugar remains in the blood as opposed to getting used or stored. Carbohydrates affect blood sugar and insulin response more than proteins and fats so it is imperative to reduce carbohydrate intake if you suffer from type II diabetes. For a selection of our delicious and low-carbohydrate entrees, see here!
Obtain Majority of Carbs from Vegetables
It is still important to eat carbohydrates—your primary carbohydrates should come from vegetable sources as they are low-glycemic. The Glycemic Index ranks carbohydrates in terms of how quickly they turn to sugar once digested. Most vegetables (notably green vegetables) are low-glycemic which means they raise blood sugar very minimally and slowly while providing energy, nutrients, and fiber.
Eliminate Carbohydrates from High-Sugar Fruits
Like vegetables, low-glycemic fruits are another carbohydrate source that provide essential nutrients and antioxidants while resulting in marginal blood sugar increase and insulin response. Fruits such as avocado, tomato, and bell pepper are extremely low in carbohydrates and sugar so those can be a part of your diabetes management or prevention diet. Low-sugar fruits such as berries can be consumed in moderation, however, high-glycemic fruits such as mango, figs, banana, and pineapple should be avoided as they cause spikes in the blood sugar and insulin response.
Eat More Protein and Healthy Fats
Protein and healthy fats have very little bearing on blood sugar so consuming more of these macronutrients (and less carbohydrates) is key to treating or preventing type II diabetes. Protein and fats help to keep your blood sugar levels even and they assist with keeping your fuller for longer which may prevent spikes and drops in blood glucose. High-carbohydrate intake results in those spikes in blood sugar, followed by a “crash” which may lead to cravings for more carbohydrates. Keep in mind, it is critical to consume high-quality proteins and healthy fats (since not all proteins and fats are created equal). Wild salmon, organic meats/poultry, nuts, seeds, broccoli, spinach, quinoa, avocado, and extra-virgin olive oil are great examples of proteins and fats to consume while items such as hot dogs, deli meats, fried foods, vegetable oil, and fast foods are best to be avoided.
Boil Your Sweet Potatoes
With some foods, the Glycemic Index can be confusing as preparation can actually alter the Glycemic Index ranking and sweet potatoes fall under this category. Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrients such as vitamin A and beta-carotene however, if you are treating or actively preventing diabetes, please boil your sweet potato with the skin on—this will result in a low GI score of forty-six. If you bake your sweet potato for forty-five minutes, the composition and quality of the starches change, causing the score to jump to ninety-four which is considered very high and should be avoided, as high GI scores raise blood sugar the most!
Eliminate Sugary Beverages
Of course we all know that sodas should be eliminated however, there are other beverages that are touted as being healthy but will worsen type II diabetes. Sports drinks tend to be advertised as being a somewhat healthy alternative to sodas as they boast electrolytes but these, too are filled with sugars, additives, and artificial ingredients—the costs of these drinks definitely outweigh the benefits. There is much confusion about fruit juices in particular since we have always been taught that they are good to consume due to the vitamin content. In addition, it is misconception that natural sugar coming from the fruit is unlike processed sugar in terms of the effect it has on our blood sugar however, our bodies cannot distinguish between the fructose found in fruit from any other types of sugar. Water is the most beneficial beverage for diabetes management. If you like something a bit more exciting than water, check out our low sugar beverages here!
Managing type II diabetes may seem difficult to navigate, however, if your doctor has advised that you can manage it through proper nutrition, I urge you to try he above mentioned strategies. If you’re getting bored with your higher protein, lower carbohydrate food regimen and you miss the foods you love, check out our large variety of diabetes-friendly meals, snacks, and desserts in the links provided above!