Diabetes diet: New guidelines for healthy eating with diabetes

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Diabetes diet: New guidelines for healthy eating with diabetes

Diabetes diet — New guidelines can help you make better choices about what you eat.

When you have diabetes, diet plays a key role in controlling blood sugar. You probably already know the cornerstones of any diabetes diet — moderate portions of healthy foods and regular mealtimes. Now, new guidelines from the American Diabetes Association can help you make even better choices about what you eat.

Here's a quick look at the latest recommendations, including how to incorporate the basics into your own diabetes diet.

Choose fiber-rich foods

Dietary fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb. Fiber is often classified into two categories:

  • Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber increases the movement of material through your digestive system. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts and many vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.
  • Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. You can find generous quantities of soluble fiber in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.

Aim for 25 to 50 grams of fiber a day.

Curb dietary cholesterol

Your increased risk of heart disease and stroke also makes cholesterol an issue. When there's too much cholesterol in your blood, you may develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries.

To keep your cholesterol under control, consume no more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol a day. The most concentrated sources of cholesterol include organ meats, egg yolks and whole milk products. Use lean cuts of meat, egg substitutes and skim milk instead.

The bottom line

If you're already making healthy food choices, good for you! If you're not sure whether you're eating the right foods, ask your doctor for guidance. He or she may recommend consulting a registered dietitian. Together you can develop a diabetes diet based on your health goals, tastes and lifestyle — as well as the latest guidelines for healthy eating.

Last Updated: 10/13/2006
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