What Steps Can I Take to Prevent or Manage Diabetes Through Diet?

Blood glucose is primarily impacted by the carbohydrates in the foods and beverages consumed. Here are some steps to help prevent and manage diabetes through the diet.

  • As a first step, understand what carbohydrates are and where they are most commonly found.
  • Next, learn how to count carbohydrates. This entails counting the number of grams of carbohydrates in a meal and matching that to your dose of insulin.
  • More broadly, understand how to make sense of Nutrition Facts labels and make informed dietary decisions.
  • Strategize and execute your eating plans. This could mean looking up recipes with nutrition information needed to count carbohydrates, meal planning to help time your meals to keep blood sugars balanced, or seeking out smart substitutions to prevent blood glucose spikes, such as replacing sweetened foods and beverages with low- and no-sugar alternatives.
  • The inclusion of naturally high fiber or fiber-enriched foods in your diet could aid in the management of blood glucose levels, as they have been shown to slow the absorption of carbohydrates. As a result, the rise in post-meal glucose and insulin levels are minimized.
  • Take advantage of online tools such as CCC’s Food Calorie Calculator, which allows users to choose from thousands of foods and brands, and see nutrition facts including calories and carbohydrates.
  • Understand that there are more options than ever before for foods and beverages often labeled as “lite”, “reduced-calorie”, “reduced-sugar”, or “diet” that can help you minimize spikes in blood glucose levels. Those products are typically sweetened with low- or no-calorie sweeteners (LNCS). Learn more about utilize LNCS to manage diabetes here.

Hidden Calories — Spotting Them So You Can Avoid Them

April 8, 2019 — After filling their dinner plates with too much food, people are often quick to confess that their eyes were bigger than their stomach.  However, problems lie not only in our perception of portion sizes, but also in what our eyes don’t always see – hidden calories in foods and beverages. These are seemingly negligible bites and sips consumed throughout the day that can add up to hundreds of excess calories. Over time, hidden calories can add up to several pounds and have a serious impact on health. Here are some of the most common sources of hidden calories, many of which can be avoided or replaced with lower-calorie alternatives.

  • Gourmet Coffee Drinks – While that daily caramel latte is slowly emptying your wallet, it may also be slowly adding on to your waistline. Unless you request otherwise, coffee shop beverages are typically made with whole milk. In addition, people often forget to take into consideration the addition of flavored syrups – just one pump of flavored syrup packs approximately 20 calories and five grams of sugar! If you can’t fathom facing your work day without your daily coffee indulgence, opt for a smaller serving size, low- or no-fat milk, and ask for sugar-free syrups. You might even consider taking sweetening into your own hands by grabbing some packets of low-calorie sweeteners as you run out the door!
  • Snacks to “Hold You Over” – It’s 4 o’clock. You had a salad for lunch and your stomach feels empty, yet you still need to power through several more hours of work. We’ve all been there. The problem is, while those snacks you reach for to “hold you over” until dinner seem harmless, they can pack in as many calories as a small meal. Many protein bars contain more than 250 calories, and 4 ounces (i.e., handful) of trail mix adds about 260 calories. Thankfully, there are many convenient snacks that pack in the protein and fiber necessary to keep you going until your next meal, but don’t contain too many calories. Look for low calorie sweeteners on the label, for the sweet taste without the calories that come with sugar.
  • Smoothies – While some smoothies contain mostly fruit and water or juice, most include additional syrups or sweeteners. If you’re out, consider whether the large amount of liquid calories will actually keep you full and opt for a sugar-free drink or water to control your calorie intake. Better yet, if it’s specifically a smoothie you’re craving, try making one at home. Many of us own blenders, and it’s easy to purchase calorie-free sweeteners and syrups online and in some stores.
  • Sauces – When counting calories, people usually look at the core components of what is on their plates. They don’t usually take into consideration the hefty squeeze from the ketchup bottle on the table, or the extra side of barbecue sauce that takes grilled meats from good to great. It’s important to realize that these condiments contribute calories as well. At the same time, recognize that the key to maintaining a balanced diet isn’t just about controlling calories, it’s also about enjoying the foods you eat and how they make you feel. If you want to lay on your favorite sauce, go for it. Just look for ways to save calories elsewhere, such as low- or no-calorie beverages, smaller portion sizes or skipping dessert.