Diabetes Health And Food

A healthy menu can positively impact your diabetes management

When you think about the ways you track your health, you may see this pattern: When a number used to measure your health stays too high, for too long, it’s often not a good sign. That’s true for blood glucose, of course. But it’s also true of some other factors you should be monitoring when you have diabetes: your weight, your blood pressure, and the triglycerides (fats) and cholesterol in your blood. If any one of these measures is above a healthy level, you want to get it back down and in control. And, for many people with diabetes, many of these factors are too high.

Your diabetes-healthy menu plan is among the solutions. Your food choices have a direct impact not only on your blood glucose, but also your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and more. The result is a healthier you.

Food and Weight Control When You Have Diabetes

For many people living with diabetes—and especially those with Type 2 diabetes—weight control is an important health issue. Many are overweight, often obese. And even those who are at a healthy weight may be concerned about staying there over time.

The key is to eat fewer calories than you burn for energy. But that requires two actions:

• Setting a reasonable calorie limit.
• Burning more calories each day through increased activity.

Following a healthy, well-balanced diabetes diet based on a reasonable calorie limit—and being moderately active—is the key to losing weight, or maintaining a healthy weight. It’s especially important to limit “calorie-dense” foods, such as fats.

How do you determine a healthy weight?

A calculation will tell you if you are at a healthy and desirable body weight. It’s based on your body weight in relationship to your height, and it’s called the “Body Mass Index” or BMI. Your BMI can provide some insight into whether you weigh more than you should, thereby putting your health at risk. For adults, calculating your BMI works like this:

• Multiply your weight in pounds by 703.
• Divide that number by your height in inches, squared (i.e., height x height). Your ideal number should be between 18.5 and 25.
• Are you below? Then you may be underweight.
• If you’re above, it could mean you are overweight.
• A BMI of 30 or above is considered as obesity.

Remember though, your BMI is just a number. There are many other factors to consider when judging how much you should weigh.

Don’t be discouraged if your weight is high
Studies show that even a modest amount of weight loss—5-10 percent of your body weight—can have real health benefits, especially when managing your diabetes. Also keep in mind that there are two kinds of body fat: subcutaneous and visceral fat. One is more dangerous than the other.

The subcutaneous fat forms on various parts of the body. For example, we notice it when our hips get heavier or a double chin is forming. We may not like that double chin, but subcutaneous fat is actually not considered to be a major health risk.

The visceral fat is the fat around the middle, at the abdomen or belly. This is the one to watch for, because weight gain from visceral fat puts people at risk for health problems (including diabetes and heart disease). Fortunately, it’s also the first fat you lose when you set your mind to dropping a few pounds.

How can you lose weight?

Although the diet industry would like us to think otherwise, there is no magic or mystery to weight loss. Our bodies are designed to gain weight (or store fat) if we eat more than we need, and to lose weight (or burn fat) if we eat less. If we’re at a healthy stable weight, we want to eat just the right amount to maintain that level.

If you’re looking to lose, here are some tips:

• Start by eating three meals a day
• Learn how to tell the difference between eating out of boredom and eating when you have a real sense of hunger.
• Take a walk when you are bored.
• Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
• Choose whole grain foods because they give you a better sense of fullness than processed foods.
• Find diabetes-healthy snack foods that you can easily grab if you are hungry between meals.
• Eat something every 3-4 hours. This will keep you from being over-hungry at the next meal.
• And whether you’re losing weight or at a healthy level, weigh yourself once a week.

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