The American Diabetes Association, ADA, recommends that people who need to monitor their blood sugar focus on the nutrient density of the food. Nutrient density identifies foods that, calorie for calorie, provide an excellent array of nutrients. When looking at a food label, the ADA has these tips:
- Be mindful of total calories. Watching your weight is one of the most important things you can do to prevent and/or manage Diabetes.
- Track fat grams for the day. Limit your fat intake, especially Trans fats and saturated fats. Know how many grams you need per day and stick to it.
- Think about total carbohydrates. Rather than focusing just on sugar levels, think total carbohydrates. Even if a food says it’s “sugar free,” that doesn’t guarantee it’s carbohydrate or calorie free. If you’re counting your carbohydrate grams as a recommendation by your dietitian or physician, a good place to start is 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal. But this can vary depending on many factors such as your medicines, exercise level and body composition.
- Fiber is key. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend getting at least 25 grams of fiber per day for all of us! Consuming a diet high in fiber will reduce the risk of Diabetes, and it also aids with weight management because foods high in fiber make you feel fuller longer. Look for foods that have at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.