Your diabetic diet plan can be simple and easy to follow. But that is not the problem for type 2 diabetics. It’s the years of bad habits that make a diabetic diet so hard. Worst of all, many of us grew up on foods that were not good for us.
Have you heard the term poor as church mice? That was us, seven children of a pastor who liked to start new churches. We were raised on white bread, powdered milk, Kool-Aid and cheap cereal.
That illustrates the problem. Today it is not finding a simple diabetic diet plan but making one that you can stay on for the rest of your life.
The changes may be drastic. That’s why it’s a good idea for a type 2 diabetic not to try to make them all at once.
Fast Weight Loss Diets
There is a simple trick to losing weight in a hurry. It’s not a diabetic diet plan, but it works. Here it is – take out a food group.
A lot of diets cut out most of the carbohydrate group. They eat almost no fruit or grains, and no starch, and that leads to quick weight loss.
More drastic diets go all the way to liquid protein and almost nothing else. Basically it is starvation, and I know from personal experience that you lose weight fast.
Other diets cut out fats, and you lose weight since fats are high in calories. Then there are low protein diets like vegan and vegetarian that cause weight loss too.
Do you see the trick? When you get rid of one of the three main food groups you will lose weight. The question you have to ask yourself, though, is can you do it for the rest of your life? Because that is what it will have to be.
Do you know how many people lose weight only to gain it back? Most of us. Your diabetic diet plan needs to be better than that.
What’s Wrong With Doing it Fast?
Absolutely nothing, if you need to lose weight for surgery or to save your life. But if you are in it for the long term, there are problems with eliminating food groups in a diabetic diet plan.
One is that the super fast weight loss ends when your body adjusts to the new diet. After a few months you will plateau. You might get discouraged and quit.
Second, carbohydrates are the group that has antioxidants. They are miracle workers for things like eye and nerve health, and they’ve been proven to reverse the damage done by peripheral neuropathy in type 2 diabetes.
Carbs are also known to help you stay out of the hunger zone longer, which is very important when you are trying to control calories. The glycemic index is a wonderful tool. It helps you understand how carbohydrates fit into a diabetic diet.
Your body needs protein. Proteins are the building blocks of muscles and the other structures. Vegans and vegetarians know they need to get protein somehow, and they work hard to make sure they get it.
You Need Some Fats
Fats are an easy target for weight loss diets. For years we were told that fats are evil, fats are bad for us, but nutritionists now say that this was shortsighted.
The more we learn about what fats do for us, the more we see that we need them. The fats in salmon and nuts and avocadoes are not only good but necessary for type 2 diabetic health.
Who is our Real Enemy?
Our enemy has always been processed foods. Ready-to-eat meals can destroy a type 2 diabetes diet in one calorie-packed, nutrient poor meal.
There are websites like CalorieKing that list free calorie counts for most fast-food restaurants, helping you decide what to eat.
Restaurants are not our enemy, though. There are ways to eat out and not blow a diabetic diet plan all to smithereens. Lots of restaurants have diabetic meals on the menu now.
But eating out may be a problem for you if you already know you will eat things you do not get at home. That is why I keep restaurant visits to a minimum while I change my eating habits.
Processed Foods Versus Whole Foods
What is it about processed foods that makes them bad for a type 2 diabetic? One problem is that processing takes out fiber and many other things that make whole foods nutritious.
There is also the liberal use of salt and sugar, and appetite enhancers designed to make you want more. That spells danger for those of us who struggle to diet.
Added ingredients in processed meals, like breading and hydrogenated oils, turn good diabetic food into high calorie, high glycemic food.
Label makers conceal calories and sugars, making label reading difficult. So it is good to know how to read diet food labels.
Processed food has little fiber to slow down the digestion of all that high glycemic food. The result? It hits your bloodstream fast, giving you blood sugar spikes.
Keep your Diabetic Diet Plan Simple
Here are some rules for keeping it simple:
- Do most of your shopping along the outside walls of the grocery store. This is where you find fresh vegetables and fruits, the good carbohydrates. Things with a short shelf life.
- Find a whole grain bread that you like. There is whole grain pasta too. Same calories but more fiber.
- Do not buy crackers and potato chips. They are empty calories that turn to glucose as fast as sugar.
- Instead, get good diabetic snacks (check out this page for ideas).
- Do not eat one large meal. Smaller, more frequent meals make a good diabetic diet. Using snacks will help even out your blood sugar levels.
- Use fiber and fats to slow down the digestion of the sweet things you want to keep on your diabetic diet plan.
The Secret to a Successful Diabetic Meal Plan
Do not try to change everything at once.
You became a type 2 diabetic over time, so change your diabetic meal plan in small ways, moving your diet toward what’s best for diabetes health. You will be more likely to stick with those changes.
Aesop said, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
Drastic changes will work for a little while, but it is small changes over time that will become a part of you. They make a difference in life and in a diabetic diet plan too.