Health Center - Diabetes

About eight percent of all Americans have diabetes, and the rate is increasing. Learn more about this prevalent and life-threatening disease, including common symptoms, how it affects your health, tips to manage it and prevent complications and ways to reduce your risk factors.
Diabetes Guide

What to Eat When You Have Diabetes

produce aisle at a supermarketIf you or someone close to you were recently diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, chances are you have a lot of questions about what you should eat. You may falsely think that you need to eliminate all sugar from your diet, but before you panic, let's take a look a brief look at some dietary guidelines for people with diabetes or prediabetes.

First, there is no such thing as a diabetes diet. There are no foods that are completely off limits for most people. Gone are the days when the only rule for people with diabetes was to avoid sugar. Now, it's more about eating foods that help you maintain steady blood sugar levels and lower your risk for heart disease and other illnesses that are more likely to occur if you have diabetes. Essentially, focus on moderation, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and keeping track of your carbohydrates.

That doesn't mean you can eat everything in sight and still stay healthy. There are foods and ways to prepare them that will help keep your diabetes symptoms under control and will help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers and other ailments for which you are at higher risk as someone with diabetes.

If you are overweight or obese, even a modest weight loss of 5 percent to 10 percent can significantly improve your glucose control. With prediabetes, weight loss and following  a healthy diet can help you avoid getting diabetes.

Regular physical activity also is important for diabetes management. Experts recommend at least 30 to 60 minutes a day of moderate-intensity activity for at least five days per week; if you're trying to lose weight, aim for 60 to 90 minutes at least five days a week.