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Eating Patterns and Meal Planning
Bernstein is critical of the standard American Diabetes Association diet plan. Do more with less. The more we learn about what fats do for us, the more we see that we need them. You became a type 2 diabetic over time, so change your diabetic meal plan in small ways, moving your diet toward what's best for diabetes health. Think healthy fats, such as peanut butter, ricotta cheese, yogurt, or nuts.

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What Can I Eat?

Our bodies need all three to function properly. The key is a balanced diet. As with any healthy eating program, a diabetic diet is more about your overall dietary pattern rather than obsessing over specific foods.

Aim to eat more natural, unprocessed food and less packaged and convenience foods. Carbohydrates have a big impact on your blood sugar levels—more so than fats and proteins—so you need to be smart about what types of carbs you eat. Limit refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and rice, as well as soda, candy, packaged meals, and snack foods. Focus on high-fiber complex carbohydrates—also known as slow-release carbs. They are digested more slowly, thus preventing your body from producing too much insulin.

High glycemic index GI foods spike your blood sugar rapidly, while low GI foods have the least effect on blood sugar. While the GI has long been promoted as a tool to help manage blood sugar, there are some notable drawbacks. If you have diabetes, you can still enjoy a small serving of your favorite dessert now and then. The key is moderation. Reduce your cravings for sweets by slowly reduce the sugar in your diet a little at a time to give your taste buds time to adjust.

Hold the bread or rice or pasta if you want dessert. Eating sweets at a meal adds extra carbohydrates so cut back on the other carb-heavy foods at the same meal. Add some healthy fat to your dessert. Think healthy fats, such as peanut butter, ricotta cheese, yogurt, or nuts.

Eat sweets with a meal, rather than as a stand-alone snack. When eaten on their own, sweets cause your blood sugar to spike. When you eat dessert, truly savor each bite. How many times have you mindlessly eaten your way through a bag of cookies or a huge piece of cake? Can you really say that you enjoyed each bite? Make your indulgence count by eating slowly and paying attention to the flavors and textures.

Reduce soft drinks, soda and juice. For each 12 oz. Try sparkling water with a twist of lemon or lime instead. Cut down on creamers and sweeteners you add to tea and coffee. Buy unsweetened iced tea, plain yogurt, or unflavored oatmeal, for example, and add sweetener or fruit yourself. Check labels and opt for low sugar products and use fresh or frozen ingredients instead of canned goods.

Be especially aware of the sugar content of cereals and sugary drinks. Avoid processed or packaged foods like canned soups, frozen dinners, or low-fat meals that often contain hidden sugar. Prepare more meals at home. You can boost sweetness with mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla extract instead of sugar.

Refined Carbs and Sugar: Find healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. Instead of ice cream, blend up frozen bananas for a creamy, frozen treat. Or enjoy a small chunk of dark chocolate, rather than a milk chocolate bar. Start with half of the dessert you normally eat, and replace the other half with fruit. And cocktails mixed with soda and juice can be loaded with sugar. Choose calorie-free mixers, drink only with food, and monitor your blood glucose as alcohol can interfere with diabetes medication and insulin.

Being smart about sweets is only part of the battle. Sugar is also hidden in many packaged foods, fast food meals, and grocery store staples such as bread, cereals, canned goods, pasta sauce, margarine, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, low-fat meals, and ketchup.

The first step is to spot hidden sugar on food labels, which can take some sleuthing:. Manufacturers are required to provide the total amount of sugar in a serving but do not have to spell out how much of this sugar has been added and how much is naturally in the food. The trick is deciphering which ingredients are added sugars. Aside from the obvious ones— sugar, honey, molasses —added sugar can appear as agave nectar, cane crystals, corn sweetener, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup , and more.

A wise approach is to avoid products that have any of these added sugars at or near the top of the list of ingredients—or ones that have several different types of sugar scattered throughout the list.

The trick is that each sweetener is listed separately. The contribution of each added sugar may be small enough that it shows up fourth, fifth, or even further down the list.

But add them up and you can get a surprising dose of added sugar. The most damaging fats are artificial trans fats, which make vegetable oils less likely to spoil. The healthiest fats are unsaturated fats, which come from fish and plant sources such as olive oil, nuts, and avocados. Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation and support brain and heart health. Good sources include salmon, tuna, and flaxseeds. Good, Bad, and the Power of Omega-3s. Two of the most helpful strategies involve following a regular eating schedule and recording what you eat.

Your body is better able to regulate blood sugar levels—and your weight—when you maintain a regular meal schedule. Aim for moderate and consistent portion sizes for each meal.

Start your day off with a good breakfast. It will provide energy as well as steady blood sugar levels. Eat regular small meals—up to 6 per day. Eating regularly will help you keep your portions in check. Having diabetes and kidney disease means you have to plan your meals carefully so that you follow the guidelines of your kidney diet while controlling your blood sugar.

Controlling blood sugar helps slow the progression of kidney disease and prevents further complications of diabetes. Because nutritional needs are highly individual, it's crucial to consult your doctor regarding how to best meet your specific needs.

If hemodialysis is part of your treatment, your doctor may recommend limiting electrolytes such as phosphorus, potassium and sodium. When planning your breakfasts, take the electrolyte restriction into consideration, along with guidelines for controlling blood sugar. You can still eat well with diabetes and kidney disease by choosing low potassium and low phosphorous foods, limiting your milk and dairy intake and avoiding simple sugars such as candies, sodas, sweet deserts, jam and honey.

Because you have kidney disease, you must limit some foods that are typically allowed on a meal plan for diabetes. Limit milk, cheese and other dairy foods typically eaten for breakfast, such as yogurt, which are rich in phosphorous to one 4-ounce serving.

You may need to avoid beans, dried fruit and refrigerated dough, such as biscuits and whole grains, since these are high in phosphorous. Limiting or avoiding high potassium fruit such as bananas and avocado can help you control your potassium intake.

Fruit is a common breakfast food. Fruits that are safe for renal patients include apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, grapefruit, peaches, plums, raspberries and tangerines. Since you have diabetes, eat fruit with some form of protein to help keep your blood sugar stable. Eggs, tofu, ground turkey, 98 percent lean ground beef and low-sodium turkey bacon offer good protein options.

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