15 Diet Tips for People with Type 2 Diabetes

 

If you have Type 2 diabetes, your doctors have likely advised you to watch your sugar levels and carb intake. But there are other ways to keep your blood glucose, or sugar, levels in check as well.

 

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Some 90-95 percent of all diabetes cases in the United States are Type II. In fact, statistics say that 1 in 8 Americans are diagnosed with it. It’s time to get this disease under control.

1

Reduce Your Portion Sizes

Ah, a simple pro-tip! It is crucial to reduce your portion sizes in order to keep your blood levels at a happy balance. Think about it this way: If you eat too much at once (particularly a dish high in carbs) your blood sugar may spike which will put you in a hyperglycemic state. Not ideal! Conversely, if you eat too little, your body may go into a hypoglycemic state, which means you don’t have enough blood sugar. So where’s the happy medium? Make sure to eat three solid meals per day with lunch and dinner looking something like this: ½ of the plate should include non-starchy vegetables and fruit, ¼ grains, and ¼ protein. For breakfast, kickstart the day with a bowl of oatmeal and a ¼ cup of berries for a boost in antioxidants.

2

Limit Your Protein Intake

When you have Type 2 diabetes, it’s very important to moderate your consumption of protein because you want to reduce the risk of developing a particular microvascular issue called nephropathy. Nephropathy is scientific lingo for kidney damage or kidney disease, and a diet that’s moderate to low in protein helps avoid the onset of these issues. A diet low in protein doesn’t stress the kidneys nearly as much as one that’s high in protein does. Stick to one 3-4 ounce serving of meat per day at most to promote the longevity of your kidneys!

3

Reduce Sugar Intake

This is pretty obvious, but it’s essential to at least mention. We’re not going to tell you to eat a certain number of grams of sugar per day because, honestly, that’s a bit unrealistic. However, something that is realistic is the fact that you can control how much added sugar you put into your body. Limit yourself to a maximum of one sugary treat a day—two or three squares of dark chocolate would absolutely suffice. This way you still get to quench that sweet tooth without over-indulging and causing your blood sugar levels to skyrocket!

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

4

Start Counting Carbs

Low carb this, low carb that. Are you sick of hearing it? Well, think about it this way, you can count carbs by calculating carb choices. One serving of carbs, or one carb choice, is equivalent to 15 grams carbs. Women should aim to have 3-4 carb choices for lunch and for dinner, which is somewhere between 45-60 grams of carbs per meal. Men, on the other hand, should have 4-5 carb choices per lunch and dinner, which yields 60-75 grams of carbs. For breakfast and snacks, stick to 1-2 choices per meal. You’re probably wondering how you even go about counting carbs, and lucky for you numbers 8 and 9 in this article will help you do just that! Keep reading for some helpful tools.

5

Monitor Your Blood Glucose

Acquiring a blood glucose meter, a lancet device with lancets, and test strips are key to making sure your blood glucose levels are at a stable range. For example, before meals your blood glucose levels should be 95 mg/dL or lower. One hour after eating, your levels should be at 130 mg/dL or lower and two hours after eating your levels should be at 120 mg/dL or lower. A good time to check your blood sugar would be when you have an a heightened feeling of thirst, headache, difficulty paying attention, or feel weak and fatigued. However, you’ll want to get an idea on where your body’s levels are at specific times throughout the day, so you know what to expect when you prick your finger. For five days, try taking your blood glucose levels three times a day at either one of the following times: before breakfast, before lunch/dinner, two hours after a meal, before intense exercise, when you are not feeling well, and before bed. Make sure to record in a journal so you can have these numbers for reference!

6

Learn About Glycemic Index

This is super important! Glycemic index is a system that ranks foods on a scale from 1 to 100 based on the impact they have on blood sugar levels. Foods that are low in glycemic index are the ones you want to have comprising a majority of your diet! Fill up on non-starchy veggies like broccoli, kale, spinach, and just about any leafy green or fruit you can think of and limit your intake of things like potatoes, meat, and dairy products. Make sure to steer clear of high glycemic index foods like white breads, white rice, and soda.

7

Exercise

Whether you prefer aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, swimming and biking or anaerobic exercises like lifting and interval circuits, both will help you manage your Type 2 diabetes. Why? When your muscles require glucose (blood sugar), they contract and push that glucose out of your blood and into your cells. As a result, this helps balance your blood glucose levels. So slip on a pair of sneakers and hit the trail or gym!

8

Download This App

Of course there’s an app to help you monitor your blood glucose levels! Sugar Sense is an awesome app that you can download for free on your smartphone that will help you keep track of your blood glucose levels, carb count, monitor your weight, and more. Download ASAP for immediate relief!

9

Visit This Website

Cronometer is another excellent online tool that enables you to record meals, log exercise and biometrics, and more. Sign up for free!

10

Join a Support Group

No scientific study is needed to stress how vital it is to talk to other people who are also enduring similar struggles. Hop online and see what groups you can join in your area, you may even meet new friends, workout buddies and dinner pals who understand what you’re going through. You are strong and you deserve to have people to vent to and bounce ideas off!

11

Reduce Stress

Did you know that stress can actually elevate your blood glucose levels? Keep your mind quiet and free of stress by taking a break at work and going for a walk and engaging in some deep breathing. Your health is your number one priority, updating that excel sheet or balancing that checkbook can wait!

12

Practice Yoga

This goes hand-in-hand with reducing stress. Inhaling positive energy and exhaling negative energy including, worries, stress, and feelings of sadness and fueling that breath through movement is incredibly beneficial to the mind and body.

13

Do Not Eat Fast Food

Drop that McDonald’s breakfast McMuffin because you’re on the one-way road to better health! In a 15-year study consisting of 3,000 adults, it was found that those who ate fast food more than twice a week developed insulin resistance at twice the rate than those who didn’t consume fast food. And for those with diabetes, eating highly processed, refined food can increase the risk of developing those dangerous complications previously mentioned.

14

Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

Contrary to popular belief, these fake sweeteners, called non-nutritive sweeteners or NNS, are not healthy for people with diabetes to consume. According to a study conducted by Harvard’s School of Public Health, consuming artificially sweetened drinks contributed to a 47 percent increase in BMI. The study finished in 2013 after monitoring 3,682 individuals for 7-8 years. So why would this happen if these sweeteners do not even contain regular table sugar (sucrose) which is thought to be the one of the leading causes of visceral fat, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes? The answer is quite simple, artificial sweeteners are anywhere from 180-20,000 times sweeter than table sugar. Frequent consumption can cause an alteration in your taste buds, which makes vegetables and even fruits taste more bitter than they actually are. This causes you to neglect those foods and go after foods that satisfy that desire for sweetness. Yikes!

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

15

Shed a Few Pounds

With all of these factors, it’s no doubt that you will lose a couple of pounds. Shedding just 10-15 pounds can significantly help balance your blood glucose levels, so get off the couch and get cracking because there’s no time to waste.

 

Does Keto Diet Work for Type 2 Diabetes?

Some people have suggested that this type of diet might help a person with diabetes, but the American Diabetes Association (ADA) do not recommend any single diet over another.

Every person has different dietary needs. Doctors now individualize diet plans based on current eating habits, preferences, and a target weight or blood sugar level for that person.

Foods containing carbohydrates, such as bread, rice, pasta, milk, and fruit, are the main fuel source for many bodily processes. The body uses insulin to help bring glucose from the blood into the cells for energy.

However, in a person with diabetes, insulin is either absent or does not work properly. This disrupts the body’s ability to use carbohydrates effectively and, in turn, causes sugars to be high in the blood.

If a person eats a high-carb meal, this can lead to a spike in blood glucose, especially in a person with diabetes. Diet is important for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Limiting the intake of carbohydrates is the central concept of the keto diet.

Researchers initially developed and continue to recommend the diet for children with epilepsy. However, some reviews maintain that it might also benefit some people with diabetes.

Some research has suggested that following a ketogenic diet might:

  • reduce the risk of diabetes in people who do not yet have it
  • improve glycemic control in people with diabetes
  • help people to lose excess weight

In this article, we look at the possible links between the keto diet and diabetes.

 

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The ketogenic diet and diabetes

The ketogenic diet severely restricts carbohydrates. It forces the body to break down fats for energy. The process of using fat for energy is called ketosis. It produces a fuel source called ketones.

Impact on blood sugar levels

A ketogenic diet may help some people with type 2 diabetes because it allows the body to maintain glucose levels at a low but healthy level.

The lower intake of carbohydrates in the diet can help to eliminate large spikes in blood sugar, reducing the need for insulin.

Studies on ketogenic diets, including research from 2018, have found that they can be helpful in controlling levels of HbA1c. This refers to the amount of glucose traveling with hemoglobin in the blood over about 3 months.

Impact on medication

Ketogenic diets may help reduce blood sugar levels. As such, some people with type 2 diabetes who also follow a ketogenic diet may be able to reduce their need for medication.

However, scientists have warned that those following the ketogenic diet alongside an insulin regimen might have a higher risk of developing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels fall to 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less.

It is best to discuss any diet changes with your doctor while on medication. Not consuming enough carbohydrates can be dangerous when taking certain medications for diabetes.

Impact on weight

The ketogenic diet helps the body burn fat. This is beneficial when a person is trying to lose weight, and it may be helpful for people whose excess weight has influenced the development of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Even light-to-moderate weight loss through diet and exercise might support glycemic control, overall well-being, and energy distribution throughout the day in people who have diabetes,

Research has shown that people undertaking a ketogenic diet show an improvement in blood sugar level management and that some have experienced noticeable weight loss.

 

Benefits

The ketogenic diet can lead to a variety of other benefits including:

  • lower blood pressure
  • improved insulin sensitivity
  • reduced dependency on medication
  • improvements in high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, without adding to low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol
  • a drop in insulin

Meal planning

Ketogenic diets are strict, but they can provide ample nutrition when a person follows them closely and is mindful about meeting nutrient needs.

The idea is to stay away from carbohydrate-rich foods that could spike insulin levels. Typically, the carbohydrate intake on a keto diet ranges from 20–50 grams (g) per day.

To follow the keto diet, people should try to develop a diet plan in which 10% of the calories come from carbohydrates, 20% come from protein, and 70% come from fat. However, there are different versions of the diet, and proportions vary depending on the type.

They should avoid processed foods and focus instead on natural foods.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

A ketogenic diet should consist of the following types of food:

  • Low-carb vegetables: A good rule of thumb is to eat non-starchy vegetables at every meal. Beware of starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn.
  • Eggs: Eggs are low in carbohydrates, as well as being an excellent source of protein.
  • Meats: Fatty meats are acceptable, but should be eaten in moderation to be mindful of heart health. Also, be mindful of consuming too much protein. Combining a high level of protein with low levels of carbohydrates may cause the liver to convert the protein into glucose. This would raise blood sugar levels.
  • Healthful fat sources: These include avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Although the diet is mostly fat, it is important and recommended to include mostly healthy fats over not as healthy options such as bacon, sausage, red meat, and fried cheeses.
  • Fish: This is a good source of protein.
  • Berries: These are good sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are okay to consume on the keto diet in the right quantity.

 

Lentils: The Big Health Benefits of Tiny Seeds

Lentils gained popularity as an affordable meat substitute in the U.S. during World War II. Today, they thrive in kitchens as a nutritious plant-based protein that can suit any cuisine or flavor.

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These small, gluten-free legumes pack a healthful punch. Lentils are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, without the fat or cholesterol of red meat. If you’re trying to find a quick, nutritious dinner and wondering, “Is lentil soup good for me?” the answer is “yes.” (The only decision is what color lentils to use!)

“Lentils have been around for ages, but it’s taken a while for us to realize how powerful they are for our bodies,” says dietitian Elyse Homan, RD. “They aren’t just a cheap alternative to meat anymore. They can be the foundation for a variety of meals and make a real difference to your health.”

Homan discusses the benefits of lentils and how they can support your health.

What are the types of lentils?

Lentils are edible seeds of the legume family. Like beans and peas, they grow in pods. The most common types are:

  • Brown lentils (European lentils): The least expensive type of lentil, brown lentils stay firm, making them an easy replacement for black beans in burgers and soups.
  • Green lentils (French lentils): These nutty-tasting lentils stay firm when cooked. They’re especially good in salads.
  • Red lentils: The fastest cooking, this mild and sweet lentil gets soft when cooked, so you can use them in purees and Indian dals. (Lentils also come in shades of yellow and orange.)
  • Black lentils: The tiniest type, these lentils look almost like caviar. In fact, they’re called Beluga lentils.

 

  • These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

5 reasons lentils are good for you

A little goes a long way when it comes to the health benefits of lentils. One-half cup of cooked lentils contains 140 calories and 12 grams of protein, with:

  • 0.5 grams of fat.
  • 23 grams of carbohydrates.
  • 9 grams of fiber.
  • 5 milligrams of sodium.

Lentils are high in protein, which helps build and maintain your muscles, bones and skin. Protein can also help you manage your appetite and support weight loss because it makes you feel fuller than other nutrients.

Among beans, only soybeans have more protein. Eaten with a whole grain, lentils work as the protein equivalent of meat, which is especially helpful if you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet. Lentils are also gluten-free, making them a great option for those with celiac disease.

Homan says that while more research is needed, early evidence is promising and suggests lentils could:

1. Protect against disease

Studies suggest that regularly eating lentils promotes good health and reduces your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer, including breast cancer.

The plant-based compounds (polyphenols) in lentils may have especially powerful effects.

Polyphenols may be anti-inflammatory, antioxidant (fight cell damage) and neuroprotective (maintain brain health). Studies also show that lentils may improve cholesterol levels in people with diabetes. And the slow rate at which lentils affect blood sugar levels (meaning lentils have a low glycemic index) also may help you avoid or manage diabetes.

Legumes overall are linked to reduced cancer risk. The fiber in lentils, along with antioxidant properties, may help ward off cell damage and prevent cancer growth.

“We need to know much more about how lentils affect people to draw any definite conclusions,” says Homan. “But we are learning more about the beneficial effects of what they contain, from fiber and vitamins to polyphenols. And it’s clear that people who eat a Mediterranean diet, which includes legumes such as lentils, can have better health outcomes.”

2. Lower blood pressure

Potassium helps counter the bad effects of salt, which can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension). Half a cup of cooked split red lentils has more than 270 milligrams of potassium.

Their high protein level also makes lentils a great substitute for red meat, which has the bonus of helping you keep your blood pressure under control. A word of caution: Lentils are low in certain essential amino acids, so combine them with whole grains to balance your diet.

3. Improve heart health

Folate protects your heart and supports the formation of red blood cells. It’s especially important for your baby’s development if you’re pregnant. Lentils have plenty of folate, iron and vitamin B1, which also support your heart health.

Lentils may be associated with a lower risk of heart disease, by lowering bad cholesterol and blood pressure. One study found that eating lentils led to greater reductions in blood pressure than eating chickpeas, peas or beans.

4. Boost energy

If you’re tired, a healthy dose of iron can sometimes put the spring back in your step, especially if you have anemia. Iron makes hemoglobin, a substance in your red blood cells that allows them to carry oxygen to your body.

Half a cup of cooked lentils can provide 15% of your recommended daily iron needs. If you eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, that news may feel like hitting the iron jackpot.

“Combine lentils with a source of vitamin C such as tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers or Brussels sprouts to enhance the absorption of iron,” Homan recommends.

5. Support your digestive system

Lentils are rich in a type of fiber that helps your digestive system work as it should and fuels good bacteria in your gut. Fiber may also help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

“Fiber plays an important role in regulating our bowels and protecting the immune system,” says Homan. “Foods that are high in fiber, like lentils, help us stay healthy and active.”

What are the side effects of eating lentils?

Eat too many lentils, or undercooked lentils, and you may feel the effects — and anyone near you might hear them. Lentils, like some fruits and vegetables, contain fiber that’s difficult for your body to break down. It also helps produce good bacteria in your gut. But too much can cause cramping and gas. To minimize these symptoms, Homan recommends gradually increasing your fiber intake.

Are lentils safe for everyone?

Most people can enjoy lentils as part of their regular diet without any concern. But lentils also contain natural compounds called anti-nutrients. These substances bind with nutrients like iron and zinc, making them harder for our bodies to absorb. Soaking and cooking lentils can help reduce this effect.

You may also have a lentil allergy, especially if other legumes such as chickpeas give you an allergic reaction. It’s not so unusual. In parts of Europe, including Spain, lentil allergy is reported to be more common than peanut allergy.

A healthcare provider can help you find out if you have an allergy or food intolerance. If you want to add more lentils to your diet, talk to a provider about any other concerns.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

How should I prepare lentils?

Lentils are simple to prepare and cook. You don’t need to soak dry lentils overnight in water, unlike many other beans. Just rinse them to remove any dirt or debris. Toss any lentils that look rotten or damaged.

You can buy whole lentils with their husks or split with husks removed. You can also find canned lentils.

Red lentils cook quickly, usually in 5 minutes. Other types may need to cook for at least 20 minutes or more, so plan ahead. Put them in a pot covered with about a half-inch of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered. Check often and add water, if needed.

Try tossing lentils in salads or blending them in soups, sauces or dips. Kick off your lentil-palooza with these flavorful, healthy lentil recipes:

  • Crunchy Bistro Lentil Salad.
  • Herb-Friendly Lentil Salad.
  • Lentil Bolognese.
  • Lentils with Roasted Curry Tomatoes.
  • Salmon Over Lentils With Mustard Vinaigrette.
  • Spicy Lentil and Kale Soup.
  • Tomato Soup With Chickpeas and Lentils.

Store dried lentils in a tightly sealed container in a dry, cool location. They generally keep for about one year. After cooking, they’ll keep for about one week. You can also freeze cooked lentils for up to three months.

Enjoy the healthy benefits of lentils

Lentils are versatile, richly textured legumes that give any meal a boost of nutrition and heartiness. Try them as a substitute for meat or add them to soups and salads. Their high-protein value and many nutrients make them worthy of being a cupboard staple for good health.

Is Maple Water Good for Diabetes?

Nature offers up a pretty tasty sports drink to help you rehydrate after a workout — and the product comes straight from a tap.

Nutrient-rich “maple water” is fast becoming a pre- and post-exercise drink option to boost performance and recovery. And while it’s a relatively new addition to store shelves, its use dates back centuries.

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Numerous websites tell of North American explorers declaring maple water the “wholesomest drink in the world” after sipping the beverage borne from trees. It’s not exactly a verified quote, but who wants to question health food folklore?

To find out whether those thirsty voyagers were onto something, let’s head out on a discovery expedition with registered dietitian Beth Czerwony, MS, RD, CSOWM, LD.

What is maple water?

Maple water may be an unfamiliar product to you, but here’s one that probably rings a breakfast bell: maple syrup. (We’re talking real maple syrup here, too, not those high-fructose corn syrup imitators.)

The same source — pure maple tree sap — serves as the foundation for both maple water and maple syrup, says Czerwony. Maple water is a pasteurized version of sap. Maple syrup, on the other hand, is the sap that has been boiled down and condensed.

The composition of maple sap is roughly 98% water and 2% sugar. That’s why maple syrup producers typically boil down 40 gallons of sap to make a single gallon of sugary-sweet syrup. (Producers collect the sap through taps inserted in maple trees in late winter or early spring.)

So what exactly is maple sap? Basically, it’s a nourishing fluid that serves as a maple tree’s lifeblood, providing energy to fuel growth and maintain health.

As it turns out, what’s good for a maple tree can be good for you, too.

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Health benefits of maple water

The biggest perk offered by maple water? That’s easy, says Czerwony: It’s loaded with electrolytes, crucial minerals to your body that give you the necessary “charge” to power through the day.

Your body loses electrolytes through sweat, which is why sports drinks tout their ability to restore that important resource to proper levels after a workout.

Consider maple water a “natural” version of those replenishing products: “The benefits are very similar,” says Czerwony. “Maple water is going to help you rehydrate and replace those lost electrolytes.”

In addition, researchers have found that drinking maple water doesn’t entirely quench your thirst. Why is that good? Basically, because that “thirsty feeling” is your body’s way of making sure it fully rehydrates.

Other potential benefits of maple water include:

  • Reduced muscle inflammation because of antioxidants such as manganese, which can lead to faster post-workout recovery.
  • Stabilized blood sugar levels due to abscisic acid (ABA), a plant hormone in the fluid. ABA can help you manage and control diabetes.
  • Cancer-fighting properties through micronutrients called polyphenols.

There’s even a claim that maple water can help combat hangovers, though that theory grew from research involving rats. “It’s a nice thought,” says Czerwony, “but I wouldn’t count on maple water as a hangover cure.”

Maple water vs. coconut water

So how does maple water compare to coconut water, its tropical counterpart in the realm of natural hydration solutions?

Each presents a resume with different and similar nutritional strengths. Maple water is off the charts in manganese, for instance, while coconut water is chock full of potassium. Both are packed with electrolytes.

If you’re counting calories and grams of sugar, maple water comes in about 50% lower than coconut water on both counts.

But is one better than the other? “Really, it comes down to taste preference,” says Czerwony. Maple water brings a subtle maple sweetness from the north woods, while coconut water offers a sweeter and slightly nutty island flavor.

 

Should you grab a bottle?

Are there possible benefits These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes to drinking maple water, particularly after a tough workout? Absolutely, says Czerwony. But she cautioned against thinking it’s a complete game-changer given the same 2019 study with the thirst finding.

“In reality,” says Czerwony, “it seems that you can drink plain old water and pretty much get the same hydration results.”

Why You Should Eat Some Blackberry Today

Once considered a seasonal delight; today, you’ll likely find blackberries in the grocery store year-round. As large as your thumb and as sweet as can be, these succulent berries are both tasty and nutritious.

 

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“Throughout history, people have used blackberry fruits, leaves and brambles to heal a wide range of illnesses,” says registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD. “Though modern medicine has replaced these medicinal uses, we’re learning that blackberries have many other health benefits.”

Are blackberries healthy?

The short answer is yes. Blackberries are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. “These nutrients are essential for good health,” says Zumpano. “And research studies show that antioxidants may reduce inflammation and prevent many diseases, including cancer.”

Blackberries are also low in calories and carbs. One cup has 62 calories and 13.8 grams of carbohydrates. This gives you the green light to fully enjoy them. Here are some of the major benefits blackberries provide.

1. Boosts your body functions

Blackberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. Your body depends on these nutrients to carry out the following functions:

  • Vitamin C is important for a strong immune system, healing wounds and absorbing iron. It may also act as an antioxidant, combatting free radicals that can lead to cancer.
  • Vitamin K is a key player in blood clotting and bone health.
  • Manganese plays a role in making energy, protecting cells from damage, immunity, bone growth, reproduction and blood clotting.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of blackberries can help you meet your recommended daily allowances (RDA) for these nutrients. The RDA is the amount you should consume each day.

Type of nutrientAmount in 1 cup of blackberriesRecommended daily allowance (RDA)Percent RDA in blackberries
Vitamin C30 milligrams90 milligrams33%
Vitamin K29 milligrams120 milligrams24%
Manganese0.9 micrograms2.3 micrograms39%

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

2. Improves digestion and blood sugar levels

Fiber is a type of complex carbohydrate you can’t digest. There are two types of fiber:

  • Insoluble fiber passes through your digestive system. Because it doesn’t break down, it helps keep food and waste moving and prevents constipation and bloating.
  • Soluble fiber breaks down in your intestines and enters your bloodstream. It helps lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and control blood sugar levels.

“Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diet, which can increase their risk of heart disease,” says Zumpano.

A high-fiber diet can help you:

  • Control your weight.
  • Reduce cholesterol.
  • Relieve constipation.
  • Regulate blood sugar levels.

Depending on your age and sex, you need 25 grams to 40 grams of fiber per day. With 7.6 grams of fiber per cup, blackberries can help you get the fiber you need to stay healthy.

3. Reduces inflammation

One of blackberries’ main claims to fame is that they’re bursting with strong antioxidants called polyphenols. Antioxidants help you fight stress by destroying unstable molecules called free radicals before they can damage your cells. And blackberries are full of a polyphenol called anthocyanin, which may be helpful to treat inflammation.

Inflammation is your body’s way of responding to attacks by unnatural forces. An unhealthy lifestyle, stress or a prolonged illness can overstimulate your immune system and lead to chronic inflammation. Over time, this inflammation can lead to:

  • Cancer.
  • Heart disease.
  • Pulmonary disease.
  • Type 2 diabetes.

4. Prevents cardiovascular disease

The anthocyanins in blackberries may also help with cardiovascular disease and conditions that affect your heart and blood vessels. A common cause of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis, when plaque builds up inside of your arteries. This buildup can cause:

  • Heart attack.
  • Kidney disease
  • Peripheral artery disease.
  • Stroke.
  • Chest pain.

Plaque formation is usually a result of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and inflammation. While it’s unclear if anthocyanins reduce blood pressure, many studies have reported improvements in cholesterol and inflammation, notes Zumpano.

For example, a study of 150 people compared bloodwork of people who received anthocyanin supplements to those who took placebos (sugar pills) for 24 weeks. They found the anthocyanin group had lower concentrations of inflammatory proteins, higher levels of good cholesterol and lower levels of bad cholesterol.

5. Protects and improves brain function

Brain-related inflammation can affect brain function and may respond to anthocyanins. Studies show that anthocyanins may:

  • Increase blood flow to your brain and activate areas that control speech, memory and attention.
  • Improve speech and memory in people with mild or moderate dementia.

6. Prevents cancer

Anthocyanins may slow or stop cancer in several ways. The research is still evolving, but studies so far suggest that anthocyanins might:

  • Block DNA changes (mutations) that cause cancer.
  • Destroy or slow the growth of cancer cells.
  • Increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
  • Prevent tumors from becoming cancerous.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Can you eat blackberries every day?

Blackberries should be part of a balanced diet. In general, experts recommend two servings of fruit a day. Each serving is 1 cup of fruit.

There’s nothing wrong with eating blackberries as one of your daily servings of fruits. But it’s also good to mix things up. With such a variety of fruits available, try to span the rainbow with your choices, advises Zumpano. This way, you get the range of nutrients and antioxidants found in other fruits.

What Are the Effects of Grapefruit on Diabetes?

Grapefruit provides significant amounts of vitamins A and C and is relatively low in calories and low on the glycemic index, making it a nutritious fruit choice for diabetics. Eating grapefruit may also help you better control your blood sugar levels, but if you take certain medications, you may be better off choosing a different fruit because of potential medication interactions.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Carbohydrate Content

Half of a large grapefruit has 53 calories and 13.4 grams of carbohydrates, including 1.8 grams of fiber. If you control your blood sugar by counting carbohydrates, this counts as one carbohydrate serving. Diabetics can typically have between 45 to 75 grams of carbohydrate per meal, or three to five carbohydrate servings.

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index estimates the effect of a food that contains carbohydrates on your blood sugar levels. Foods with a low glycemic index of less than 55 aren’t likely to cause large increases in blood sugar levels, while those with a high glycemic index of 76 or more may cause spikes in your blood sugar levels after you eat them. Grapefruit has a low GI of 25, so it isn’t likely to have a significant effect on your blood sugar as long as you watch your portion size.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Research Results

Eating half a grapefruit before each meal may help you control your blood sugar levels and lose a small amount of weight, according to a study published in the “Journal of Medicinal Food” in March 2006. The fresh grapefruit helped improve insulin resistance as well as insulin levels two hours after eating. Grapefruit juice was also beneficial for weight loss, but not for improving insulin resistance.

Other Considerations

Stick with fresh grapefruit instead of grapefruit juice, which is higher in both calories and carbohydrates. Each 8-ounce glass has 94 calories and 22.1 grams of carbohydrates. Check with your doctor before increasing your grapefruit intake, because this fruit can interact with many medications, causing them to be either more or less effective, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It may also interact with the diabetes medication Metformin, making a side effect called lactic acidosis more likely, according to a study published in “Methods and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology” in November 2009.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Are Pickles Good for You?

When you’re having a cookout, no hamburger or hot dog is complete without a pickle. Some people like the tangy crunch of a dill spear. Others prefer the hint of sweetness of pickle relish. Still others might live on the edge and have a pickle that’s spiced.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

There’s no doubt that all of these pickles taste delicious. But are they good for you? Not always, believe it or not.

Are pickles healthy?

It all depends on what kind of pickles you’re eating and if you have any pre-existing health conditions.

On the plus side, pickles — which are made from cucumbers — are generally a low-calorie, low-fat food. They’re also a source of fiber, as well as vitamins A and K. And, like all vegetables and fruit, they have antioxidants.

But dietitian Devon Peart, MHSc, BASc, RD, says pickles might not be the best option for everybody. Sweet pickles, for example, can be high in sugar, while dill pickles are very, very high in sodium.

“One large dill pickle has more than two-thirds of the ideal amount of sodium that an adult should have in a whole day,” Peart says. “If you have high blood pressure, or any cardiovascular or heart health issues, then pickles are not the best choice. That’s because of the sodium levels.”

Fermented pickles vs. regular pickles

The way pickles are made also dictates how healthy they are.

Fermentation

Fermentation is one method of preserving. Pickles made through fermentation have added health benefits compared with non-fermented pickles. “If they’re fermented, they’re a good source of probiotics,” notes Peart. “Probiotics have really solid health benefits, such as being good for your brain, and good for gut health.”

Fermented pickles are packed in airtight jars with a brine of just salt and water, and then left to sit at room temperature for a long period of time. A chemical reaction that occurs between bacteria and the natural sugars in the food creates lactic acid, which keeps the pickles fresher longer.

Non-fermentation

But not all pickles undergo fermentation. Generally, Peart says that store-bought pickles haven’t been fermented. Instead, the pickles you see in the grocery store are made via a process called fresh-pack pickling.

“Most grocery store pickles have had vinegar and spices added to the brine,” she continues. “That gives them their sour, tangy flavor. That’s why they’re often called ‘vinegar pickles’ or sometimes ‘quick pickles.’”

Fermentation shares some parallels with pickling, for example, both processes use a brine of water and salt — although they’re different.

Pickled foods are sour because they’re soaked in acidic brine using vinegar. Fermented foods are sour because of the chemical reaction between the natural sugar in the food and bacteria, which produces healthy probiotics.

Pickling dates back to ancient times as a way of preserving food. For example, you might have pickled crops that you harvested during the summer to eat during the long, cold winter months. “The shelf life of pickled foods is really long,” Peart explains. “Pickled foods will last for up to a year when they’re handled properly.”

You can pickle foods at home, to preserve seasonal produce that you buy or grow and have it to enjoy over winter. Even if you don’t ferment veggies or fruits, you can experiment with spices, herbs and flavors, or control the amount of salt in the pickles. As a bonus, because you’re not cooking vegetables or fruits, they retain the healthy antioxidants.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Health benefits of pickles

Fermented pickles are a good source of probiotics. Probiotics protect your gut microbiome, or the bacteria in your gut, Peart says. “Having healthy gut bacteria can minimize symptoms of an irritable bowel. And it can help us digest food and absorb nutrients.”

A healthy gut biome is also linked with better brain health. “We’re even starting to see associations between higher levels of probiotics and lower levels of depression and anxiety,” Peart says. “So, anytime you can have more probiotics is good — and in the case of pickles, we get that if they’re fermented.”

Even if pickles aren’t fermented, they offer health benefits — after all, they’re cucumbers! For example, they’re low in calories and fat and they’re a good source of:

  • Antioxidants: These powerful chemicals may protect your cells against free radicals, or molecules associated with cancer, heart disease and other diseases.
  • Fiber: Fiber offers multiple health benefits, including helping waste products move through your system.
  • Vitamin A: “Pickles are good sources of beta carotene, which we convert to vitamin A,” Peart says. “This is a powerful antioxidant good for vision and cell health in general”.
  • Vitamin K: This vitamin is important for heart health.

Maybe surpisingly, pickle juice is also thought to offer certain health benefits on its own.

Are all pickles created equally?

In terms of health benefits, the answer is no. “Fermented pickles are definitely nutritionally superior,” Peart states. “And then beyond that, I would look for varieties that have less salt and less sugar.”

Dill pickles vs. sweet pickles

Dill pickles are high in sodium. But sweet pickles are high in sodium, too, as well as higher in sugar.

Dill Pickles (100 grams)Sweet Pickles (100 grams)
Calories1290
Carbohydrates (g)220
Fiber (g)11
Total sugars118
Beta carotene (mcg)53325
Vitamin K (mcg)1747
Sodium (mg)809457
Nutrition Info: Dill Pickles vs. Sweet Pickles

Pickled vegetables

Pickled vegetables are a common snack, in no small part due to how tasty they are. “The pickling process brings out different flavors,” says Peart. “And so there are many different foods that are pickled because people like the taste.”

You can pickle pretty much anything, depending on the texture, including vegetables, fruit, eggs, and even meat and fish.

Pickled eggs

Pickled eggs are popular in some parts of the world, and as a snack or appetizer in bars and pubs. They’re made by packing boiled eggs in glass jars and adding pickling brine. Sometimes, added beet juice lends the eggs a bright pink hue and a tangy beet flavor.

Eggs are nutrient-rich, but they do contain a form of cholesterol called dietary cholesterol. Still, most people who are healthy can enjoy one or two eggs, three or four times a week, with no significant effect on their cholesterol level.

But proceed with a little bit of caution before eating a pickled egg. Some places puncture the egg with a toothpick so the pickle flavoring seeps into the egg. This practice is dangerous because it can introduce botulinum toxin, which can cause a serious illness caused by botulism. It’s best to avoid pickled eggs that are made this way.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Pickled beets

Beets are a vegetable, just like cucumbers. In other words, the process of pickling them is the same, and the same concerns over sodium levels apply here, as well.

Can you eat pickles every day?

Daily pickle consumption depends on what the rest of your diet is like. “If you’re someone who doesn’t eat a lot of processed foods, fast foods or store-bought foods, or if you’re mostly eating a very low-salt diet, then eating pickles daily might be fine,” Peart says.

If you typically eat higher-salt foods, though, then munching on pickles will quickly put you over your recommended daily sodium intake.

When considering pickles as a snack, you should also take your overall health into consideration. “If blood pressure is an issue or if heart disease runs in your family, this is not a good choice for you,” Peart adds. “But if you’re a healthy person — your blood pressure is fine, you have no heart health issues, and you follow a minimally processed diet — then I think you can enjoy pickles.”

Is eating pickles good for weight loss?

Pickles aren’t necessarily a superfood that will help you lose weight. “No single food will make you lose weight,” stresses Peart.

But if you’re looking for a low-calorie snack, pickles do qualify, assuming your health allows for them. “In general, if you’re keeping your calories down, pickles are a good option,” she says. “However, if you’re someone who has heart issues, then it’s best to choose something else.”

Choosing the right pickle for you

Some varieties of pickles are higher in salt than others. If you’re comparing two different varieties or brands, look at the percent daily value (DV) on the nutrition label and choose the one that’s lower in sodium.

“Generally speaking, a percent daily value that’s 5% or less is low,” Peart says. “If it’s 15% or higher daily value for sodium, that’s considered high. And some dill pickles per serving might be 50% of the recommended daily value for sodium, or more.”

If you do decide to indulge in pickles, be mindful of what else you’re planning to eat.

“To be a filling snack, I would suggest pairing pickles with a little bit of protein, like a handful of nuts or a small piece of cheese,” Peart says. “The protein will help make that very low-calorie food a little bit more filling. And if you’re enjoying pickles, then you should watch your salt intake for the rest of the day.”

Pickles are a tasty and versatile garnish that makes nearly anything you eat better. Just don’t go overboard piling on the pickles. As with many foods, moderation is key.

Do Fats Make You Fat?

Dietary fat. Nothing about that sounds healthy, right? That’s because in the minds of many people, eating fatty food means that you’ll get … well, fat.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

 

But it’s not quite that simple, says registered dietitian Anna Taylor, RD.

There are different kinds of fat in food, and they’re not all created equally. Sure, there’s “bad” fat that can contribute to concerning health issues such as weight gain, heart disease and high cholesterol.

But there’s also “good” fat that’s essential for your body and can boost your health. An added bonus? These good fats may help you better control your weight, too — if eaten in the right quantities, that is.

That’s a lot of info to chew on, so let’s break it down into bite-sized pieces with Taylor.

Which fats are good for you?

Unsaturated fat is the kind of dietary fat you want on your plate at mealtime, says Taylor. This type of fat is typically found in two broad categories — plant-based food (think veggies, nuts and seeds) and fatty fish.

Research shows that eating moderate amounts of food high in unsaturated fat can help:

  • Lower your risk of heart disease or stroke.
  • Raise good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol in your blood.
  • Maintain your body’s cells and brain health.
  • Enhance absorption of certain vitamins, such as A, D, E and K.
  • Fight inflammation.
  • Reduce your risk of premature death. (That’s a pretty significant benefit, huh?)

Unsaturated fats also make your belly feel full and satisfied for longer periods of time, which can help curb calorie-adding snack cravings. “These fats are really concentrated sources of calories,” says Taylor. “A little bit goes a long way to keep you from getting hungry.”

There are two types of unsaturated fats, with the difference coming down to molecular bonding. The two types are:

Monounsaturated fat

Whole or unprocessed plant-based food typically serve as the best sources of monounsaturated fat. Good options include:

  • Avocados.
  • Nuts such as almonds, cashews, pecans and pistachios.
  • Olives and olive oil.
  • Peanuts and peanut butter.
  • Seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Polyunsaturated fat

You’ve no doubt heard people rave about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, the big star in the polyunsaturated fat universe. (Sorry about the omega-6s, the other polyunsaturated fat.)

Omega-3s can improve your heart health, sharpen brain activity and help your vision. The high-achieving nutrient also fights inflammation and supports your immune system, digestion and fertility.

“Omega-3s are absolutely fantastic fats — and many people do not get enough of them,” notes Taylor.

The best sources of omega-3s are fatty fish. Some of those may be high in mercury, though, so Taylor recommends choosing wild-caught salmon, Bluefin tuna and herring. (For those who aren’t into seafood, food such as flax seeds, walnuts and chia seeds also are rich in omega-3s.)

As for omega-6s, they’ve got a nice resume that includes positive work for brain health and overall growth and development. Here’s the thing, though: Most of us already get a pretty good dose of omega-6s in our normal diet without even trying.

Choose more omega-3s and fewer omega-6s to help balance your diet and reap those health benefits. (Omega-6s are plentiful in canola, soybean and sunflower oils, by the way.)

Which fats are bad for you?

So what fats should you try to avoid? Let’s start with saturated fats, which are probably in A LOT of food in your fridge. That includes high-fat meats like fatty cuts of beef and pork or poultry with skin. Also animal-based food like eggs and full-fat dairy (think cheese, ice cream and butter).

Eating food that’s heavy in saturated fat can:

  • Increase your risk of heart-related issues.
  • Make your cholesterol levels spike.
  • Cause inflammation.

“And it’s not just that saturated fats are rough on your body — they’re also really rough on your weight,” states Taylor. “These unhealthy fats typically end up being a huge excess calorie source that adds extra pounds over time.”

Avoid trans fats, too

As bad as saturated fats are, artificial trans fat may arguably be worse, which probably explains why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned them in 2018. (Prior to that, artificial trans fats were once found in many processed foods.)

It’s possible you still have some older pantry products with trans fats. Check labels for partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, where artificial trans fat typically hides.

How much fat should be in your diet?

Let’s make something clear: The “good” fat moniker isn’t a green light to eat as many of those foods as you can. And “bad” fats don’t have to be entirely stripped from your diet. (Other than artificial trans fats, of course. Seriously … stay away from those.)

Fats should account for about 30% of your daily caloric intake, with most of that being unsaturated fat, says Taylor. Saturated fat should be no more than 5% to 6% of your total calories.

(Wondering how many calories you need to maintain your weight? Here are recommendations.)

Overall, what you should strive to achieve in your diet are moderation and balance. “So often, we fall into the notion of just thinking fats are bad,” says Taylor. “But we need some fats, and there’s a place in your diet for small amounts of these foods.”

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

To hear more from Taylor on this topic, listen to the Health Essentials Podcast episode “How To Incorporate Healthy Fats Into Your Diet.” New episodes of the Health Essentials Podcast are available every Wednesday.

15 Cooking and Eating Tips If You Have Diabetes

woman in white scoop neck shirt holding brown wooden chopping board

For most of us, dialing back on sugar and simple carbs is an effective way to fast-track the weight loss process. However, for those living with diabetes, adhering to this diet strategy can be a matter of life and death.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Diabetics are two to four times more likely than people without diabetes to die of heart disease or experience a life-threatening stroke, according to the American Heart Association. And for those who don’t properly control their condition, the odds of health issues—which range from cardiovascular trouble to nerve damage and kidney disease—increases exponentially.

Though the consequences of veering off track from a diabetes-friendly diet can be downright terrifying, that doesn’t mean you have to adhere to a bland, boring diet. In fact, this common misconception is the reason Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, penned the forthcoming Eat What You Love Diabetes Cookbook, which devotes all of it’s 200+ pages to the art of eating your cake and having it, too.

“After working with thousands of diabetic individuals over the years, I noticed that many asked me the same question at their first appointment. ‘Can I still eat my favorite foods?’ And the answer from me was always ‘Yes!’ It’s the portion sizes and frequency that makes the most difference, in addition to how the food is prepared,” Zanini tells us, adding, “After years of working one on one with newly diagnosed diabetics, I knew there was a need for this book. It makes controlling your blood sugar simple.”

 

1

Substitute Your Starches

If you love fried rice, spaghetti and meatballs, and other starchy dishes, swapping in veggies for grains should be your go-to move. “Cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, and spaghetti squash are all easy and delicious ways to lower the number of carbohydrates in some of your favorite dishes,” says Zanini. Not sure how to make these veggie-centric dishes?

2

Focus on Adding Flavor

Despite what you may think, nixing sugar or salt doesn’t have to be synonymous with bland, cardboard-like dishes. “So often, we think about what we can’t eat when we start cutting out sugar. Instead, focus on ways to add more flavor to the foods you are eating,” suggests Zanini. “There are so many great ways to add flavor without adding sugar or salt. Try fresh herbs, freshly squeezed lemon or lime, ginger, garlic, or spice things up with jalapeño or cayenne pepper.”

3

Prioritize Protein

Since eating protein helps stabilize blood sugar and keeps us full longer, Zanini stresses the importance of adding lean protein to every meal. Some of the best sources include beans, hummus, nuts, wild salmon, Albacore tuna, chicken, turkey, flank steak, and pork tenderloin, according to the American Diabetes Association. Remember: While fish, meat, and poultry don’t contain carbs or raise blood glucose levels, that’s not the case with plant-based proteins like beans and hummus, so be sure to read labels carefully before digging in!

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

4

Fill Up on Non-Starchy Veggies

Think your new diet will leave your tummy rumbling? Think again. To keep hunger at bay, Zanini suggests building meals and snacks around non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes, and green beans. “These are nutrient-dense foods that can be very filling without adding many calories,” Zanini explains.

5

Measure Your Plate

While there are many reasons for our nation’s ever-expanding collective waistline, our gigantic dinnerware is definitely playing a role. “Ensuring you have the standard 9-inch dinner plate will help make it easier for you to eat well at home,” Zanini tells us. “If our plates are too large, we tend to serve ourselves portions that are too large as well.” Losing as little as 5 pounds can help control diabetes, so shedding some excess pounds should be among your chief health goals—and this is a super-easy way to get the ball rolling.

6

Keep Snacks On Hand

When you have diabetes, snacks are more than just tasty treats. They’re tools used to aid weight loss and ward off low blood sugar levels. “Always have something with you that can hold you over until your next meal. It will come in handy for those times when you’re stuck in traffic or when your meeting runs late,” says Zanini. “If it’s been more than four or five hours since your last meal, combine a protein with a carb, such as 1/4 cup almonds with a small apple or a tablespoon of almond butter on a slice of whole wheat bread.”

7

Eat Regularly

If you’re trying to slim down in an attempt to improve your condition, you may be tempted to skip meals. Don’t do that! “Be mindful to not skip meals and try to eat a balanced meal every four to five hours throughout the day,” suggests Zanini, explaining, “This will help keep your blood sugars steady throughout the day, give you more energy, and if you’re on medication or insulin, eating regularly will help these aids be more effective.”

8

Rethink Your Drink

We know that we promised you a plethora of tips that would allow you to eat whatever you want and still control your diabetes, but there’s one thing you shouldn’t ever keep in your diet whether you’re diabetic or not, and that’s soda and other sugary drinks. “It’s best to choose unsweetened drinks when you are managing your blood sugar. Watch out for your morning coffee drinks with added sweeteners, fruit juices, and even sports drinks,” cautions Zanini.

An easier way is to use a natural sugar suppressant like Sweet Defeat. It is available as chewing gum, oral spray, and lozenges and acts by binding to the sweet taste receptors on your tongue to block sweet taste while simultaneously stopping the cravings.

9

Know Sugar’s Aliases

When you’re trying to avoid the sweet stuff, it’s important to read labels and be familiar with all of sugar’s aliases. There are over 56 different names for added sugar including high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, molasses, agave, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and sucrose. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything ending in “ose” or “syrup.” “These all add additional carbohydrates to your meals,” notes Zanini.

10

Stay Hydrated

Staying adequately hydrated can help keep blood sugar levels normal, which is why Zanini suggests always keeping water by your side. Staying hydrated can also help ward off excess munching and aid weight loss efforts by boosting feelings of satiety. If you hate the taste of plain water, consider whipping up a batch of fruit-filled detox water.

11

Be Portion Savvy

“Knowing how much you are eating may seem like common sense, but we often eat more than we realize,” says Zanini. “For a week, measure out your portions and see what it looks like on your plate at home. You might be surprised, and you will be better prepared to make the better decisions in the future.”

12

Cook Foods Strategically

“Roasting, baking, grilling, and steaming are all the preferred ways to cook your foods since this will not require much, if any, added fat. Plus, these cooking methods help enhance the natural flavors of food,” Zanini tells us. Why does the amount of fat in your food matter? Some fats like those found in poultry skin, lard, margarine, and shortening can raise blood cholesterol, increasing your risk for heart attack or stroke, two conditions that diabetics have an increased risk of developing. But just to be clear, not all fats are off limits. Monounsaturated fats, which are the kinds found in avocados, almonds, cashews, olive oil, peanut butter, and peanut oil, can actually help lower your cholesterol levels. A bit confused about all the different types of dietary fats? Our guide Your Definitive Guide to All the Tyles of Fat in Food can help!

13

Meal Prep

“Planning what you will eat in advance helps everyone adhere to a healthier diet. But when you have diabetes, it is especially important to map out your food—especially the carbohydrates you will be eating, so that your medicine and insulin will work optimally,” says Zanini. At the beginning of each week, sit down with a list of approved foods and whip up a few batches of carb-, protein-, and veggie-based dishes to ensure you have plenty of healthy options available the second hunger strikes. Never meal prepped before? Fear not! Our exclusive report, 25 Ways to Cook Once and Eat for a Week can help.

14

Use Short-Cuts

Despite conventional wisdom, it’s not mandatory to slave over a stove for hours to get a healthy, home-cooked meal on the table. To save time in the kitchen, Zanini suggests buying frozen or pre-washed and sliced produce and investing in a slow cooker, a large electric pot that cooks everything from stews and oatmeals to entrees and sides super slowly—and safely—while you’re sleeping or away at work.

 

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

15

Stock Your Freezer

“I love to encourage my clients to stock healthy meals in the freezer. This way, if they come home and are too tired to cook or happen to be out of groceries, they always have a homemade meal ready to go,” says Zanini.

How to Reverse Diabetes, According to Experts

Over 34 million Americans live with a form of diabetes—a chronic condition that “affects how your body turns food into energy,” the CDC states. “Diabetes is caused when the body fails to make or use insulin effectively because there’s too much of it in our bloodstream, and not in our cells,” says Dr. Shane Kannarr, leading Medical Reviewer for eyesight experts All About Vision, who adds that diabetes can cause severe health problems, including loss of eyesight.

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

Dr. Kannarr explains, “Excess blood sugar damages the body’s smallest blood vessels, impairing blood flow, which starves the capillaries of the tissues feed. Leading to leaking blood vessels, swelling and a number of other health concerns, not only in the eye but the entire body. These leaks can impact and damage the retina, leading to vision impairment and blindness if left untreated. Excess sugar can also impact the lens of the eye, causing cataracts, or cause neovascularization, the growth of new fragile vessels. Neovascularization can cause glaucoma or hemorrhaging inside the eye.”

That’s just one of the major issues it can cause. But while diabetes is a serious condition, there are ways to control it and eliminate most symptoms. Eat This, Not That! Health talked to several medical experts who explained how to help reverse diabetes.

1

What to Know About Diabetes

According to Socorro Carranza, Nutritionist with Dignity Health Glendale Memorial, “Although diabetes cannot be cured, you can stop the threat of complications dead in its tracks! You can live a long healthy life without ever seeing the complications of diabetes if you know how to battle it. I always tell my clients that they should see it like war. You would never go to war and fight an opponent without first knowing everything about them and how they can hurt you. Fighting diabetes is the same. You have to know what you are dealing with and the mechanism by which diabetes damages the body. The bottom line is that high blood sugar damages your eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Therefore, your goal should be to always keep your blood sugar controlled (American Diabetes Association recommends under a 7% A1C). If you do this, the chances are you will never see any of these complications.”

2

Stop Eating Processed Foods

Carranza says, “Limit highly processed foods and dessert foods high in sugar. I know it’s hard during this season, but notice I said ‘limit.’ This means try to have them sparingly, only on special occasions and in small portions. In addition, if you make your own desserts during the holidays, I always encourage adjusting your recipes to make them a little more diabetic friendly by swapping regular sugar for natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit and regular white flour for whole wheat flour.”

3

Know Your Carbs

“Know what foods contain carbohydrates and learn the portions,” Carranza states. “In general, keeping under 60-75g for men and 45-60g per meal for women is a good rule of thumb. Of course, I always recommend meeting with a registered dietitian that is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) to get a better idea of your personal needs.”

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

4

Stay Active

Carranza explains, “Physical activity is one of the most effective natural ways to bring down your glucose. Physical activity helps build muscle, which uses more glucose (or ‘sugar’). In addition, while you are doing physical activity, your body is using the glucose as its fuel. One session of physical activity can substantially decrease your blood sugar. You don’t believe me? Try checking your blood sugar before exercising and after. You will be amazed!”

5

Manage Your Stress

“Find ways to manage your stress. Stress can cause your glucose to rise, even if you had a perfect meal,” Carranza says. “Learning to manage your stress can be an effective way to also help keep your diabetes controlled. Can you think of things that help keep your stress down? A few ways my clients deal with stress naturally are dancing, warm baths, reading, meditation, and physical activity.”

6

Eat Your Veggies

Carranza says, “I always recommend filling half of your plate with them for lunch and dinner if you can. Fresh or frozen are best. Avoid canned vegetables if you can. Vegetables are important for two reasons. The first is that they take up space in your plate and in your stomach that otherwise would mostly likely be filled with the foods that contain carbohydrates. When you crowd your plate with vegetables, there is less room for the other foods. Second, vegetables have lots of fiber and very little carbohydrates. Fiber helps slow down digestion, and therefore the absorption of glucose. When foods high in fiber are consumed in a meal, it has been shown that glucose does not peak as high and as quickly.

Remember that diabetes is a disease in which you have the power to control. It doesn’t have to control you. Arm yourself with the right tools and put them into practice. If you do, you can live a long, happy life without letting diabetes get in the way of enjoying all of those special moments.”

7

Lose Weight

“Loss of visceral fat, which is the fat around your organs, can help to prevent diabetes and to put Type 2 diabetes into remission,” Laura Isaacson, MS, RD, CD senior lead dietitian for Vida Health reveals. When one loses weight around the pancreas and liver, the beta cells in the pancreas are able to better make insulin, which helps to lower blood sugars. There seems to be more of an impact when more weight is lost, but studies have shown that a weight loss of 7-10% is enough to make a difference. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Evidence Analysis Library, those who receive Medical Nutrition Therapy from a registered dietitian lose 1-2 pounds per week over a 6 month period and up to 10% of body weight over 6 to 12 months. A lower carbohydrate eating plan is an effective strategy to promote weight loss and to lower blood sugars. It is recommended to take an individualized approach to carbohydrate intake with a focus on a level that is sustainable in the long-term. Once weight loss has been achieved, physical activity is helpful for weight maintenance. Additionally, physical activity lowers blood sugar levels and helps insulin to work better in the body. Any activity is beneficial, but the American Diabetes Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity per week.”

 

8

Continuous Glucose Monitor

Isaacson explains, “A Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) can help to better manage blood sugars. A CGM is a device in which a sensor is inserted under the skin, usually in the arm or belly. It continuously monitors glucose levels in the interstitial fluid and sends information directly to a tablet or to a smartphone. An alarm sounds when blood sugars go too low or too high, which helps people to immediately take action. The data can be downloaded to a computer or smartphone, and helps to identify trends in glucose levels. This data helps people with diabetes to make effective changes in diet, exercise, and medications to better manage blood glucose levels. Studies have shown that the use of a CGM in people living with Type 2 diabetes results in a significantly larger 0.35% reduction in A1C compared to those who do not use a CGM.”

9

Take Care of Your Mental Health

“Mental and physical health are closely tied, and addressing mental health helps people to better manage diabetes and lower blood sugars,” Isaacson says. “According to the CDC, people living with diabetes are two to three times more likely to experience depression than people without diabetes. Unfortunately, only 25-50% of people with diabetes who are experiencing depression seek treatment, however, treatment with therapy, medicine, or both, is very effective. A referral to a therapist is beneficial for those experiencing anxiety or depression. In addition, over an 18 month period of time, 33% to 50% of people with diabetes will experience diabetes distress. This is essentially diabetes ‘burnout’ in which overwhelming feelings of dealing with daily diabetes care may cause people to have difficulty managing diabetes. A referral to a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist can help a person living with diabetes to develop problem solving skills to cope with diabetes distress. Addressing mental health helps people living with diabetes to better stick to their diabetes care plan.”

 

10

Tweak Your Diet

Jehan Riar, M.D. Mercy Personal Physicians at Lutherville – Lutherville, MD, Board Certified: Internal Medicine explains, “I wouldn’t say that reversing diabetes is the best word, but preventing and improving it can be done with diet control. The best way to prevent diabetes or improve your control is by making small tweaks in your diet. Don’t drink your calories. Try to avoid or limit your bread intake. If you are eating a sandwich or a burger, take the top piece off. You may look funny eating it, but it is less carbohydrate intake. Remember, all sugars are not sweet. Carbohydrates are found in sweet foods like cakes and pastries and also in breads, pasta, and rice. Take pasta out of your diet if you can. It is never filling and you always eat way more than you should!”

11

Surgery

In extreme cases, surgery might be the answer. Dr. Ani Rostomyan is a Doctor of Pharmacy, Holistic Pharmacist and Functional Medicine Practitioner who specializes in Pharmacogenomics and Nutrigenomics consulting says: “Bariatric surgery, Gastric bypass, Gastric sleeve, show better outcomes long term than Gastric banding. If patients who have BMI of 35 or higher, if they have had type 2 Diabetes for less than 5 years, don’t use insulin, they can discuss the option with their physician since there are also serious health risks involved.”

Dr. Sepehr Lalezari, MD is a Bariatric Surgeon in Los Angeles with Dignity Health St. Mary adds, [Bariatric surgery] “is quite effective in resolving diabetes and getting patients off all medication to where 25-30% of patients will have long term resolution of their diabetes. Diabetes is associated with vision loss, kidney damage which may lead to dialysis dependence,  amputation of limbs, paralysis of the stomach, poor wound healing, loss of sensation, and quite a few other problems as well so it’s imperative for patients to get their diabetes under control. Patients who are morbidly obese also have many other obesity-related health conditions which Type II diabetes is one of. Weight loss helps improve blood surgeries control and may even help reverse diabetes. Patients with a BMI of 35 or greater with diabetes or any other obesity-related health condition qualify for bariatric surgery.  Or >40 regardless of any other condition. Patients struggling with weight loss should discuss their options with their physician or a bariatric specialist. With medical weight loss up to 15% reduction in body weight is possible. With surgery up to 80% reduction in excess body weight is achievable. Even a 10lb weight loss will help to improve blood glucose control.”

12

Intermittent Fasting

Dr. Rostomyan says, “Intermittent fasting can aid in reversal of type 2 Diabetes. If practiced prudently, it helps with weight loss and lowering insulin levels, improving insulin sensitivity, increasing fat oxidation and lowering oxidative stress. Intermittent Fasting is not for all patients with type 2 Diabetes, since it may pose risk of low blood sugar episodes and may not be suitable for everyone. Best is to discuss the option with a Health Care provider and safely incorporate it.”

13

Drink Water

Dr. Kannarr explains, “Drinking plenty of water can also help keep your blood sugar levels low. Staying hydrated will help your kidneys flush out the excess sugar through the urine, and help reduce your risk of diabetes. Surprisingly, stress can affect your blood sugar levels too. Managing your stress through exercise or relaxation methods like yoga as well as mindfulness can help you regulate blood sugar levels.”

14

GLP-1

Dr. Chris Damman, MD MA  Clinical Associate Professor of Gastroenterology at the University of Washington Chief Medical Officer & Scientific Officer at UR Labs/Muniq, says, “Both bariatric surgery and diet may work by helping reset glucose regulations set points through hormones in the body. GLP-1 is one key hormone, and drug versions of this hormone are given as medical therapy shots for diabetes. Diabetes controlled by the drug however does not meet the definition of remission as individuals remain dependent on a pharmaceutical therapy indefinitely.”

These Green Veggies are bad for Diabetes

15

Eating Fiber

According to Dr. Damman, “Dietary fiber is also a key regulator of GLP-1 and works through the microbiome to produce factors that naturally increase GLP-1.  Studies have shown that diabetes rates are lower in people that get sufficient fiber and fiber intervention studies show a decrease in hemoglobin A1C through GLP-1.  Studies that rigorously evaluate prebiotic fiber combinations will help support next-generation nutritional approaches to diabetes remission. Companies like URLabs are leading the charge and have products like Muniq that are currently being evaluated.”