Finding out you have been diagnosed with diabetes can be very overwhelming. There are so many misperceptions that people have that make it difficult to accept the diagnosis. One of the biggest and most challenging changes for people is diet. Below are several myths associated with the diet.
1. People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate!
It is pretty common for women to confess their love of chocolate to me in hopes that I won’t tell them they have to stop eating it. I am a firm believer that you don’t have to cut this out completely, but you may need to scale back a little. If you make sure to eat a healthy well balanced diet, you can always make room for something sweet. You can find ways to fit chocolate into your daily carbohydrate allowance. For instance six Hershey kisses have 16 grams of carbohydrate, or three Dove miniature chocolates have 15 grams of carbohydrate. This is the equivalent to one medium apple, or one slice of bread.
2. Fruit is a healthy food. I can eat as much as I want!
It is a fact that fruit contains a lot of good nutrition in the form of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It also contains carbohydrates that will affect your blood sugar level as well so you need to make sure to also budget this into your allotted carbohydrate intake at meals and snacks. One small/medium fruit, ½ cup of canned fruit in natural juice, or one cup of melons or berries contains 15 grams of carbohydrate.
3. It’s sugar-free, I can eat as much as I want, right?
I’m sorry to say the answer to this is no. Sugar-free does not always mean “carb-free.” For instance, sugar-free ice cream may be sweetened with a sugar substitute, but its main ingredient is milk and milk is a carbohydrate. Another example is sugar-free cookies. Most cookies contain flour and flour is a carbohydrate.
I recommend comparing the labels of products to see the difference in carbohydrates from the sugar-free product versus the regular version of the product. This will help you make a more sound decision. Another thing to beware of with several sugar-free or diet products is “sugar alcohols.”
Some forms of sugar alcohols are: sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol and xyolitol. If eaten in excess they can cause symptoms of gas, bloating and diarrhea. Therefore, it is recommended to eat foods containing sugar alcohols in moderation.
4. I can no longer eat bread, potatoes, pasta, or rice!
Wrong! While it is true that bread potatoes, pasta, and rice all contain carbohydrates your body still needs nutrition from these foods. A healthy diet includes bread, cereal, pasta, rice, beans, fruit, vegetables and milk; all of which contain carbohydrates. Yes it is true that foods containing carbohydrates will make your blood sugar increase, but also know that your body uses carbohydrates as fuel.
The goal is to eat carbohydrate foods in moderation. So instead of eating a large plate of spaghetti with two slices of garlic bread, eat a small plate of spaghetti with a salad, and maybe one slice of garlic bread.
5. You must avoid all “white” foods like white bread, white rice, or white pasta!
“White” foods contain carbohydrates, as do whole grain foods. It is true that whole grain products are healthier because they provide you with more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than refined foods. Whole grain foods are the optimal choice because of this. Keep in mind there are still carbohydrates in whole grains as there are in refined grains or some “white” foods, so you will need to monitor your intake no matter what form your grain is consumed in.
Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels, while people with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. So, not only does fiber help control blood glucose, but it also helps reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating 14 grams (g) of fiber for every 1000 calories consumed, or about 21-25 g/day for women. Eating a wide variety of high-fiber foods — whole grains, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables — will help ensure that you get an adequate supply of all types of fiber.
For more help with planning meals: www.rd411.com/diabetes_center/article.php?ID=65pat
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