Managing diabetes requires many different tools working together, which can include exercise, medications and diet. So is there such a thing as a diabetes diet? Experts at Sunnybrook’s latest Speaker Series — Navigating the Diabetes Maze — discussed some important information on food and its impact on diabetes.
While there is no such thing as a “diabetes diet”, healthy food options play an important role in both preventing and managing diabetes. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a way of evaluating the effect a carbohydrate food has on blood sugar levels, and can be useful in determining healthier food choices.
Experts recommend choosing low GI foods as often as possible, as they have been associated with a number of health benefits. Those include a higher fibre content, improved heart health, improvements in weight management and a slower rise in blood sugar levels. Some examples of low GI foods are legumes, low-fat dairy products, oats, wholegrain bread and many fruits and vegetables.
It can also be helpful to pair a high GI food with a low GI food. For example, eat cold cereal with almonds, or fruit and nuts together. Avoiding processed foods as often as possible will avoid the pitfalls of salt, fat and empty calories.
At the Sunnybrook Diabetes Education Centre (SUNDEC), coaches are available to help patients with diabetes reach their nutrition goals. They look at what, when and how much you are eating and help determine an individualized plan that works for each patient. If you are interested, call 416-480-4805.