Written by: Diabetes Dietitian, Mary Ellen
November is Diabetes Awareness Month! Over 34 million Americans are living with some form of diabetes, and over 88 million Americans are living with prediabetes. So, whether you yourself have diabetes, or a loved one does, it’s safe to assume everyone is somehow impacted by diabetes.
There are many types of diabetes that develop for different reasons and that require different treatment strategies, but at the end of the day, all people with diabetes have the same end goal: to manage blood sugar levels.
For most people with diabetes, managing blood sugar levels involves:
- Making positive nutrition changes to their diet
- Moving their body regularly with exercise and activities they enjoy
- Managing stress levels
- Taking medications as prescribed by their healthcare team
As a registered dietitian, I teach people how to eat to manage blood sugar levels. And specifically, how to still eat all the foods they love while managing blood sugars. To do this, we focus on what we can add to the overall diet, rather than what we need to take away.
Anyone wanting or needing to manage blood sugar levels, should strive to have one or more of these three things on their plate every time they eat:
- Plant based fat
The human body takes longer to digest these three nutrients than it does sugar. So, when these things are included alongside lower amounts of sugar, people are less likely to experience blood sugar spikes. Food is absorbed and processed by the body slower, which means a less rapid rise in blood sugar.
We should always strive to get most of our nutrients from whole foods, but it can be helpful to have a protein powder or meal replacement option on hand when that isn’t possible.
When choosing a protein supplement, look for options that:
- Are lower in sugar (<5g/serving)
- Offer fiber as well
- Provide protein from multiple sources