Healthy Eating is the First Step
in taking care of your Diabetes
You can make a difference in your blood glucose control through your food choices. You do not need special foods. In fact, the foods that are good for you are good for everyone.
If you have diabetes, it is important to eat about the same amount of food at the same time each day. Regardless of what your blood glucose level is, try not to skip meals or snacks. Skipping meals & snacks may lead to large swings in blood glucose levels.
To keep your blood glucose levels near normal, you need to balance the food you eat with insulin your body makes or gets by injection & with your physical activities. Blood glucose montoring gives you information to help you with this. Near normal blood glucose levels help you feel better. They may also reduce or prevent the complications of diabetes.
The number of calories you need depends on your size, age & activity level. If you are an adult, eating the right number of calories can help you reach & stay at a reasonable weight. Children & adolescents must eat enough calories so they grow & develop normally. Don't limit their calories to try to control blood glucose levels. Instead adjust their insulin to cover the calories they need.
Of course, everyone needs to eat nutritious foods. Our good health depends on eating a variety of foods that contain the right amounts of carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber & water.
Other Carbs group
What are Carbohydrate, Protein, & Fat?
Carbohydrate, protein & fat are found in the food you eat. They supply your body with energy, or calories. Your body needs insulin to use this energy. Insulin is made in the pancreas. If you have diabetes, either your pancreas is no longer making insulin or your body can't use the insulin it is making. In either case, your blood glucose levels are not normal.
Carbohydrate. Starch & sugar in foods are carbohydrates. Starch is in breads, pasta, cereals, potatoes, & beans, peas, & lentils. Naturally present sugars are in fruits, milk & vegetables. Added sugars are in desserts, candy, jams, & syrups. All of these carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram & can affect your blood glucose levels.
When you eat carbohydrates, they turn into glucose & travel in your bloodstream. Insulin helps the glucose enter the cells, where it can be used for energy or stored. Eating the same amount of carbohydrate daily at meals & snacks can help you control your blood glucose levels.
Protein. Protein is in meats, poultry, fish , milk & other dairy products, eggs, & beans, peas, & lentils. Starches & vegetables also have small amounts of protein.
The body uses protein for growth, maintenance & energy. Protein has 4 calories of energy per gram. Again, your body needs insulin to use the protein you eat.
Fat. Fat is in margarine, butter, oils, salad dressings, nuts, seeds, milk, cheese, meat, fish, poultry, snack foods, ice cream & desserts.
There are different types of fat: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, & saturated. Everyone should eat less of the saturated fats found in meats, dairy products, coconut, palm or palm kernel oil, & hardened shortenings. Saturated fats can raise your blood levels of cholesterol. The fats that are best are the monounsaturated fats found in canola oil, olive oil, nuts, & avocado. The polyunsaturated fats found in corn oil, soybean oil, or sunflower oil are also good choices.
After you eat fat, it travels in your bloodstream. You need insulin to store fat in cells of your body. Fats are used for energy. In fact, fats have 9 calories per gram, more than two times the calories you get from carbohydrate & protein.
Exchange lists are foods listed together because they are alike. Each serving of a food has about the same amount of carbohydrate, protein, fat & calories as the other foods on that list. That is why any food on a list can be "exchanged" or traded for any other food on the same list. For example, you can trade the slice of bread you might eat for breakfast for one-half cup of cooked cereal. Each of these foods equals one starch choice.
Foods are listed with their serving sizes, which are usually measured after cooking. When you begin, you should measure the size of each serving. This may help you learn to "eyeball" correct serving sizes.
The exchange lists provide you with alot of food choices (foods from the basic food groups, foods with added sugars, free foods, combination foods, & fast foods). This gives you variety in your meals. Several foods, such as beans, peas, & lentils, bacon, & peanut butter, are on two lists. This gives you flexibility in putting your meals together. Whenever you choose new foods or vary your meal plan, monitor your blood glucose to see how these different foods affect your blood glucose level.
Most foods in the Carbohydrate group have about the same amount of carbohydrate per serving. You can exchange starch, fruit, or milk choices in your meal plan. Vegetables are in this group but, contain only about 5 grams of carbohydrate.
Make sure you talk to your doctor & dietitian when first learning how to use your meal plan & exchange list. This site is a guide to help you plan your meals.
Combination Foods group
Free Foods group
Want to learn more about Aspartame.
Here are some links to pages that give alot of information on it.
Origin on Urban Legend
MS foundation debunks aspartame myth
FDA position on aspartame, backed by science
For more information on aspartame and other urban health legends