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Choosing Diet Plans for Diabetics

Irene | June 24th, 2012

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Choosing the right diet plans for diabetics is critical for successful management of the condition in those individuals who have been diagnosed with either diabetes or pre-diabetes. Thanks to doctors and nutrition experts, many of these diets are easier to manage and easy to sustain. Maintaining the right diabetic diet plan can help reverse diabetes completely, and in many cases, help individuals decrease their need for insulin, or enable them to go off insulin completely.

The best diabetic diet plans are built on a solid foundation

While a one-size fits all diet plan for diabetics does not exist, the “ABCs” are consistent among all patients: The ABS’s are;  A1c, blood pressure and cholesterol.

The A1c is the hemoglobin test that manages blood sugar over a three-month period.  Blood pressure levels and cholesterol levels are indicators of the overall health of a diabetic patient, and must be considered when developing proper diet plans for diabetics.

Daily menus for controlling diabetic diets place emphasis on a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Diabetics should eat 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day. According to WebMD, fiber improves blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Of the calories that make up the best diets for diabetics, 25 to 35 percent of calories should be from fat; 50-60 percent from carbohydrates; and 15-20 percent from protein. Less than 200 milligrams of cholesterol should be consumed in a day.

A good understanding of portion size and nutritional needs required each day will help maintain and promote weight loss; which in many cases can help reverse diabetes.

Other diabetic diet guidelines include:

  1. Abstaining from alcohol (high in sugar, low in nutritional value)
  2. Eating small meals/healthy snacks throughout the day
  3. Not skipping meals
  4. Avoiding sugar
  5. Checking blood sugar after eating

Diet plans for diabetics vary according to need

Dozens of diet plans for diabetics have been developed using the basic guidelines detailed above.

U.S. News Health recently ranked the 25 best diet plans for diabetics and others looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Vegetarian, vegan, and Mediterranean diets are all on the list. Lesser known diets also made the cut,including the Biggest Loser Diet, the DASH Diet and the Mayo Clinic Diet. All three diets combine healthy eating habits with realistic and varied exercise routines.

The ranking makes no mention of fad diets such as the Atkins diet, the HCG diet, the Abs diet or the South Beach diet. Programs that focus on high cholesterol foods such as Atkins or on extreme calorie restriction like HCG are not sustainable over time, nor are they a healthy way to manage diabetes or weight loss.

Physician recommended diet plans are best for diabetics

Diabetes is a serious condition that requires close medical supervision, weight management, and a good diet plan.  Physician directed weight loss programs, motivated in part by the widespread and increasing diagnosis of diabetes, are among the most effective diabetes diets for individuals.

The Center for Medical Weight Loss is one such group on the cutting edge of this emerging area of medicine.  With over 450 centers nationwide, “CMWL” is one of the largest networks of doctors specializing in physician assisted weight loss.  Using the basic principles of healthy diets outlined above, the doctors design customized weight loss plans based on the current health status and fitness level of an individual.

Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder of the Centers, believes that a simple diet plan executed under the guidance of a medical weight loss specialist may eliminate the need for continued medication and in some cases, may even reverse a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

To help determine which diet plan for diabetics is best for you, talk to a physician. To find out if there is a Center for Medical Weight Loss in your area, enter your zip code in the box above.  First time visitors may be eligible to receive special introductory offers.