Six Ways Regular Eating Habits Benefit Diabetes Care

Skipping meals, especially breakfast, is tempting when we’re feeling rushed, or our blood sugar is high, or the scale reveals we’ve gained a pound instead of lost one.

However, eating regularly scheduled meals and snacks can improve our glucose numbers, help us lose weight, and better organize our diabetes care; here are six reasons why:

  • Stability. Spreading our carbohydrates over three regular meals every day (plus a snack or two) can help stabilize glucose levels. It prevents harmful spikes following a big meal, and reduces the risk for hypoglycemia following a skimpy one.
  • Trends. With hard to control, or unpredictable glucose levels, regular eating habits can help us determine an optimal diet, medication, and activity routine. Consuming similar amounts, at nearly the same times every day, and keeping an accurate log of glucose numbers, allows patients and their health care providers to spot and control troublesome trends.
  • For instance, over several days, we can monitor our blood sugar just before eating each meal, and two hours after taking the first bite. By recording the date, monitor times, glucose numbers, what was eaten, and the portions, we can pinpoint and discuss any anomalies, or off-target readings with our physician.
  • Energy. Individuals with diabetes often report feeling fatigued, but the steady source of fuel provided by eating regular meals and snacks helps keep energy levels up.
  • We can also fight fatigue, without adding calories, by drinking a glass of water and maybe going for a walk, doing some vacuuming, or a few yoga stretches—any physical activity will do.
  • Weight. Enjoying regular meals not only helps stabilize our blood sugar, it helps us manage our appetite, and avoid overeating late in the day because we skipped earlier meals.
  • Structure. Even if we’re not the most organized person on the planet, scheduled meals help structure our day, making it easier to create space for exercise, social, and leisure activities. Plus, regular meals tend to be more low-carb and nutritious than grab-and-go fare.
  • Meds. Skipping meals while taking medications designed to stimulate insulin production puts us at risk for hypoglycemia. Besides being dangerous, frequent hypoglycemia can interfere with weight management since we consume carb-loaded food or drink, sometimes in excess, to get our glucose back up.
  • People experiencing frequent glucose lows should consult with their doctor or diabetes educator about medication or other treatment adjustments.

Though our lives may be busy, or even chaotic, many of our body’s processes function in regular, cyclical patterns. So, it makes sense that regular eating habits are generally better for us than haphazardly grabbing whatever food happens to be available—especially when our metabolism is already out of balance, and we need to watch our glucose levels.

Source: Jill Weisenberger, RD, CDE/Diabetic Living
Photo credit: Hamza Butt

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