Are you living with diabetes? Then here is some good news: what you eat can make a world of difference in controlling blood sugar. Your diabetes care team may suggest a low-carb diet for you.
Don’t worry, because the news gets even better: on a low-carb diet, there is no need to feel deprived. You can have all of your favorite foods, from pasta to chocolate, because Netrition has keto-friendly versions of them all. Here is a guide to healthy, low-carb eating with diabetes.
Carbs, Blood Sugar, and Diabetes
When you eat foods with carbohydrates, your body turns the carbs into sugars called glucose. The glucose goes into your blood to raise blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. That sugar can go into cells and be used for energy. Extra glucose is stored as fat. Most cells in your body need insulin to get the sugar out of your blood and use it.
With diabetes, it’s harder for your body to use glucose. That means it can stay in your blood for longer, leading to high blood sugar. When you eat a lot of carbohydrates, you are more likely to have high blood sugar. That is why many experts suggest that people with diabetes eat a low-carb diet.
How Many Carbs?
There is no single definition of a “low-carb” diet. A moderately low-carb diet may get 30 to 40% of calories from carbohydrates. That might mean 100 to 200 grams of carbs daily for many people.
A very low-carb diet can be ketogenic. A keto diet may have 5 to 10% of calories from carbs, or 20 to 50 grams daily. That can be a dramatic reduction, but you can use low-carb foods from Netrition to help you keep carbs down while enjoying treats.
To decide on your healthy carb goal, ask your healthcare provider or a dietitian. You may need to modify your medications or exercise routine to account for your changes in carb intake.
Healthy Carbs, Fats, and Proteins
Regardless of how many grams of carbs, fats, and proteins are in your daily goal, the healthiest option is to choose high-nutrient ones. These are some examples.
Carbohydrates should be high in fiber and low in sugar and refined starches. Good choices include these.
- Non-starchy vegetables, such as carrots, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, and green beans.
- Whole-grains, such as whole-wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, popcorn, oatmeal, shredded wheat, and quinoa.
- Fruit, such as berries, apples, pears, and oranges
- Beans, split peas, and lentils
Proteins should be lean. Healthy choices include these.
- Fish, shrimp, skinless chicken, lean ground turkey
- Eggs and egg whites
- Cottage cheese and plain yogurt
- Low-fat cheese
Fats should be low in saturated fat. These are some examples.
- Nuts and seeds
- Peanut butter
- Olive oil and other vegetable oils
At any carb level, it’s best to limit certain high-calorie, low-nutrient foods that can spike blood sugar or interfere with insulin’s action. These are examples of foods to limit when you have diabetes.
- Fatty meats
- Processed meats, such as ham, sliced turkey, pepperoni, salami, bologna, hot dogs, sausages, and pastrami
- Shortening, butter, and cream
- Fast food
- Fried foods, such as french fries, onion rings, and doughnuts
- Processed snack foods, such as chips, pretzels, and crackers
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
It can feel challenging to reduce carbs, but there are tons of low-carb foods you can choose to substitute for your favorite high-carb foods. Netrition has a wide range of foods to help. These are some examples of keto-friendly foods at Netrition that can help you feel like you are eating a regular, high-carb diet.
- Keto-friendly granola, cereal, oatmeal, and pancakes
- Keto-friendly baking mixes for cakes, cookies, and bread
- Low-carb bread, bagels, pita, wraps, and tortillas
- Sugar-free candy and chocolate
- High-protein protein bars, potato chips, omelets, shakes, and pudding
Whatever you are craving, Netrition probably has a low-carb version of it.
Sample Healthy Low-Carb Meal Plan for Diabetes
If you are still wondering what to eat on a healthy low-carb meal plan for diabetes, here is an example of a day’s worth of food. You can talk to a healthcare provider about portion sizes, carb amounts, and adjustments to medications or exercise if necessary.
Protein Vegetable Omelet with Protein Pancakes
Protein and Fiber Bar in your favorite flavor
Tuna salad made with Avocado Mayo and diced vegetables, served in a High-Fiber Pita Pocket
Ranch Protein Potato Chips
Protein Pasta with Protein Cheese Sauce, spinach, and ½ cup of corn
Eating healthy with diabetes is critical for controlling blood sugar, but it’s not always that easy to cut carbs if you feel deprived. Netrition has low-carb swaps for almost any high-carb food you can think of, so it is easier to stick to a low-carb, healthy diabetes diet. Just talk to your doctor as you create your healthy low-carb meal plan for diabetes, and then enjoy the process of keeping blood sugar in check!