Diabetes: Blood Sugar Balancing Diet
If you’ve got any high blood sugar level results from the doctor, or if you feel ‘hangry’ when you miss a meal, you could need some support with balancing your blood sugars to avoid developing Type 2 Diabetes.
If you’ve got already got diabetes, it’s important to eat a healthy balanced diet, full of vegetables and healthy protein to reduce the risk of progression of complications. Here are some tips on a healthy balanced diet to improve blood sugar regulation:
Reduce refined carbohydrates. Bread, cakes, biscuits, white rice / pasta all trigger a large release of insulin. Simple carbohydrates like this have a high glycaemic load. The glycaemic index (GI) of a food tells you whether the carbohydrate in a food is fast releasing (burns quickly like a match) or slow releasing (more like a log on the fire). The glycaemic load tells you both the type and amount of carbohydrate in the food, and what that does to the release of insulin.
Eat foods with a low glycaemic load – this will reduce hunger and may help to control cravings for sugary foods. Low GL foods create a steady flow of insulin which keeps you feeling energised, rather than a big spike in insulin which can leave you with a post-sugary snack crash. Switching to foods with a lower glycaemic load can increase insulin sensitivity in some people, help with weight loss, lower blood lipids, and may reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
Increase water soluble fibre which will slow digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. This stops a rapid rises in blood sugar, which helps the sensitivity of tissues to insulin. Eat legumes, oat bran, nuts, seeds, Psyllium seed husks, pears, apples, and most vegetables.
Include protein – aim to get these from vegetable sources such as pulses, nuts and seeds, as well as some meat and fish.
Fats – Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, nuts, and nut oils can protect the cardiovascular system. The research on omega-3 fatty acids from fish in supplements is mixed, but eating oily fish regularly is recommended. Reduce saturated fats and trans fats.
Include antioxidants – especially Vitamins C and E. Too much glucose in the blood over a sustained period of time in diabetics is thought to trigger increased free radical damage throughout the body. This damage may increase without immediate symptoms. Including antioxidants may protect against this damage.
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