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Foods To Avoid If You Have Diabetes

Dec 15, 2007
Diabetes mellitus occurs when the cells of the human pancreas no longer produce sufficient insulin. The hormone insulin aids in breaking down sugar in the blood into a form that can be better stored by the body and used for energy at a later time.

Organ systems and body tissues can be harmed or destroyed by high blood sugar levels, and diabetics currently have to take insulin to help break down blood glucose. They also still have to go through painful procedures such as dialysis in order to clean out organs and keep them running and intact.

If you are suffering from diabetes, your doctor might have already told you to keep your feet clean, take your insulin shots, have a lot of exercise, and eat a good balanced meal of the right foods.

There are foods that you have to avoid if you have diabetes, and your diet, in general, will be high in soluble fibers but low in saturated fats. If you are suffering from diabetes, your doctor may encourage you to eat lower amounts of carbohydrate products that may have a high glycemic index.

Diabetes is also growing more widespread, a phenomenon that has prompted food, beverage, and pharmaceutical companies to produce products especially catered to meet the needs of diabetics.

However, many doctors also caution against the indiscriminate purchase and use of such products, which are often very expensive. Such diabetic-catered products can also have much higher levels of fats, or they may actually have no real, substantiated, or special benefits for people who are suffering from diabetes.

Staying on a good diet and avoiding the right foods is still the best way to keep your blood glucose levels down.

Scientists have found that the time you eat, the amount of food that you eat, and the balance of nutrients in your food all affect your metabolism and hence, your tendency to deal with or succumb to the effects of diabetes.

If you have just been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be asked to coordinate with a dietitian or nutritionist who will help you formulate a meal and snack plan. You might be asked to count your carbohydrates by keeping track of the sugary or starchy foods that you consume.

You will then have to follow the food pyramid strictly. The largest part of the pyramid, at the bottom, will consist of
whole grains and starchy vegetables, which should comprise a large part of your meal. This means that you need to have at least two servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day.

The next step in the pyramid consists of proteins, which you can get from lean meat, legumes, and cheese, all of which you should eat in smaller quantities. Next, you can have a small amount of non-fat or low-fat dairy. Fats and sugars are at the top, and you can eat only very small amounts of these.

These rules, however, are only general, and they may not suit your specific diabetic case. You will still need to talk to a dietitian or nutritionist in order to find the best diet for you. In addition to eating the right foods, you will also have to avoid others, such as foods that are extremely salty.

This is because diabetes is often accompanied to high blood pressure. High blood pressure is exacerbated not only by large amounts of fats in the diet, but high amounts of sodium as well. You will need to cut down on the salt in your food, or you may need to purchase and use non-sodium or low sodium salt substitutes.

You also need to stay away from foods that are high in sodium and salt, such as crackers, chips, processed or preserved meet products, or canned foods such as sardines or soups.

Although diabetes is linked to blood sugar levels, you do not need to stay away from sugar altogether. You do need, however, to stop adding sugar to foods, and to use sugar in low amounts. For better results, eat sugar within a healthy meal, such as in frozen yogurt, pudding, or fruit pies.

If you are not prone to caffeine-related tremors, you can also drink diet colas and soft drinks: such drinks will use sugar substitutes, but they are also higher in caffeine. Stay away from processed foods, as these will have no nutrients, and will only have larger amounts of sugars and fats to add flavor.

Most importantly, stay away from fats. Having diabetes also puts you at greater risk for cardiovascular diseases, so stay away from saturated fats, which you can find in dairy products, solid vegetable fats, and butter. When cooking chicken, take the skin off. Avoid butter and margarine, and use oils made from canola or olive.

Stay away from full cream products: use skimmed, low-fat, or non-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt. Instead of frying foods, grill, boil, bake, or broil it instead.

Stay away from alcoholic beverages. Stick to your meal plan even if you are eating out. Although all this may sound inconvenient and difficult, you can avoid foods and have an easier time managing your diabetes with a little practice and patience.
About the Author
Monica Nelson writes on: women's health and diabeties supplies and diabetic diets.
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