So you’ve been to the doctor and they have told you that you have type 2 diabetes. Does this mean that your days of enjoying good food has come to an end? Does this mean you have to quit sugar forever?
You may be surprised to hear that in fact, you can enjoy a healthy, varied, and delicious diet and continue to eat many of your favourite foods. There are however a few lifestyle changes that you can make that will help you slow down the progression of your diabetes, and keep your blood sugar levels in a good range.
Choose good carbs, and in sensible portions.
It’s not just sweet foods that put sugar in your blood. Carbohydrates all break down into sugar once digested, but there are some carbohydrates that take longer to break down and be absorbed. That’s a good thing in terms of your blood sugar levels.
You can think of these as “slow release” carbohydrates, that give you hours worth of energy without sending your blood sugar levels skyrocketing. Otherwise known as low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates, these are generally healthier as well.
Think whole grains, low-fat no added sugar dairy products, lentils, fresh fruit and starchy vegetables. Keep the carbs to about a quarter of your plate at a meal and you are on the right track.
Avoid added sugar
In terms of diabetes, sugar is sugar. Whether it’s natural or not. It has the same effect on your blood sugar levels. So limit the sweet stuff as much as possible, read labels to make sure foods aren’t high in sugar, and try and stick to whole foods when you can.
Move more, and regularly.
Regular exercise, of any kind, will help bring down your blood sugar levels and increase your insulin sensitivity. That means your body processes sugar more efficiently. Exercise is also helpful in reducing abdominal fat stores, which helps lower diabetes risk.