Myth: You must avoid sugar at all costs.
Fact: You can enjoy your favorite treats as long as you plan properly and limit hidden sugars. Dessert doesn’t have to be off limits, as long as it’s a part of a healthy meal plan.
Myth: You have to cut way down on carbs.
Fact: The type of carbohydrates you eat as well as serving size is key. Focus on whole grain carbs instead of starchy carbs since they’re high in fiber and digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels more even.
Myth: You’ll need special diabetic meals.
Fact: The principles of healthy eating are the same—whether or not you’re diabetic. Expensive diabetic foods generally offer no special benefit.
Myth: A high-protein diet is best.
Fact: Studies have shown that eating too much protein, especially animal protein, may actually cause insulin resistance, a key factor in diabetes. A healthy diet includes protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Our bodies need all three to function properly. The key is a balanced diet.
As with any healthy eating program, a diabetic diet is more about your overall dietary pattern rather than obsessing over specific foods. Aim to eat more natural, unprocessed food and less packaged and convenience foods.
- Healthy fats from nuts, olive oil, fish oils, flax seeds, or avocados.
- Fruits and vegetables—ideally fresh, the more colorful the better; whole fruit rather than juices.
- High-fiber cereals and breads made from whole grains.
- Fish and shellfish, organic chicken or turkey.
- High-quality protein such as eggs, beans, low-fat dairy, and unsweetened yogurt.
- Packaged and fast foods, especially those high in sugar, baked goods, sweets, chips, desserts.
- White bread, sugary cereals, refined pastas or rice.
- Processed meat and red meat.
- Low-fat products that have replaced fat with added sugar, such as fat-free yogurt.