What is the perfect diet for diabetes? Well, like I always say it is individual to the person. However, when living with diabetes there two main diets that always pop up and have proven to make life managing diabetes that little bit easier. For instance, most doctors recommend a low glycaemic diet because the carbs are released at a slower pace in comparison to carbs with a higher glycaemic carbs. The other popular diet is a low carb diet – mainly recommended for blood sugar control, but not so much by doctors, more so by people living with diabetes.
What is HIGH / LOW GI?
High Glycaemic foods include white rice, cereals and sugary drinks.
Low Glycaemic foods include brown rice, oatmeal and sweet potato.
Low Carb Diet
A low carb diet involves reducing the amount of carbohydrates that you eat on a daily basis and replacing the missing carbs with extra fats and protein, although some people forget to do that and end up severely undereating.
Anyway, it’s obvious why low carb diets are great for diabetes control – to put it simply, there is less chance of hyperglycaemia if you are not eating a lot of carbs on a regular basis.
The low carb lifestyle can be very tough and can leave you feeling somewhat unhappy in other ways which is why I would never recommend it to my clients. I believe a healthy balance is the most effective and sustainable diet out there. Not cutting whole macronutrients sources from your diet.
Saying that, there are people who seem to get along well with the low carb lifestyle and I am happy for their adherence and control.
But, again, I am not one of those people. Ever since I was a kid I have enjoyed carbohydrates more than the other macronutrient sources; protein and fat. I didn’t eat much meat which is a very dominant food source in the protein department and I avoided fats, mainly because I thought they would make me fat; but that’s a story for another post. Anyway, the point is, diabetic or not I like carbs and I am willing to continue eating them providing I can stay healthy and strong. Which I am.
Things to Consider
If you are considering adjusting your diet for diabetes sake, you have to ask yourself what is going to keep you happy. You see, there is no point in having great diabetes control if the strategy you are using to meet that level of control is making you mentally ill; miserable, depressed and isolated without the foods you enjoy.
Ask yourself the following…
Can you see yourself making small changes each week, maybe switching from white potato to sweet potato? Swapping white bread to brown bread etc. If so, great – a low GI diet could work for you. If not, consider something else.
Low Carb / No Carb
Could you see yourself a year from now not eating any of the carbs you enjoy including fruit, vegetables, pasta, potatoes etc? If so, great. If not, don’t worry – try the above.
Overall, the diet for diabetes, as stated earlier, is going to be personal to you. If you do currently eat low GI food and struggle with diabetes control, think about the timing of your insulin and see how you get on with that before you go cold turkey on the carb front. Oh, and check out my carb counting tips to ensure you are calculating accurately.
Also, remember that diet does not always mean weight loss, it’s about lifestyle choice and should be seen as something that you can adhere to in the long term. Food is not the enemy, even if you are living with diabetes.
Take control of your health.