They say that food can be the most powerful form of medicine—and that’s definitely accurate when it comes to managing blood sugar and diabetes. Piles of research have shown that what you eat plays a big role in getting blood sugar levels under control and slashing the risk of type 2 diabetes, a condition that, worldwide, has increased steadily in recent years, largely attributed to modifiable risk factors such as diet.
Thankfully, it’s possible to create truly delicious meals using the foods and the nutrients they contain that science shows can help better manage those blood sugar numbers and reduce the risk for health complications associated with poor sugar control—a health challenge that’s important even for those of us without diabetes.
And, no, carbohydrates need not be off the menu. You just need to be smart about which ones you eat and what you eat them with.
Where to start on a path toward eating to level out those blood sugar levels? This meal plan, along with five sugar-regulating recipes, is proof that eating for glorious health can make your taste buds happy to boot.
Types of diabetes
Diabetes is a disease in which the body either doesn’t produce insulin or doesn’t properly use the insulin that is produced. A lack of insulin or resistance to it causes sugar to build up in your blood, which can lead to numerous health problems. Here are the different forms of diabetes.
This occurs when your blood sugar is frequently higher than what’s considered optimum, but not high enough—<yet>—to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Healthy lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise, are essential to putting the brakes on prediabetes before it turns into full-blown diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
This is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. A person with this condition will need to take insulin to keep blood sugar from reaching dangerously high levels.
Type 2 diabetes
This starts as insulin resistance, which means the body can’t use insulin efficiently. That stimulates the pancreas to keep pumping out more insulin until production starts to diminish, leading to elevated blood sugar numbers. Unlike type 1, environmental factors such as poor diet and being overweight play a major role in the development of type 2 diabetes.
This is the type of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy, perhaps due to insulin-blocking hormones that are produced during this time. Excessive weight gain can also play a role. As with type 2 diabetes, appropriate measures including healthy eating and physical activity should be taken to combat gestational diabetes.
Chicken Cauliflower Fried Rice
Lemony Broccoli Pasta with Browned Butter
Seedy Carrot Flatbreads with Roasted Salmon
PB&J Overnight Oatmeal