Managing diabetes involves medical interventions as well as diabetic cooking. By adopting diabetic cooking tips in the preparation of meals, it is possible to minimize the complications associated with diabetes, and to help improve the overall health of a diabetic.


The Basic Principles behind Diabetic Cooking Recipes


Cooking for the diabetic patient need not be an impossible challenge. One can begin with basic dietary improvements: increasing the amount of whole grain-based foods in one’s diet, increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables ingested, increasing water intake, and reducing the amounts of salt, sugar and highly-refined carbohydrates ingested. While all of these steps are relevant for improving the diet of the general population, a couple of them are specifically important when cooking for a diabetic patient. Reducing sugar intake is one of them. Decreasing the ingestion of highly-refined carbohydrates is another. Increasing the ingestion of whole grain-based foods is a third. Diabetic cooking incorporates these 3 steps, among others.

Decreasing the ingestion of sugar helps to keep blood sugar levels at an optimum, and, hence, to minimize the need for large amounts of insulin. Here, sugar refers, not just to cane sugar, but to any foods or drinks containing significant amounts of the sugars glucose or sucrose. This includes traditional soft drinks and other beverages and typical deserts and candies. Fruits contain the sugar fructose and varying levels of other sugars, including sucrose. Fructose does not cause dramatic changes in blood sugar levels. Thus, it is best for diabetics to eat fruits in which fructose is the primary sugar. Cooking guides for diabetics tend to emphasize fruits of this kind. A quick dessert or appetizer for a diabetic that followed these guidelines would consist of a bowl of fresh blueberries and strawberries with a few slices of mango.

Diabetic cooking also entails preparing whole grain-based foods. These are ideal for their fiber content. They are generally better for the digestive system, and also have low glycemic indices: This means that, when digested, they raise the blood sugar levels to a lesser degree than other carbohydrates. Thus, it should not come as a surprise that many diabetic menus include such items as brown rice, bran muffins, whole grain breakfast cereals, whole wheat products and whole grain forms of millet, sorghum, teff and other cereals.

In addition, diabetic cooking involves minimizing fat content in food, particularly saturated fats: so-called bad fats. These include shortening, margarine, lard, and palm oil. In their place, one should use “good fats,” which include vegetable oils like olive oil and sunflower oil. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, are ideal, as are fats which naturally avocadoes and minimally processed nuts.


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