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.
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.
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?
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