Follow up on Diabetic Diet, Especially for Newly Diagnosed

John Crowley
By John Crowley Latest Reply 2009-08-20 12:05:07 -0500
Started 2009-08-18 16:41:27 -0500

Thank you all for your fantastic feedback about why so many people with diabetes do not follow the diet recommended by their doctor.

As a follow up, I wanted to kind of summarize some of the ideas and recommendations that have come together out of that discussion. I'd like you all to add to this as well.

I think one of the most important points is that while some diabetics don't follow the doctor's recommendations because they don't understand them or are simply "rebelling," there are far more who found that the recommended diet didn’t work all that well.

Many have found that the recommended diets contain far too many carbohydrates and not enough emphasis on balancing the diet with the right combination of proteins, healthy fats, and carbs.

A good place to start, especially if you have insurance coverage, is to meet with a dietitian or nutritionist or attend a diabetes education class. However, make sure you don’t take everything they tell you as concrete truth. In the end, you must find what works for you.

Specific Diabetic Connect Recommendations:

1. Eat to your meter.
This means you must test your blood sugar after meals to see if your body is able to return to healthy blood sugar levels after you ate. If your meter tells you that the meal was not good for you, then you need to adjust (or avoid) that meal in the future. This is the most important step you can take.

Links to learn more:

2. Balance your carbohydrate intake with protein and healthy fats.
No more than 40 or 50% of your calories in any meal should come from carbs. Choose lean proteins, whole-grain carbohydrates, and unsaturated fats. Choose lots of fresh vegetables. You should avoid unhealthy saturated fats and trans fats.

Links to learn more:

3. Educate yourself about diabetes and nutrition.
Don’t depend fully on your doctor or diabetes educator. Learn about what’s happening with your body and about the best fuel for your body. Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution is a highly recommended book.

Links to learn more:

4. Control your portions.
The number one mistake people make in trying to eat healthy (and especially in trying to lose weight) is eating portions that are too large. Use measuring cups and a food scale until you are comfortable with judging healthy portion sizes.

5. Limit your carb intake to no more than 45g per meal.
This is a general rule of thumb. For some this will be too many carbs. For others, it won’t be quite enough. But if you’re newly diagnosed, it’s a good place to start.

6. You can still enjoy (most of) your favorite foods but in moderation.
You don’t have to deny yourself completely from even things like birthday cake or mashed potatoes. But you must have the self-control to eat very small portions and make sure you’re eating a well-balanced meal. However, some things are definitely off limits, such as regular soda, deep fried foods, and highly processed/refined prepackaged foods.

So what else would you add as a recommendation about healthy diabetic eating? What advice would you share with someone who was recently diagnosed?

11 replies

Samdunaway 2009-08-20 06:39:20 -0500 Report

i am learning to read labels and what is in each thing and that is hard but we need to learn more of tansfat saturated fats carbs and when you have never done this before is like starting school all over again. i guess i will just need to define what each of the are and stay away as much as i can.

papierce 2009-08-20 12:05:07 -0500 Report

My first thought when I found out I was diabetic was "I'd rather be dead". My second thought, once I pondered over it all was "Thank God I'm alive." I look at the "bad" foods as foods that will kill me. Like they're the mafia with big machine guns that will blow me away. I just don't eat them… they'll end up killing me, so why eat something that will have that kind of affect on me.

The first thing I did was go through the foods that I ate on a regular basis and figured out how much of it I could eat. Then one by one I either kept them on the list or deleted them. Knowing how much of something you can eat is key for me. Like the ice cream… would I rather have 1/2 cup of ice cream or a whole banana… which is going to fill me up… which will end up being the most satisfying…?

I also kept a diary of everything that went into my mouth. If I ate it, it went on the list. You'd be surprised what you will "not eat" if it has to go on the list. And it was an easy way for me to keep up with my carbs that I was eating. I would label the carbs and make sure that I only ate 3 portions per meal and one per snack. I tried to stay between 9 and 12 carb portions a day. And if your numbers are high you can immediately see what you ate and shouldn't have by what your numbers are.

And exercise… I found that exercise that I do today has an affect on my blood sugar tomorrow. And my stress level has a direct and immediate affect on my sugar levels.

So… lay back and relax… knowing that what you ate today isn't going to get you shot by the mafia! ;-)

Anyway… it's been an interesting road to travel on and my journey continues…

Jipwhip 2009-08-18 20:29:40 -0500 Report

Yes, eat with your meter to test is good. Another is to cut down on portion sizes, a good way to do this is to use smaller plates. A 8" instead of a larger one. And eat lots of veggies, all the colors not just a couple of them. Because some veggies are not very good for you (the starchy kind). It is okay to treat yourself once in a while too. Because if you deprive yourself, you will start to crave it. And when you do give in to that craving you over binge on it. By all means educate yourself, no one else is going to do this for you. Start out with small steps and work your way up. Realize that you are human and will fall down. Just pick yourself up and try, try ,try again. This didn't happen to you overnight so don't expect to overcome it overnight.

DiabetesDiva 2009-08-18 19:58:03 -0500 Report

I really needed this right now! I have been rebelling against my diabetes. For the first 2 years I did great. This year I has sinus infections, bronchitis & pneumonia. Being on steroids just intensified my appetite. So last month I learned I had gained 16 lbs, my A1C was 6.7 (usually 5.7) and my blood pressure was up. Fortunately I have a wonderful doctor who encouraged me to get back on the plan.

John Crowley
John Crowley 2009-08-19 07:36:32 -0500 Report

What a tough year for you! I'm glad you're ready to jump back on the wagon.

If I remember right, you are a vegetarian. Do you have any advice for those who may not be eating enough vegetables? And also, how do you handle the balanced meal idea—how do you get enough proteins and fats? Just wondering.

beadmom 2009-08-19 14:01:02 -0500 Report

I am finding it very hard to be a vegetarian and a diabetic and in a transient work style where you eat out a lot. There are either things in tons of bread, things with beans, rice and cheese, things that are all fruit, or things with meat (and potatoes). a watiress got pushy with me the otherday because my options were fries or coleslaw. She said coleslaw should be fine for a diabetic…I don't know the scoop on coleslaw but I can guess that I like it because it's nice and sweet and creamy therefore NO NO NO…
I am trying not to be like the smoker who quits and then lectures everyone who smokes…but she really annoyed me trying to push the coleslaw on me and then getting huffy when I asked for other options. I finally paid the extra for the salad bar so I could have my own choise.

Cottage cheese is my friend…


Sarguillo 2009-08-18 19:24:39 -0500 Report

John this overveiw and your origianl discussion was great. The only thing I would add would be, eat more vegtables. Or Vegtables are your friends.

dpete 2009-08-18 19:06:40 -0500 Report

I have discovered that most people miss the ordinary things in life which makes them pron to fall off the diet plan. I have several friends on "healthy chocolate" that is
diabetic friendly and helping to control their insulin spikes,and gives them the added pleasure of something
good and ordinary to eat, plus several have lost their weight gain.

beadmom 2009-08-18 17:41:48 -0500 Report

I realized life wasn't over last night when I picked up a quart of mango ice cream in the grocery store thinking I could get a good laugh out of the outrageous carb count and dream because I could never have it again…

15 carbs per 1/2 cup. WAIT.. THAT IS SNACK CARB ALLOWANCE!!! Now I realize 1/2 cup is not much but I grew up with a hypoglycemic mother and we didn't have soda or sweets so 2 bites of ice cream is about all I could take sweetwise back in the BD days.(Before Diabetes, before Diagnosis, Before get it…) 1/2 cup is enough…I can do that.

I didn't buy the ice cream but it's really nice to know I can.


mamaoak 2009-08-18 19:04:57 -0500 Report

yes i have it once in a while for a treat may be when i get a craveing makes me feel not deprived some how. i get the vanalla and put some crushed nuts and the diabetic chocolate on makes me fell special. hugs

dpete 2009-08-18 19:08:35 -0500 Report

which diabetic chocolate are you on? OXCAI is the
only one I know of with antioxidants and raw cane sugar, to not spike your insulin…

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