Beat Diabetes With Healthy Food Choices

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A lot of people are developing diabetes nowadays because of unhealthy lifestyle, access to fast food chains, and lack of exercise. However, if we can prevent diabetes, then we can avoid its complications to the heart, eyes, kidneys and feet. 


A 10-year study conducted at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland showed the 5 best ways to prevent diabetes. Just focus on these five attributes:


1. Try to achieve your normal weight. 

2. Don’t smoke. People who didn’t develop diabetes were non-smokers or they had stopped smoking for at least 10 years already.

3. Be physically active. People who exercised regularly were more likely to have normal blood sugars. 

4. Avoid or limit alcohol intake. The more a person drinks, the more they are prone to engage in other unhealthy habits like eating too much, smoking and lack of exercise.

5. Choose healthy foods. According to the lead author of the study, Dr. Jared Reis, among all five factors, being overweight was linked most strongly to diabetes risk.

I have listed here some suggestions on making healthier food choices. If possible, choose the ones on the left and limit or avoid eating the ones on the right.


1. Carbohydrates: Although all carbohydrates make our blood sugar rise, there are so-called bad carbohydrates that make it rise quickly, while good carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly. Hence, whole wheat products and spaghetti are generally healthier than white rice and white bread. Diabetics also need to lessen their fat intake and should try to limit eating fried foods, fried rice, French fries and egg noodles. 


Choose These

Limit or Avoid These

Brown rice

White rice or Fried rice

Wheat bread

White bread

Baked potato

French fries


Egg noodles, mami, miqui


2. Protein and meat products: Choose lean meats, and remove visible fat from pork and beef. Try vegetable sources of protein like tofu and beans. Moreover, chicken and turkey have less fat compared to pork and beef. 


Choose These

Limit or Avoid These

Baked, broiled, grilled, or stewed meats

Fried meats

Lower-fat cuts of meat, such as tenderloin and sirloin

Higher-fat cuts of meat, such as ribs

Turkey bacon

Pork bacon

Low-fat cheeses

Regular cheeses

Skinless breast of chicken or turkey

Poultry with skin

Baked, broiled, steamed, or grilled fish

Fried fish

Tofu steamed, or cooked in little oil; Baked beans


3. Vegetables and fruits: Most vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of good carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Ideally, the average adult should consume two cups of vegetables and two cups of fruits per day. For diabetics, try to reduce your rice intake while increasing your vegetable intake. Just be careful with your choice of salad dressing, which could be loaded with fats and calories. 


Choose These

Limit or Avoid These

Fresh vegetables, lightly steamed, roasted, or grilled

Canned vegetables with lots of sodium.

Vegetables cooked with butter.

Fresh cucumbers, cabbage

Pickled vegetables (high in salt)

Vinaigrette dressing and light salad dressings

Regular mayonnaise and Thousand Island dressing

Fresh fruits in moderation

Canned fruits in heavy sugar syrup

Low-sugar jam or preserves

Regular jam, jelly, and preserves; Raisins


4. Drinks: This is the pitfall of many diabetics. Drinking too much coffee, sweet juices and sodas can contribute to weight gain. A glass of soft drinks may contain as much as 7 teaspoonfuls of sugar. It’s equivalent to eating half a cup of rice already. Plain water is still your best choice.


Choose These

Limit or Avoid These

Plain water or sparkling water

Regular sodas; Energy drinks

Unsweetened tea (add a slice of lemon)

Sweetened tea and iced tea

Coffee, black or with added low-fat milk and sugar substitute

Coffee with sugar and cream


5. Desserts and snacks: 


Choose These

Limit or Avoid These

Low-fat yogurt

Regular ice cream


Cakes with icing, pastries

Baked snacks, such as baked chips, puffed rice and corn snacks

Snacks fried in fat, such as pork rind (chicharon), potato chips, corn chips

Regular popcorn in moderation

Buttered popcorn


Therefore, if you want to lose weight, you may want to avoid eating desserts and junk foods altogether. There are, of course, some healthier desserts like yogurt and fresh fruits. 


Indeed, diabetes can be a deadly disease. It’s unfortunate that many diabetics have poor knowledge on which foods to choose and which foods to avoid. I hope this article will help everyone make healthier food choices. Remember, it’s within your power to prevent and control diabetes.


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