Having diabetes can make dining out a nightmare, but knowing what the best and worst foods for type II diabetics can help you manage and even cure it!
There is a sort of balancing act that has to happen to keep the body’s blood sugar levels in the right range without getting too hungry.
That’s why it’s just as important to know what NOT to eat as it is to know what to eat.
Why is this so important? Because having blood sugar too low or too high can cause big swings in a diabetic’s symptoms, including:
- Frequent Urination
- Unusually High Thirst
- Tingling in the Hands
And many other side effects happen when a type II diabetic’s blood sugar is out of whack.
So the goal is to be eating the kinds of food that make you feel full and happy, WITHOUT the crazy blood sugar spikes.
Chances are that you don’t have a nutrition degree and probably started with a very vague understanding of what type II diabetes is.
In order to follow a healthy diet, understanding how certain foods affect blood sugar is key.
The good news: Keep in mind that type II diabetes is curable in most cases.
With the right plan of action and program, many people see their type II diabetes reversed.
The following foods are a big part of curing and managing diabetes.
Proteins are the building blocks of lean muscle tissue and a healthy, happy body. It will also have virtually no effect on blood sugar levels. So you should be eating a large amount of protein in a diabetic diet.
Best sources: Lean protein sources like organic chicken breast and pork are great options. These have the highest ratio of amino acids and are the best sources of a complete protein. You should also be getting in lots of fish like salmon and halibut for their high levels of omega-3s. Finally, eggs and egg whites are also great sources.
Worst sources: Processed deli meats, hot dogs, and bratwurst have high amounts of preservatives and sodium, which you should avoid. Also, avoid fatty cuts of meat and fried foods. You should be getting in fat from other, healthier sources.
Grains are a bit controversial these days, especially for a diabetic. Because they contain carbohydrates, they will cause increases in blood sugar levels and should, therefore, be monitored.
Best sources: Quinoa, wild rice, and whole oats are the only sources you should be consuming.
Worst sources: Anything with refined white flour will cause blood sugar to spike and should be avoided. This includes white rice, white bread pastas, and pretty much all breakfast cereal.
(Note* Foods like whole-grain bread and whole-grain cereal should NOT be eaten. While many people get confused on this issue, these foods have been proven to cause similar blood spikes as unrefined foods and are often mislabeled as “healthy foods.”)
Fats, just like protein, do not cause any significant spike in blood sugar and should be consumed in moderation. They are also very high in calories, so be careful if weight loss is one of your goals.
Best Sources: Nuts (something a diabetic should regularly be eating) and avocados are some of the best natural sources. Use extra virgin olive oil and extra virgin coconut oil for cooking.
Worst Sources: Butter, cheese, gravy, fried foods, peanut butter, and any other sources that are not on the best sources list. These foods are too high in calories and often contain sugar as well to enhance the taste. They are setbacks to finding any diabetic cure and should be avoided.
Dairy is a tough one because even the best sources will have some sugar in them. The key is finding the brand with the least amount of sugar and the highest amount of protein.
Best sources: Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are the only two dairy foods diabetics should be consuming. They are both high in protein, have a small amount of fat, and are lower in sugar than other sources.
Worst sources: Regular milks (whole – skim), yogurt, cheeses, and any “regular” dairy products. Again, the sugar causes unnecessary spikes in blood sugar and is not good for you.
Best sources: Low carb vegetables are abundant and give you lots of options. Sprouts, alfalfa, and other small seeds (sprouted legumes) have more carbs.
(The carb count is linked for many of these vegetables).
- Greens – lettuce, spinach, chard, etc.
- Hearty Greens – collards, mustard greens, kale, etc.
- Radicchio and endive count as greens
- Herbs – parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc. (you can usually count these as free foods)
- Bok Choy
- Bamboo Shoots
- Sea Vegetables (Nori, etc)
- Cabbage (or sauerkraut)
- Cucumbers (or pickles without added sugars)
- Green Beans and Wax Beans
- Summer Squash
- Brussels Sprouts
- Scallions or green onions
- Snow Peas/Snap Peas/Pea Pods
- Spaghetti Squash
- Celery Root (Celeriac)
- Water Chestnuts (Note: Water chestnuts are starchy root vegetables but usually used in smaller quantities than other root vegetables.)
Worst sources: Potatoes, corn, and peas can still be eaten but make sure to watch out for overconsumption. These vegetables are higher in carbs than others!
Best sources: Fresh fruits are the best option when sweet cravings hit and when you feel like breaking your diet. They are also great sources of antioxidants and fiber. The best options are berries, apples, and oranges. Just remember to eat whole fruit to get the blood sugar leveling fiber in!
Worst sources: Fruit juices and fruit bowls are the worst offenders. The fiber has been stripped away, leaving a blood sugar spiking nightmare. Only eat whole fruit!
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