The most important, yet most difficult, aspect of controlling diabetes is diet. People who have diabetes eat regular foods, but need to eat the right food combinations, in the right amounts, at the right time.
It is important to understand that all foods turn into blood sugar. Blood sugar comes from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. All foods have one or more of these nutrients in them. To control blood sugar, persons with diabetes need to control the amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that they eat each day and balance this with the amount of insulin that they have available.
The goals to be accomplished by following a meal plan are:
Goal 1 control blood sugar
- Follow a meal plan. In order to control blood sugar day to day, the correct amount of food items needs to be eaten.
- Eat the proper amounts. Even too much of the "good" foods can cause the blood sugar to go too high.
- Eat at regular times. Waiting too long for a meal may result in low blood sugar.
- Do not overeat at one meal and skip the next; blood sugar will go too high and then too low.
Goal 2 reach or maintain ideal body weight
Weight loss usually improves blood sugar control. It can even result in normal or near normal blood sugar levels. This indicates that the diabetes is very well managed.
Goal 3 obtain optimal nutrition
To help obtain optimal nutrition, the meal plan is designed to include a variety of foods to choose from. It is important to vary foods from day to day to ensure the proper amount of vitamins and minerals.
It is true, all foods turn into blood sugar, but in varying amounts:
Carbohydrates = 100% blood sugar
Protein = 60% blood sugar
Fat = 10% blood sugar