Living with diabetes can be quite a transition for many but a transition is crucial if you’ve been diagnosed with this disease. Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects the body’s ability to produce enough insulin or use the insulin sufficiently.
Diabetes is an epidemic in the United States (US). It is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the US. Furthermore, diabetes is even more prevalent in the Black community. There is no cure for diabetes, so people manage it using insulin or medication.
Three Types of Diabetes
The three main types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy.
With type 1 diabetes, young adults, teens, and children are usually diagnosed and insulin is needed daily for survival because the body stops making insulin.
With type 2 diabetes, adults are usually diagnosed as it tends to develop over time. The body, in this case, does not use insulin as well as it should, and blood sugar levels are not normal. There are medications available to assist in managing it.
With gestational diabetes, women who have never had diabetes develop it during pregnancy, which puts the baby at a higher risk for health issues. Usually, this type of diabetes goes away once the baby is born but the risk of type 2 diabetes developing later in life for both the mother and the child is higher as well.
People with diabetes tend to worry about their diets and the foods that can or cannot be consumed. With type 2 diabetes, in particular, a change in lifestyle and what you eat can make a difference in managing it.
What Can Diabetics Eat?
Besides making healthy lifestyle changes, such as adding in more exercise and physical activity or even attempting to
stop smoking, please keep in mind that you can still enjoy good-tasting foods, entrees, and snacks while living with diabetes.
The following foods are recommended:
- Whole grains
Besides avoiding foods that are heavy in saturated and trans fats, below are other foods to avoid or minimize in your diet:
- Fried foods
- High-fat dairy products
- Processed meats
- Salty foods
- Sugary drinks
Stopping “cold turkey” may be hard and is not necessarily the answer to changing things up in your diet and healthy lifestyle for the long term. Taking small steps and making changes over time can help more than you may realize.
If you love sugary pops or sodas and you’re not completely ready to give them up, try cutting back on how much you drink, whether it be the number of times within a day or even the amount. Not buying pops and sodas so they are easily available in your refrigerator or within reach makes a difference, and maybe treating yourself to them when you go out for a meal will satisfy your taste for them. This is the case for sugary juices as well.
Some diet sodas, in moderation, are just as tasty and can become a substitute as you ease yourself off these drinks. There are also a significant number of flavored waters available that may quench your thirst and taste for something sweet.
Chocolates and other sweet treats and candies can also be reduced. You can reward yourself maybe once a week with a treat for making positive changes in your diet during the week.
Reading the labels on products, such as breads and pastas, for instance, and changing to those made with whole grain can also make a difference. With many of these brands, the flavor and taste are just as delicious.
Living with diabetes may not be the easiest adjustment, but remember it is doable and you can make changes gradually to still enjoy the things that you like – moderation is the key.