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Healthy Eating for Diabetics

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 healthy eating for diabetics. It is similar to the Food Pyramid you see on many food packages. The 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 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 are as follows:
 
  • Grains, beans, and starchy vegetables: These are good sources of B vitamins and fiber -- 6 or more servings a day.
     
  • Fruits: These contain vitamins C and A, potassium, folate, and fiber -- 3 to 4 servings a day.
     
  • Vegetables: These provide vitamins A and C, folate, and fiber -- 3 to 5 servings a day.
     
  • Milk: This is a source of calcium, protein, and vitamins A and D -- 2 to 3 servings a day.
     
  • Meats and meat substitutes: These are good sources of iron, zinc, B vitamins, and protein -- 2 to 3 servings a day.
     
  • Fats, sweets, and alcohol: These 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.
     
Remember that the number of servings listed is for the entire day. Since food raises blood sugar levels, it is best to space servings throughout the day. For example, four servings of fruit might be divided between three meals and one snack.
 
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