Controlling hunger with diabetes

Managing nutritional decisions when you have diabetes involves properly learning how to control hunger, as the quality of your hunger management can affect your weight, your blood sugar and your overall health as a diabetic.

Learning how to recognize what your body really needs – and whether or not you're experiencing true physical hunger (as opposed to emotional-based food cravings, for example) – takes time, but the following tips may help:

Prevention

According to Dr. Sooji Rugh, obesity expert and founder of GreenLite Medicine, controlling hunger is all about preventing it in the first place. Rugh explains that hunger – whether minor or extreme – will usually trigger overeating, while eating before you become hungry will almost always prevent overconsumption.

For diabetics, then, regular eating is important for two reasons: It prevents hunger, and it keeps blood sugar levels stable.

Eat every three to four hours, Rugh recommends, or as often as you need to in order to prevent hunger and maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

Healthy fats – like those found in avocados, nuts and organic oils – paired with some protein can help with satiety. Too many carbohydrates, on the other hand, will tend to trigger hunger, so monitor your carb intake appropriately.

Blood Sugar Monitoring

Controlling hunger might also become easier if you can learn to monitor your blood sugar levels well.

Tracking highs and lows will help you estimate how often and how much you need to eat in order to control hunger and avoid the ravenous feeling that often comes with low blood sugar. The faster you can bring your blood sugar back up, the less time you'll experience hunger pangs.

The Sugar Factor

Since hunger typically results from hypoglycemia, raising your blood sugar with either a few glucose tablets or a snack that has 15-20 grams of simple carbohydrates might help curb the cravings.

However, it's best to know for sure that you're in a state of hypoglycemia before you reach for carbohydrates.

Additionally, be cautious about your consumption of foods with artificial sweeteners. Some research suggests that sugar alternatives can actually interfere with satiety cues and make you more hungry.

Source: American Diabetes Association

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