Type 2 diabetes is the body's inability to properly use insulin. Insulin's primary function is to break down foods, like starches and sugars, to use for energy. Diabetics have high levels of glucose (sugar) in their blood that, without being managed properly, could lead to kidney failure, heart disease or amputation. Therefore, it is important to avoid foods like simple sugars, simple starches, and fatty proteins. Do not deprive yourself of specific foods; instead, find healthier alternatives.
Simple starches are complex grains that have been bleached to make them white. In the process, the flour is stripped of essential vitamins and nutrients. The grain goes from a complex starch to a simple one. A whole piece of fruit is a complex sugar, but once the juice has been extracted, it has been made simple. Avoid these processed, simple starches in favor of more complex ones. Eat whole grain rice instead of white rice. Opt for multigrain breads and cereals that are high in fiber.
In addition to complex starches and sugars for more immediate energy sources, your body requires proteins for long-term energy. Protein is obtained from meats, nuts and dairy products. It is healthier to avoid fatty cuts of beef and pork and full-fat dairy products. Instead of ribeye, eat filet mignon. Eat chicken and fish. Drink skim milk and eat low-fat cheese instead of whole milk and full-fat cheese. Avoid prepackaged meats.
Frying foods is a surefire way to turn something healthy into something less healthy. Try some of your favorite fried foods grilled or sauteed instead. Order the grilled chicken sandwich instead of the fried chicken one. Cook your vegetables on the grill or saute them on the stove. If you do fry occasionally, use olive oil instead of canola or vegetable oils.
You can drink alcoholic beverages with diabetes, but it is best to do so with food. Go for alcohol with less sugar content, like Scotch, and opt for drier wines--the sweeter the drink, the higher the sugar content. For mixed drinks, use diet products. Try a wine spritzer using diet club soda.
Snacking is the hardest food habit to manage. Snacking is your body's way of saying it is not getting enough food in your meals--whether it's enough in quantity or enough of a certain vitamin or mineral. The most convenient snack options tend to be the worst. Avoid empty-calorie snacks like potato chips or french fries. Instead, eat a piece of fruit or protein-rich nuts, like walnuts or almonds. Always have a snack on hand.
When you have diabetes, you must avoid sugary foods. Simple sugars are not only found in candy bars and cakes; they are also found in fruit juices. Avoid drinking regular sodas and fruit juices. Instead, opt for water, unsweetened iced tea or fat-free milk. Many desserts are more diabetic-friendly now. You can find ice cream sweetened with Splenda in almost any major grocery store.
The best way to guarantee avoiding certain foods is to plan your meals. At least two of your three meals should have a protein source. Eat four to five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Limit your alcohol and sugar intake. Always have a complex carbohydrate or protein snack with you, like nuts, berries or a multigrain bar. Managing your meals leads to better management of your diabetes.