If you've got diabetes, you need a guide to help you quickly determine if a food is a good choice or a bad one, whether you're at the supermarket or standing in front of your refrigerator. Making the best choices will help you maintain good health and control your blood sugar levels, keeping them as close to normal as possible. WebMD has compiled a list of best and worst food choices for diabetes.
The categories for the food choice list are taken from the diabetes food pyramid. They include six food groups. The pyramid starts with breads, grains, and other starches at the base and rises to fats, oils, and sweets at the top. Here's the full list of categories from the bottom up:
Editor's Note: Food Pyramid Replaced
In June 2011, the USDA replaced the food pyramid with a new plate icon.
Your goal for shopping and preparing meals is to choose more food from the base of the pyramid and less as you move toward the top.
What follows are some of the best and worst choices that can be made from each group. In addition, you'll find tips for making the best beverage choices. Keep in mind, though, if a food falls in the worst group, that doesn't mean you should never eat it. You can think of it as an occasional treat. But in general, it will be easier to manage your diabetes if you choose most of your foods from the best lists.
Breads, Grains, and Diabetes
Along with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, foods in this first category contain mostly complex carbohydrates that your body turns into sugar for energy. Even though carbs make glucose levels rise, complex carbs are absorbed more slowly than simple carbs, and you need carbs for energy. Use this list as a guide to help you choose the complex carbs that are best for you.
Whole-grain flours, such as whole wheat flour
Whole grains, such as brown rice
Processed grains, such as white rice
Cereals containing whole-grain ingredients and little added sugar
Cereals with little whole grain and lots of sugar
Baked potato or baked steak fries
Whole-grain flour or corn tortillas
Fried white-flour tortillas
Diabetes and Vegetables
Vegetables contain carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. They usually contain fewer carbs than fruits. Many vegetables contain fiber and are naturally low in fat and sodium (unless they are canned). Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn, aren't included in this category. They are considered part of the breads, grains, and other starches group. Use this list to guide your shopping and cooking choices.
Fresh vegetables, eaten raw or lightly steamed, roasted, or grilled
Frozen vegetables, lightly steamed
Canned vegetables with lots of added sodium
Vegetables cooked with lots of added butter, cheese, or sauce
Pickles (only if you need to limit sodium; otherwise, pickles are a good choice)
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If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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