Food has a significant impact on your blood glucose levels. An understanding of food is essential to an understanding of diabetes and how to manage the condition. Indeed, if you have diabetes, it's possible that you spend more time planning your meals and snacks than almost any other aspect of your day-to-day care.
It's because your food choices have a direct impact on the amount of glucose in your blood, and management of blood glucose is the primary goal of all diabetes care. There is a lot that you can do in your day-to-day meal plans that can have a positive impact on your diabetes, and your health overall.
Glucose is a type of sugar produced when food is digested. Once it enters the blood, glucose becomes the body's main source of energy. A hormone called insulin allows the body to absorb and use glucose. If you have diabetes, your body isn't making — or can't correctly use — its own insulin. Your body can't get the energy it needs, and the unused glucose builds up, causing damage to the body.
Carbohydrates are the type of food most quickly converted to glucose. For this reason, a key part of managing diabetes is managing the amount and timing of the carbohydrates that you include in your diet.
It can be a bit overwhelming trying to make the right choices when it comes to eating. The answer is to build a basic set of meal planning skills. This process takes work, but fortunately you're not alone in this effort. Some standard systems and recommendations have been devised to help people living with diabetes better understand foods, as well as get the input they need to make informed decisions.
A wide variety of meal planning guides and “diabetes-friendly” cookbooks have been published—and these can be great resources, especially if you enjoy reading about food.
But keep in mind that each person with diabetes is different. It's ideal if you can tailor your own meal plan to your specific needs. Health care professionals, such as diabetes educators and registered dietitians, can help you put together a truly personalized program.