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One of the biggest factors in keeping your blood sugar levels where they need to be is your diet. Here are some things the Mayo Clinic and American Diabetes Association suggest you think about as you plan your meals:
One of the most important things you can do is be aware of what you are eating. Read food labels as you shop, then choose wisely.
The more you know about what’s in the food you eat, the easier it is to make choices that will keep your blood sugar levels in their recommended ranges.
The American Diabetes Association explains not all carbs are built the same. In fact, the type of carbs you eat have a direct impact on your blood sugar levels. Some carbs are full of fiber and help keep your blood sugar levels stable. Brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, spaghetti squash, whole grain bread and steel-cut oats are all full of fiber. Other carbs are low in fiber. White rice, potatoes, regular pasta, white bread and instant oatmeal can quickly raise your blood sugar levels.
The Mayo Clinic emphasizes that taking the right amount of insulin is very important in managing your diabetes. If you eat too little food for the amount of insulin you are taking with a meal, it could result in low blood sugar readings. If you eat too much, it could result in high blood sugar readings. Neither scenario is good for you. Talk with your doctor about the best way to coordinate your meals and medications.
It’s a good idea to avoid any food or beverage that will cause a dramatic spike in your blood sugar levels. Sugary beverages like soda and sweetened fruit drinks fall in this category. There isn’t much in these drinks other than sugar. Without any fiber, there isn’t anything to slow the impact of the sugar on your system. Consuming a sugary drink can cause an immediate spike in your blood sugar levels.
The only time to consider having one is if your blood sugar is very low and you need to bring it up quickly.
Working closely with your doctor and diabetes care team is an important step in managing your diabetes, but these self-care practices can be helpful in your day-to-day efforts.
Originally published 8/16/2019; Revised 2021
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