Maintaining a healthy diabetic diet is an essential part of controlling blood glucose levels. The Diabetes Food Pyramid is a general guide of what and how much to eat each day as part of your diet. For those with diabetes, eating the same amount at the same time each day is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy diet.
Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes -- what, when, and how much you eat affect your blood glucose. Blood glucose is the main sugar found in the blood and the body's main source of energy.
If you have diabetes (or pre-diabetes), eating too much can make your blood glucose too high. If your blood glucose goes too high, you can get sick. Your blood glucose can also go too high or drop too low if you don't take the right amount of diabetes medicine. If your blood glucose stays high too much of the time, you can develop:
- Heart disease
- Eye problems
- Foot problems
- Kidney disease
- Other problems.
You can also have problems if your blood glucose gets too low (this condition is called hypoglycemia).
Because of all these reasons, keeping your blood glucose at a healthy level will prevent or slow down diabetes problems. One way of controlling your blood glucose level is by maintaining a diabetic diet. This diabetic diet begins by understanding the Diabetes Food Pyramid.
The Diabetes Food Pyramid is a general guide of what and how much to eat each day as part of your diabetic diet. It is similar to the Food Pyramid you see on many food packages. The Diabetes Food Pyramid is divided into six groups. You should eat more foods from the largest group at the base of the pyramid and less from the smaller groups at the top of the pyramid.
The number of servings needed every day is not the same for everyone, so for a diabetic diet, a range of servings is given to ensure you get the foods you need for good health.
The food groups and suggested servings per day as part of this diabetic diet include:
- Grains, beans, and starchy vegetables: These are good source of B vitamins and fiber -- 6 or more servings per day.
- Fruits: These contain vitamins C and A, potassium, folate, and fiber -- 3 to 4 servings per day.
- Vegetables: These provide vitamins A and C, folate, and fiber -- 3 to 5 servings per day.
- Milk: This is a source of calcium, protein, and vitamins A and D -- 2 to 3 servings per day.
- Meats and meat substitutes: These are a source of iron, zinc, B vitamins, and protein -- 2 to 3 servings per day.
- Fats, sweets, and alcohol: The foods at the tip of the pyramid should be eaten in small amounts. Fats and oils should be limited because they are high in calories. Sweets are high in sugar and should only be eaten once in a while.
(Click Diabetes Food Pyramid for more information.)