Is the Food Pyramid Different for Diabetes ?
Most of us are familiar with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Pyramid – possibly from elementary school – but some might not know that it’s different for people with diabetes.
Both pyramids encourage people to eat more foods from the largest groups – those on the bottom – and limit the foods at the tip, which aren’t as helpful to our health.
Here are the main differences:
Cheese: In the USDA Food Pyramid, cheese is in the Milk, Yogurt and Cheese group toward the top. In the Diabetes Food Pyramid, cheese is grouped in the Meat and Others group (still toward the top). The serving recommendation is the same – 2-3 servings per day – but for those with diabetes, the servings can be switched with meat. This is because cheese is mostly protein and fat, like foods in the meat group.
Beans: In the USDA Food Pyramid, beans are in the Meat, Poultry and Fish group toward the top, but in the Diabetes Pyramid, beans are in Grains, Beans and Starchy Vegetables at the very bottom. That’s because beans are a good source of carbohydrates and fiber, so people with diabetes are encouraged to eat 6 or more servings of this food, rather than 2-3.
Alcohol: In the USDA Food Pyramid, the very tip includes Fats and Sweets to encourage people to severely restrict such foods. In the Diabetes Pyramid, the tip includes Fats, Sweets and Alcohol to encourage those with diabetes to limit all three, since alcohol can make blood glucose too high or too low.
Reprinted from 101 Nutrition Tips for People with Diabetes by Patti B. Geil and Lea Ann Holzmeister.
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