5 Lies About Dieting With Diabetes

It's easy to assume that having diabetes drastically changes what you can eat - and in some cases, it does.

However, there are many misconceptions that have to do with eating and diabetes. The following are common myths - or flat-out lies - about what diabetics can and can't consume in their diets.

1. If you have diabetes, you can't ever indulge your cravings for sweets.

It's not possible for anyone to completely avoid food cravings - diabetics included. And it's usually very safe for people with diabetes to indulge, so long as they manage their blood sugar appropriately.

While cravings are best dealt with when they are prevented - by eating enough protein and not skipping meals - having a small portion of something sweet won't usually cause a problem.

2. Diabetics can't eat what everyone else in the family is eating.

Just because someone in the family is diabetic, that doesn't mean this person requires "special food" at meal times.

While a diabetic will have certain nutritional guidelines her or she should follow, normal, healthy foods in the right portions are usually appropriate. Most diabetes-friendly diets recommend lean proteins, vegetables and small portions of fiber-rich grains like brown rice.

3. You can't have starchy foods if you have diabetes.

Potatoes, bread or beans aren't completely off-limits for people with diabetes. Again, it's more important for diabetics to be mindful of portions sizes.

Some starchy foods are digested more slowly by the body, which means they don't affect blood sugar levels as significantly as other starches.

Consult the glycemic index scale to determine which starches are best for diabetics.

4. You can't eat salt if you have diabetes.

Having diabetes doesn't automatically exclude you from eating salt. While people with diabetes are more prone to have high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease - and they therefore should be aware of their salt intake - they can usually safely enjoy salty foods like everyone else.

5. Eating fat is bad for diabetics.

While extremely fatty foods aren't healthy for anyone, fat in and of itself isn't something diabetics have to avoid. Fat can slow down digestion and raise cholesterol, however, so it's good to avoid "bad" saturated fats like those found in butter, cheese, snack foods and red meat. Diabetics should opt for healthy sources of fat, like those that come from nuts, seeds, avocado or fish.

Source: Joslin Diabetes Center

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