A good diet is your best medicine if you have diabetes. When foods are high in carbohydrates, fat and sodium, they increase your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, heart disease and uncontrolled sugar.
Top 10 offenders
- Sweetened drinks. Regular pop/soda, fruit punches and iced teas, loaded with sugar and calories and usually with little or no nutritional value. Drink plain water and water containing berries and fruits.
- Specialty coffee drinks (frappuccinos or cappuccinos) can add up to lots of extra sugar, calories and saturated fat. Take straight java, either black, with artificial sweetener or a small splash of skim milk.
- Whole milk. It has too much fat, which can lead to weight gain. Switch to 2 percent, 1 percent or even better: skim milk.
- Hot dogs. Try to avoid them or eat them only occasionally.
- Packaged lunch meats. These are also high in saturated fat and sodium. Remember that sandwich toppings can be very unhealthy too (mayonnaise). Add flavor to your sandwiches with mustard, veggies and/or a little bit of hummus instead.
- Sweetened cereals. These are high in carbohydrates because of the added sugar.
- Regular pancake syrup. It is very high in carbohydrates. Use lighter syrups, remember that the serving size should be small.
- Sherbet. It is too heavy with sugar.
- Fast food baked potatoes. You take a relatively healthy item, the plain baked potato, and add cheddar cheese, butter, sour cream, ranch dressing or bacon and it just turned into a high-sodium, fat laden disaster.
- Anything fried. The fat is absorbed into the food and leads to high cholesterol and weight gain. Fried foods cause diabetes and fried foods make diabetes worse.
And the best foods…
The foods listed below have a low glycemic index (which represents the total rise in a person’s blood sugar level after eating the food) and provide important nutrients you need to stay healthy.
- Sweet potatoes. A great source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or allspice for extra flavor.
- Cruciferous vegetables. These include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts. These non-starchy vegetables are rich in potassium, folate and vitamin C. They are just 5 grams of carbohydrate and 15 grams is one carb serving so you can load up!
- Legumes. A variety of beans such as black, garbanzo, kidney, lima, navy, pinto and white, loaded with fiber and protein, which will help you feel full with fewer calories.
- Nuts. Walnuts, almonds and pecans are a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats and antioxidants and they reduce LDL cholesterol and promote heart health. Consume in small amounts as they are high in calories. Add to salads, oatmeal and yogurt.
- Berries. They are full of antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber. Add to salads, cereal, summer desserts and yogurt.