Type II diabetes can often to treated through diet and lifestyle changes. Specifically, a diabetic's diet should consist of complex carbohydrates, fiber and healthy fats, eaten at regular intervals to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
What Should Be a Diabetic's Diet?
Diabetes, whether Type I or II, can be a serious and life-threatening condition. While Type I diabetes, though, is fairly rare and does require medical intervention, Type II is largely controlled by lifestyle factors and is therefore a lot more common.
Fortunately, its connection to lifestyle also means the Type II diabetes can also be controlled through careful decisions. Specifically, diet is vitally important when it comes to the treatment and management of Type II diabetes.
But what should be a diabetic's diet?
To fully understand what a proper diabetes diet should look like, we first need to be clear about what Type II diabetes is. From there, the solution – and how diet plays a role – will become clear.
Both forms of diabetes involve a dysfunction of insulin, the hormone that manages your blood sugar. Although Type I diabetics are born unable to produce this chemical messenger, Type II diabetes involves insulin resistance.
Just as you might tune out a constant and annoying noise, your brain can stop listening to insulin's signals when levels of the hormone are too high too often. When this happens, your body can longer manage your blood sugar levels properly.
The Diabetes Diet
So, an effective diabetes diet, then, will make it easier for body to maintain your blood sugar levels. The diet should also encourage weight loss, since obesity can contribute to insulin resistance.
A healthy body weight, however, will help your body become more sensitive to insulin's messages. To accomplish both these goals, here are some features of a diabetes diet:
- High fiber – Dietary fiber not only slows down your absorption of sugars, reducing the severity of changes to your blood sugar levels, but it also makes you feel fuller from fewer calories.
- Slow carbohydrates – As mentioned, diabetes control is about blood sugar maintenance. When sugars are absorbed too quickly, your blood sugar levels can spike to dangerous levels. Natural, minimally processed, slow carbs avoid this effect.
- Healthy fats – Since obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes are very closely linked, eating heart-healthy fats is a key step to treating diabetes. This means eating omega-3 rich fish at least twice each week and replacing unhealthy saturated fats with unsaturated alternatives.
- Regularity – In truth, even if all your meals are properly constructed, your body cannot maintain healthy blood sugar levels without some regularity. Those meals need to come at regular intervals to prevent your blood sugar from dipping too low.