Ask an RDN! How and What to Eat When Living With Diabetes
By Megan Roosevelt, RDN & Founder of HealthyGroceryGirl.com
Question: Does The Order I Eat My Food Affect Blood Sugar?
Some research shows that eating your food in a specific order may decrease your blood sugar spikes post meal by 75%. The suggested order is to eat your vegetables first, fats and protein second and starches and sugars last.
Question: Should I Avoid Fruit?
Fruit is a nutritious food rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Do not avoid fruit unless advised to do so by your doctor or dietitian. The key to enjoying fruit is to always pair fruit with a protein or fat to avoid a blood sugar spike and crash. For example, when eating an apple add a serving of almonds or peanut butter. You may also want to consume lower sugar fruits such as berries, kiwi and grapefruit. If needed, adjust the serving size of fruit that you eat based on your personal blood sugar sensitivity.
Question: How Can I Create A Meal That Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Balance?
Keep in mind fiber, protein and fat as the 3 key elements to have at all meals and snacks. These 3 nutrients help to delay digestion and therefore create a more steady release of sugar into the bloodstream. Slowing down digestion has shown to be a successful strategy especially for those with type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.
Question: What Carbohydrates Are Best For Those With Diabetes?
Unless your doctor or dietitian has advised against it, do not avoid carbohydrates as they are a preferred source of energy for the body. Instead, learn about healthy sources of carbohydrates as well as the serving size that works best for your body. When selecting carbohydrates choose whole-grains that are rich in fiber such as quinoa, oatmeal or buckwheat. Legumes are also a great source of carbohydrate and are rich in protein and fiber. Avoid processed, enriched or refined carbohydrates that lack fiber which are more likely to cause a blood sugar spike. Always consume carbohydrates with a protein and / or fat to better help balance blood sugar levels.
Question: How Do I Know Which Foods Are Best For Me To Eat?
Keep a food journal to track meals and snacks as well as post meal blood sugar levels. This can be an insightful tool to learn how different foods and different quantities of foods affect your blood sugar so that adjustments can be made at future meals or snacks. For example, you may notice that when you eat a meal rich in vegetables, you see healthier blood sugar results.
Question: When Is The Best Time To Exercise For Those With Diabetes?
Move your body between one to three hours after completing a meal when blood sugar levels may be higher. Exercise can help to lower blood glucose levels (as your body uses the glucose for energy) and can also help your body’s sensitivity to insulin. For those using insulin, test your blood sugar levels before exercising to avoid hypoglycemia.
Question: Are All Sugar-Free Options Healthy?
You may want to avoid certain products labeled sugar-free. Always read ingredient lists and avoid foods that contain aspartame, sucralose, saccharin and acesulfame K. These types of artificial sweeteners have been linked with decreasing gut health along with increasing the risk of gut inflammation, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Instead, switch to a natural sugar-free option such as Purecane. Purecane is an all-natural, zero-calorie, diabetic-friendly sweetener that is healthy and tastes good too! For those looking for a sugar-free sweetener for cooking and baking, Purecane is a great option.
You can stay connected with Megan Roosevelt, RDN on Instagram at @HealthyGroceryGirl, watch recipe videos at YouTube.com/HealthyGroceryGirl or visit her recipe and wellness blog at HealthyGroceryGirl.com