Part VI - Diabetic Diet: Fiber and Fat
The diabetic eating plan is simply a healthy diet that emphasizes whole, natural and unrefined foods that are low in sugar and fat—the way we should all be eating. Following this sensible regimen can help maintain blood sugar within normal limit.
Creating Your Plan
Having diabetes doesn't necessarily mean that you have to start eating special foods or follow a complicated diet. For most people, a diabetes diet simply translates into eating a well-balanced variety while sticking to regular meal and snack times. Natural plant foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains are emphasized for their superior nutritional benefits.
Since the body responds to excess calories and fat by creating a rise in blood sugar, a consistent and controlled intake is important. Try to eat approximately the same amounts of food at regular meal and snack times each day.
Choose High Fiber Foods
Dietary fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb. Aim for a minimum of 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day.
Foods high in fiber include:
- Vegetables and fruits
- Legumes (beans, peas and lentils)
- Whole grains (brown rice, rolled and steel cut oats, quinoa, barley, whole wheat flour, etc.)
- Nuts and seeds
Limit Unhealthy Fats
Animal and observational studies show that high intakes of total dietary fat, regardless of the type, produce greater insulin resistance. So even if you’re only choosing healthy fats, don’t overdo it. Very low fat diets (less than 10 percent of total calories) have not been shown to be beneficial either, but limiting fat to no more than 30 percent of daily calories and getting it from heart healthy sources is recommended.
Ways to reduce harmful fats include the following:
- Limit saturated fats. Restrict butter, stick margarine and shortening as well as red meat and cheese. The ADA recommends limiting eggs to no more than three weekly. In baking, substitute unrefined coconut oil or trans-fat-free tub margarines for other solid fats.
- Use low and no-fat substitutions. For example, top your baked potato with reduced-fat sour cream instead of butter. Try sugar-free fruit spreads on toast instead of margarine. Have yogurt with honey-sweetened fruit instead of ice cream. Bake, broil and steam foods instead of frying.
- Choose monounsaturated fats. These healthy fats are found in olive and canola oil. Try using olive oil with herbs on rolls instead of butter. Avocado, nuts and seeds are additional good choices.
- Avoid processed foods, especially fast food and junk foods. For example, crackers, chips, cookies, doughnuts, pies, cakes, biscuits, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, french fries and any other foods that are high in unhealthy fats and refined carbohydrates.
Click here for a list of sources.