Helping people with diabetes balance carb intake

Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2019

For the more than 30 million Americans living with diabetes, every day is a constant routine of self-care to ward off dangerous complications of the disease.[1] That means monitoring glucose levels regularly, getting enough exercise, and most importantly, eating a healthy diet. A diabetes-friendly diet boosts longevity and quality of life while reducing the potential for complications including stroke, visual impairment, kidney disease, and heart disease.

One of the most important aspects of a diabetes-friendly diet – and perhaps the one that’s hardest to manage – is controlling carbohydrate consumption. Carbohydrates are essential for overall health, but they also directly affect blood glucose levels. [2]

Counting carbs helps people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels, but it’s harder than it sounds. Many foods -- including many healthy choices -- contain carbs including grains, fruits, dairy products, juices, snack foods, and some starchy vegetables.

Some people with diabetes also face other issues that get in the way of following a healthy diet including food insecurity and transportation problems. Personal and cultural food preferences are factors, too. After all, if a person doesn’t like the low-carb, diabetes-friendly food choices he’s offered, he won’t eat … which causes a host of other problems.

So, what can people with diabetes and those who support them do? The first step is building awareness about the importance of a low-carb diet and educating the individual on how to read food labels. Everyone should also know how many daily carbs they can have based on age, weight, diabetes medications, and activity level.

A good place to start is talking with a doctor about this topic, and working with a dietitian or diabetes educator on an individualized nutrition plan. These skilled professionals who work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, at clinics, and private practices, create customized education and nutrition plans to help diabetics self-manage their disease.

Many families, health plans, and providers are taking another approach to help loved ones and patients with diabetes get balanced nutrition: by using home delivered meal services that offer diabetes-friendly options. These meals contain fewer carbohydrates than traditional meals and offer specific labeling information about carbohydrates so consumers can make informed choices.

The idea is proven to work. A 2008 study reported a significant reduction in HbA1c levels and fasting blood glucose levels when individuals diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes received diabetes-friendly meals delivered to their home over a twelve-month period. [3]

Mom’s Meals offers diabetes-friendly menu choices that are based on standards from the American Diabetes Association. Mom’s Meals also has registered dietitians available to answer questions about nutrition and ingredients. And, with a wide variety of lower carb meals to choose from, recipients are sure to find something they like to eat.

Click here for more information. 

1. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html

2. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/eat-well/diabetes-and-carbohydrates.html

3. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jcbn/42/1/42_2008010/_article/-char/ja/

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