Losing weight and beginning a regular exercise program can help bring your blood glucose (sugar) levels to within the normal range. However, this does not mean that your diabetes has been cured. Rather, you must maintain these lifestyle habits, including eating healthy foods, to keep your blood glucose in control and to minimize the chances of complications.
Diet and exercise alone may not be enough to maintain blood glucose levels within a normal range. You may need to take anti-diabetes medicines, including insulin, to control glucose levels.
Weight loss is the first step you can take to help lower your blood glucose level. As you lose weight, your body's cells will be more responsive to insulin. This can lead to improved blood glucose control.
The safest and most effective way to lose weight is by eating fewer calories, eating healthy food, and exercising regularly . You should strive for gradual and continual weight loss until you reach your ideal weight. If you are overweight, losing just 5%-10% of your body weight can make a difference in your blood glucose control.
The nutrition guidelines for managing diabetes can seem complicated. However, you will see that the guidelines are similar as those for general good health. A registered dietitian can help you develop healthy eating patterns that will work for you. Ask your doctor for a referral to a registered dietitian.
The basic eating guidelines for people with type 2 diabetes are:
Planning Meals and Snacks
Eat three meals per day, and do not skip meals. Each meal should be at about the same time each day and contain about the same amount of carbohydrate, protein, and fat as the same meal the day before. Your blood glucose rises and falls in response to your eating patterns. Therefore, by eating about the same amounts and types of food at the same times each day, you can more easily predict when your blood glucose level will rise.
Snacks are also important. Eat 2-3 snacks per day, and keep them with you at all times in case a meal is delayed. Just before bedtime, have a snack that contains both protein and starch. Eating at this time can help control the changes in blood glucose that may occur while you sleep.