Food and adequate nutrition is considered one of the bases of treatment to control Diabetes mellitus and avoid its complications.

A plate with foods allowed in the diabetic diet

Pillars for treating diabetes mellitus

The pillars of the treatment of Diabetes mellitus are:

  • Avoid sedentary lifestyle : maintain regular physical activity.
  • Weight control : maintain a good BMI (Body Mass Index), or lose weight, if you are overweight or obese.
  • Diabetic diet .

General Diabetic Diet Considerations

The following are measures to take into account to ensure that the diet together with the treatment have the best response from the patient.

Information and education

It is essential that the patient accepts his chronic condition, that he knows the consequences of maintaining high blood sugar levels indefinitely, what are the complications and how to maintain good control and have an excellent quality of life.

In the case of foods for diabetics , it is essential that each patient shows their interest in learning and modifying their eating habits.

Quantity and quality of food for diabetics

Today the concept of glycemic or glycemic index is taken into consideration.

This Index indicates the speed or rapidity that a food raises the level of sugar or glycemia in the blood.

In this way, foods with high, medium or low glycemic index are classified.

The diabetic food are in groups with low and medium glycemic index. Avoid foods with a high glycemic index. We will see later a list of foods according to their glycemic index that will help us design an optimal diabetic diet .

Regarding food, it is important to remember that:

  • They must maintain a balanced diet.
  • Take care of excess calories and avoid weight gain.
  • Always have fruits and vegetables in your pantry.
  • Distribute the total consumption of food throughout the day, in 3 main meals and 2 snacks, taking into account that the last meal of the day should be with proteins and vegetables, without carbohydrates.
  • You can eat skim or skim dairy.
  • Avoid the intake of saturated fats or animal origin.
  • Do not add sugar to any food.
  • Use sweeteners if necessary.
  • Eat low to moderate salt.
  • Avoid excessive intake of alcoholic beverages, maximum two drinks per day. If you have liver problems or are pregnant, you should cut out alcoholic beverages completely.
  • Eat foods high in fiber.
  • You have to limit carbohydrates, and reduce them to ¼ of the full serving of each meal, the rest should be vegetables, fiber and protein.

The following lists of the Glycemic Index of Foods are based on several bibliographic consultations, mainly obtained from the book “Diabetes: a world of possibilities (5)”

List of high glycemic index foods

(NOT recommended for diabetics)

  • Watermelon, green banana, date, yellow melon, raisins, medlar, mango, kiwi.
  • Carrots, turnip, pumpkin, red beet, corn kernels for salads, chestnut, yucca, yam.
  • Sauteed, cooked, baked, fried or mashed potatoes.
  • Risotto, rice, all kinds, rice cereal, egg noodles, ordinary pasta, Chinese noodles, couscous, ravioli.
  • Potato-starch, rice and wheat flour.
  • White bread, popcorn, corn, baguette -white French bread, bagels, croissants, cornmeal, refined cereals, sugary musli, wheat crackers, pita bread, oatmeal.
  • Potato chips, crackers, rice pudding, refined sugar, brown sugar, honey.
  • Yeast pasta, milk chocolate, jam (with sugar), sorbet / ice cream, Nutella, beer, fruit juice with sugar, soft drinks.

List of foods with a medium glycemic index

 (It is recommended to eat with caution and without excesses, or frequently)

  • Pineapple, grape, pear, raw banana, blueberry, fig, plum, peach, apple, orange, pomegranate, tangerine or nectarine, quince, coconut.
  • Peas, beans, lentils, broad beans, chickpeas.
  • Whole wheat pasta, wild rice, wheat and barley grains, whole rye flour, whole wheat pasta, quinoa flour, chickpea flour, whole wheat bread, mustard.
  • Unsweetened orange juice, cider, tomato juice.

List of foods with low glycemic index

(more recommended in diabetics)

  • Apricot, grapefruit, cherry, tomato, fresh fig, walnuts, peanut.
  • Black beans, kidney beans, raw carrots, soybeans, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, zucchini, green vegetables.
  • Unsweetened lemon juice, whole milk, skim milk, oat milk, soy, almond, cottage cheese and unsweetened yogurt.
  • Olive oil, eggs, cheeses, fish, salmon, tuna, meat, cold cuts, seafood, coffee, tea, poultry, chicken, turkey, crustaceans.
  • Aromatic herbs, spices, condiments, vinegar,
  • Avocado, olives, almonds, hazelnuts, onion, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, chard, spinach, asparagus, cucumbers, mushrooms, mushrooms, ginger, Brussels sprouts, fennel, celery, pistachio, red peppers, artichokes.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, 80% dark chocolate, 85% dark dark chocolate, 70% dark chocolate.
  • Dried peas, fresh raspberry, blackberries.

This guide is informative, it allows to guide the patient. Each case is particular and you must maintain fluid communication with your doctor and nutritionist.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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