Eating with Diabetes FAQ
What can/can't I eat?
People with diabetes can (and should!) eat the same foods as people without diabetes. The following food tips can help:
- Choose healthy options such as:
- Whole grains
- Low-fat milk and yogurt
- Lean meat, poultry and fish
- Heart healthy fats
- You are not limited to "diabetic foods" only, but try going easy on red meats, cheeses, fried foods, high fat snacks and desserts
- Choose drinks that contain little or no carbs (water, diet soft drinks, vegetable juices, coffee, tea etc)
- Limit high sugar and high calorie drinks (fruit juices, soda/soft drinks, sports drinks etc)
- Try to eat meals at the same times every day and do not skip meals
- Meet with a registered dietitian to create a personalized diabetes diet plan. By meeting your preferences for food and meal times, coordinating any diabetes medications you require, and acheiving your weight and blood sugar goals, an RD is a key partner in managing diabetes.
Am I still able to eat candy or sweets?
Yes! Sugar alone is not the cause of complications. The key is controlling the portion size and the frequency with which you indulge, so you can make adjustments to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Many sweets now have nutritional labels that include the amount of carbohydrates and fats, making it easier to keep track. Armed with this info, you can compensate by exercising, eating less of something else, or taking more insulin (if this is an option).
What about artificial sweeteners?
These can be a good alternative to sugar. Unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners generally don't raise blood sugar levels because they are not carbohydrates. But because of concerns about how sugar substitutes are labeled and categorized, always check with your doctor or dietitian about using any sugar substitutes if you have diabetes. Common examples of sugar alternatives include Sweet & Low and Stevia.
Is reading food labels actually beneficial?
It really is! Food labels provide important information to help us eat healthy meals and snacks in the right portions. New government regulations have increased the information put on food labels to include:
- Proper serving size
- Natural calories and calories from fat
- Recommended daily amounts of nutrients in food
- List of nutrients and ingredients
- Relationship between the food and any disease it may affect
America's Dietitians strongly recommends reading food labels, working directly with you to get to know label displays of sugar calories, fat, carbs, and sodium contained in each item. Accurately comparing food label information will help you choose healthier brands and options as well as keep track of your intake.
Should I be eating little meals throughout the day or three large meals?
No one diet is the solution for everyone. Many people have found success with this "grazing diet" while others have found their success through three larger meals. You should always consider the impact of changing your dietary habits, and check with a Registered Dietitian before beginning any new nutrition regimen to make sure that you are staying safe and eating appropriately for your lifestyle! If you'd like to learn more about the pros and cons of a grazing diet, check this blog where we've compiled quite a bit of information on the subject!
Do you have any recipe suggestions that are diabetic friendly?
We are working on creating new diabetic friendly recipes to add to our blog, Blogabetic, so please check back soon!