High blood sugar and diabetes are on the rise.
Sadly, it's only going to get worse. Thirty million adults and children are diagnosed with diabetes. About 86 million people >20 years of age have prediabetes and may not even know it. Check out the latest 2017 diabetes stats here.
This high blood sugar and diabetes, not only puts us at risk for more serious health issues like heart and kidney disease -- it puts a strain on our wallets and on this country's healthcare system.
New medications continue to be developed to help control blood sugar.
However, to get the biggest bang for your buck from these meds, we MUST make a change in what we eat and drink. Because carbohydrates have the biggest impact on blood sugar we gotta understand consuming lots of unhealthy carbs wreaks havoc!
In this series I will introduce my 3 top hacks to lower blood sugar. I will introduce a flexible nutrition template guaranteed to make meal planning a snap -- no sweat!
By the way, these hacks are good for all (with diabetes or not). They are listed in order of importance.
Stop drinking sugar beverages.
"No sugar added" juices
Sweetened iced tea
Vitamin - mineral drinks
Coffee drinks like lattes
Other beverages sweetened with sugar, honey, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup
Alcohol (beer, wine, hard liquor)
Bye - bye to these.
Drink sugar free liquids instead. Preferably water.
It's my humble opinion that most of us are teetering on the verge of dehydration. So drink up!
Try sparkling water (seltzer, club soda) or plain water with lemon or lime wedges. Enjoy plain coffee, black, green, white or herbal teas.
Diet soda and other diet drinks contain sugar substitutes that some may have reservations about. Try varieties that are sweetened with natural, plant-based stevia.
This essential first step is often overlooked. For some reason people forget these "liquid sugars" and don't view them the same as solid food calories.
Limit a) sweets, b) snack foods and c) added sugars.
a) Do you really need dessert after a meal?
Because it takes 30-60 minutes for food eaten to even begin to satisfy hunger, wait at least 30-60 minutes after a meal before dessert. Hopefully, you'll feel full and not even want those extra carbs.
But if you must -- try fruits, or small servings of the real, full fat sweets with great mouth feel and flavor -- eaten slowly and savored.
b) What's that go-to food for an energy boost at 3 in the afternoon -- chocolate, crackers, chips, cookies?
Buy a smaller snack bag -- eat it, enjoy it, and move on. Or maybe, try some almonds or walnuts.
Keep the "goodies" packed away in cupboards, freezer or pantry. Out of sight, out of mind is the best strategy. Better yet -- try to keep them out of the house, altogether.
c) Put away the sugar and other sweeteners like brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup and agave as these all have carbs. It's so easy to go overboard.
I'm not a great fan of manufactured, artificial sweeteners: saccharin (Sweet and Low), aspartame (Equal), sucralose (Splenda) or acesulfame K (Sweet One).
Their use is controversial with dubious concerns for gut health, heart disease risk, weight gain and cancer. More consistent research is needed.
Sugar alcohols like sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol and erythritol may cause gas and bloating, so use with caution.
You decide what's best for you. Try using a plant-based sugar sub like pure stevia or monkfruit.
REMEMBER: Sugar-free doesn't always mean carb (or calorie) free. Check food labels for total carb contained in each serving of food or beverage.
Choose a variety of whole, real foods using RYGforHealth© as a guide.
Everyone understands what a traffic light is all about.
R - RED means STOP
Y - YELLOW means CAUTION
G - GREEN means GO
RYGforHealth© is a simple and flexible menu planning blueprint. Using the concept of a traffic signal, RYG teaches you HOW to put together a healthy meal.
Just like a traffic signal includes a red, yellow and green light, a balanced meal includes foods from each list:
R - RED (carb) 1-2 per meal
Y - YELLOW (protein/fat) 1 per meal
G - GREEN (free foods) All you want
Focus on quantity of food first.
A typical American diet carb intake: ~300-500 g daily (easy). Don't believe me?
Try this challenge: keep track of everything you eat and drink for 24 hours. Add up the carbs. You'll be amazed -- guaranteed!
Aim for the ultimate goal of no more than 100-150 grams healthy carb daily.
Focus on quality of food next.
Include fresh foods and produce with deep, rich colors without alot of processing or packaging. Look for ingredients on foods you can pronounce.
The synergic symphony of nutrients provided by these foods reinforces the beauty, simplicity and effectiveness of RYGforHealth.
Young or old, it's never too early or late to make a change for health.
Bottom line -- Eating healthy doesn't have to be complicated.
Eat at least 2-3 times daily.
Space meals 4-6 hours apart.
Include carb, protein and fat at each meal.
Cut back on portions, especially carb foods and beverages.
Choose whole, real foods, avoiding processed foods as much as possible.
All these principles are good for the entire family.
No special food plan for you and then another for the kids. Same foods, but different portions based on body size and physical activity.
NOTE: If you have diabetes, consistency from day to day with when you eat, how much you eat and when you take prescribed medications to lower blood sugar is key.
It may seem boring, but best results are seen with consistent daily patterns or habits.
The information presented here is neither revolutionary or "sexy". It's just plain simple -- and it works. Sometimes the simple gets lost in all the confusion.
Stay tuned for:
Part 2: Rating the RED: The Best Carbs