A vegetarian or vegan diet can be a good choice for people with diabetes. Vegetarian and vegan diets are typically high in carbohydrates - about 13% higher than a diet with that includes both plant and animal products (omnivorous) – which we generally think is bad for diabetes. However, a vegetarian or vegan diet is typically higher in fiber and lower in calories and saturated fat, so the inflammatory risks associated with high meat consumption are avoided. Research studies that have tested vegetarian and vegan diets for people with diabetes; have found them to be beneficial at reducing blood sugar.12
Don’t be surprised if you have to use multiple medications to control the blood sugar. Multiple medications, also known as combination therapy is common in the treatment of diabetes! If one medication is not enough, you medical provider may give you two or three or more different types of pills. Insulin or other injected medications also may be prescribed. Or, depending on your medical condition, you may be treated only with insulin or injected medication therapy.
It’s best to get fiber from food. But if you can’t get enough, then taking fiber supplements can help. Examples include psyllium, methylcellulose, wheat dextrin, and calcium polycarbophil. If you take a fiber supplement, increase the amount you take slowly. This can help prevent gas and cramping. It’s also important to drink enough liquids when you increase your fiber intake.
"Many people with type 2 have had type 2 for a while prior to diagnosis," says Anne Peters, MD, director of the University of Southern California Clinical Diabetes Program and an author of the ADA's position statement on the management of type 2. A person who has had diabetes for five years before being diagnosed may have complications that require good blood glucose control—pronto. It will most likely take medications to achieve a quick improvement. Plus, you can always stop a medication once you've started it if lifestyle changes lead to on-target blood glucose levels—with your health care provider's guidance, of course.
Some easy-to-follow examples I often provide are adding chopped mixed vegetables to scrambled eggs and including fresh fruit on the side; preparing a green smoothie with low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, chopped fresh kale, and frozen fruit; preparing vegetarian jambalaya with brown rice; or choosing a hearty salad with mixed greens, nuts, beans, and light salad dressing from a salad bar. Food can be medicine and it can also be enjoyable!
Losing weight and keeping it off. Weight control is an important part of diabetes prevention. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose between 10 to 20 pounds. And once you lose the weight, it is important that you don't gain it back.
Medications in this drug class may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in people with a high risk of those conditions. Side effects may include vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections, low blood pressure, and a higher risk of diabetic ketoacidosis. Canagliflozin, but not the other drugs in the class, has been associated with increased risk of lower limb amputation.
But some pleasant news: When consumed in moderation and made with whole ingredients and without added sugar, fruit smoothies can be a good food for diabetes. Consider stocking your fridge with unsweetened frozen fruit so you can whip up one in a hurry for breakfast. Adding ingredients with protein, such as yogurt or a small amount of nut butter, will also help your body break down the carbohydrates more slowly, leading to less of a spike in blood sugar.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends lean proteins low in saturated fat for people with diabetes. If you’re following a vegan or vegetarian diet, getting enough and the right balance of protein may be more challenging, but you can rely on foods like beans, nuts, and tofu to get your fix. Just be sure to keep portion size in mind when snacking on nuts, as they are also high in fat and calories.
Carry a Rescue Snack: Going too long without eating can lead to dips in blood sugar, sometimes called “lows”, which create unpleasant symptoms, including ravenous hunger. This often leads to poor food choices, since we’re more focused on eating anything in sight, even if it’s not healthy. Rather than getting to this point, keep a healthy snack with you throughout the day in case you get stuck somewhere you didn’t plan at a mealtime. A balanced snack will combine a nutritious carb or veggie + source of protein or healthy fat.The chart below provides portable options you can mix and match to your tastes:
The Life! program is a Victorian lifestyle modification program that helps you reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Run by expert health professionals, the program is delivered as a Group Course or a Telephone Health Coaching service. Funded by the Victorian Government and managed by Diabetes Victoria it is the biggest prevention program of its type in Australia.
Of course, carbohydrate types, amounts and frequencies still matter. Setting up a routine is best so the body can become more regulated, and medications can be more easily adjusted with medical guidance. For example, a “consistent carbohydrate diet” may include 4-5 carbohydrate servings (60-75 grams) per meal, with 3 meals spaced 4 or 5 hours apart. The inclusion of an evening snack may be recommended pending morning glucose trends. If morning sugars are running under 70 mg/dl, it may be a wise choice to have a 2-carbohydrate evening snack about 1 hour prior to retiring to bed.
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The more intense the exercise, the better. According to the British diabetes association diabetes.co.uk, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be better for weight loss and glucose control than continuous aerobic activity like jogging. HIIT involves alternating between short bursts of increased intensity exercise and rest — for instance, running and then walking on and off throughout the workout.
A ketogenic diet for prediabetes might include about 20 to 50 grams per day of non-fiber carbohydrates, or about 5 to 10% of total calories from carbohydrates. The rest of your calories come from fat and protein. The food choices on this diet are similar to those on other low-carb diets, but you may need to further restrict some of the moderate-carbohydrate options that might be easier to fit in on a more moderate low-carb diet. Examples include fruit (an apple has 24 grams of non-fiber carbohydrates) and starchy vegetables (a half-cup of corn has 15 grams of non-fiber carbs).
In addition, many sugar-containing foods also contain a lot of fat. Foods such as cookies, pastries, ice cream and cakes should be avoided largely because of the fat content and because they don't contribute much nutritional value. If you do want a "sweet," make a low-fat choice, such as low-fat frozen yogurt, gingersnaps, fig bars, or graham crackers and substitute it for other carbohydrates on your meal plan.
It’s no secret that diet is essential to managing type 2 diabetes. Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all diet for diabetes management, certain dietary choices should act as the foundation for your individual diet plan. Your diet plan should work with your body — not against it — so it’s important that the food you eat won’t spike your blood sugar levels to high.
There are two major forms of diabetes - type 1 and type 2. This article focuses specifically on the prevention of type 2 diabetes since there is no know way to prevent type 1 diabetes. This form of diabetes is virtually a pandemic in the United States. This information reviews the risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes and reviews key points regarding prediction of those at risk for type 2 diabetes. It also is a review of what they can do about it.
By definition, diabetes is associated with a fasting blood sugar of greater than 126 mg/dl. There is another group that has been identified and referred to as having impaired fasting glucose or prediabetes. These people have a fasting blood sugar value of between 110-125mg/dl. The main concern with this group is that they have an increased potential to develop type 2 diabetes when compared to the normal population. The actual percent increase varies depending on ethnicity, weight, etc.; but it is significantly higher, regardless of absolute numbers. In addition, it is known that people with impaired fasting glucose also are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
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The types of fats in your diet can also affect the development of diabetes. Good fats, such as the polyunsaturated fats found in liquid vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds can help ward off type 2 diabetes. (39) Trans fats do just the opposite. (8, 40) These bad fats are found in many margarines, packaged baked goods, fried foods in most fast-food restaurants, and any product that lists “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” on the label. Eating polyunsaturated fats from fish—also known as “long chain omega 3” or “marine omega 3” fats—does not protect against diabetes, even though there is much evidence that these marine omega 3 fats help prevent heart disease. (41) If you already have diabetes, eating fish can help protect you against a heart attack or dying from heart disease. (42)
If you choose to drink alcohol, remember: To drink with your meal or snack (not on an empty stomach!), to drink slowly or dilute with water or diet soda, that liqueurs, sweet wines and dessert wines have a lot of sugar, to wear your Medic Alert (Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia/low blood glucose), reducing alcohol can promote weight loss and help you lower your blood pressure.