Tag Archives: Good Fats

Foods that Keep Your Blood Sugar Steady Throughout the Day

If you struggle with blood sugar spikes and dips, you should take a look at your diet and eat foods that will keep your blood sugar steady.

Food that are high in carbohydrates and have a Glycemic Index of 70+ will affect your blood sugar adversely, which is not good for anyone. However, if you eat foods throughout the day that have a low Glycemic Index, your blood sugar will remain steady.

In case you do not know, the Glycemic Index (GI) ranks foods by how much they raise blood sugar. Anyone who lives with Type 2 Diabetes, hypoglycemia, or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes are probably aware of the Index, but everyone should be familiar with it.

A roller coaster ride of blood sugar levels rising and falling throughout the day can make you feel pretty bad. It is important to recognize the symptoms and do something about the problem.  Awareness is not enough. Prevention is critical in order to reduce the increased risks for some health problems that can result if the spikes and dips are not controlled.

Melissa Li-Ng, MD, endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio states, “Keeping blood sugar stable can help prevent the long-term consequences of fluctuations.” She goes on to explain that high blood sugar can cause a number of symptoms, including: frequent urination, thirst, fatigue, and blurred vision.

On the other hand, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can cause headaches, irritability, weakness or fatigue, dizziness, sweating, and lack of coordination.

Christy Parkin, MSN, RN, CDE, Health Management Resources, Inc. Diabetes Education and Consulting Services,  Indianapolis, Indiana states, “Blood glucose levels that fluctuate wildly up and down are more dangerous than high blood glucose alone…it leads to damage of the cells known as oxidative stress. This damage is a predictor of cardiovascular disease in diabetes.

Foods to Control Your Blood Sugar Levels

Fruits and Vegetables

There are some very tasty fruits with low GI numbers: apples, cherries, grapefruit, pears, plums, and strawberries. The same is true for some wonderful vegetables:  artichokes, asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, green beans, lettuce, mushrooms, and onions. All of these are low GI; plus they are low in calories, and packed with fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer. The result is that eating these foods will help stop the craving for snacks between meals.

Good Fats

Poached Salmon
Image by HLPhoto

The fats in your diet should be monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. They taste good and are good for you. You need them in your diet. In general, nuts, olive oils, avocado, and fish are sources of unsaturated fats. On the other hand, it is important to avoid saturated fats and trans fats.

Olive oil and peanut oil are unsaturated, contain no carbohydrates, and have a GI of zero.  This means they have no effect on blood sugar and can be used in food preparation without concern about impacting your blood sugar.

“Fatty” fish such as: trout, herring, tuna, mackerel, halibut and salmon are also good unsaturated fats – and good for you. These fish provide Omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels in the blood stream.

Protein

Protein fills you up and keeps you feeling full longer.  Good sources of Low GI protein are: legumes, nuts, lean meat and fish. When you have plenty of protein in your diet, you are less likely to want snacks.

Try mixing nut butters with fruits or vegetables like apples and celery for a high protein, but low GI snack. Vacuum-packed tuna or low-fat cheese on 100% whole-wheat crackers are also good. And, one of my favourite snacks is crisp celery or carrot sticks dipped in hummus.

Whole Grain

Quinoa and Broccoli
Quinoa and Broccoli

Avoid all refined flour (white, enriched in particular). Stick with minimally-processed whole grain products. They have a low GI value and add rich flavors to breads and pasta.  Replace your white rice with quinoa (reasonably priced, filled with protein, and tasty) or wild rice (delicious, but expensive). Other whole grains you may also want to try are: spelt, rye and barley.

In Conclusion

If you are a diabetic, or have trouble controlling your blood sugar, eating the aforementioned foods will help you keep it steady. A steady blood sugar level means less cravings, which not only reduce the number of calories you would normally consume, helps you stay away from high GI foods.

Photo Credit: (Quinoa and Broccoli Wednesday’s Dinner via photopin (license)

Good Fats vs Bad Fats

Today the general public is much more aware of the danger of fat in the diet – and more specifically they have an general awareness of good fats vs. bad fats. Thank Goodness!

Talk shows, magazines, the Internet, etc., offer facts, opinions and general promotion of “healthy foods.” Information about good fats vs. bad fats is available everywhere. However, be cautious . . . it is important to read and listen carefully. Some of the information may be supporting a dietary fad that lines a company’s pockets, but could be dangerous to your health. Fads have the power to change a good eating habit into a bad eating habit by suggesting that you carry it to the extreme. Adding too much fat (even good fat) to your diet is not a healthy idea.

Yes, your body needs fat to function effectively. It is an important component in a healthy diet. But, you should eat the right kind of fat in appropriate amounts. When healthy fats are incorporated into your diet in proper amounts, they supply energy, help absorb fat-soluble vitamins and provide crucial fats that your body cannot manufacture.

It is up to you to educate yourself.  Learn the difference between good and bad fats, be very clear on the amount of healthy fats you should be eating on a daily basis, and stay within the healthy guidelines.

How Much Healthy Fat Should Your Eat?

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention recommends that 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories come from healthy fats. This is based on a healthy (reasonable) number of calories consumed each day. For example if you eat 2500/day, multiply 2500 X 20% = 500 calories, then 2500 X 35% = 875 calories. This calculates the range of the number of fat calories that should be eaten daily (500 to 875 calories from fat per day).

Fat contains nine calories per gram, so divide each number of the fat-calorie range by nine to determine your daily fat grams. For a 2,500-calorie per day diet, the recommended daily fat intake is 55 to 97 grams. The recommended daily fat allowance for 1,500-calorie and 2,000-calorie diets are 33 to 58 grams and 44 to 78 grams, respectively.

Types of Fats

Saturated Fat – This is a bad fat, found mostly in animal products. It contributes to clogged arteries and multiple other cardiovascular issues, plus obesity. Some studies suggest that saturated fat may play a role in developing Type 2 diabetes.

Trans Fat – This is a very bad fat and typically found in processed foods even in some types of peanut butter. To cut down (and eliminate) trans fats from your diet, avoid fast foods and learn to read labels on processed foods – avoid any food that contains hydrogenated vegetable oils or trans fat.

AvocadoUnsaturated Fat – This is a good fat. There are two types: monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fats. The first is found in

olive oils, nut oils, and whole avocados, whole nuts and whole seeds. The second is found in seed oils, fish, eggs and non-hydrogenated oils.

In order to stay on the safe side when it comes to your fat intake, choose unprocessed fat from natural sources over fat that is processed. Some examples are: nuts, seeds, avocados in their natural state or blended into a dip or dressing. Keep in mind that all oil is processed to some extent. Even olive oils and seed oils should be used in small amounts. In this case, more is not better. Overdoing it will ruin

Image by AngelSimon
Image by AngelSimon

whatever benefits you may gain from the healthy fats.

Always eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. An abundance of beneficial nutrients can be found in whole, fresh, natural foods. For example: flax seeds are high in Omega vitamins. You will get far more benefit eating flax seeds than you will by taking fish oil supplements or drizzling too much olive oil over your food.

Choose healthy fats, watch your intake (don’t over do it), learn to read labels and be healthy.