How Often Should I Eat?
Q: How often should a person with type 2 diabetes eat? A: Everyone needs to eat about every four to six hours during the day to keep energy levels up. People with type 2 diabetes usually have better blood glucose control if their meals and carbohydrates are spaced evenly throughout the day. Too many carbohydrates at any one time can raise blood glucose too high, even if you take diabetes medicine. Many people tend to skip breakfast, eat a light lunch, and then eat too much in the evening. A person with diabetes should attempt to eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal. Breakfast is especially important if you need to control your weight. It helps to jump-start your metabolism and makes you less likely to overeat later. If you are unusually active or on fixed doses of medication, you may need a snack. Monitoring your blood glucose will help you to decide that with your medical team. Sometimes diabetes medication can be adjusted so you do not need snacks if you are concerned about your weight. Connie Crawley, M.S., R.D., L.D., is a nutrition and health specialist for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service and a registered dietitian Continue reading >>
Does Timing Of Food Matter With Diabetes?
Eating certainly affects glucose control. But does the timing of your food intake really matter, as long as you take your medications when you’re supposed to? What about European cultures who favor a larger midday meal? What time of the day should you eat for optimal glycemic control? Glycemic Control Certainly, regularly scheduled meals and snacks are best for glycemic control. This is a long well-known principle. Standard of care recommendations are three meals, 4-5 hours apart, same or similar times of the day every day. Setting your meal times and medication times on a regular schedule will result in improved glucose control throughout the day, and over time, evidenced by improved HbA1c values and improved insulin sensitivity. A sample daily meal schedule would be: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. breakfast + 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. lunch + 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. dinner. Regular recommendations are 60 grams of carbohydrate at each of these meals, but that should be individualized by working with a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). Individuals on long-acting insulin will need a bedtime snack including 15-30 grams of carbohydrate to avoid nighttime hypoglycemia. This can be tricky for people working a night shift, or other lifestyle issues affecting a ‘typical’ schedule. Again, work with an RD or CDE to determine what can work for you. Hunger & Satiety Eating on a regular schedule, with small frequent mini-meals keeps you satisfied. Skipping meals in order to lose weight eventually ends up with overeating at the next meal. Eating the traditional three larger meals each day may lead to hungry spells in between. Hunger scores were significantly improved in human subjects fed a larger morning meal compare to those fed a larger evening meal. A Continue reading >>
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Morning To Night Diabetes Management
Good diabetes management depends on following a routine that runs throughout your day — from the time you get up until your head hits the pillow again at night. That's because blood sugar levels are in constant flux during the day. They rise after meals and taper off during physical activity. The key to successfully managing type 2 diabetes and its symptoms is to keep your blood sugar levels as stable as possible. That's where a routine comes into play. Here are diabetes management tips to help cover every part of your day: In the Morning Check your blood sugar. If you have type 2 diabetes, you should check your blood sugar level every morning before you eat anything, says Marjorie Cypress, CDE, president of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association. This gives you a good baseline idea where you stand and allows you to make adjustments throughout the day. Eat breakfast. If you skip breakfast, you're already starting your day on the wrong foot. "Many people tend to skip breakfast, and it's one of the most important meals of the day," Cypress says. "You skip breakfast and you get hungrier and hungrier, and that's one of the reasons people tend to overeat later in the day." Eating regular meals will help keep your blood sugar levels steady, but skipping meals and then binging will cause spikes. Give your feet a once-over. Diabetes can cause your feet to lose feeling because of nerve damage. In extreme cases, a person with diabetes can end up having to have a foot amputated if an unnoticed cut becomes severely infected. Check your feet for any sores or cuts each morning. Also check your shoes before putting them on to make sure there's nothing in your shoe that could cause a sore. You might want to check your feet at bedtime, too. In the Afternoon Tak Continue reading >>
How Often Must Diabetics Eat?
I am not a big fan of eat small more often. I believe that intermittent fasting can help regulate insulin production better and keep your blood sugar levels in control. Conventional anti-diabetic treatment (more management, than treatment) regimes advise the patients to eat many small meals throughout the day so that the blood sugar lowering drugs can work since they get a constant supply of carbs. I believe that if you eat 3 large (comparatively) in a day, your body will be trained to use up reserve stores of fats when it wants energy. This is beneficial in the long run. Continue reading >>
How Many Times A Day Should A Diabetic Eat?
Controlling blood sugar levels is the most important task in managing diabetes effectively. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause serious complications, including heart disease, organ failure or stroke. Eating the proper foods with the correct frequency is important in improving blood sugar levels. Video of the Day Diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than they should be. This occurs because either your pancreas does not secrete enough insulin to allow blood sugar to enter into cells and tissues or the cells and tissues are resistant to the effects of insulin. To manage this biochemical process, you can control the amount of sugar in your blood, which puts less strain on your pancreas and body to regulate blood sugar levels. How Food Affects Blood Sugar Many variables in your diet affect how high your blood sugar will be after a meal. You must choose foods with a low glycemic index, which is a measurement of how fast your blood sugar will rise after a meal. Furthermore, eating small portions of high-fiber, low-calorie and low-fat foods will help avoid serious complications. Strive to eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats and low-fat dairy products to improve your blood sugar control. Frequency of Eating Eat smaller portions up to six times per day to control your blood sugars, states SmallStep.gov. To begin, you can try using a smaller, saucer-sized plate to learn how to reduce your portion sizes. Although the foods you may eat per meal may have a different calorie content, you will take in fewer calories per meal than if you are eating on a full plate. For example, a smaller plate of pasta will have fewer calories than a larger plate. Medline Plus further recommends eating your meals at the same times Continue reading >>
Attention, Diabetics! This Is How Many Meals You Should Eat Every Day (hint: It’s Not 3)
Soloviova Liudmyla/Shutterstock You’ve been told all your life to eat three square meals a day. Well, if you have diabetes, it might be time to rethink your food schedule. (And if you don’t, watch out for these 12 silent signs of diabetes.) For 12 weeks, 47 obese adults with either pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes ate either three or six meals a day (presumably without these 9 worst food mistakes diabetics make). Then they swapped over for another 12 weeks, giving blood samples before starting each routine. Even though participants ate the same number of calories, spreading it out into smaller meals gave big benefits, according to results shared at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting. During the six-meal plan, participants had lower average blood sugar and showed signs that their bodies could use sugar better. Plus, it took longer for blood sugar to spike after eating in prediabetics, and those with severe prediabetes had fewer times with abnormally high insulin. But that’s not all. Neither of the plans helped the volunteers lose weight on average, but they were less likely to feel hungry (or want to eat when they weren’t) when they had more meals. (To boost your six-meal benefits, don’t miss these 10 life-saving things every diabetic should do.) “These results suggest that increased frequency of meals, consumed at regular times, may be a useful tool for doctors treating subjects with obesity and diabetes or prediabetes, especially those who are reluctant or unsuccessful dieters,” the researchers said in a statement. If you aren’t at risk of diabetes, though, you might not want to jump onboard the six-meal plan yet. A past study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that obese adults didn’t lose any more weight when eat Continue reading >>
How To Snack In The Right Way If You Have Type 2 Diabetes
If it fits your meal plan, yogurt with fruit can be a good snack.Getty Images If you have type 2 diabetes, you don't need to include snacks in your daily diet, unless you're on a type of medication, such as insulin or sulfonylureas, that can cause hypoglycemia. However, snacksif they are healthy and part of the meal plan developed by your diabetes educator or dietitiancan help prevent blood glucose peaks and valleys, as well as overeating at mealtime. The trick is knowing which foods make a "good" snack, the right portion size, and how often you should eat between meals. Calculate snack carbohydrates and calories A good snack consists of 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates and 100 to 200 calories (depending on the individual's meal plan and medication), according to Rosalia Doyle, RD, a nutritionist at the Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Just like meals, snacks should aim for a combination of fat, protein, and carbohydrates (read the food label to get all the details). "At our clinic, every type 2 diabetic gets an individual meal plan when they see one of the registered dietitians. And snacking is important for some people because it helps to prevent the blood sugar from fluctuating," says Doyle. Doyle likes to incorporate snacks her clients enjoy, like yogurt with fruit, popcorn without butter, and berries. Despite the nutritional value of such snacks, this eating must also be monitored. Inappropriate snacking can contribute to obesity. One way to avoid harmful snacking is to understand portion sizes for both your snacks and meals, and to stick to the parameters. "Three cups of popcorn is the same serving as one slice of bread, and a great snack," says Doyle. Other snack ideas include high fiber cereal with soy milk, a Continue reading >>
How Many Carbs Should A Diabetic Eat?
Figuring out how many carbs to eat when you have diabetes can seem confusing. Meal plans created by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) provide about 45% of calories from carbs. This includes 45–60 grams per meal and 10–25 grams per snack, totaling about 135–230 grams of carbs per day. However, a growing number of experts believe people with diabetes should be eating far fewer carbs than this. In fact, many recommend fewer carbs per day than what the ADA allows per meal. This article takes a look at the research supporting low-carb diets for diabetics and provides guidance for determining optimal carb intake. Glucose, or blood sugar, is the main source of fuel for your body's cells. In people with diabetes, the body's ability to process and use blood sugar is impaired. Although there are several types of diabetes, the two most common forms are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, a hormone that allows sugar from the bloodstream to enter the body's cells. Instead, insulin must be injected to ensure that sugar enters cells. Type 1 diabetes develops because of an autoimmune process in which the body attacks its own insulin-producing cells, which are called beta cells. This disease is usually diagnosed in children, but it can start at any age, even in late adulthood (1). Type 2 Diabetes Type 2 diabetes is more common, accounting for about 90% of people with diabetes. Like type 1 diabetes, it can develop in both adults and children. However, it isn't as common in children and typically occurs in people who are overweight or obese. In this form of the disease, either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body's cells are resistant to insulin's effects. Therefore, too much sugar stays Continue reading >>
Snacking When You Have Diabetes
Learning how to count the carbohydrates that you eat (carb counting) helps you plan what to eat. It will also keep your blood sugar under control. Your health care provider may tell you to eat a snack at certain times of the day, most often at bedtime. This helps keep your blood sugar from getting too low at night. Other times, you may have a snack before or during exercise for the same reason. Ask your provider about the snacks you can and you can't have. Needing to snack to prevent low blood sugar has become much less common because of new types of insulin that are better at matching the insulin your body needs at specific times. If you have type 2 diabetes and are taking insulin and often need to snack during the day, your doses of insulin may be too high and you should talk to your provider about this. You will also need to ask about what snacks to avoid. Your provider can tell you if you should snack at certain times to keep from having low blood sugar. This will be based on your: Diabetes treatment plan from your provider Expected physical activity Lifestyle Low blood sugar pattern Most often, your snacks will be easy to digest foods that have 15 to 45 grams of carbohydrates. Snack foods that have 15 grams (g) of carbohydrates are: Half cup (107 g) of canned fruit (without the juice or syrup) Half banana One medium apple One cup (173 g) melon balls Two small cookies Ten potato chips (varies with size of chips) Six jelly beans (varies with size of pieces) Having diabetes does not mean that you must stop eating snacks. It does mean that you should know what a snack does to your blood sugar. You also need to know what healthy snacks are so you can choose a snack that will not raise your blood sugar or make you gain weight. Ask your provider about what snacks you can Continue reading >>
Missing Meals? Avoid Dangerous Blood Sugar If You Have Diabetes
Skipping a meal is typically no big deal. But if you have diabetes , missing meals can throw off the important balancing act between food intake and medication. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy The result is blood sugars that are too low (hypoglycemia) or too high (hyperglycemia) — and that’s dangerous. “If you take medications for diabetes that can cause low blood sugars, you should try not to skip meals,” says registered dietician Dawn Noe. “If you’re just not up to eating on a regular schedule, talk to your doctor about diabetes medications that won’t cause low blood sugars,” she says. When you’re ill or just don’t feel like eating much, it’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels more closely than ever. How often depends on whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and what medications you take. For type 1 diabetes: Be sure to monitor your blood sugar before meals and before bedtime, typically four times per day, says diabetes specialist Bartolome Burguera, MD . Beyond that, check your blood sugars if you notice symptoms of low blood sugar. Those symptoms include: For type 2 diabetes: If you are taking a sulfonylurea medication, check your blood sugars at least twice a day — in the morning and at bedtime. “It’s important to keep in mind that sulfonylureas may cause blood sugar to drop during the day if you don’t eat anything after taking your medication,” Dr. Burguera says. If your only treatment is metformin, you may not need to check your blood sugar more than once a day. This medication doesn’t typically cause hypoglycemia. It is important to be aware of the symptoms Continue reading >>
Eating With Diabetes: Smart Snacking
20 Diabetes-Friendly Snack Ideas Whether you want to lose weight or simply eat healthier, enjoying a couple of snacks each day is a smart habit for many people. Eating a planned snack between meals can help curb your hunger (and therefore prevent overeating at mealtime) and also increase your energy levels when you need a boost. Snacks offer an additional benefit for people with type 2 diabetes: They can help optimize your blood glucose control. So if you haven't incorporated snacks into your diabetes meal plan yet, now may be the time to start. Here's what you need to know to snack smart, along with some carbohydrate-controlled snack ideas you can try today! 3 Considerations When Planning Snacks The number of snacks a person with diabetes should eat during the day depends largely on your eating preferences, your weight-management goals, and the timing of your major meals. People with diabetes can eat snacks throughout the day for a number of reasons—simply enjoying a mid-morning snack or planning them into their day for better blood glucose control. Exactly how many snacks you should eat—and when you eat them—is very individualized. Meeting with a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator is the best way to make sure your diabetes meal plan meets your needs. However, here are a few basic guidelines that can be helpful when planning snacks. How many hours pass between your meals? In general, people with diabetes who want to optimize blood glucose control should not go longer than five hours without eating. If you consistently eat your main meals every 4 to 5 hours, then you may not need any snacks between meals. However, if your main meals are generally spaced out at longer intervals, snacking between meals can help you achieve your best blood glucose co Continue reading >>
Is Grazing Good For Diabetes?
What if you ate frequent, small meals, instead of a few big ones? You wouldn’t need as much insulin at any one time. Maybe postmeal spikes would be much smaller. What does science say about this approach? The question mainly applies to people with Type 2 who still make some insulin. They may have enough insulin to cover a small meal, but not a normal American meal. If you are injecting rapid-acting insulin, more meals would mean more, smaller shots. Eating very frequent, very small meals is sometimes called “grazing.” Some evidence shows that it improves insulin function. In one small study, people were assigned in random order to eat a “nibbling diet,” which consisted of 17 snacks per day, or the usual three meals per day. (Both diets had the same amount of total food and types of food.) The nibblers made less insulin, although their sugars were about the same as the regular eaters. That shows their insulin was used more efficiently. Grazing has been very popular at times for weight loss and diabetes management. It’s not so popular now. A Czech study presented in 2013 found that grazing was less effective for weight loss than eating two main meals a day. No differences were found in glucose levels or insulin function. Some experts still strongly recommend grazing. The Pritikin Longevity Center compares frequent very small meals to weight-loss surgery. Weight-loss surgery is often touted as a diabetes “cure,” or at least a highly effective treatment. But why does it help? Weight-loss surgery leaves a person with a very small stomach, maybe the size of an egg. Pritikin’s website says, “Post- surgery life means very small meals, eaten very slowly and chewed thoroughly, for the rest of one’s life.” That grazing diet may be what appears to be “curi Continue reading >>
The Truth About The So-called "diabetes Diet"
Despite all the publicity surrounding new research and new nutrition guidelines, some people with diabetes still believe that there is something called a "diabetic diet." For some, this so-called diet consists of avoiding sugar, while others believe it to be a strict way of eating that controls glucose. Unfortunately, neither are quite right. The "diabetes diet" is not something that people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should be following. "That just simply isn't how meal planning works today for patients with diabetes," says Amy Campbell, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, a nutritionist at Joslin and co-author of 16 Myths of a Diabetic Diet. "The important message is that with proper education and within the context of healthy eating, a person with diabetes can eat anything a person without diabetes eats," Campbell states. What's the truth about diabetes and diet? We know now that it is okay for people with diabetes to substitute sugar-containing food for other carbohydrates as part of a balanced meal plan. Prevailing beliefs up to the mid-1990s were that people with diabetes should avoid foods that contain so-called "simple" sugars and replace them with "complex" carbohydrates, such as those found in potatoes and cereals. A review of the research at that time revealed that there was relatively little scientific evidence to support the theory that simple sugars are more rapidly digested and absorbed than starches, and therefore more apt to produce high blood glucose levels. Now many patients are being taught to focus on how many total grams of carbohydrate they can eat throughout the day at each meal and snack, and still keep their blood glucose under good control. Well-controlled blood glucose is a top priority because other research studies have concluded that all people with diab Continue reading >>
Eating With Diabetes: Smart Snacking
Whether you want to lose weight or simply eat healthier, enjoying a couple of snacks each day is a smart habit for many people. Eating a planned snack between meals can help curb your hunger (and therefore prevent overeating at mealtime) and also increase your energy levels when you need a boost. Snacks offer an additional benefit for people with type 2 diabetes: They can help optimize your blood glucose control. So if you haven't incorporated snacks into your diabetes meal plan yet, now may be the time to start. Here's what you need to know to snack smart, along with some carbohydrate-controlled snack ideas you can try today! Our Best Articles, Delivered Get expert advice on Diabetes from our coaches and trainers The number of snacks a person with diabetes should eat during the day depends largely on your eating preferences, your weight-management goals, and the timing of your major meals. People with diabetes can eat snacks throughout the day for a number of reasonssimply enjoying a mid-morning snack or planning them into their day for better blood glucose control. Exactly how many snacks you should eatand when you eat themis very individualized. Meeting with a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator is the best way to make sure your diabetes meal plan meets your needs. However, here are a few basic guidelines that can be helpful when planning snacks. How many hours pass between your meals? In general, people with diabetes who want to optimize blood glucose control should not go longer than five hours without eating. If you consistently eat your main meals every 4 to 5 hours, then you may not need any snacks between meals. However, if your main meals are generally spaced out at longer intervals, snacking between meals can help you achieve your best blood Continue reading >>
Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity
Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. Along with other benefits, following a healthy meal plan and being active can help you keep your blood glucose level, also called blood sugar, in your target range. To manage your blood glucose, you need to balance what you eat and drink with physical activity and diabetes medicine, if you take any. What you choose to eat, how much you eat, and when you eat are all important in keeping your blood glucose level in the range that your health care team recommends. Becoming more active and making changes in what you eat and drink can seem challenging at first. You may find it easier to start with small changes and get help from your family, friends, and health care team. Eating well and being physically active most days of the week can help you keep your blood glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol in your target ranges prevent or delay diabetes problems feel good and have more energy What foods can I eat if I have diabetes? You may worry that having diabetes means going without foods you enjoy. The good news is that you can still eat your favorite foods, but you might need to eat smaller portions or enjoy them less often. Your health care team will help create a diabetes meal plan for you that meets your needs and likes. The key to eating with diabetes is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, in the amounts your meal plan outlines. The food groups are vegetables nonstarchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes starchy: includes potatoes, corn, and green peas fruits—includes oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes grains—at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains includes wheat, rice, oats, co Continue reading >>