Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private nutrition practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. Gretchen provides lectures and workshops on a variety of nutrition topics to corporate and community groups. She is the author of the "The Everything Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd ed.," and "The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes". If you would like to learn more about Gretchen, or read her newsletter or blog visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com.
Many people with weight issues or a family history of diabetes believe that diabetes in their future is “inevitable”. While both risk factors certainly increase one’s chances of developing diabetes, there are several solid actions one can take to reduce those odds.
Having the components of a healthful eating plan is a very powerful strategy for prevention. Following a few simple principles reaps considerable benefits. A well thought out eating plan should focus on portion control as well as inclusion of variety of nutrient dense foods. Weight loss, blood sugar control, and improved nutrition are the most obvious benefits when you begin to eat in this way.
Eating to prevent diabetes does not mean that you need to make separate meals or foods for yourself. Everyone has similar nutritional requirements, regardless of whether or not they have this condition. Buying sugar free or diet foods is unnecessary.
Contrary to widely held beliefs, you do not have to give up all carbohydrates when you are trying to lose weight or prevent diabetes. Although carbohydrate foods have an effect on blood sugar, they are a necessary component of a healthy diet. It is the quantity as well as the type of carbohydrate that you include in your eating plan that will make the biggest difference.
Carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source. Simple carbohydrates include foods with added sugars, juices or fruits. Complex carbohydrates include grain products and starchy vegetables. A good rule of thumb is to make most of the carbohydrate in your diet come from the complex variety. Use grain products or other carbohydrate foods that are high in fiber. In other words, look for whole grains, and use plenty of vegetables to get fiber. Skip the refined or processed foods, as there is much less fiber, and often less nutritional value.
Fruit contains natural, simple sugars, and provides a variety of vitamins, minerals and fiber. To get the most fiber from fruit, choose fresh fruit instead of fruit juice. Unsweetened frozen or canned fruit provides additional choices.
Milk or yogurt have natural sugar (lactose) and are perfectly suitable to include in a healthy eating plan. Choose low fat or fat free milk or yogurt. Read yogurt labels carefully for added sugars. Some fruit flavored or fruit on the bottom types of yogurt have quite a bit added sugar.
What about desserts or foods with added sugars? Trying to eliminate desserts entirely may not be realistic, and can leave you feeling deprived. Use good judgment and portion control with desserts, and reserve this type of food for occasional use.
Carbohydrates are not the only consideration for weight control or diabetes prevention. High protein foods and healthy fats are essential as well. Choose lean sources of meat, chicken or fish. Vegetable sources of protein such as beans, lentils and soy provide good alternatives that are low in fat. Consider using the meatless vegetable proteins as an alternative once or twice weekly.
Selecting lean meat and low fat dairy food are good ways to cut down saturated fat and cholesterol. Include foods containing omega-3 fats such as salmon, sardines, walnuts or soy oil more often.
Eating to prevent health issues or lose weight mimics many of the same nutrition principles that everyone should follow. Of greatest importance is to balance portions and choose foods that provide good nutritional value. Prevention should be part of your action plan for maintaining overall health and your future! Chronic diseases do not have to be inevitable!
Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private nutrition practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. Gretchen provides lectures and workshops on a variety of nutrition topics to corporate and community groups. She is the author of the "Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance at Health," and "The Quick Start Guide to Healthy Eating". If you would like to learn more about Gretchen, or read her newsletter visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com.
This article is courtesy of the Top 1% Club and the Top 1% Club Mentor Gail Kasper. For additional information on Gail Kasper, her television appearances and speaking engagements, please visit gailkasper.com.