More than 29 million people in the U.S., or 9.3 percent of the population, have diabetes, with 1.7 million people aged 20 years or older diagnosed in 2012 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One in four people with the disease, in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high, doesn’t know he or she has it.
The condition requires daily maintenance – monitoring blood sugar levels, eating healthy and exercising are crucial. Managing your weight is a lot more serious than simply looking and feeling good. Watching your diet can be a matter of life and death.
“Diabetes is all about carbs,” Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, says.
“I tell patients to avoid everything that breaks down into sugar – carbs, milk, ice-cream, waffles,” Malkoff-Cohen says. “It’s not that you can’t have them at all, but you never want multiple sources or carbs at the same time.” So avoid having eggs, toast and potatoes for breakfast. Consumed together, they will raise your blood sugar tremendously.
No medical prescription can fix a bad diet. You have to start with small changes. For example, replace a bagel, which is surprisingly high in salt anyway, in the morning with an English muffin, which has just a quarter of the carbs. “You have to choose smart carbs,” she adds.
Diabetics should always eat protein before they consume any foods with carbs, or at least have them at the same time, Malkoff-Cohen says. One example is apples with peanut butter.