Bread and pasta with type 2 diabetes?

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Good nutrition is essential to a healthy lifestyle. For people with diabetes, nutrition has even more critical implications, so keeping track of what you eat to make sure you get a variety of the right foods in the right amounts is an important element of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

According to the National Diabetes Education Program, nearly 21 million Americans have diabetes, a serious disease in which blood sugar (glucose) levels are above normal. Most people with diabetes have Type 2, once known as adult-onset diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is not caused by obesity, and many people with this disease are of normal weight. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is strongly related to being overweight or obese, and losing even a moderate amount of weight can reduce the need for treating the diabetes with medication. In some cases, it can even eliminate the diabetes and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Anyone with diabetes needs to watch their carbohydrate consumption to avoid spikes in blood glucose levels.

“You are somewhat in the driver’s seat. Typically, diabetics require more medicine over the years to manage their disease. But, if you can lose weight and make dietary changes, you may be able to reduce the medicine you need.”
—Teresa Love, MS, RD, CDE

Myth: Diabetics can’t eat fruit, bread, potatoes, rice, carrots or anything white.
Truth: They can in moderation.
People with Type 2 diabetes need to be aware of the carbs in their diet, but reducing overall calories and exercising regularly are the biggest keys to weight loss success. It is important to eat three meals a day with a balance of complex carbohydrates (vegetables and whole grains), healthy fats (think nuts and olive oil) and lean proteins (fish, chicken and beans). It’s also a good idea to keep some healthy snacks on hand.

Strict limiting of one particular kind of food over a long period of time is difficult for many people to stick with, so eat a well-balanced diet and get more exercise! The goal is not to eliminate all carbohydrates and sugars, but to practice moderation.

Lifestyle changes that can help you lose weight
The Diabetes Prevention Program, an evidence-based program led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has shown that you can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes by losing weight through a reduced-calorie diet and by increasing physical activity. “Individuals should aim for a seven percent weight loss over three months and 150 minutes of physical activity weekly,” said Teresa Love, MS, RD, CDE, a nutritionist at Howard County General Hospital.

Diabetic diet DOs
Our nutritionist recommends that you:

  • Keep a log of all your food and beverages using a notebook or websites and apps to track calorie intake.
  • Incorporate lima, kidney and black beans into your diet. They are a good source of iron and fiber and a carbohydrate that doesn’t raise blood sugar significantly.
  • Try not to drink calories in the form of sugary beverages or alcohol.
  • Eat breakfast within an hour or two of getting up.
  • Eat consistently – a meal or a snack – every three to five hours.
  • Don’t consume all of your food at the end of the day.
  • Eat more vegetables.
  • Try to have a protein-based food with each meal: lean meat, eggs, cottage cheese, or yogurt to control hunger and blood sugar.
  • Practice strategies that help control portions like using choosemyplate.gov.
  • Do not buy all sugar-free and no-sugar-added products. Instead, eat whole foods that are natural and less processed. The fewer ingredients, the better the food is for you.
  • Eat half of your meal when you eat out at a restaurant and take the rest home or share with someone. Restaurant portions are typically too large.
  • Remember that exercise not only helps you lose weight but can help lower blood glucose levels.