What is Diabetes or Insulin Resistance?
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that results in an abnormally high level of sugar in the blood. This is due to the to the body being ineffective at using the insulin it has produced, also known as insulin resistance.
Maintaining a healthy diet is a vital part of keeping tight control of blood sugar levels, itself important for preventing the risk of diabetes complications. People living with diabetes have nearly double the risk of heart disease, kidney damage, eye damage and so on.
But avoiding long-term complications of this disease is about more than forgoing blood sugar–spiking foods, says Amy Hess Fischl, RDN, a registered dietitian and diabetes educator at the University of Chicago Diabetes Center. In addition to carb control, people with diabetes should be going for foods that decrease high blood pressure and high cholesterol and reduce excess weight, some of the factors that likely contributed to diabetes in the first place.
Sugar and Processed Carbs
Sugar and processed carbohydrate are worst for managing diabetes and should be limited in the diet. Sugar has a high glycaemic index, that is they cause blood sugar levels to rise after eating and over time alter the body’s insulin sensitivity. Food that contains sugars include all fruit juices, carbonated drinks, sweets, candy, and other packaged or processed snacks such as chips, crackers, and the like.
How Does Fiber Help Control Diabetes?
Fruit contains fiber, vitamins, and mineral, and they are particularly rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Fibre aid in digestion and also helps to reduce cholesterol levels.
Natural fruits should be used as substitutes instead for fruit juices. The National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney disease (NIDDK) recommend that people diagnosed with diabetes should avoid taking fruit juices or canned fruits with added sugar, which are more quickly absorbed into the blood
Top 10 Low Carb Fruits
The top 10 fruits with lowest carbs include;
Avocado is one of the best fruits for diabetes patients. It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acid (healthy fat) can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. It can also help slow digestion and maintain blood sugar level from spiking immediately after a meal.
Starchy Vegetables vs Non Starchy Vegetables for Blood Sugar Control
There are two classes of vegetables; starchy and non-starchy. Starchy vegetables like corn, potatoes and butternut squash are a good source of nutrient, but they are high in sugar. Non-starchy veggies like leafy greens, Brussels sprouts and broccoli are full of fiber, essential nutrients and are low in carbs.
Potatoes in daily meals could be very harmful to people with diabetes. The starch in potatoes is made up of complex sugars that break down quickly, and are absorbed directly into the blood, causing a sudden in blood sugar level. Potatoes are one of the worst foods for diabetes and should be totally avoided
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and collards are a good source of magnesium, zinc, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. They are also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin. These are important oxidants that help neutralize free radicals and consequently prevent oxidative damage to the retina. Overall, Lutein and Zeaxanthin have the abilbity to help improvement or delay the progression of Diabetic retinopathy in patients.
Asparagus is another stable vegetable for diabetes control. It is proven that eating asparagus will boost insulin production and keep the blood sugar level stable.
Broccoli is similar to other cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. Theses veggies contain sulforaphane, a compound triggering some anti-inflammatory processes to improve the blood sugar control and protect the blood vessels from cardiovascular damage, a complication of diabetes.
Insulin Resistance Improving Protein-Rich Foods
Protein-rich foods can help promote weight loss thereby reducing insulin resistance. Also, because they are rich in fiber, they keep you feeling full for longer periods of time.
Best options for protein include:
- skinless turkey
- skinless chicken
- beans and legumes
- canned tuna
- nuts like raw almonds and walnuts
- fatty fish like salmon
- plain non-Greek yogurt.
Worst options for protein include;
- hot dogs
- sweetened protein shakes
- sweetened or flavored nuts
- beef jerky
- deli meats such as bologna, salami, roast beef, ham, and turkey. This groups are often higher in saturated fat and sodium and are bad for diabetics because they are at high risk of heart disease.
Salmon is enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to help lower the risk of heart disease. It also provides beneficial effects on diabetes risk factors such as inflammation and high blood pressure. Sardines, mackerel or herring are also good options.
Whole Grains are Healthful for Diabetics
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends vitamin fortified whole grains in a healthy diabetes meal. These foods contain fiber, which helps improve digestion. Fibers can also promote satiety, and it can help prevent the blood sugar level to spike. In addition, whole grains also contain healthy vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that are essential for everyone, regardless of their health status.
Processed or packaged cereals should be avoided or taken in moderate quantities. Popular foods such as white bread, as well as sugary confectionaries, should be totally excluded from meals.
Best options for grains include:
- wild or brown rice
- whole-wheat pasta
- whole-grain bread
- whole farro
- whole-wheat bread
- whole-wheat cereals.
Worst grains for diabetes include:
White rice is a popular meal in every home. However, because of the low-quality carbs and fiber, it is easily digested, thereby raising blood sugar levels. Research shows that people consuming white rice in their daily meals are at a 27% higher risk of developing diabetes when compared to those who just consume whole grain meals.
Diet plays a vital role in our well-being, especially for those living with diabetes. Acknowledging best and worst foods for diabetes patients is a smart step in the process of managing your disease.
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