Eating a consistent amount of food every day and taking medications as directed can greatly improve blood sugar control and decrease the risk of diabetes-related complications, such as coronary artery disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage. To effectively manage glycosylated hemoglobin (hba1c) and blood sugar levels, it is important to understand how to balance food intake. The importance of a healthy, balanced diet that is high in fresh fruit, vegetables and pulses, and low in sugar and animal fats has been demonstrated.
What can you eat?
Living in Southeast Asia allows us to have more healthy food choices. However, the influence of western food, food fads and a lack of knowledge, places a lot of people at risk.
Asian Diet Benefits: (Eat More)
- Green tea
- Rich variety of vegetables and fruits
- Low red meat consumption
- Beans and nuts
- Fish and seafood
- Fruits as dessert
- Whole grains
- A tradition of controlling portion size
- Soy consumption
Asian Diet Risks: (Eat Less)
- White rice and other refined grains
- Use of animal fat and palm oil
- Unhealthy trans fats (in snacks, butter, etc.) are not labelled on packages5
- Sweets and snacks are high in sugar
- Tea or coffee with too much added sugar
- Too much salt
- Excessive consumption of preserved foods (such as pickled vegetables and cured meats)
Negative aspects of the popularity of Western fast food chains (Eat Less or Avoid)
- Red meat
- Processed meat
- Refined carbohydrates
- High fructose corn syrup and added sugar
- Sugary drinks
- Fried foods (French fries, chicken,pizza etc.)
- Large portion size
- Marketing of unhealthy food to children
- Unregulated trans fats
It’s all about balance
“Carb counting,” is another meal planning technique for managing your blood glucose levels. The two most important components of carbohydrate counting are the serving size and the total carbohydrate amount. You may start with about 45-60 grams of carbohydrates in a meal. For diabetes, you may need more or less carbohydrates at meals depending on how you manage your blood sugar levels.
Keeping general serving sizes in mind will help you estimate how much carbohydrate you are eating.
For example there is about 15 grams of carbohydrate in:
1 small piece of fresh fruit (4 oz)
1/2 cup of canned or frozen fruit
1 slice of bread (1 oz) or 1 (6 inch) tortilla
1/2 cup of oatmeal
1/3 cup of pasta or rice
1/2 cup of black beans or starchy vegetable
1/4 of a large baked potato (3 oz)
2/3 cup of plain fat-free yogurt or sweetened with sugar substitutes
2 inch square brownie or cake without frosting
1/2 cup ice cream or sherbet
1 tbsp syrup, jam, jelly, sugar or honey
6 chicken nuggets
1 cup of soup
1/4 serving of a medium sized French fries
Super Foods to Include in Your Diet
They are very high in fiber, giving you about 1/3 of your daily requirement in just a ½ cup, and are also good sources of magnesium and potassium.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Inclding greens like spinach, cabbage, lettuce, bokchoy, and water spinach are powerhouse foods are so low in calories and carbohydrate. You can’t eat too much.
Grapefruit, oranges, lemons and limes. Pick your favorites and get part of your daily dose of soluble fiber and vitamin C.
A starchy vegetable packed full of vitamin A and fiber.
They are all packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber.
They’re full of vital nutrients like vitamin C, iron, vitamin E.
Fish That Are High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Salmon is a favorite in this category. Stay away from dishes in which fish are breaded and deep fat fried.
These foods offers magnesium, chromium and folate.
Benefits includes a dose of magnesium and fiber.
Fat-free Milk and Yogurt
- Never skip meals
- Don’t forget to have a snack
- Be mindful of your carbohydrates intakes
- Increase your vegetables intake
- Low Salt and fat intake