More than 25 million Americans are estimated to have diabetes; 95% of those with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is typically related to weight and lifestyle, and can often be well-managed – if not reversed – with diet and exercise. Today we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on do’s and don’ts when it comes to better blood sugar control and diabetes.
NOTE: It’s important for people with diabetes to work closely with their healthcare team (including MD, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator) to develop a plan that works with their lifestyle.
Molly’s team of Ochsner Fitness Center registered dietitians now accepts insurance, which generally covers diabetes. For information please contact Rebecca Miller, 504.842.9551, ReMiller@ochsner.org
#1 GO LOWER-CARB
Molly’s approach with type 2 diabetes: a lower-carb meal plan, often not more than 15-20 grams of carb at meals and snacks (varies with individual size, appetite and activity level), with emphasis on lean proteins, non-starchy vegetables and plant-based fats.
It used to be thought that sugar was the main culprit in spiking blood-sugar levels. Now we know that all types of carbs raise blood-sugar levels, whether it’s sugary sweet or a whole grain.
Carb-rich foods include rice, pasta, potatoes, beans, cereals and breads (the whole grain and the white versions), as well as fresh fruits, fruit juice, milk and most types of yogurt, and most snack foods, including chips, cookies, and sweets.
- CALCULATING NET CARBS: To determine carb content, subtract the grams of dietary fiber and/or sugar alcohol from total carbohydrate content of that food. For example, if a protein bar has 20 grams carbohydrate with 3 grams fiber and 8 grams sugar alcohol, the net carbs are 9 grams.
#2 SPACE PROTEIN-RICH MEALS & SNACKS THROUGH THE DAY
Aim for small meals and snacks every three to four hours so that the body isn’t required to produce such large loads of insulin at one time.
#3 EXERCISE TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT – AND BETTER INSULIN CONTROL
Losing excess weight – even just 10 to 15 pounds — can lead to better blood-sugar control.
3 SUPPLEMENTS TO MANAGE BLOOD SUGAR, NATURALLY
To prevent blood sugars from dropping too low when incorporating supplements, incorporate just one product at a time, checking fasting blood-sugar levels for five to 10 days before making any further changes. This allows time to make any necessary adjustments to medication dosages before adding another supplement.
Also, supplements can interact with certain medications and lab tests, so always check with your physician and pharmacist before beginning any supplement program.
- Alpha lipoic acid| can improve insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes; might reduce symptoms of diabetic neuropathy (burning, pain, numbness and prickling of the feet and legs). Studies have used 600 to 1800 mg daily.
- Chromium picolinate| decrease fasting blood sugar and insulin levels, and help improve insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. Studies have used 200 to 1000 mcg daily, in divided doses.
- Psyllium| reduce post-meal circulating levels of blood sugar and insulin. Studies have used 15 grams daily, divided into three doses, with meals.
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