Nutrition for Diabetes Management Print

Listen to my podcast where I will discuss “What is diabetes and how can you manage it?”:

Type 1 diabetes, which occurs most often in children and adolescents, occurs when the body is unable to make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that ensures your body can deal with blood sugar properly.

By far the most common type of diabetes is Type 2 diabetes, in which the body does not make enough insulin or does not use the insulin properly. As a result, sugar builds up in the blood instead of being used by the body for energy.

If diabetes is not diagnosed or treated properly, it puts a tremendous amount of strain on the body and can cause serious complications, including heart disease, kidney failure, eye disease, erectile dysfunction and damage to the nervous system.

By managing a healthy weight, eating healthy foods and doing enough physical activity, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing diabetes and even delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

How do different foods impact blood sugars?

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the single most important component in your diet that determines your blood sugar level. A carbohydrate is simply a cluster of sugar units. When you consume foods that contain carbohydrates, such as breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits and sweets, these sugar clusters are broken down into individual sugar units during digestion and released into your blood.

This means that the more carbohydrate-containing foods you eat, the higher your blood sugar can get. However, this does not mean that you have to limit your intake of carbohydrates; you just need to be aware of the type and amount of carbohydrates you ingest at one time.

Fibre

Fibre does not raise blood sugar levels. High-fibre foods, such as whole grain breads, some cereals, legumes and many fruits and vegetables, help to slow the rise in blood sugar after a meal and thus are beneficial for blood sugar control. Fibre-rich foods also lower blood cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease and are useful for weight control since they contribute to you feeling full.

Fat

Fat is found in foods such as oils, butter, margarine, nuts and seeds as well as in meats, some milk products and some snack foods. Dietary fat does not raise blood sugar levels. But that doesn’t mean a high-fat diet would be appropriate for diabetes management and overall health. In fact, a high-fat diet can increase your cholesterol levels and raise your risk of heart disease, which is already higher if you have diabetes. Eating a high-fat diet often contributes to extra calories and might also make it more difficult to lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight.

Protein

Protein does not raise blood sugar levels. In fact, protein has an important role in blood sugar management. Protein-rich foods, such as meat, seafood, poultry, cheese, eggs, peanut butter and nuts, help to slow down the release of carbohydrate-rich foods into the blood stream, thereby preventing fast surges in blood sugar. Protein is also helpful in weight control since protein-rich foods are slow to digest and contribute to the feeling of fullness. 

Top 3 nutrition strategies for managing healthy blood sugars

1. Marry carbs and protein together

2. Eat every three to five hours

3. Get picky about portions

Consider the following serving-size suggestions:

  • Fruits and grains/starches, such as cereal, pasta, rice and potatoes: choose an amount up to the size of your fist at a single meal
  • Protein, such as meat, chicken and poultry: choose an amount up to the size of the palm of your hand and the thickness of your little finger at a single meal.
  • Vegetables: choose as much as you can hold in two hands.

About Andrea Holwegner

CEO, Registered Dietitian, Counseling Practice Director & Professional Speaker

Andrea the «Chocoholic Nutritionist» is founder and CEO of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. since 2000. She is an online nutrition course creator, professional speaker and regular guest in the media. Andrea is the recipient of an award by the Dietitians of Canada: The Speaking of Food & Healthy Living Award for Excellence in Consumer Education....Read more

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. Andrea and her team really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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