Good nutrition and healthy eating habits is extremely important for a diabetic. The American Diabetes Association recommends the ADA diet to all diabetics across the country. The ADA diet serves as a guideline to help ensure that you are eating healthy and consuming the needed vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
Guidelines – The ADA recommends that a diabetic person eat foods daily from the 4 major food groups.
1. Proteins, which include meats, eggs, fish, poultry, nuts and dried beans. (Peanut butter is even a protein!)
2. Dairy products like low fat milk, skim milk, cottage cheese and yogurt.
3. Whole grains, breads and cereals.
4. Vegetables and fruits.
By following these guidelines, you will ensure that your body receives all of the nutrients that it needs in order to function to the best of its ability. Some of these nutrients include: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
Carbohydrates provide energy for the body. Unfortunately there are good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates. Good carbohydrates include items such as: beans, lentils, whole grains, and cereals. When the body breaks carbohydrates down, sugar is produced; therefore, watch your carbohydrate intake.
Proteins are another source of energy for the body and are very important for the body’s growth. Proteins have the ability to help maintain level blood glucose results. This is why whenever one has a low blood glucose level, eating a carbohydrate and a protein is recommended. The carbohydrate provides the body with the sugar which causes the blood glucose level to rise while the protein ensures that the level stays there and doesn’t drop back down.
High fiber foods and low glycemic index foods are very healthy for diabetics and are highly recommended in the ADA diet. High fiber foods includes: beans, whole grains, peas, etc. High fiber foods help to reduce high blood glucose levels as well as high blood-fat levels. The ADA diet does allow for you to have fat in your diet, but in the right proportions.
Avoid – The ADA diet requires that you avoid foods that are high in fat. Pick meats that are lean and have low fat content. Use olive oil or flax seed oil for cooking. Remove the skin of chicken prior to eating. Skim or low-fat milk is always recommended instead of whole milk.
Low sodium content in your diet is also recommended. Stay away from foods that are high in salt and limit your salt usage during cooking. Learn to read nutrition labels as there are hidden sources of salt in foods such as canned soups.
Of course, sugar intake should be completely removed in the recommended ADA diet. This means elimination of table sugar, sugar coated cereals, canned soda, syrup, etc should not be consumed.
Alcoholic beverages should also be eliminated in the ADA diet. Since alcohol acts like sugar in your blood stream, alcoholic beverages are not a good idea.
You should consult your dietitian to develop and maintain a meal plan that is right for you while following these recommended guidelines in the ADA diet.