Following a healthy diet can work with your medications to help manage your blood sugar levels.
Planning what you are going to eat in advance can help you prevent overeating, and also helps you know how much medication you will need to take.
Learn more about meal planning from Diabetes Canada
Carbohydrates are the part of food that increases your blood sugar levels. Carbohydrate counting is a method of planning what you are going to eat. It is done by estimating the amount of carbohydrates you are going to eat in grams or servings. 1 serving of carbohydrate = 15 grams of carbohydrate. This method can help you match your medications to what you are eating. A registered dietitian can help you learn how to carb count.
Learn more about carbohydrate counting from Diabetes Canada
Fibre is a part of plant foods that our bodies cannot digest. There are two different types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre forms a gel as it moves through your body, this helps remove cholesterol and can help you manage your blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fibre is found in oats and fruit. Insoluble fibre slows down your digestion and makes you feel full for longer. This helps manage your blood sugar levels by slowing down the sugar being absorbed into your blood. Insoluble fibre is found in whole grains and vegetables.
Reading Nutrition Labels
The nutrition facts table is easy to find and read, and is found on most foods. Remember the information in this table is based on a specific amount of food. The information in this table can help you in choosing healthier options and managing your blood sugar levels.
Healthy eating helps you control your blood sugar and maintain a healthy body weight. Eating a healthy balanced diet and leading an active lifestyle will help you feel better and manage your diabetes. Guidelines for healthy eating are the same for all Canadians. You can still enjoy all of your favourite foods. All food is made of three main nutrients, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. All are needed to keep your body healthy. Carbohydrates will affect your blood sugars the most. It is important to still eat carbohydrates to keep your brain and muscles alive and healthy.
Learn more about the benefits of weight management
There are many sweeteners available that will not increase your blood sugar levels. Aspartame, saccharin, sucralose and stevia are all examples of these artificial sweeteners. Cyclamate is currently the only available sweetener that should be avoided if you are pregnant.
Learn more about artificial sweeteners from Diabetes Canada
The glycemic index describes how fast the sugar in a food will be absorbed into your blood stream and how much it will change your blood sugar levels. Try to choose foods with a lower glycemic index more often.
Learn more about the glycemic index
Alcohol & Diabetes
As a general rule, there is no need to avoid alcohol because you have diabetes. If your diabetes is well controlled, you have no other health problems that can be worsened by alcohol, and you know how to treat low blood sugars, it should be ok for you to drink alcohol in moderation.
Moderation means consuming no more that 1 standard drink per day if you are a woman, and no more than 2 standard drinks per day if you are a man. These recommendations are the same for people without diabetes.
One Standard Drink = 12oz. beer, 5oz. wine, or 1.5oz. 40% alcohol spirits.
If you take insulin or insulin secretagogues (ex. GlucoNorm) drinking alcohol can increase your risk of experiencing low blood sugars.
Learn more about how alcohol can affect your diabetes
Being physically active has many benefits in managing diabetes including weight loss and improved insulin resistance.
Learn more about the benefits of physical activity
Aerobic exercise is continuous activity such as biking, walking, or running. It causes your heart rate and breathing rate to increase. You should aim for 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week. This may be done in as little as 5 to 10 minutes at a time as you gradually build up your endurance.
Learn more about aerobic activity
Resistance exercise involves making repetitive movements with weights, resistance bands, or your own body. If you are able, try to include resistance exercise 2-3 times per week on top of your aerobic activities.
Learn more about resistance exercise