There is a lot of information for diabetics out there, about healthy foods for diabetics but not a lot of it explains healthy fats for diabetics. What foods to avoid with diabetes, but not what fats. Eating saturated fats increases your risk of heart disease and that is a problem for diabetics because they are more risk of heart disease than the rest of the population. Unfortunately that doesn’t tell the whole story some saturated fats are healthy.
Harmful and healthy fats for diabetics.
Fats can be either helpful or harmful in your diet. People with diabetes are at higher risk for heart disease, so it is even more important to be smart about fats. Some fats are unhealthy and others have enormous health benefits. But all fats are high in calories, so you should always watch your portion sizes.
Unhealthy fats – The two most damaging fats are saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats are found mainly in animal products such as red meat and whole milk dairy products. Trans fats, also called partially hydrogenated oils, are created by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid and less likely to spoil—which is very good for food manufacturers, and very bad for you.
Healthy fats – The best fats are unsaturated fats, which come from plant and fish sources and are liquid at room temperature. Primary sources include olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and avocados. Also focus on omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation and support brain and heart health. Good sources include salmon, tuna, and flaxseeds.
Ways to reduce unhealthy fats and add healthy fats:
Cook with olive oil instead of butter or vegetable oil.
Trim any visible fat off of meat before cooking and remove the skin before cooking chicken and turkey.
Instead of chips or crackers, try snacking on nuts or seeds. Add them to your morning cereal or have a little handful for a filling snack. Nut butters are also very satisfying and full of healthy fats.
Instead of frying, choose to grill, broil, bake, or stir-fry.
Serve fish 2 or 3 times week instead of red meat.
Add avocado to your sandwiches instead of cheese. This will keep the creamy texture, but improve the health factor.
When baking, use canola oil or applesauce instead of shortening or butter.
Rather than using heavy cream, make your soups creamy by adding low-fat milk thickened with flour, pureed potatoes, or reduced-fat sour cream.
Diabetes and diet tip 4: Eat regularly and keep a food diary
If you’re overweight, you may be encouraged to note that you only have to lose 7% of your body weight to cut your risk of diabetes in half. And you don’t have to obsessively count calories or starve yourself to do it. Research shows that the two most helpful strategies involve following a regular eating schedule and recording what you eat.
Eat at regularly set times
Your body is better able to regulate blood sugar levels—and your weight—when you maintain a regular meal schedule. Aim for moderate and consistent portion sizes for each meal or snack.
Don’t skip breakfast. Start your day off with a good breakfast. Eating breakfast every day will help you have energy as well as steady blood sugar levels.
Eat regular small meals—up to 6 per day. People tend to eat larger portions when they are overly hungry, so eating regularly will help you keep your portions in check.
Keep calorie intake the same. Regulating the amount of calories you eat on a day-to-day basis has an impact on the regularity of your blood sugar levels. Try to eat roughly the same amount of calories every day, rather than overeating one day or at one meal, and then skimping on the next.
Keep a food diary
People who keep a food diary are more likely to lose weight and keep it off. In fact, a recent study found that people who kept a food diary lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t.
Why does writing down what you eat and drink help you drop pounds? For one, it helps you identify problem areas—such as your afternoon snack or your morning latte—where you’re getting a lot more calories than you realized. It also increases your awareness of what, why, and how much you’re eating, which helps you cut back on mindless snacking and emotional eating.
What about exercise?
Exercise can help your weight loss efforts and is especially important in maintaining weight loss. There is also evidence that regular exercise can improve your insulin sensitivity even if you don’t lose weight.
You don’t have to become a gym rat or adopt a grueling fitness regimen. One of the easiest ways is to start walking for 30 minutes five or more times a week. You can also try swimming, biking, or any other moderate-intensity activities—meaning you work up a light sweat and start to breathe harder. Even house and yard work counts.
More help for diabetes
Healthy Weight Loss
Learn how to lose weight and keep it off. If your last diet attempt wasn’t a success, or life events have caused you to gain weight, don’t be discouraged. The key is to find a plan that works with your body’s individual needs so that you can avoid common diet pitfalls and find long-term, weight loss success. Read: Healthy Weight Loss and Dieting Tips
Weight Problems and Obesity in Children: Helping Your Child Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Easy Ways to Start Exercising: Making Exercise a Fun Part of Your Everyday Life
Emotional Eating: How to Recognize and Stop Emotional Eating
Healthy Fast Food: Tips for Making Healthier Fast Food Choices
Are You at Risk for Diabetes? – Who Gets Diabetes and How to Manage It
Resources and references
Eating right for diabetes
Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes – Easy-to-understand overview of what diabetes is and how you can control and prevent it through exercise and healthy eating. (Harvard School of Public Health)
The Truth About the So-Called “Diabetes Diet” – Learn the facts about eating for diabetes. For example, it’s okay to substitute sugar-containing food for other carbs as part of a balanced meal plan. (Joslin Diabetes Center)
Diabetes Myths – Get the facts about diabetes, including the truth about common diabetes diet myths. (American Diabetes Association)
Diabetes nutrition: Including sweets in your meal plan – What you should know about sugar, how to include it in your diet and information on alternatives. (Mayo Clinic)
Sugar and Desserts – Good information on sugar and including it in your diet (American Diabetes Association)
Added Sugar in the Diet – How added sugar is hidden in processed and prepared foods. (Harvard School of Public Health)
Understanding Carbohydrates – Covers the three main types of carbs: sugars, starches, and fiber. Includes information on making smart carb choices. (American Diabetes Association)
Carbohydrates and Diabetes – Explore a collection of simple tips on managing your consumption of carbohydrates. (UCSF Medical Center).
Fruits – Many people mistakenly assume that fruits aren’t a part of a diabetes-friendly diet. But fruits, like vegetables, are loaded with nutrients and fiber. Learn how to include them in your diabetes diet. (American Diabetes Association)
Fat and Diabetes – Information on the different kinds of fats, as well as what foods they are in. (American Diabetes Association)
Diabetes and weight loss
Keep an Eye on Portion Size – Information on the difference between serving size and portion size, plus a downloadable PDF of a Serving Size Card. (Department of Health & Human Services)
Diabetes and exercise
What I need to know about Physical Activity and Diabetes – Planning and activity tips for exercising with diabetes. (National Institutes of Health)