November is American Diabetes Month. Every 19 seconds someone in America is diagnosed with diabetes. Nearly 10% of the population, 30 million adults and children, are affected by this disease. An additional 86 million Americans are considered pre-diabetic and at risk for developing pre-diabetes.
What exactly is Diabetes?
There are three types: type 1, type 2, and gestational.
Type 1 diabetes accounts for roughly 5% of all cases of diabetes and is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone our bodies use to absorb glucose, the form of energy our body uses from sugar and starches.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and occurs when the body does not properly use insulin. The body becomes insulin resistant. At the beginning, the pancreas creates extra insulin, however over time the pancreas can’t make enough to keep your blood glucose levels normal. Blood sugar levels rise, causing hyperglycemia.
Gestational diabetes is high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) and insulin resistance that occurs during pregnancy. A 2014 analysis by the CDC reported the incidence of gestational diabetes to be as high as 9.2%.
Visit diabetes.org for more information
Diabetes + Diet
Luckily following a well-balanced diet can prevent and help manage all forms of diabetes. I’m sure you’ve heard someone at one point in your life say “I can’t eat that, I’m diabetic”. Well this is a myth I am constantly trying to dispel. Just like my blog title, it’s all in moderation. People with diabetes can enjoy all foods, but need to be aware of the amounts.
The most important thing in eating for diabetes is BALANCE. A healthy diet includes a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Carbohydrates, which come from starchy foods, fruits, vegetables, milk/yogurt and sweets, get broken down into glucose. The body needs carbohydrates for energy, but eating too many at once can cause a spike in blood glucose and eating too little can cause blood sugar to drop too low. Eating a moderate amount of carbohydrates with each meal or snack, balanced out with a serving of protein and/or fat, will help keep blood glucose in a healthy range.
The theme of this week in American Diabetes Month is snacks, so I thought I’d share some healthy balanced (paleo-ish) snacks good for those with diabetes and those without! These snack ideas all pair a carbohydrate with a protein and/or fat.
- 1 piece of fruit + 2 TBSP of nuts
- Apple/banana + 1-2TBSP peanut or almond butter (sunflower seed butter if nut allergy)
- Celery sticks + 1-2TBSP peanut or almond butter (+ optional sprinkle of raisins)
- Raw vegetables + hummus or guacamole or 1/2 an avocado
- Handful of tortilla chips + guacamole
- Fresh vegetables + 1-2TBSP olive oil based dressing/dip/pesto
- Dairy-free yogurt + 2TBSP nuts or gluten-free granola
- 1/4 cup trail mix – assorted nuts, seeds, and/or dried fruit. Make at home using your favorite combo, or prepackaged. Beware of added salt, sugar and flavorings in prepackaged options.
- Fruit or vegetables + hard boiled egg
- Raw vegetables + 2oz (1/2 can) tuna made with a little mayo/olive oil
- Smoothie made with 8oz almond/coconut milk + 1/2 cup fruit + 1TBSP peanut or almond butter
- KIND or LARA bar (or other grain free snack bar with ~200 calories or less and at least 5g protein)
What’s your favorite healthy snack?