Have you been told your blood sugars are climbing and you may have diabetes? Learn key strategies to take back control of your health
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Diabetes is a multisystem disease which involved these organs: your liver, pancreas, gut hormones and your cells. Your liver stores and releases sugars so your body can use it as energy.
Sometimes your liver releases more sugar then you need leading to an increase in your blood sugars. Your pancreas makes insulin which lowers your blood sugars, however sometimes your pancreas makes too little insulin, or it doesn’t send it out as quickly as your body needs it which leads to an increase in your blood sugars.
In addition your pancreas and gut produces other hormones which help regulate your sugars as well. How insulin moves sugar from your blood into your cells regulates the amount of sugar in your blood.
Sometimes obesity or inactivity can make your cells insulin resistant which can also lead to higher blood sugars.
How To Reduce Insulin Resistance?
Exercise and weight loss are key components in reducing insulin resistance. Even small amounts of exercise for about 30 minutes a day can be very helpful in making cells more sensitive to your existing insulin, which will help lower your sugars.
Using both aerobic exercises such as biking, walking, running or swimming with light weights are considered ideal. Of course, if you have any health issues check with your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
Also if you are on any diabetic medications, it is important to talk to your endocrinologist or certified diabetes educator about timing exercise properly so you don’t exercise when your medications are peaking which can put you at risk for low blood sugars, which can be dangerous if too low.
But overall even a small amount of exercise and weight loss can have a benefit in helping to lower your blood sugars overall.
What Do I Need To Eat To Help My Blood Sugars?
Its funny, this is the question that so many people ask me. They say just tell me what can I eat, and what I can’t eat, most of the time they think it’s all about sugars.
The truth is diabetes management is different from most other diets, and it is not just good and bad foods. Eating for diabetes includes the combinations of foods, the timing of eating, and matching foods with the action of medications.
I also like to stress that eating every few hours is better than having big meals. Snacking properly between meals can help reduce your appetite and prevent overeating.
After all, if your body isn’t working well giving it too much food at one time like a big meal is bound to overwhelm and lead to higher sugars.
What’s The Story On Carbohydrates?
I would like to start by talking about carbohydrates, they are not the bad guys, and most people don’t understand them. We need carbohydrates in our diets it is the fuel for our bodies and the number one fuel for our brain.
The problem is that most people include too many carbohydrates in their diets. The amount of carbohydrates you need varies from one person to the next, and your registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator can help you determine this.
Generally it should be about 60-70% of your calories split evenly throughout the day somewhere between 30-60 gm of carbs at a meal and 15-25 gm of carbs at a snack, which tends to work well for most people.
Carbohydrates are found in starches such as (rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, corn, and beans), all fruits, all veggies, sweets, and milk.
Most people are surprised to hear that a small fruit or an 8oz glass of milk has about the same amount of carbohydrates as a piece of bread.
How To Combine Carbs With Other Foods To Help My Blood Sugars?
If you mix fat with carbs such as a little oil, butter, nuts, nut butter, mayo, salad dressing, or full fat dairy, with your carbs the fat helps slow the digestion of the carbohydrates which slows how fast it gets into your blood, helping to keep the sugar spike from going up as fast or as high.
Additional fiber like veggies and whole grains also slows digestion as well. Balancing the meal with a moderate amount of protein can help your body with fluid balance, healing and muscle development.
What Can I Drink To Help Lower My Blood Sugars?
Really water is best, and if you want a diet beverage, usually non-carbonated diet beverages are closer to water for your body. Water helps to dilute the concentration of blood sugar in your blood, also helps with cholesterol.
Water helps your body elimination waste and helps your lungs, kidneys, and skin. Limit caffeinated or sweetened beverages including juice as much as possible and don’t use too much alcohol.
Alcohol can actually both drop blood sugar in an unhealthy, unpredictable way, so it is best to avoid or limit it.
Putting It All Together
So to recap there is not just one diet for diabetes you need to customize for each person and a registered dietitian RDN and a Certified Diabetes Educator CDE can help you best with this.
Most meal plans should include a combination of carbohydrates, fat, fiber, and protein at each meal. Remember that eating smaller meals throughout the day not only helps keep blood sugars more in the middle range but helps you control your appetite as well.
Include lots of fluids in your diet especially water which is important for most body functions and for better blood glucose readings. Finally exercise and weight loss is key to helping your to reduce insulin resistance.
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