The Type 2 diabetes diet is a diet plan that is based on not only controlling the amount of carbohydrates that are consumed at each meal, but also the type of carbohydrates that are taken in during the course of the day. Because carbohydrates are a source of energy, it is important to make sure that the individual takes in enough grams of carbohydrates to maintain a healthy mind and body. At the same time, the need for carbs must be balanced with the effect they have on blood sugar levels, and the complications that can ensue from increased sugar levels in the bloodstream.
When many people first learn they have diabetes, their first reaction is that they must eliminate carbohydrates from their diet completely. This is an unwise move, since carbs provide fuel for all the systems in the body, including the brain. A lack of essential carbohydrates can lead to fatigue, trouble sleeping, anxiety, depression, and a number of other unpleasant ailments. The aim of the Type 2 diabetes diet is to ensure that the daily carb intake is sufficient to avoid these types of problems, while still having a minimal impact on blood sugar levels in the two hour period after each meal.
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Not everyone is aware of the fact that there are simple as well as complex carbohydrates. This is an important piece of knowledge when it comes to following a Type 2 diabetes diet. The emphasis must be on complex carbohydrates that provide energy for the body over a longer period of time, and also are less likely to cause spikes in blood glucose levels that last for extended periods. Often, the recommendation is to minimize the consumption of simple carbs and focus on foods that contain complex carbohydrates.
With a Type 2 diabetes diet, the individual will tend to avoid bleached bread products, and go with whole grain breads instead. While both contain carbohydrates, the carbs in whole grains tend to create less of a spike in blood sugar levels over the course of the day. Whole wheat and oatmeal breads are often recommended for consumption in moderation with this type of diet plan. A good rule of thumb is the darker the bread, the better chances that it has the right kind of carbs to fuel the cells while causing less distress to the blood sugar.
Other good sources of carbohydrates include beans such as soybeans, black eyed peas, chickpeas, and pinto beans. Brown rice and potatoes can be enjoyed in moderation, with careful attention to portion size. To round out the meals, the use of green leafy vegetables, raw or cooked, is often recommended. Vegetables like kale, collard greens, turnip greens, and mustard greens help to provide nutrients that are essential for good health, are filling, and contain little to no carbohydrates at all.
When choosing meats for a Type 2 diabetes diet, it is important to choose lean meats that have low cholesterol levels. One of the challenges for anyone with Type 2 diabetes is the fact that many foods that are low in carbs are high in cholesterol. This can lead to additional health issues, including heart problems. Going with lean meats or using soy substitutes for meat can go along way toward managing diabetes with diet while still avoiding a high reading of bad cholesterol.
It is important to note that people with Type 2 diabetes can occasionally have a treat that contains simple carbs, like a piece of cake or a bowl of ice cream. The portions must be small, and the consumption of these foods can only take place infrequently, not several times a week. Still, a true Type 2 diabetes diet does not have to be bland or limited. With proper attention, it is possible to enjoy a wide range of foods, keep carbohydrate intake within reason, and live a healthy life.