May 7, 2015
Have Type 2 Diabetes – Stop Some “Good” Habits
Go ahead, laugh, but I am serious. You would be surprised how many people new to type 2 diabetes keep these habits.
Habit #1 Stop buying "sugar-free" foods. Grocery stores and supermarkets have shelf after shelf of packaged items that appear to be diabetes-friendly because they don't have added sugar. This does not mean that they are healthy for you, as many have carb-containing sugar substitutes and may send you blood glucose levels into the stratosphere. Always be skeptical and check the nutrition facts to see how many grams of carbs are in each serving before you consider putting it in the cart.
Habit #2 Stop swapping meals for meal replacement bars. Often it is wise to shed some weight to improve your health, but is relying on meal replacement bars the right way to go? Most meal replacement products are for athletes, which allow them to be high in carbohydrates. Some contain sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol and mannitol, which can cause stomach problems.
Having written the above, occasionally eating a bar for breakfast when you are pressed for time can be better than skipping breakfast. If you pay attention to the nutrition label, you may be okay, but it is still wiser to have a real breakfast.
Habit #3 Stop loading up on vitamins and supplements. Most people that have diabetes do not need extra vitamins and supplements. A food plan that includes fruit and vegetables should provide most of the nutrients you need. Taking a multivitamin may help fill in nutritional gaps. Two vitamins that should be tested for deficiency are Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. As you age, your body may have difficulty in making use of them in from the foods consumed.
Some people take supplements like cinnamon or chromium to try to keep their blood sugar levels stable, but it's unclear whether these work. These may work for a short period, but generally not in the long term. If you choose to try them, or any supplement, tell your doctor, to make sure it's safe for you, and won't interact with any medication you’re taking.
Habit #4 Stop drinking juice. Yes, it's made from fruit; but natural doesn't always equal healthy. One cup of apple juice, for example, has 25 grams of sugar and only 0.5 grams of fiber. An apple, on the other hand, has less sugar (19 grams) and more fiber (4.5 grams). Therefore, it will satisfy you longer and help stabilize your blood glucose. A study found that drinking juice every day increases the risk of developing diabetes, but regularly eating whole fruit lowers it.
Habit #5 Stop drinking diet soda. It may be calorie-free, carbohydrate-free, and sugar-free, but you can still overdo it. One study found that overweight people who rely on diet soda end up taking in more calories from food. Why? Diet-drink lovers may think they're "saving" calories on drinks and can afford to splurge on food. Another possible reason is that artificial sweeteners confuse your body because they taste sweet but don't provide calories. If you're craving a cola occasionally, it's fine to treat yourself. But you should usually fill your glass with water and other unsweetened beverages, like plain iced tea.
Habit #6 Stop avoiding all high-fat foods. I know that many doctors still preach the low-fat food plan, but research is showing that this is not bad and is actually good for us if we don't consume excessive amounts of fat. Of course, trans fats are still off the menu, but the other fats are good for us in moderation, even saturated fats.
You may also be surprised to learn that certain high-fat foods seem to have benefits for people with diabetes. Eating nuts in combination with higher-carbohydrate foods may help prevent blood sugar levels from rising too sharply. Other studies have shown that people who eat avocados are less likely to get metabolic syndrome (a cluster of symptoms that includes high glucose levels). Just remember to keep portion sizes small, because the carbohydrates can add up quickly.
Habit #7 Stop nibbling on 100-calorie snack packs. Many people open pack after pack because each one seems so tiny. They end up eating more than if they had started with a "regular" container. In one study, people who were given nine small bags of chips ended up eating almost twice as much those who were given two large bags. The biggest truth is being honest with yourself. If you have trouble eating more than one, please leave the box on the shelf.